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TCI on Alert as riots rage in Haiti, two-year president asked to resign

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FILE PHOTO FROM PREVIOUS RIOT IN HAITI

#Haiti, February 12, 2019 – The situation in Haiti is once again volatile as a new round of riots, calling for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise has forced officials to cancel Haiti’s Carnival. 

The economic implications are forecast to be disastrous for Haitians who depend on the event, for Haiti’s tourism which is linked to the celebration and countries like The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos say they are paying attention and stand ready in the event of any exodus from the embattled republic. 

“It is a serious situation that we are watching pretty closely and actually have been watching it since November of last year where things have been heating up in calling for the resignation of the President. In addition, there are some concerns about the handling of aide that is coming into Haiti and that is an ongoing problem which has plagued from one government (of Haiti) to the next,” said Sean Astwood, Deputy Premier and Border Control Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands in a one on one with Magnetic Media on Monday.

Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, which involves the US Coast guard is designed to circumvent drug interdiction but that help stands ready. 

“That Operation is put on alert for this type of activity that any movement on the water, they pay attention to it and they have assisted us on a number of occasions in the past with being able to successfully turn around vessels headed to The Bahamas or to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

TCI DEPUTY PREMIER, HON SEAN ASTWOOD – MINISTER OF BORDER CONTROL

In 2018, nine vessels were turned back to Haiti by the US Coast Guard, in a single effort.  

DP Astwood said there is communication with the United Kingdom too; the UK is directly responsible for national security as the TCI is an overseas territory of Mother England.

“We have already engaged the UK on this.  My officers from the Task Force and Immigration are on high alert.  The Commission of Police and I are in discussions about this as well to ensure that we are taking all of the necessary precautions that we can.  Basically, we are bracing for any potential fall out that would impact us this way.”    

FILE PHOTO: HAITIAN SLOOP INTERCEPTION IN THE BAHAMAS

In recent days, since the cancellation of the Carnival festival in Haiti, there have been no ships landing or intercepted in Turks and Caicos waters.   

The Deputy Premier said still, everyone is on high alert as human smuggling attempts could gain traction as a result of the ongoing protests.

“In the past we have seen where, when you have this type of unrest the number of sloops will try to make it our way as people try to flee the chaos over there (in Haiti).  We are cognizant of the situation and are taking the necessary precautions to combat it and deal with it as best as possible.”

In nearby Bahamas, on Sunday, a somber mass funeral service was hosted by the Haitian League of Pastors and paid for by the Haitian Consulate in The Bahamas.  As many as 30 Haitians, who died in a boating tragedy in the Abaco Cays on February 3, were laid to rest.    

FUNERAL HELD SUNDAY FOR DROWN VICTIMS OF FEB 3, 2019 HAITIAN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Bahamas Immigration reported that a sailing yacht or catamaran had crashed into the coral reefs on and split in half. The impact of the vessel running aground reportedly flung those on board into the water, many of the men and women could not swim. 

Thirty-five bodies are believed to be unrecovered in the mishap and there were 18 survivors taken in by Bahamian authorities with the help of civilians and volunteer group, Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA).

As the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas work to solidify bi-laterally agreed upon ideas of greater amalgamation through a soon to come Memorandum of Understanding, the TCI’s Border Control Minister shared that the Turks and Caicos stands ready with Operation Guardian still activated.

“It has been the most efficient and longest sustained operation that yielded great results.  Last year we repatriated over 3,000 persons out of the country.  Now that is including from illegal sloops as well as on land, but Operation Guardian is responsible for more than fifty percent of that number…”

In Haiti, at least eight people are reported dead in this fifth day of violent protests. The Chamber of Commerce is calling on the President to end the demonstrations which have led to businesses being burned and ransacked. Business owners have expressed that ‘Operation Lock Down Haiti’ will only end when the President and Opposition forces engage in negotiations to pacify the thousands of Haitians demanding Moise’s resignation, a mere two years into his presidency.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment

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#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.

Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.

Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.

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Bahamas News

Statement From The Ministry  of Foreign Affairs – On Order  For All Bahamians  To Leave Haiti

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#TheBahamas, January 26, 2023 – The Prime Minister  has ordered an immediate involuntary  departure from Haiti  of all diplomatic  personnel or as soon as security conditions  permit.Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy  chose to stay.  Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions  permit.  This is only a temporary  measure in light of recent developments  which require a corporate  security and intelligence  assessment  and restaging.This morning  the Chargè  reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons. This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against  their own authorities.All of our diplomats are personally  safe.There also is a report  of 5 Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport who were unable to leave the environs of the airport.  They are all safe and well.  The security situation  appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance  of caution.The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes  necessary  to regroup.  The Security Forces  in our country have been alerted to these developments.  As soon as conditions  permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement.PLQ
Courtesy of BIS

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Bahamas News

Bahamas takes in 396 Haitian migrants; shocking interception

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

 

#TheBahamas, January 25, 2023 – In what is being described by Bahamian officials as one of the largest human smuggling incidents in the region, 394 Haitian migrants were intercepted by the United States Coast Guard near Cay Sal Island on Saturday, January 21.

According to immigration officials in The Bahamas, the migrants will be processed on the island of Inagua and later repatriated.

US Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll described the condition of the intercepted boat to the Associated Press on Monday. She said, “it was grossly overloaded and very much unsafe.”

The officials did not provide any further information on the matter.

The recent apprehension brings the total number of Haitian migrants intercepted in Bahamian waters since the start of the year to just over five hundred (500) persons.

Due to the worsening humanitarian, a surge in gang violence and deepening political instability in Haiti, thousands of Haitians are fleeing their country in search of a better life for themselves and family.

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