Boatloads of Grief: People Smuggling in The Bahamas

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The 'Glory Time' submerged in waters off Fox Town, Abaco
photo: The Nassau Guardian

At least eleven more Haitians died trying to get to the United States from The Bahamas last weekend.

The Haitians were part of a larger group who had allegedly each paid a Bahamian $5,000 to smuggle them to the land of milk and honey.

But the Bahamian boat captain, motivated by money, grossly overloaded the boat, which capsized and at least 11 people, including children, drowned.

BASRA Operations manager Chris Lloyd said “pure greed” led to the deaths of the Haitians in waters off Abaco Sunday night.

Are you concerned about people smuggling in The Bahamas?  Let us know what you think in the commments.

“The captain’s greed caused him to overload a boat designed to hold eight people with more than 25. It was incrediby overloaded,” Lloyd told a local newspaper.

Essentially, it was a case of mass homicide by Bahamians.

The boat captain is just one of a number of Bahamians who have been involved in this illegal activity for years.

Nobody, for even a minute, thinks the Bahamas government is involved in people smuggling. But some believe there is the possibility that certain government officials may be involved.

People have hinted that employees at the Ministry of Immigration, Defence Force officers, policemen and politicians may be part of this scheme.

U.S. officials have allegedly gone so far as to identify certain prominent members of Bahamian society as being involved in people smuggling, but the Americans are apparently unable to prosecute because the individuals involved are being protected here in The Bahamas.

Every time an incident like this occurs there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but little is actually done to stop the illegal activity.

There were survivors of this most recent incident in Abaco. Survivors who may be able to identify the Bahamians who helped facilitate the smuggling operation.

Not too long ago, we winessed hundreds of Bahamians verbally attack a novice reporter by the name of Nellie Day for something as minor as saying that some Bahamians live in straw huts.  What a silly thing to say, and an even sillier reason to get enraged.  Where is the outrage over this recent atrocity involving the deaths of these Haitians?

Is it because Bahamian egos were not bruised over this recent incident?  Is it because the death of these Haitains doesn’t negatively affect tourism?  Is it because they were “just” Haitians?  What possible reason could there be for the lack of national outrage over such a horrific incident?

Are you outraged?  What are your feelings?  Let us know in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Boatloads of Grief: People Smuggling in The Bahamas

  1. The boat was registered to a Bahamian. Why wasn’t the boat owner named in police reports? It would certainly appear that officials in The Bahamas are protecting this person, who allegedly has been involved in numeorus other illegal smuggling operations.

    1. In a civilized country the boat owner would be the first person questioned in a situation like this. Quite obvious they a covering up something!
      To me the boat owner should be arrested and charged with murder. It saddens my heart to see this happen to people who are only trying to better themselves.

      1. Why keep blaming our government for something beyond their control? I imagine there has been no cover up and it’s simply a case of not being able to locate the boat captain who may be in Haiti or anywhere by now.

  2. I am thoroughly outraged! I too wonder why there has not been more comments on this matter on social media networks such as Facebook. Don’t people care.

  3. The problem of illegal immigration and human smuggling lies squarly on the shoulders of the Bahamian government. Everyone knows that there are communites of illegals in the Abacos and other islands, yet Gov Bahamas refuses to round them up and send them back to Haiti. Gov Bahamas is just as responsible for illegal trafficing as the captain who overloads his boat.

    1. Government cannot even run this country whether it be PLP or FNM, to me both parties remind me of ticks (blood sucking animals). They want power to rape and pillage.

  4. This boat owner should rot in jail for these deaths and must be made accountable. Yes, why do we not have a name in the news when everyone knows who the boat owner is? These people are human beings looking for a better life.

  5. The simple fact is Haitians are also children of God, and it happens to be that they were born in a troubled country. I know for a fact that most Bahamians feel as though they are better than Haitians but they are not. We are all children of the King, and as Jesus said the least that you do unto your brothers and sisters in need you do unto him. God is neither sleeping nor is he dead, and to treat these poor people as though they are nothing is a sin. And for those who have children, you never know what part of the world that your children may go, and you don’t know what may happen to them, and when you be good to God’s people in need someone will also be good to your children. I can truly say that one good thing my parents taught my sister and me was to never, ever be mean to the Haitians that came across our paths in Nassau. And I have done the same with my children.

    1. JJ Sherman, Most Bahamians are not Christians, they go to church on a Sunday and pretend to be, but watching the way they treat other people and animals makes me sick.

    2. Jack, Blogger, I have to agree with you all. We are a nation of Sunday Christians! Monday thru Saturday we are a people who kill rob steal. It is pure hypocrisy!!!!!

    3. I agree we should treat one another as equals. However, if it took me many years of marriage along with 3 kids before I was given full status to live and work here like a citizen. why should we condone breaking the law? The sad part is the huge sums of money these people spent knowing the risks involved. Any rational person seeing that number of people getting on board such a small vessel would have asked for their money back or reported them to the appropriate authorities. The captain should be held accountable but he didn’t force the victims to make the trip. It’s manslaughter with depraved indifference in my opinion, since several children were victims and obviously were not wearing life jackets.

      1. That’s a really good point. No matter how desperate I was to get anywhere, the minute I saw 25 people loading onto a boat for 8, I’d get the heck off the boat. Plus, maybe I am a wimp, but I always insist on wearing, or at least having access to, a life jacket, even when I am just in the harbour with friends.

  6. Human smuggling is no new phenomenon in The Bahamas. The fact that 11 persons lost their lives is tragic; however, life is made of choices. We all are the masters of our fate. What saddens me most about this particular episode is that these immigrants are willing to break the laws of any sovereign nation to invade its shores, set up shanty towns and demand recognition and respect from the government. They are economic and not political refugees.

    While Bahamians may be saddled with the label of being “greedy” in overcrowding the boat, these immigrants have created a demand for illegal smuggling and are willing to continue to risk their lives and pay exorbitant fees to ‘make it’ to the United States. Fact is, if those persons allegedly spent as much $5,000 to participate in this illegal activity, just imagine how much more they would have been able to accomplish if they sought to stay at home or live legally in this country (for some) and pool their resources to seek to improve their quality of life in the communities in which they live.

    These immigrants must ‘own’ their part in this tragic event. They sought to participate in an illegal activity which ended tragically. I suggest that leaders in the Creole communities should spend time educating their people about building local cooperatives and coming up with strategies to improve their own quality of lives beginning in the country of their origin. For those who have already migrated to this country, their leaders should do the same and begin to speak to their children from the primary school level.

    As for Bahamians who subscribe to conducting illegal business, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when caught.

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