The Ministry of National Security and the Department of Immigration in St Kitts and Nevis have confirmed reports that Haitian migrants are in police custody after illegally entering St Kitts on Sunday (October 19) night.
First reports said the Haitians were dropped off near the St Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard Base by an unidentified vessel.
Chief of Immigration Merclyn Hughes in an interview with Freedom FM confirmed that police were called Sunday night when 15 Haitian immigrants turned up at a local hotel seeking to book rooms and that 11 males and 2 females reportedly arrived at the nearby Newtown Bay. Some of the immigrants had documentation.
According to the Immigration Chief the group is being held for safety and security purposes as their arrival was not an authorized entry.
“Immigration and police are in the process of sorting it out. We are just trying to assist them so we’re in the process of conducting interviews, but they are just being held for safekeeping. We know there’s a crisis in Haiti but we cannot say whether or not they fled from there so at this time we are just trying to ascertain what is the situation.”
It is not known if other Haitians may have landed Sunday but fled to other parts of Basseterre.
Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security in a Freedom FM interview said while St Kitts and Nevis does not have any specific policy with respect to Haitians, there is a process of dealing with any illegal immigrant regardless of nationality.
“We deal with them just like any other illegal immigrant landing in St Kitts and Nevis.”