Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
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Illegal trafficking can be stopped

Dear Editor,

In February 2019, a boat left Haiti with reportedly 97 persons on board. The boat reported capsized and sunk in Bahamian waters in the Abacos.

The media published the reports and told us that law enforcement in The Bahamas would be investigating this major incident. We have heard no more of the incident and the result of the investigation.

In a letter to the press, dated February 6, 2019, I had suggested that an investigation would likely expose a human trafficking group that exist in New Providence and Haiti. At the time of my letter I expected that the following action would have been taken by our law enforcement agencies to acquire the evidence that would expose the persons involved.

My recommendations included:

(a) Search of the boat by RBDF divers for evidence of the name of the vessel and any documents on board that may identify the owner- of the ship, the captain and crew, and the list of passengers.

(b) The media disclosed that there were 18 survivors who were to be cleverly interrogated to acquire information, on the identity of the captain and crew (could they have been among the survivors), the cost of the trip, to whom the money was paid, in Haiti or in New Providence.

(c) The media disclosed that there were 21 persons, who identified dead bodies from this disaster. It was expected that the 21 persons would have been interrogated regarding their knowledge of the deceased making the trip to The Bahamas and their invol-vement in the financial or other arrangements. Their failure to cooperate with law enforcement would have caused Bahamas Immigration to reconsider their status here.

As expected, nothing has been heard from the government of Haiti and its consular representative here. One would have thought that a disaster in which so many persons must have died would initiate some law enforcement attention from in that country, which could have resulted in the exposure of the traffickers, their arrests and prosecution. There have been no comments from the Haitian consul, whose nationals have died under circumstances that may have been through gross negligence by those involved.

It is my information that the boat left from an island off Haiti named Ia Tortue, which is familiar to Haitian Iaw enforcement.

I have worked with the latter in Haiti and found their police to be disciplined, efficient, effective and, most importantly, commanding an intelligence unit that is aware and up-to-date.

In a dictatorship the police is expected to be alert and well informed. It is my opinion, that the government could stop the illegal trafficking promptly.

– Paul Thompson Sr.

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