Haitians on the run
BACK STREET, Portland – About a dozen Haitians were believed to be still on the run on Tuesday, after landing in Back Street, Portland, sometime between Sunday night and early Monday.
According to Jamaica Observer sources, residents alerted the police after they awoke to find a boat, backpacks, and items of clothing on the beach. The health department later burnt the boat, according to locals.
Police came up empty-handed after a search in the nearby areas of Long Road, Grange Hill, and Bar Hill. However, during a traffic stop in Hope Bay eight Haitians were accosted, including one who has reportedly been living in western Jamaica for the last 11 years. They were processed by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) at Port Antonio Health Centre.
According to Observer sources, one of the Haitians held is the boat’s captain, and he has been to Jamaica several times.
This is just the latest incident regarding Haitians landing illegally in Jamaica. In July, 37 of them landed on Portland’s popular Boston Beach; they have applied for asylum. Similar groups that arrived in September and October were immediately sent back, eliciting outrage from human rights groups which say this is a violation of Jamaica’s obligations under international law. The Jamaican Government has insisted that it has acted appropriately.
For years Haiti has been mired in intertwining economic, security and political crises.
The assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021 has dramatically worsened the situation, with gangs taking an increasingly strong hold.