Governor John Duncan has signed deportation orders for three natives of the Dominican Republic who entered the British Virgin Islands illegally, after leaving their homeland in search of a better life.
They were sentenced in February to each serve six months at Her Majesty’s Prison.
They are 37-year-old Rosa Anita Coporan-Jimenez, 38-year-old Victor M. Perez De La Cruz, and 44-year-old Roberto Feliz Ubiera.
Governor Duncan, in deportation orders published in the Virgin Islands Gazette, cited his powers under the Immigration and Passport Ordinance.
He noted that he can deport any non-belonger who has committed an offence against the said Ordinance, or who has been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment of three months or more.
The offence of Illegal Entry is punishable with imprisonment of three months or more, Governor Duncan noted.
How they were held
Members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were on patrol earlier this year near the Police Marine Base when they observed a small vessel docked in the Road Reef area of Tortola.
They were alerted by ‘strange movements’ on the said vessel.
After police approached the vessel, they saw the offenders onboard and requested their identification.
The court heard that the Dominican Republic passports belonging to the three persons charged did not contain visas permitting them to enter the BVI.
During a police interview, the foreigners explained that they paid for a trip to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, but ended up in the British Virgin Islands after their boat developed ‘mechanical problems’.
They were subsequently charged.
When they were brought before the court in February, all three offenders told Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards that they had left their homeland to secure employment to help feed their families.
“I didn’t come here with any bad intention; I came here to look work,” said the Spanish-speaking Jimenez, who was assisted by an interpreter. She added: “My country is in a bad condition. There is no food for my children… Please forgive me for entering in that manner.”
Meanwhile, the other two offenders explained that the BVI was not their destination. They were actually trying to reach the neighbouring US Virgin Islands.
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