Haitian Boat Bulldozed at High Sea by Turks & Caicos Islands Coast Guards

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Michel Nau
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Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:38 pm

Haitian Boat Bulldozed at High Sea by Turks & Caicos Islands Coast Guards

Post by Michel Nau » Fri May 11, 2007 1:03 pm

Haitian survivor: `They just left us out there to die'

Survivors of a capsizing that killed at least 61 Haitian migrants said a Turks and Caicos patrol boat rammed them, towed them into deeper water and abandoned their overturned vessel. ''
The Associated Press interviewed six of the survivors after they were repatriated to Haiti. They all gave the same story,
AP said.
"When they hit us the first time," said Dona Daniel, "water rushed into the boat and everybody screamed." Our boat flipped over and they just left us out there,'' said Dona Daniel, 23, one of a half-dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press on Thursday after they were repatriated to Haiti from the nearby British territory.
The survivors said some migrants tried desperately to pull themselves aboard the patrol boat but were beaten back with wooden batons.
Others were run over by the patrol boat after they were flung into the shark-filled waters as their boat capsized, said Lovderson Nacon, 19.
Many of the migrants did not know how to swim and were screaming ''God help me!'' in the darkness, Nacon said.

MINUTES FROM SHORE
The Haitians said their sailboat, loaded with an estimated 160 people, was minutes away from the shore of Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on May 4 when the patrol boat rammed them before dawn. ''When they hit us the first time, water rushed into the boat and everybody screamed,'' Daniel said. The patrol boat crew ordered the migrants to lower their sails, threw them a line and began towing them into deeper water. The boat then capsized, he said.
''We thought they were bringing us to shore, but they took us further out to sea,'' said Daniel, whose two brothers drowned. Minutes after towing began, the migrants' boat jerked violently and tipped over, flinging everyone into the water, several survivors said.

WAITING IN THE WATER.. TO BE EATEN BY SHARKS
Nacon said he was in the water for more than 15 minutes before a smaller Turks and Caicos patrol boat came out to pull survivors from the water. Other migrants said they were in the water for more than 40 minutes as they waited for the rescue boat to make a return trip. ''They heard us screaming so much, they finally came and helped us,'' Nacon said. ``The people who knew how to swim lived. The people who didn't drowned.''
Haitians in Miami angered by alleged ramming ''I believe if that's the case it's a crime,'' Miami activist Lucie Tondreau said. ``

The Turks and Caicos government has criticized Haiti for not doing enough to stem illegal migration.
The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory, is located to the north of Haiti and south-east of the Bahamas. About 400 Haitians arrive monthly in the British territory of 20,000, many having been duped by migrant smugglers into thinking they were being taken to the United States, officials say.

We have received special instruction from US Homeland Security to close this route going to the US. It's a danger to their National Security, and they were very humiliated when a small Haitian sail boat reached Florida shores without being detected said a Bahamian official.

What we have seen could be the tip of the iceberg. Just imaging if they were no survivors, this incident could have stayed unnoticed said a Haitian activist.

Jeanne Bernard Pierre, director general of Haiti's National Migration Office, said Tuesday that the Haitian government would consider the ramming of a migrant boat to be a ''criminal'' act.
But did not elaborated further on what action the Haitian government is going to take to request reparation for the victims.

Haitians in Miami angered by alleged ramming ''I believe if that's the case it's a crime,'' Miami activist Lucie Tondreau said. ``
Other activists believe that the Preval/Alexis government doesn't show any enthusiasm in immigration issues like they did for HOPE, and other economic issues.
The bottom line is: Those who made it to a foreign country are future income for the government, those who didn't make it are just “loss”. said an activist

From compiled news.

Michel

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