Nearly 400 Haitian migrants intercepted near Cay Sal

Inagua detention facility completed

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The United States Coast Guard intercepted 396 unlawful entrants from the Republic of Haiti near Cay Sal yesterday.

The migrants are en route to Inagua where they will be handed over to Defence Force and Immigration personnel.

In a statement, the Department of Immigration said work on a temporary processing and detention facility in Inagua was completed last month.

The facility can temporarily house more than 800 people and was prepared in collaboration with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in anticipation of an increase in migrant interceptions.

Additional officers and supplies will be provided by HMBS Lawrence Major, which was dispatched from the Defence Force Coral Harbour Base yesterday.

The Ministry of Health’s surveillance team has been notified and the customary screenings will be conducted, the statement added.

“Through its law enforcement agencies and international partners, The Bahamas Government continues to work assiduously and continually to address the irregular migration problem,” the statement read.

“The Department of Immigration is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the intercepted migrants are repatriated as quickly as possible.

It added: “The Bahamas maintains an organised system to allow for the lawful entry and orderly processing of applications for lawful entry into The Bahamas. This is the only process by which persons should enter The Bahamas. Persons entering or remaining in The Bahamas outside our laws will be returned to their home countries.”

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Department of Immigration apprehended six undocumented Haitian nationals on Friday, January 20.

According to police, both agencies visited a number of communities within eastern New Providence shortly after 5pm and took four men and two women into custody “for Immigration purposes”.

About Ava Turnquest

Ava Turnquest is the head of the Digital Department at Eyewitness News. Her most notable beat coverage spans but is not limited to politics, immigration and human rights, with a focus especially on minority groups. In 2018, she was nominated by the Bahamas Press Club for “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism”. Ava is deeply motivated by her passion about the role of fourth estate, and uses her pen to inform, educate and sensitize the public.