Minister of Immigration Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams has announced some tough measures to address the continuing problem of illegal Haitian vessels coming to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Following the arrival of a sloop on August 10th and another on August 12, Hon. Williams said he firmly believes that the pressure must be intensified on those persons who are facilitating the human smuggling of Haitians and harboring them.
Hon. Williams stated; “A strong message has to be sent to the Haitians immigrants who are coming here and to those who are helping them to come here and stay here. The time will come to consider stopping the first-time work permits for Haitian nationals if this continues. In addition, I will meet with Immigration Enforcement officials and the top brass of the Police to formulate a strategy to find those illegal Haitians who were not apprehended and are still in our country. I think we all have a fairly good idea where these people are living. We simply cannot allow them to come here illegally, live here illegally and work here illegally. We have to find them and deal with them. Enough is enough!”
The Hon. Williams reminded the public is that it is an offence to harbour or assist illegal persons and that persons found guilty of harbouring are liable to a fine of US$20,000 or a term of imprisonment of four years, or both in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance 2018 which will be enforced.
The Immigration Minister added; “While I understand what’s going on in Haiti and what the Haitian people are experiencing there, we must protect the Turks and Caicos Islands for future generations. I am therefore advising all Haitian Nationals living in the TCI to discourage their families and friends from seeking to enter by illegal vessels. This process will not work for you. If this continues, you will never be able to work or live peacefully or to become legal. We will find you, deport you and place you on the Stop List, so you will never be able to enter the TCI ever again. We will no longer allow individuals who break the law to come into these islands to become legal residents.”
During the early morning of August 10th, 2019, an illegal vessel from Haiti landed within the Malcolm Beach Area of Providenciales.
Officers of Enforcement Unit “B” immediately responded to the scene and confirmed the landing. After a thorough search of the area, thirty seven (37) persons were apprehended inclusive of eleven (11) females. They were all escorted to the Detention Centre for processing.
On the morning of August 12th, 2019, a vessel transporting fifty three (53) persons; forty (40) males, twelve (12) females and one female minor, was intercepted by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Marine Branch, taken to South Dock, Providenciales and handed over to the Immigration Department Enforcement Unit.
The immigrants were also escorted to the Detention Centre for process and eventual repatriation.
Both vessels are approximately thirty (30) feet long and propelled by two outboard engines.
After these two operations, 119 persons were at the Detention Centre which has a maximum capacity of 165.
During the operations one person tried to escape the custody of Immigration and Police. He was captured by authorities.
The Enforcement agencies of the Turks and Caicos Islands continue to request the assistance of the public with information pertaining to planned and landed arrival of other illegal vessels, poachers and any suspicious movements of persons to contact the Police anonymously on 911 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1-800-8477.
The public is also requested to provide the Police with tips or any information related to this or any other illegal landing. Tips can be submitted anonymously in English, French or Spanish on either www.crimestoppers.tcor on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.