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Over the holiday period 275 irregular migrants were intercepted on three vessels
The Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands Nigel Dakin has weighed in on the ongoing situation regarding the landing of illegal migrants.
In an Instagram post, he said the beauty of the Turks and Caicos stems from the extraordinary environment and the challenge faced also stems from its geography.
The Governor noted the Turks and Caicos Islands are 100 nautical miles from Haiti.
He said Haiti bears down on TCI but not deliberately, as the Haitian people have no ill will towards the people of the TCI. However, he lamented they are 11 million and the TCI is 50,000: ‘220 times our size.’
A post shared by Governor Turks and Caicos. (@governortci)
The Governor of the TCI said from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day we intercepted 275 irregular migrants on three vessels.
“This is, pro-rata, the equivalent of 360,000 crossing the English Chanel, or 1.6 million attempting to cross the US’s southern border, over nine days. If we had missed those three vessels our population would have grown, in just nine days, by 0.55 per cent.”
The Governor went on to state that while the TCI has become good in interceptions at sea, the smugglers come at night and forces the Maritime Police into dangerous reefs in the pitch black.
“We don’t know how many lives are lost in the crossings, but once in our waters we have a strong record, to date, in terms of safely taking these overloaded boats under control.”
He said some of these large vessels and fast boats get past their defenses, and they come at the TCI not just from Haiti. “They bring drugs, criminals and military grade weapons onto these Islands as well as small numbers of people smuggled for significant profit.”
The Governor said with elongated maritime borders (through being an archipelago) the TCI’s resources are stretched because a small island state, in the end, will only have so much capacity or capability it can deploy when faced by a population 220 times its size.
He believes the answer is to go after the networks that profit from this transnational trade as well as the vessels.
“These small Islands cannot do that alone, but colleagues from the US’s “HSI” were with us over the break, and colleagues from the UK’s National Crime Agency are helping us develop a wider intelligence operation that will allow TCI to go after the networks.”
The Governor ended by saying the heroes of the last nine days have been a small group – small enough to name – from TCI’s Maritime Police, Immigration and Customs who gave up nine days of time with their families to do this work
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