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More migrants apprehended

A Haitian sloop was intercepted off Inagua on Saturday with 87 Haitian nationals onboard — 72 men, 11 women and three children — officials said.

The sloop originated from Île de la Tortue, Haiti, and was apprehended approximately 30 miles southwest of Great Inagua.

Yesterday morning, another vessel — a 36-foot Sun Dancer Cabin Cruiser — was spotted near Montagu Beach, New Providence, around 5 a.m.

Onboard were 14 undocumented migrants, including nine Ecuadorians, a Colombian, a Dominican, one Jamaican and an American, all of whom were handed over to immigration officials.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel, who spoke ahead of these incidents, said the RBDF is refining its plans for the next five years, which include further developing its bases across the archipelago, thus expanding its presence.

He said the defense force is also in the process of developing a base in Ragged Island, pointing out that Gun Point, the southern most tip of the island, is particularly vulnerable.

He said increased presence must be sustained, but noted that as the defense force changes its strategies and outpost locations, criminal enterprises adapt.

“The main thing we want to realize that we are doing right now is decentralizing our operations, continue to invest in human capital and also prepare ourselves to mobilize to help regional countries within our given capacity,” Bethel said.

He added that the RBDF has been exploring acquiring new technology, and foreshadowed that the defense force’s budget may have to be increased to accommodate what he called an “unfolding plan”.

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