NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Twelve foreign female nationals, believed to be exotic dancers, are in the hands of immigration officials after immigration and police officers conducted an early morning raid on Monday.
Authorities confirmed that five Jamaican, one Venezuelan, one Trinidadian and five Columbian females were arrested during the joint operation which was dubbed, “Operation Honey Hive.”
The raid hit three-night clubs in New Providence.
Officers raided Xclusive Sporting Lounge on Faith Avenue, New Twilight Restaurant and Sporting Lounge on Robinson Road and Cheetahs Upscale Bikini Sporting Lounge on East Bay Street.
Anthony Ferguson, Police Commissioner, although a little apprehensive on addressing the issue, told Eyewitness News Online that this is just the first in a number of initiatives to clamp down on what appears to be a thriving underground community.
The commissioner said the public can also expect more joint operations from the armed forces.
“Wherever there is a breach of the law, the police will be there with its partners,” he said.
“As you would have seen over the last couple days, and even over the years, we have been operating as partners and we will continue to do that.”
By 12 noon on Monday, images of the females who were reportedly arrested began circulating on social media; a number of them were photographed with Bahamian currency laid out in front of them.
According to a high-ranking officer on the police force, the foreign nationals were allegedly arrested for being in violation of the immigration act.
It is speculated that the females may have been in The Bahamas legally, but may not have had permits to work, according to an Eyewitness News Online source on the police force.
The source also suggested that the nightclub owners may also find themselves in problems with the law for allegedly operating their establishments as strip clubs – a direct violation of the business license act.
Both blunders, Commissioner Ferguson said, will not be tolerated.
“There are regulations that are legislated in respect to how persons who have business licenses use those licenses. It should be used in conjunction with the laws,” he said.
The United States (US) issues licenses for strip clubs, but The Bahamas doesn’t.
The country has not issued strip club licenses up to this point and authorities confirm that they will continue to arrest and charge all nightclub operators who seek to sneak a little exotic action between the cracks.