Ricardo Donhue Gardiner Minister of Immigration and border control in the Turks and Caicos (TCI) met the new Consul of Haiti Dr. Wencesclass Lambert to express him his concern about the increasing number of boat carrying illegal migrants from Haiti and try to stem together with the Haitian government the flow of illegal migrants to the TCI.
The Minister declared “The issue of illegal migrants to our Turks and Caicos Islands is an ongoing security concern that requires vigilance and effective policies to deter those who would transport and smuggle illegal migrants into Turks and Caicos Islands. We are taking measures to enhance our border security and I continue to work with the Haitian Consulate here as well as the Haitian Government to address this issue.”
The Minister Gardiner warned in a note, those who would be inclined to accommodate illegal migrants and recalled that “[…] the penalties for harboring illegal migrants have been increased effective April 01, 2016. If you are caught providing assistance or shelter to an illegal migrant, you are subject to a fine of $20,000 on summary conviction or to a term of imprisonment of four years, or to both, as well as the possibility of revoking your status in Turks and Caicos Islands.”
In addition, he said that in the coming months, his department will implement additional security measures to further improve the protection and integrity of the borders of the Turks and Caicos.
Dr. Wencesclass Lambert declared “[…] most of the people here left Haiti because of economic reasons but there are some people in the TCI who left Haiti because of political reasons and if they are here for political reasons they can go and apply for political asylum […] A lot of people are using these people taking money from them and make them pay and believe that because here is such a beautiful place they make them believe they are going to have jobs. A lot of the people who come here is like an investment. They pay for the boat and they pay these people because they think that they are going to get jobs […]”
The Consul Lambert said he planned to hire a lawyer to ensure that when these people have problems they can be helped and not exploited stressing that there are Haitians who pay between 3,000 and 5,000 US dollars for come in Turks and Caicos (illegally)…