10/30/13 - Bahamas Tribune - 40 Cubans Held Off Cay Sal
By SANCHESKA BROWN
#Tribune Staff Reporter
#FORTY Cuban immigrants, who had evaded capture for four days, were
arrested off Cay Sal on Monday for entering the country illegally.
#According to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the migrants,
39 adults and one child, were on board a vessel travelling north bound from
#La Isabella area of Cuba on October 24.
#"The go-fast vessel was observed reportedly off loading these suspected
Cuban migrants onto a deserted cay near Cay Sal," the release said.
#"The report is that the go-fast vessel was subsequently stopped in
international waters. Two smugglers were reportedly found on board the
vessel and detained. The migrants, however, evaded capture until October
28. It is expected that the transfer of the migrants from the southern
Bahamas and delivery into the custody of Bahamian immigration authorities
in New Providence for further processing and repatriation will be completed
#Last week the government and Cuba signed a new agreement expected to
expedite the repatriations of illegal Cuban migrants.
#The agreement came after officials noticed increased levels of Cubans
migrating to the Bahamas presumably hoping to receive asylum from a third
#During a news conference in the Majority Room at the House of Assembly,
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said bureaucracy
issues between both countries have long bogged down the process, but
through this new agreement, this should all be a thing of the past.
#"The central objective of this agreement is to reduce the time of regular
Cuban immigrants arriving to The Bahamas. Through strengthening the
communication between both our countries, our maritime interdiction
entities and placing concrete time bound commitments in both countries, we
expect to reduce the current repatriation time for regular Cuban migrants
from the current situation where migrants might remain in the detention
centre for months to repatriation in several weeks at most," he said.
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