Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Four children among suspected Haitian migrants placed in state care

Published:Wednesday | October 16, 2019 | 1:54 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

Four children who were removed from a vessel transporting what is believed to be illegal migrants are now in state care, pending further investigations by local authorities.

The Gleaner understands that the boat, which is believed to have been coming from Haiti, was seized by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard some time yesterday morning.

Rochelle Dixon, public relations and communications manager of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, said the children were medically examined.

“We got a call from local immigration that a boat was [taken in] by the JDF in the Port Royal area,” Dixon told The Gleaner. “The children were taken to the hospital for examination. They were checked, then remanded, and will remain in state care until the police complete their investigation.”

Sources close to the investigation told our news team that some of the adults on the vessel appeared dehydrated.

They were also taken for processing.

Our news team contacted the JDF Coast Guard yesterday, but up to press time, no information was forthcoming.

The Gleaner could not ascertain how many adults were aboard the vessel or what became of them upon being taken ashore.

Meanwhile, there has been turmoil in Haiti as protesters have now reached a sixth week in their ongoing protest against the Government headed by Jovenel Moïse.

Yesterday, the Haitian president reiterated that he will not be stepping down.

A deepening fuel crisis in mid-September, as well spiralling inflation, lack of safe drinking water, environmental degradation, and food scarcity, has caused Haitians to block roads and highways, set fires, attack property, and loot businesses.

There have also been reports of people fleeing the country.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com