Categorized | National News

 Haitian Community in Grief

The local Haitian community in Abaco have rallied together  in  deep grief  for memorial services  in the wake of   scores of their fellow citizens who perished in a fatal shipwreck off Fowl  Cay.

Officials in the Bahamas  have put the count of the Haitian nationals who died in a tragic boating accident on Saturday in Abaco to 27,  with survivors standing at 18.

In what is labelled one of the worst boating accidents, is a tragedy reminiscent of a similar chain of event in November 2013 when a number of Haitian nationals were killed and more than 100 rescued after their dangerously crowded wooden sloop capsized near Staniel Cay in the Exuma chains.

The migrants that time were on their way to the United States.

In this case, details are sketchy, and officials cannot say where the 40ft conventional sailing yacht, was headed, when it ran aground early Saturday morning outside the entrance of Marsh Harbour channel.

Yesterday, this Journal reached out to the Haitian Embassy, here in the capital, but was told officials were locked down in a serious meeting in the wake of this weekend’s horror at sea.

An update into the incident by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force says the vessel that was carrying an unknown number of Haitian migrants, was just six nautical miles off Abaco.

Although dive operators continued their search efforts yesterday, there were no new developments following Saturday and Sunday’s search.

Commenting on the incident, Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames called it an unfortunate and tragic one.

“Our agencies have been working over the entire weekend.

“I want to take this opportunity as well to express our gratitude and appreciation to residents of the community of Abaco, who stepped up and worked side by side with our law enforcement officers from the Defence Force, the Police Force and Immigration.

“This is what collective responsibility is all about. It is very sad, very unfortunate,” Mr. Dames said.

The minister further assured that as investigations continue, officials will work hand in hand with the Haitian Embassy.

“This is not the first time.

“We’ve had incidents over the years very much the same. So, we just have to make sure that as we carry out our investigations to ensure to that those persons who would have been recovered, that we go through the proper process and we are currently doing that now.

“We are working with the Embassy of Haiti, we are working through the Coroner as well as the respective law enforcement agencies to ensure that we do what is necessary to put this unfortunate incident behind us,” Mr. Dames said.

The 18 rescued persons and 27 bodies were subsequently transported to the clinic in Marsh Harbour for evaluation, and handed over to Immigration and police officials for further investigation.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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