GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos, CMC – Over 160 Haitians will be repatriated after their boat was intercepted off the coast of the British Overseas territory on Monday.
Turks and Caicos Minister for Border Control and Labor, R.D. Gardiner, said “The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands will not tolerate this illegal activity.”
“While we cannot stop boats from leaving other countries to come here, we can and will remain vigilant to that activity; and through our border control systems, we will monitor our shores to maintain the integrity of our boarders and our immigration laws and protect our national security,” he said in a statement.
Gardiner underscored that the sea voyage is very dangerous, especially with migrants crammed into rickety vessels.
“We will not tolerate any abuse of our security. We will detect your ship, your ship will be seized and destroyed and its captain prosecuted,we will detain anyone who try to come here illegally and they will be sent back home,” he added.
The issue of illegal immigration of Haitian migrants in the Turks and Caicos has been a major concern for the government.
During a visit to Haiti in February for the Inter-sessional meeting of heads of government from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM,, Turks and Caicos Premier Rufus Ewing raised the issue with Haitian government officials.
Last month, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visited the Turks and Caicos Islands for the first time, during which he met with Ewing and members of the Haitian community.