By Kadeem Joseph
Investigations are still underway into the disappearance of five Haitian nationals from the Immigration Department’s detention centre in Coolidge, and who have been unaccounted for since last week.
The department announced at the weekend that four men and a woman had arrived at the VC Bird International Airport from Santo Domingo last Friday and were attempting to continue onward to Montserrat.
However, they were detained by the department for not having the proper documentation to enter Antigua and Barbuda and were subsequently held pending their deportation back to Haiti.
Minister of Information Melford Nicholas explained to Observer yesterday that the Minister responsible for Immigration, EP Chet Greene, had indicated that there is currently an investigation underway “to make a determination as to what breaches actually took place and what further security enhancements will have to be put in place at the facility”.
Residents have been urged to be on the lookout for 21-year-old Sami Roodly Loisueau; 28-year-old Frannyel Manuel; 25-year-old Andrecin Pruneau; 28-year-old Angener Rinjour, and the lone female, 19-year-old Fabine Fleurant, whose photos have been released on Observer’s social media platforms and website.
Authorities in neighbouring islands have also been alerted to be on the lookout for the individuals who remain at large.
Minister Nicholas further explained that the facility which is located at the former United States Naval Base is shared with the Defence Force and “enhanced security” is expected to be at the location.
“So, what went wrong is a matter to be determined by the investigators, if they can actually come to that decision,” he added.
“But clearly, in those circumstances, it does not take a genius to determine that there has been a breach, and so whether or not any person(s) could be found culpable of facilitating that breach or whether or not it was a systematic breach, something will have to be done with the security arrangements at that detention facility going forward.”
The Department of Immigration has encouraged members of the public to be vigilant and report any sightings of the five wanted Haitians by calling 774-8289 or 464-3245.
Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration has also been investigating the disappearance of seven Indian nationals.
The group apparently arrived legally in the twin island nation on May 5 and were in transit to another Caribbean state and had reservations at a local hotel for their transit stayover, as well as tickets for the onward journey and finance to support their travels.
However, the department said that, for reasons that remain unclear, before their scheduled departure from Antigua and Barbuda, the travellers learned that they would be unable to make their onward journey and were advised to book return tickets to the country from which they had transited here.
They were due to leave the country on May 6 after spending a night at a local hotel, but the Department of Immigration discovered that the seven people were a no-show for their departure flight from Antigua.
The department has since issued alerts to the relevant authorities as Immigration officials continue to seek to ascertain their whereabouts.
By Kadeem Joseph