Haiti – Turks and Caicos : 380 Haitian boat-people intercepted off West Harbor Bluff
On April 14, the Turks and Caicos Islands Coastal Radar Station (TCI) detected two overloaded boats at 5:20 a.m. and 7:13 a.m. off West Harbor Bluff (southwest of Providenciales), which enabled rapid intervention by the Royal Turk and Caicos islands police to intercept these two boats and avoid another drama of the sea.
The first 13m boat held 176 people of Haitian origin (132 men and 44 women), while the second boat, also 13m feet long, accommodated 204 people of Haitian origin (152 men and 52 women).
The two boats were towed to the port of South Dock, in Providenciales, where the 380 migrants fleeing Haiti’s insecurity and misery for a better life, according to passenger testimony, were greeted by police, staff from the Ministry of Health, customs and immigration officers before their repatriation to Haiti which was due to begin shortly depending on immigration.
Later in the day, Arlington Musgrove, the Minister of Immigration of ICT issued a message to the Haitian people “There are many reasons why migrants attempt such dangerous voyages at sea, but none of them they are not worth the risk of losing their life […] please do not waste your money trying to enter our islands illegally. You will be repatriated,” reminding that the borders of the Turks and Caicos Islands are closed to illegal migration and monitored 24 hours a day.
In a police press release, Commissioner Trevor Botting praised the professional work of his maritime team, who successfully and safely intercepted the two boats and brought the people to safety adding “These are difficult operations in a dangerous environment, and whatever the reason these people are on these boats, their safety is our priority […]”
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