NASSAU – Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said yesterday that the 18 survivors of a Haitian sloop that ran aground in waters off Abaco will be repatriated.
During a funeral service for some of the recovered bodies on Sunday, there were claims that the Bahamian government would not repatriate the survivors because they had been through enough.
When asked about those claims, Henfield said, “They will be repatriated.”
The Department of Immigration also said that there will be no special treatment for the survivors.
“The department’s policy in reference to the handling of the illegal migrants remains the same. There has been no change in regard to this policy,” the department said.
There have been numerous calls for the captain of the boat to be charged, but a captain has yet to be identified.
Last week, Director of Immigration Clarence Russell said that the boat captain would be prosecuted “to the full extent of the law”.
Bishop Simeon Hall urged the Haitian community to assist in identifying such captains.
In a statement yesterday, he said, “We wish also to call on all persons in the Haitian community, especially church leaders, to release the names of the murderous pirates who engage in the nefarious voyage from Haiti to The Bahamas.”
The sloop carrying the Haitian migrants ran aground on Saturday, February 2nd, in waters off Man-O-War Cay, Abaco.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 83 Haitians, 76 men and seven women, were on board the sloop.
Thirty-one bodies were recovered, 22 of which were buried in the Southern Cemetery on Cowpen Road, on Sunday.
The other nine were buried in Abaco, as the condition of the bodies was too poor for them to be transported to New Providence.
Thirty-four people remain unaccounted for.
(The Nassau Guardian)