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22 illegal immigrants sent home; 5 still in BVI

Geraldine Ritter-Freeman

Of the 27 illegal immigrants detained last month, 22 have been repatriated from the British Virgin Islands (BVI), according to Acting Chief Immigration Officer Geraldine Ritter-Freeman.

A total of 27 illegal immigrants including a suspected captain, six women, and five children were identified and held in custody by local law enforcement officials around April 10.

Twenty-two of the said immigrants were repatriated from the Territory on or around April 20 to their respective places of origin, the Government Information Service said in a press release this afternoon, May 2.

It further explained that one of the immigrants is in the process of being repatriated.

Three of them are still in the Territory assisting with the ongoing criminal investigation.

The other illegal immigrant, Luc Eloi, has been charged. He was remanded when he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on charges of smuggling immigrants, possession of proceeds of criminal conduct, and illegal entry. The prosecution alleged that the accused Haitian collected some $1,400 to smuggle the immigrants from St Maarten to Virgin Gorda in the BVI.

From five countries – mainly Haiti

The group of immigrants detained held identification from five different countries including Haiti, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, and India. Twenty-two of them hailed from Haiti.

Ritter-Freeman said she is completely satisfied with the collaboration among the respective responding Government agencies and the private sector to ensure the immigrants were detained, processed, housed, and eventually repatriated in a timely manner.

“With continued collaboration, it is also envisaged that the respective charges will be made and the relevant persons will be prosecuted,” added Ritter-Freeman.

She further stated that it is the mandate of the Immigration Department to ensure the overall safety and well-being of the immigrants, and the security of the Territory is achieved.

“While in custody, medical assessments were afforded to all of the immigrants, with some receiving further medical attention. However, the majority of those detained and repatriated were deemed to be in good health,” she noted.

Luc Eloi outside the court

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