Two Haitian female nationals were taken into custody on Tuesday, January 3 by police officers on routine patrol, after being discovered in the Williams Town area unable to provide documentation relative to their legal status in the country.
Grade One Immigration Officer Napthali Cooper confirmed that on Tuesday evening, while on routine patrol in the Williams Town area, officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force questioned two females relative to their status.
Cooper said that neither of the Haitian females were able to produce evidence as to their status and as a result were taken to Central Police Station to be held for Immigration checking.
“On Wednesday (December 4), immigration officers questioned the two females and it was discovered that both of them entered The Bahamas illegally by boat from Haiti some five months ago.
“One of the females is known to the Immigration Department as she was arrested in February 2016 and repatriated to Haiti soon thereafter,” Cooper disclosed.
He added that on Thursday, December 5 the two females were taken to court by the Immigration Department and were arraigned before Deputy Chief Magistrate Debbye Ferguson in Freeport Magistrate Court #1.
Cooper said the two were subsequently charged with Illegal Landing contrary to Section 19 (1) b & 2 of the Immigration Act Chapter 191 Statute Laws of The Bahamas Revised Edition 2000.
“The pair pled guilty as charged and were ordered to pay $300 or in default serve one year at The Bahamas Department of Corrections in New Providence. They were further ordered to be deported upon payment of the fines or completion of their custodial sentence. The pair was allotted 24 hours to pay the imposed fine,” Cooper revealed.
In mid-December the local Immigration Department apprehended two separate groups of Haitian nationals who were seeking refuge in apartments in the Freeport area.
On Friday, December 15 immigration officers apprehended 15 Haitians, during two separate investigations of apartments in the Freeport area within hours of each other.
Ten Haitians were reportedly hiding out in an abandoned building, inclusive of five males, four females and a child.
Seven hours later, again acting on information received relative to some undocumented Haitian nationals residing at an apartment on Settler’s Way, a team of immigration officers proceeded to investigate, and three Haitian males, one Haitian female and a child were discovered, who were all unable to produce proof of legal status in the country.
Assisting illegal persons in this manner is considered a criminal offence and punishable by law.
The Immigration Department issued a plea to persons who may know of such activities, to contact The Bahamas Immigration Department at hotlines 602-9761/2 or after 4:00 p.m. and on weekends 352-5454.
The Immigration Department is committed to ensure that all calls remain anonymous.
Published Friday, January 6, 2017