ABACO, BAHAMAS — A widely shared video allegedly showing three undocumented Haitian migrants living in a school bus on Abaco led to their arrest and ultimate conviction for illegal landing in the Magistrate’s Court today.
The Department of Immigration in a statement said an investigation was launched into the video after an official complaint was lodged.
“On 19th April, 2021, a joint operation consisting of officers from the Department’s Abaco District, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and officials from the Departments of Housing and Environmental Health led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of three Haitian adult male migrants,” the department noted.
“An official complaint was lodged with the department after a video made the rounds on social media of a school bus that had been converted into a dwelling home for suspected illegal migrants in the Dundas Town, Abaco area.
“The team investigated the complaint and found three males, later discovered to be Haitian migrants onboard the bus.
“The trio attempted to evade custody, however, did not make good their escape. The men were cautioned and transported to the Immigration Marsh Harbour Office, where further investigations revealed that they possessed no legal status in the country.
“All migrants stated that they entered the country via boat in December 2020.”
According to the Department of Immigration, the migrants appeared before Magistrate Ancella Evans and all pleaded guilty to illegal landing.
They were fined $300 each, or in default of payment must serve one month at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
The men will remain in the Department of Immigration’s custody for deportation, while “the Departments of Housing and Environmental Health or any other relevant agency” will pursue legal recourse for infractions of any other laws in respect to the initial report.