Categorized | National News

Haitians Prosecuted for Harbouring Illegal Migrants

The Department of Immigration successfully prosecuted three people on July 13 for harbouring illegal persons under the Amended Immigration Act.

According to the department, three Haitians, who held legal work permits to live and work in The Bahamas, Estilus Tide, Robenson Guerrier and Sinfilien Remy were found guilty of the offences as charged. Their permits were set to expire on January 20, 2016.

The particulars are that following an illegal boat landing in Eleuthera on June 2, the three Haitians work permit holders hid 15 persons in their homes in Eleuthera in an attempt to avoid apprehension by law enforcement officers. As a result, they were arrested and later charged in the Magistrate’s Court for harbouring illegal persons.

On July 13, 2015 they pled guilty and were convicted as charged. Their work permits were ordered revoked and deportation recommended.

Minister for Immigration Frederick A. Mitchell welcomed the convictions but said that in the future, the department will be asking its prosecutors to seek terms of imprisonment and/or fines where people are convicted for these kinds of offences.

The department obtained such a term of imprisonment for a convicted smuggler in December of last year at Exuma.

Mr. Mitchell said, “It is important that a signal be sent out to the country at large and the smugglers in particular, that we are serious. I think that jail time is appropriate.”

The Department of Immigration wishes to advise citizens, permanent residence holders and work permit holders that the harbouring of illegal persons is a crime against the country and holders of permanent residents and work permits who are involved in this smuggling process will be subject to the same fate.

The department will remain vigilant in enforcing the country’s immigration laws and intends to prosecute persons to the fullest extent of the law who contravene the laws.

The department also wishes to inform the public that as of July 16, there are 338 migrants at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, 242 of which are Haitian nationals. That group is scheduled for repatriation to Port Au Prince, Haiti sometime next week.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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