NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The 18 Haitian nationals who survived the boating tragedy near Fowl Cay off Man-O-War Cay in the Abacos on February 1, were charged in a magistrate’s court on Tuesday with illegal landing.
The 17 males and one female appeared before magistrate Kara Turnquest in court number 10 on Nassau Street.
When given an opportunity to speak, one of the illegal immigrants apologized to the judge and explained that their risky voyage was in search of a better life to take care of their children and family.
All 18 of the Creole-speaking immigrants were turned over to the Department of Immigration for processing.
The group of Haitians were rescued from a vessel that is believed to have struck a reef and subsequently sank in waters near Fowl Cay off Man-O-War Cay, Abaco on February 1, 2019.
It is alleged that 87 persons were onboard. However, a captain was not identified in regards to this unfortunate tragedy.
The joint rescue operation was conducted by officers of the Department of Immigration’s Enforcement Unit with the assistance of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the U.S. Coast Guard along with private citizens of the Abaco community.
A statement released Tuesday from the Department of Immigration outlined that it wished to remind the general public that they are committed to carrying out the mandate of its agency to combat illegal migration, by establishing effective border control management to ensure compliance with the statute laws of our country.
This article was contributed by Matthew Moxey – Eyewitness News Online Intern