BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE 21 Haitians who were suspected of being trafficked to the Federation and were caught in Bath Village, Nevis, were said to have been deported to their homeland yesterday (Jan. 31).
Freedom FM reported that the 21, including men, women and children, were transported to St. Kitts yesterday from Nevis where they were based since their arrival on the island.
They arrived in Nevis on January 2 and several of them had escaped when lawmen were called to the scene. Police were however able to capture the boat’s captain and arrest and charge several others who were found to be harbouring the illegal immigrants.
In commenting on the incident, Premier Mark Brantley described it as human trafficking which has been an enterprise that the Immigration Department has been seeking to clamp down on.
He told reporters at his recently held press conference that the immigrants were treated and housed in a humane manner.
“They had been housed and treated in as humane a way as we could. I’m advised that they were housed at Potworks, and I am to advise that based on the latest information that the Ministry of National Security in St. Kitts is indicating that they will be repatriated to their country, Haiti, on January 31,” noted Brantley.
He went further to lament on the topic of human trafficking in St. Kitts and Nevis, emphasising that “it’s a very unfortunate situation, but there’s little that we could have done in the circumstances when persons arrive here illegally with no jobs and no means of sustaining themselves”.
“It is indeed a horrible, horrible thing for our people to engage in and to seek to extract money from individuals to transport them illegally to other countries, is truly a horrible practice and a criminal enterprise that we must seek to bring to an end,” Brantley added.
He called on others to desist from the practice as the police would not sit by and allow people to benefit and traffic “in the misery of others”.
In a statement on the incident, police reported that Dominicans Wensley George and Brian Etienne were charged for Entry into the Federation at a Non-Formal Port, Disembarking Without the Consent of an Immigration Officer and Allowing Persons to Disembark a Vessel as the Master of said Vessel.
Haitian nationals Datus Gregoire and Vincent Wendy-Darlene, both of whom reside in McKnight, were charged for Harbouring Illegal Immigrants.
According to the police, Gregoire, Wendy-Darlene and Claxton were apprehended following an operation conducted on a house at Old Hospital Road, Nevis, where several of the illegal immigrants were found.