NASSAU — As Bahamians celebrated Independence Day yesterday, scores of undocumented Haitian migrants arrived on a dilapidated sloop off the southern coast of New Providence, and one woman drowned attempting to make it to shore, authorities reported.
Officials said they apprehended 50 men; three boys; 18 women and four girls. But it was unclear whether all the migrants who came in on the sloop were captured.
Law enforcement officials received reports of the sighting of the 45-foot wooden sloop in the Hanna Road area south, around 7 a.m., according to Director of Immigration Jack Thompson.
He reported that 50 migrants attempting to make their way to land were apprehended on the shore. Officers’ attempts to resuscitate one female migrant failed and she died at the scene, according to Thompson.
The woman, believed to be in her 20s, had attempted to swim to shore, officers told reporters at the scene.
Three Haitian males were transported to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment due to excessive dehydration, Thompson said.
They were in critical condition at last reports.
An additional 15 migrants were apprehended in the area of the South Beach pool and a further 10 arrested on land.
The statement said investigations revealed the migrants left Jean Rabel, Haiti, on July 3 for an eight-day journey.
One of the illegal migrants, who gave his name as Smith Blanc, said, “We try to look for work and for [a] civilized [way of life] because there isn’t any work in Haiti; Haiti is hard living.
“We’re fisherman looking for a better way of life.”
That same migrant escaped custody for a brief time after reportedly climbing out of the window of the bus he was detained in. He was caught a short time later.
Defence Force Commander Nedley Martinborough said the migrants were captured in the Sea Breeze and South Beach areas. (Nassau Guardian)