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Haitian criminals land in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | March 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding and Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writers

Jamaican authorities have identified three of the 62 Haitians who reached local shores on Monday as prisoners who escaped when the National Penitentiary in which they were incarcerated collapsed on January 12.

A government source told The Gleaner that the identity of the three were uncovered while they were being processed yesterday.

An official told The Gleaner that the men would be taken into custody until arrangements were completed for them to return to Haiti.

It was estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 prisoners were among the millions of earthquake victims in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January, and only 200 had been recaptured more than a month later.

Harassed and raped

Reports out of the devastated state revealed that vulnerable Haitian women and girls who survived the devastating earthquake were being harassed and raped in the makeshift camps that have sprung up all over the capital of Port-au-Prince - possibly by some of the prisoners who escaped the National Penitentiary after it collapsed.

The 68 Haitians, including six children, landed in two groups in Portland, after battling five days of rugged conditions on the sea.

The first batch of 35 Haitians reportedly landed in front of the Manchioneal Police Station before dawn Monday.

The second group, comprising 27 Haitians, landed later that morning at Winnifred Beach in Fairy Hill, Portland.

Extreme exhaustion

In the meantime, two other Haitians, including a baby, have been admitted to the Port Antonio Hospital suffering from extreme exhaustion, dehydration, fever and gastro-enteritis, while another was treated and released Tuesday night.

The three were transported to hospital after showing symptoms of fatigue following their arrival by boat on Tuesday.

"A 20-year-old male is admitted with symptoms of high fever," explained Information Minister Daryl Vaz.

"The other is a a baby, who is believed to be about a year and a half old. The infant has been diagnosed with gastro-enteritis and dehydration. Health officials are working feverishly to have them stabilised," added Vaz, who toured the Port Antonio Seventh-day Adventist Church which temporarily houses the Haitians.

"I must commend the Seventh-day Adventists for allowing us use of this facility to house the Haitians," said Vaz.