Update: Sunday, August 12th – 9pm
At 9pm, on Sunday evening, August 12th, 2018, a total of 58 illegal migrants, including men, women and children, had been taken into custody from the illegal vessel landing which took place in South Eleuthera, near the areas of Bannerman Town, John Millars and Wemyss Bight, during the very early morning hours on Sunday, according to authorities.
About 16 local officers from Bahamas Immigration and Royal Bahamas Police Force initiated the search for illegal migrants soon after information was received from alert residents in the community of Wemyss Bight. The local team was also joined for the first-time-ever by the Immigration Department’s Rapid Response Team out of New Providence, equipped with tracking K9 dog, “Kane”, as well as Defence Force Personnel, and members of the Immigration Enforcement Unit – approximately 13 officers – bringing the team of officers involved in the search on the ground on Sunday to just under 30 people.
The illegal migrants taken into custody were being housed in Rock Sound, where they were being attended to by a local medical team, and further processed by Immigration personnel, ahead of their magistrate’s court appearance, expected to take place on Tuesday, August 14th, before being directly repatriated.
According to reports, on Sunday, August 12th, 2018, sometime around 3am, officers at the Rock Sound Police Station while conducting routine mobile patrols of their district, were alerted by concerned citizens from Weymss Bight of strange people seen in their community.
As a result, officers stopped and questioned three men walking near that area who could not give a satisfactory reason for being there. Their clothing were wet and they were carrying luggage. Acting on experience, the officers took the men into custody suspecting that they were in breach of the immigration act, and had illegally landed in the Bahamas.
The Officer in Charge of the Eleuthera District, Chief Superintendent Stephen Adderley was updated on the arrests. Suspecting these were three of many who had landed, he immediately dispatched Police officers from all areas of the island to assist Mrs. Shema Darling, Chief Immigration Officer for Eleuthera and her team, who quickly descended on the Southern District of the island. By 4:30pm later on Sunday afternoon, 50 illegal migrants, predominantly of Haitian nationality had been arrested and detained.
Searches in the South Eleuthera area continued late into the evening on Sunday, as law enforcement officers from both Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Police Force continued their efforts.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force, Eleuthera Division asks the public to contact their local police stations or 911/ 919 with any additional information as investigations continue.