TCI works with Haiti to prevent illegal migration

Governor Ric Todd has held talks with the TCI-based Haitian Consul General, Karlo Pellissier and a statement issued afterwards noted that the meeting was called to discuss how the two countries “can better work together to tackle the issue of sloops” leaving Haiti for the TCI.

It said the meeting, which was also attended by Immigration Minister Don-Hue Gardiner, agreed that Haiti would send an expert delegation for talks with TCI officials on deterring illegal immigration and prosecuting the traffickers.

The meeting also agreed that the Governor’s Office will explore the possibility of having a British Royal Navy warship stationed in the Caribbean “to provide hurricane relief and to interdict drugs and people trafficking, contribute more to maritime patrolling between TCI and Haiti”.

In addition, the parties agreed that both countries “would stress in public information campaigns that any illegal immigrants making such a journey are taking a serious risk of death; they will almost certainly be caught and deported; and if they do get into TCI they will not find work”.

Todd is quoted in the statement as saying that he had visited the TCI immigration detention centre in Five Cays, where an estimated 300 illegal immigrants from Haiti had been processed and repatriated over the last two weeks.

“Preventing illegal immigration is everyone’s business. While positive steps have been taken, such as the new coastal radar stations, clearly too many people are trying to make the dangerous 90-mile sea journey to TCI.

“While it is true that many of them have been lied to about the possibilities of finding work and a new life here, indeed many think that they are being taken to Miami,” said Todd, adding “we must also face up to the fact that some people in TCI are prepared to employ illegal immigrants”.

He said, when an illegal person is employed, “it denies a legal resident the chance of a job and deprives the government of work permit income”.

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