Accused human traffickers granted $70,000 bail

Four of the 62 Haitian boat people who arrived in Jamaica in March leave their boat along the island’s eastern coast in Manchioneal, Portland. The displaced Haitians, who fled their country in wake of the devastating January 12 earthquake, were processed by the police, immigration officers and health officials. *Photo credit: Llewellyn Wynter - www.jamaicaobserver.com

By Hermisha Rolle, Staff reporter

Two Portsmouth men are to face the consequences of their actions after they were caught illegally transporting 10 Haitian nationals in a boat out of Dominica.

Clive Joseph, of Picard and Francis George of Lagoon, both pleaded guilty to human trafficking before Magistrate Ossie Lewis Tuesday morning.

According to the facts of the case, Joseph and George were paid to assist the immigrants’ travel to Martinique.

According to the facts presented by Chief Prosecutor and Police Public Relations Officer Inspector Claude Weekes, on Thursday April 1, 2010 at about 5:30 p.m. members of the Dominica Coast Guard were on a routine sea patrol about six miles southwest of Scottshead, when they noticed a go-fast boat heading in the direction of Martinique. They chased the boat for 30 minutes and intercepted it.

The white and blue “Precious Sasha” vessel had 12 passengers which included the two defendants. According to the court, Joseph was the captain of the boat.

When confronted by the police as to his whereabouts at that time Joseph said, “All you know me. Some people I just trying to help. What they giving me is from hand to mouth and my child have to travel to Martinique for a medical.”

When asked whether he had checked with the Immigration Department prior to his departure Joseph told police, “No. Just make me go and check my ‘sine’ (local term).”

Along with the 10 Haitians, the defendants were escorted to the Coast Guard base in Fond Cole where they revealed that they had been paid $800 by a female passenger along with  other small amounts  of cash by the rest of the passengers for the trip.

According to Weekes, Joseph said that he did not check with the Customs Department since he felt that he was just helping some people and we are all legal in Dominica.

After further investigations, the police learned that the Haitians aboard the boat were living in Dominica from as far back as 2005 and as recently as March 2010.  They told police that they had paid Joseph to take them to Martinique.

Upon completion of investigations, Joseph was charged and under caution he said to police, “After I talk to you, you are throwing the book at me?” the boat in question is currently in custody, according to the court. The lawyer of the two men, Julien Prevost, said that George had no real part to play in the matter and was just a merely serving as a company to his friend Joseph.

The court learned that Joseph, who is employed as a fisherman embarked upon his mission following a request from a “prominent person” to make the trip.

Defense lawyer Julien Prevost said that the Haitian female who was aboard the boat was ill and seeking medical attention in Martinique.

He said that she has been in Dominica for five years and qualified for a Dominican passport but had not been granted one. According to him, she was constantly falling sick and had not received a cure here.

Prevost said that the trip was not one where his client gained a profit since there was very little monetary compensation for his services.

He said that his client had cooperated with police throughout the entire investigation and asked the magistrate to temper justice with mercy.

Both defendants were bailed for $70,000 each with one surety. They will appear for sentencing on Friday.

Magistrate Ossie Lewis said based on an undisclosed reason,  he was not willing to sentence the individuals today.

According to him, the maximum penalty for such offense is the fine of $100,000 or imprisonment of seven years or both.

*NOTE TO READERS: Due to an error in court Dominica News Online published that the defendants stated their destination was Guadeloupe, while the boat was intercepted in the direction of Martinique. However, Inspector Claude Weekes clarified that the destination was Martinique and not Guadeloupe.

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24 Comments

  1. haitianbabes
    April 9, 2010

    we so full of it DOMINICANS, prominent my foot, so the captain so foolish dat he taking chances for ppl, next thing we will heaar is dat all d time he going dere coast guard does let him pass, because mister doing dat every week, and d man so foolish dat he risking his life and going to jail so dat he can get $800,well we sot papa, or so he think, prominent eh, so if is a prominent dat ask him to help out d poor women, how comes is he they pay U.S.$400, to go maritinque, how comes, is not d prominent dat tell dem where to meet him for d pick up, zor sot papa,all d time he carrying dem, all of a sudden he come good samaritan, and if he so good, how comes if they doh have d money he not taking them, i glad for all you, keep blaming all kinds of ppl except who is to blame, lets look at it from an other angle, haitians want to go illegal, so why they not stealing a boat, why the captain doh say they kidnap him, or threaten his child, THE MAN HAVE NO REGARD FOR THE LAW, HE DOING IT BIG HIGH DAY, after all man look at dat noh, even if haitian so bad and they ask u to do a thing like dat, u should be the one to go to the police for dem not bringing dem, and when they catch dem and they say is dominca they come from we vex, who take dem out of dominica? if ppl doh take their $400,U.S, how they leaving dominica, and all u so bloody hypocrite, all u not talking about those that charging dem $3000.U.S to go st.thomas, but doh worry we good at blaming others, when god will start dealing with us for the things we do to dem we will say is haitians dat put evil in our country, in possie alone, they come big over night, leave their jobs and big man over night, after the take haitian money and make dem jump over board and drown, and they enjoying d money, but doh worry god not a police, he will fix dem up,……….and all dem haitians dat here and leaving illegal SEND DEM AT THEIR HOME, THEY DOH NEED DOMINICA, IS GO THEY WANT TO GO, SEND DEM HOME, THEY GIVING THE FEW GOOD ONES A BAD NAME, IS NOT ALL HAITIANS THAT BAD AND WANT TO LEAVE DOMINICA, SOME WANT TO STAY HERE AND WORK AND BE HONEST PEOPLE, BUT A FEW RATS TRYING TO MESS IT UP FOR THE REST, ARREST THEM AGAIN AND DEPORT THEM FROM DOMINICA.

  2. Anonymous
    April 9, 2010

    It is time to put a stop to the human trafficking in Dominica. This has been going on for too long and the government is encouraging the practice. There are top government officers involve in the practice … Where is the loyalty and integrity to your country? You all are just as rotten as the common criminal. Shame on you guys!

  3. April 8, 2010

    sOME PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE THEIR COFFEE EVERY MORNING, TO KEEP UP WITH THE REST OF THE DAY, BUT I HAVE TO HAVE MY DNO, THIS IS GOOD SOAP

  4. modern slavery
    April 8, 2010

    All in Dominica have heard one time or the other about some persons who are engaging in trafficking of human beings for the sole purpose of making plenty money That is an act of modern slavery which has been condemned by the whole world. It is a serious crime coated with the worst kind of inhumane behaviour.

    What a shame !!!!!! In the Nature Isle? Human trafficking? Modern Slavery practices in Dominica? A few ‘Big Guys in society making hugh sums of money and protected? It’ is not the first time. It’s the order of the day.

    HUMAN TRAFFICKING and the brand NATURE ISLE of Dominica Are Not Compatible. My people you just stand there, say nothing, allow all kinds of illegal, criminal activities to take hold of our country. ‘Land to all so sweet and fair’ that’s what we have learnt and still teach children to sing. Yet Dominicans have put up their country for sale. Who can buy our rivers and sunshine?

    In a society where anything goes, where the new thinking being inculcated is about greed, selfishness, secret dealings, making dollars through illegal engagements, expect to hear more. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, more Haitian nationals will be caught in the Human Trafficking Web in their attempt to flee their country because of the hardships.

    Dominica will become a home for many Haitians as well as a transit point. Once proper regulations are instituted and the necessary controls put in place the former should not be a problem. The disturbing thing for Dominica is transporting of other human beings illegally to the neighboring islands. Many Haitians have lost their lives, have been arrested, jailed, deported or dropped by traffickers in locations other than where they intended to go. The stories are very disturbing But Officially, the country will never know who are the ‘BIG GUYS’ involved in that criminal ring in Dominica. The people on the ground are true witnesses to those atrocities taking place in Dominica

    Too many examples of ‘BIG Guys’ involvement in questionable activities. Nothing will be done to the ‘Top Planers and Executors of such criminal acts’. The police are trying amidst difficulties. They put their lives and family at risk. However, the System tie their hands. Sometimes they allow their hands to be tied. But the police must be steadfast in those times of criminality. Do not matter what the social status, colour, creed, or race, of those committing crimes that will affect the population directly or indirectly, continue to hold the law of the land uppermost in your minds. You will surely be rewarded..

    Ask yourself whether Dominica has any capacity to deal with the influx of Haitians who will be coming. Illegal transportation of those people will increase. The immigration authorities will be swamped. Many irregularities will go on. Many will take advantage of the situation. The evil-minded in Dominica , “Top Guys” will amass millions. Business as usual because no political will to arrest the problem. Dominica in plenty trouble my people.

  5. child
    April 7, 2010

    if the traffickers get $800 and so per person ,i wonder how much the prominent businessman got (if he paid himself first ,he must have gotten a big portion)

  6. ManMan
    April 7, 2010

    Mr Prosecutor, check with the Customs Act, there are laws in there too for guys like these who leave without proper procedure. Throw the book at them man!

  7. April 7, 2010

    Not surprising some persons take pleasure in being ” Bush lawyers” as we refer to them in police parlance. With their agenda they will stop at nothing to lambast the police force. Please let it be clear we live in a domocratic country and evey one has the right to their opinion and that has to be respected no matter how foolish they may be. However it does not take a rocket scientist to deduse from those so call real Dominicans by the anger by which they hide behind the fact that no one knows who they are but that`s the furtherest from the truth we know who they are but what goes around comes around the police force is there to stay and that will be maintained regardless so for those alledged criminal or bordering criminials who have their axe to grind and have more issues to deal with in their life continue to spread your hate in hiding but like the saying goes every rope has its end therfore who the cap fit let them wear it” The police stand ready to serve and protect even those who rally against the police force. According to the saying. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. First educate your self on any subject do your research and do not depend on the news you may have read or hear from unreliable source for news can be spin to favour one party vs another. STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP acting smart and not being cleaver and making a fool of your self. And if you so sure of your self give your real name and defend your self in the open. We are waiting for you to come out of hiding and all will see you for who you really are.. Amen.

  8. minnie
    April 7, 2010

    hmmmm that had to hppen for the government to see light…….he givin haitians visa..hmm thats s*** me myelf not feelin sorry for haitians na ppl can say i have a hard heart buh is only GOD can judge me…sah sa a haitians lah fe sa sah to ka weh

  9. Cassandra
    April 7, 2010

    …Anyway, it would be a loss to our treasury if they were to leave legally, in which case the govt. would have to refund the U.S.$.400 cash our “brothers and sisters” pay immigration upon arrival in our country. This way the economy benefits twice, first the entry fee and then the black-market exit fee for transporting them to neighbouring territories. Nice business indeed.

  10. April 7, 2010

    A VERY PROMINENT PERSON INDEED, WE SHALL ALL KNOW IN DUE TIME MORE TO COME.
    HE IS VERY PROMINENT……….SHAME ON YOU GREEDY PEOPLE.

  11. By Proxy
    April 7, 2010

    “Defense lawyer Julien Prevost said that the Haitian female who was aboard the boat was ill and seeking medical attention in Guadeloupe.

    He said that she has been in Dominica for five years and qualified for a Dominican passport but had not been granted one. According to him, she was constantly falling sick and had not received a cure here.”

    Aa! Since when you getting D/ca passport just because you living here five years. And what is her qualification? I thought the passports were for citizens of Dominica or those who had $xxxxxxx US dollars to get one from Skerrit. What I hearing dere nah? I just hope it will have more passports for when I come to renew mine next year.

    I hope Skerrit putting measures in place to curb that trafficking – you see how de UK just put up restrictions on us and is already hell for D/cans to go just there to Guada!

  12. SOMETHING WRONG SOMEWHERE
    April 7, 2010

    “Prominent person”?????? WHO IS DAT???

  13. CHAMER
    April 7, 2010

    agree with doctor finger

  14. ???
    April 7, 2010

    Well Clive you must have been very broke for you to take that long journey for a little above $800.00, You all should stop lieing to our law officer, it is costing much more than 800 to go to martinique from posie with 10 passengers. and if she is going to doctor where are the other 9 people going. On a different note i think the six months training in morne bruce is not enough for our officers, they need more time to learn and study our laws they should have know they had to call Martinique coast guard to meet then in the water when they left our water. You officer just keep embarasing us in the courts loosing all DA cases due to careless mistakes.

  15. Fairplay
    April 7, 2010

    Haiti should not be in Caricom. Deport all Haitians!!!

    • jg
      February 14, 2013

      Oh my God even little dominica!

  16. LCM
    April 7, 2010

    On there way to guadloupe but caught southwest of scottshead. look Navigation.

    Hope the investigation continues to find the prominent person who is authorizing such activity

    • Stoopid....
      April 8, 2010

      I agree..mister had too much gas man..if he had gone the opposite dirrection not only would he have save time and gas..he would not have been caught!!!!! Mister didnt want to bring them people nowhere he go and look for them coastguard!!!!!!!!!! LMAO…

  17. mwe mem
    April 7, 2010

    It was time for police to start doing their work in possie, that trafficking thing happening every night, from picard and tan tan, in the belle hall area; those haitians coming her to get our passport to go adn do their business, if they doh get it they going back door, stop giving haitian VISA to come here, that si what will stop that shit, haitians doh come here to stay, we doh have cob

    • EH BEH WEH
      April 7, 2010

      lol @ mwe mem.. we doh have cob! but seriously dat haitian business of coming n going when they want hv to stop. we had a little pity on dem after the earthquake so they get visa for 6 months and they still dioe want to stay here.. is greener pastures they looking for is not anything about medical help in gwada.

      • The Day Has Come
        April 8, 2010

        that is true… that human trafficking of haitians as been going on long pants in possie… serious thing. The haitians have it seriously tough in haiti, give them bread in Dominica, they kicking us and trying to get steak. Isn’t Dominica wayyy better for them? Well they like misery. my my my. See how easy it is for them to get jobs and get a place to stay… cheap. They all over possie.

  18. Dr. Finger
    April 7, 2010

    What goes on in the court is in the interest of the public. The defendants have pleaded guilty as charged so why the statement, “The court learned that Joseph, who is employed as a fisherman embarked upon his mission following a request from a “prominent person” to make the trip.”

    Are you serious? Tell us who is the person and “if” its a public official then terminate his employment and bring him to the court for aiding and abeting in the commission of a crime. If we cant do that then lets stop implying that someone else of high social standing is involved. Just more food for Matt in the Morning.

    • freetalk
      April 7, 2010

      Could not have said it better. I like that.

    • NegGwaTanse
      April 7, 2010

      Oh please. Are you from Portsmouth? Everybody from Portsmouth knows who are the high society people who support and even participate in the drug trade and human trafficking. Yet it will remain a secret even in broad daylight on Matt in the Morning. … We worked there, live there and interact with them, the very same way we do with the human traffickers and drug dealers.

      Nothing can be done about that, this thing goes too high up in society. Don’t waste your time my brothers and sisters.

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