Bahamas maintains heightened presence in southeast amid unrest in Haiti, Cuba

Bahamas maintains heightened presence in southeast amid unrest in Haiti, Cuba
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) patrol craft HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES. (RBDF PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas continues to shore up its defenses on its coastal borders amid concerns of illegal migration attempts from neighboring countries, including Haiti, which was recently thrown into turmoil following the assassination of its president, Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Dr Raymond King told Eyewitness News.

The defense force has increased patrols of the southeastern Bahamas since the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who was shot dead in his Port-au-Prince home around 1am on July 7.

“Ongoing efforts to ensure an effective response to potential irregular migration from Haiti include the following: increased patrol vessels to the southeast Bahamas, dedicated aircraft to the southeast Bahamas to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance patrols; increased use of human intelligence sources; joint support from OPBAT, USCG and Police Marine Unit,” King said.

His wife was also shot and required medical care in the United States.

She has since returned to Haiti.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Raymond King. (FILE PHOTO)

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has appealed for calm.

Twenty-six men, including 18 Colombians, five Haitians and three US citizens, have been detained since the assassination.

There have been concerns of a mass exodus from Haiti and Cuba, with unrest spreading throughout The Bahamas’ neighbor to the southwest over food shortages, high prices and citizens’ rights.

Asked whether there had been increased attempts or intelligence to suggest there could be, King said authorities continue to monitor the situation, but there has been little activity to date.

“Reflecting on historical data and the magnitude of the Haitian population in The Bahamas; the threat of migrant smuggling is ever-present with adverse social, health and economic consequences for The Bahamas even if a single migrant is successfully smuggled into The Bahamas,” he said.

“However, we have not observed any attempts of migrant smuggling activity from the Republic of Haiti as yet.

“Nonetheless, the RBDF remains alert and strategically positioned to respond to that threat if needed.”