Forty-two non-nationals are to be deported from Dominica on Tuesday, according to Police Chief, Daniel Carbon.
“First thing on Tuesday morning, they are going back from whence they came,” Carbon stated on the Anou Palay weekly programme of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Sunday. “It has gone through the court; it has gone through the high court – not the magistrate’s court – it has gone through the high court and the judge has put a ruling and all the 42 must go back to their country from whence they came.”
Carbon’s statement comes on the heels of an announcement made on Saturday by the Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore, that the Government had ordered the removal of 42 non-nationals from the country.
On Wednesday last week, the high court upheld an injunction filed by lawyers Wayne Norde, Gina Abraham-Thomas of Norde & Lambert Chambers, and Peter Alleyne of Alleyne Chambers and issued a temporary order preventing the repatriation of 49 Haitian nationals (38 in Roseau and 11 in Portsmouth) until further order of the court. The Haitians had been detained by police for overstaying and kept in police cells in Roseau, St. Joseph and Portsmouth.
At a previous court appearance, a magistrate ordered that the alleged offenders be isolated and the matter adjourned to November 17.
However, at a high court hearing on Friday, August 14, Justice Birnie Stephenson said she was disappointed that such a matter had not been dealt with urgently and ordered that some of the Haitians who had signed a consent order agreeing to be repatriated, be sent back.
She said that those who did not sign the consent order and who were not a party to the court proceedings were to remain on the island pending the hearing of the matter.
Attorney-at-Law Wayne Nordé represents the 38 Haitian nationals who were detained in Roseau. He told Dominica News Online that 24 of them consented to be repatriated.
He said the 14 who did not consent will appear in court at today where their application for Habeas Corpus (a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention), will be heard.
Regarding the 11 who were charged in Portsmouth, Nordé said that 9 pleaded guilty to the charges and the Court ordered their repatriation. The magistrate also issued a removal order for the two other Haitians but, according to Nordé, the defence argued that the individuals had already obtained an extension of their time and as a result, they were released.
The brother of one of the Haitians who gave their consent to be repatriated said that decision was taken due to the deplorable conditions in the cells.
“It is really bad. The people in the cells are treated worse than dogs. They are sleeping on the floor; only bread and juice they get to eat…,” he lamented.
Neither the National Security Minister nor the Chief of Police explained who comprise the 42 non-nationals they have said are to be deported.
In making the announcement on Saturday, Minister Blackmoore stated that the government’s decision should not be viewed as condemnation or victimization of the Haitian people as they are not the only ones involved and “they do not own boats.”
“Let me be clear this is a nation of high ideals and civilized notions. This is proof that every alien or national, once brought before the Court, will have access to natural justice and fair treatment,” he declared.
He said the deportation of the 42 non-nationals “who violated our laws” is proof of the right of the state to protect its borders and its people.
Blackmoore revealed that Dominica will embark on a review of its laws to make it easier to remove non-nationals from the state when a crime is committed.
“As a matter of expediency, the Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs will undertake almost immediately, a review of the relevant information to ensure that the law, while remaining humane, is more stringent in affording the state the ability to quickly remove anyone who does not respect the laws of the country,” the Minister stated.