Tue | Jun 15, 2021

Haitians were not fleeing homeland, says cop

Published:Friday | November 29, 2019 | 12:14 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

Port Antonio, Portland:

Claiming that their vessel developed mechanical problems, resulting in them drifting for days at sea into Jamaican waters, four Haitian men who landed in St Margaret’s Bay, Portland, on Wednesday are being housed at an undisclosed location.

The men, who were picked up near a fishing beach in St Margaret’s Bay shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday by a team from the Marine Police, reportedly told the lawmen that they had been at sea for 16 days after drifting from Jérémie in Haiti.

“They were not fleeing their homeland,” said Assistant Superintendent of Police Thoryville Haughton.

“They were processed by the Ministry of Health, and they are now staying at a location, which I will not disclose. ... They appear to be in good health,” he added.

Chief public health inspector for Portland, Lorenzo Hume, said the Haitians appeared to be severely dehydrated, weak, and hungry.

On Wednesday, residents alerted the police to the presence of the Haitians. News also emerged later that six other Haitians allegedly had come in on a sailboat and escaped before the lawmen arrived.

Haughton told The Gleaner that he was unable to confirm whether other Haitians have eluded them, finding their way into other communities under the protection and care of local residents.