By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO dozen Haitian migrants were arraigned in Magistrate’s Court yesterday, charged with illegal landing.
According to court dockets, the group of nine women and 15 men were arrested during a joint law enforcement operation along the southern coast of New Providence on Tuesday morning.
Initial reports from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) indicated that 16 migrants were captured after their wooden sloop was discovered in waters off South Beach around 1am on January 1.
In subsequent searches of the Yamacraw Beach, Joe Farrington Road, Sea Breeze, Sir Lynden Pindling Estates, Pinewood Gardens, South Beach and Marshall Road communities, officers captured several more migrants, one of whom was a minor, all suspected of being passengers on the sloop.
In court yesterday, all 24 migrants pleaded guilty to the offence of illegal landing and were convicted by Magistrate Kara Deveaux-Turnquest and turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
This was the second group of Haitian migrants prosecuted for illegal landing in less than a week.
One hundred and sixteen Haitian migrants were arraigned in Magistrate’s Court on Monday, all charged with illegal landing.
The group was captured with several minors, bringing the total to 124.
According to the RBDF, over 400 Haitian migrants were captured in 2018.