A small sailboat loaded with Haitian migrants was captured in the waters of North Abaco attempting to make their way to Miami, Florida on January 7.
Police, assisted by fisheries officer Leon Pinder, brought the boat, which embarked on its journey from the Joe’s Creek area, with 20 Haitian nationals onboard to shore to be detained. Onboard were nine women and seven children.
According to Abaco Department of Immigration’s head officer, Agatha Joyce, only one of the migrants had a valid permit for The Bahamas; the rest were illegally in the country.
She said that one of the passengers told them that a boat leaves every week to take migrants to Florida. She said the captain told them that they were headed to West End, Grand Bahama where another captain would take the passengers to Miami.
It is suspected that some migrants living in Abaco are seeking to leave prior to the enforcement of the Immigration Department’s policies. Minister of Immigration and Foreign Affairs, Fred Mitchell brought into effect policies to curb persons illegally in the country from getting work permits beginning November 1, 2014, including operations to detain and deport persons here illegally.