Police Chief Daniel Carbon disclosed that his officers have made several arrests of persons entering and leaving Dominica through illegal means.
His comments came at a press conference held to share concerns about the arrest of a number of Haitian nationals.
“On Monday, August 3rd 2020, the police conducted an operation in Jimmit resulting in the arrest of 37 Haitian nationals and 31 of those arrested were charged with having overstayed in Dominica. They have since been brought before the court where the charge was read to them,” Carbon said.
“Another operation on Friday, August 7, 2020, in the north of the island resulted in the arrest of 11 more Haitians. They are in police custody with suspicion of trying to leave the state illegally. Over the past few months, the police have arrested 22 individuals for illegal entry into Dominica and five vessels were intercepted,” Carbon reported.
The Police Chief stressed that while the Haitians are welcome into Dominica, they must follow and adhere to the laws of the land.
“Some of them are using Dominica as a transhipment point to travel to other countries through illegal means. I have warned against entering and leaving Dominica through illegal means. Some of our citizens are overseas and want to return home however, they must do so legally by coming in at a designated port of entry. The government of Dominica, the police and the Ministry of Health have worked very hard to make Dominica COVID-19 free,” Carbon pointed out.
He warned those who are bent on entering and leaving Dominica through unauthorized ports, to desist from this practice and help the police.
“We are prepared to reward people who assist us. Those caught will be dealt with forceful according to the law,” Carbon stated.
Meantime, National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said he is very upset with the illegal movement in and out of the country “through the back door” by nationals and Haitians.
He said Dominicans have a collective responsibility to do all in “our powers to stem this situation”.
“Those coming in illegally are coming from hotspots and therefore pose a very serious threat to all of us,” Blackmoore remarked. “These people are dangerous and wicked…if you know of anyone who came through the backdoor you have a moral responsibility to report them to the police and also those who are harbouring them. When someone comes through the back door you don’t know what they are carrying, it could be drugs or COVID-19.”
He said those coming through the backdoor pose the biggest threat.
“I have been given the assurance by the Chief that the coast guard will be more vigilant in patrolling our waters,” he stated.
The Minister also made it clear that any non-national who is found entering Dominica illegally will be sent “right back” to their country of origin.
“You will not be kept at the prison at the expense of the state. We shall not tolerate the blatant disregard for the rule of law,” Blackmoore insisted.
He also cautioned Dominicans who are also coming in through the backdoor stating, “it’s a war against all and the people have a right to retaliate.”
“We have done well but we need to be on guard; when you come in illegally you show total disregard for your loved ones,” the minister stated.
He reminded the public that those who transport and harbour someone coming in through the backdoor are also criminally responsibly.
“This virus has no face with its intention to kill; Work with the police,” Blackmoore urged.