Inagua fishermen claim they were robbed at knifepoint by Haitians

When Lawrence Henfield, 49, an Inagua fisherman, woke up on Thursday morning, he expected to go on a routine fishing trip with his brother and friend.

Instead, shortly after 11 a.m., Henfield said they were held at knifepoint and robbed by 10 Haitian men.

Police on Inagua confirmed to The Nassau Guardian that a report has been filed in relation to the incident.

It is unclear whether anyone was arrested.

Henfield said the incident happened in waters off northern Inagua.

“We saw two individuals in the bay,” he said.

“We went to assist them. When we got to them, they told us that [their] boat was broken down and they told us that they had two females left by [their] boat. So, we took them to where their boat was broken down.”

According to Henfield, when he, his brother and his friend arrived at the boat, which was reportedly having engine failure, they realized that there were no women.

He said they were met by more men on the boat.

“We tried to assist them with trying to get their engine fixed,” Henfield said.

“When we found out we couldn’t get the engine working, we told them that we [had] to leave. So, we decided to tell them that [we were] going to take them where the rest of the Haitians [are] to the Matthew Town harbor. They agreed, so everybody [came] on the boat.”

After everyone got on the boat, they began to sail out to sea, according to Henfield.

He said things became surreal once they got out to sea.

“About three of them had backpacks on them,” Henfield said.

“They take out machetes, cutlasses. They take out knives. We don’t know no creole. So, they start swinging cutlass, knife, everything at us. We [were] in fear for our life.”

Henfield said he and the others started to fight back but it was “only three of us”.

“We just gave up,” he said.

“There was nothing we could do because one of them had a knife to my brother’s neck.”

Henfield said it was that fear that made them jump overboard.

He said when he looked back, he saw the men speeding away in his new boat.

Henfield said he and his companions swam for about two miles to get to land.

After they made it to land, he said, the group walked about four hours in an attempt to get to Matthew Town.

“We had some locals that also went out fishing; they rescued us,” Henfield said.

“That’s how we got back to town.”

Henfield said he, his brother and his friend are still in disbelief about the events that took place on Thursday morning.

“I’m shocked, traumatized and shaken,”  he said.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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