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Posted: Thursday 27 April, 2023 at 9:03 PM

Antigua and Barbuda not accepting Cameroonians

By: Staff Reporter,

    …SKN in Diplomatic conundrum over migrants


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - NATIONAL SECURITY officials in St. Kitts and Nevis have confirmed that their counterparts in Antigua and Barbuda have rescinded their offer to accept the return of the African migrants who were rescued at sea after the vessel in which they were travelling had capsized.


    That announcement comes against the backdrop of nine of the 14 migrants escaping from their holding at the St. Peter’s Community Center in recent days.


    In a press statement, the Ministry of National Security explained that since the Cameroonians were transported to St. Kitts after being rescued, they were  provided medical and psychological care and detained at a government facility pending repatriation to Antigua and Barbuda - their embarkation port.


    But while awaiting repatriation, nine of the Cameroon nationals escaped from the detention facility on St. Kitts as of yesterday (Apr. 26). But as of today four of them were captured.


    “Five (5) are currently at large and law enforcement officials are continuing the ceaseless quest to locate them,” the statement read.


    The Police Force noted that 17 of the 32 individuals who were onboard the vessel were brought to shore, with three of them being deceased and the others were treated and housed pending their return to Antigua. 


    After initially agreeing to accept the repatriation of the other 14 Cameroonians, and with St. Kitts and Nevis preparing to have them returned to Antigua and Barbuda, officials there rescinded their offer, “thereby cancelling the pending arrangement”.


    So what does this mean for the migrants?


    They will remain in the Federation until a diplomatic solution is found for the problem, which many in Antigua and Barbuda and across the region described as an embarassing situation.


    “The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to pursue workable and diplomatic solutions as it is duty-bound so to do. The public will be provided with information updates as necessary. Should anyone have any information as to the whereabouts of any of the escaped detainees, be sure to contact the nearest police station or law enforcement agency,” the statement read.


    This situation is creating an embarrassing image for the Caribbean region, as a solution has not been found on how to deal with it and other illegal migrant movements across the region.


    Meanwhile, late this afternoon, a press release from the police stated that four of the five escapees were captured, while other one is still at large.


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