By the Caribbean Journal staff
Turks and Caicos has intercepted a sloop carrying 114 migrants from Haiti, officials said on Monday.
The sloop was carrying 94 men and 20 women from Haiti, according to the Governor’s office.
“It is very sad that illegal immigrants are still putting themselves in peril to try and reach the shores of the Turks and Caicos Islands in this way,” Turks and Caicos Islands Governor Peter Beckingham said in a statement.
The sloop was intercepted by the Marine Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
Beckingham said the migrants would be processed by immigration officials at a local detention centre and “returned to Haiti at the earliest opportunity.”
“On behalf of the people of the TCI I once again take this opportunity to encourage the Haitian authorities to do all that they can to stop this dangerous and illegal trade,” Beckingham said. “It is exacting too high a price in Haitian lives and TCI public spending.”
Migration from Haiti has continued to be a major source of dispute between the two neighbouring countries.
“We are in touch with the Haitian authorities about reaching an agreement to a memorandum of understanding, which I hope we can finalize with them soon and which may help to prevent more such incidents,” the Governor said. “Indeed I understand a senior FCO official hopes to visit Haiti soon, when there will be an opportunity to underline our concerns about illegal immigration.”
The two sides held high-level talks on the issue at the end of January.