Information Minister Melford Nicholas says the Cameroonians living in Antigua and Barbuda were living under undesirous circumstances, ranging from exploitation and mistreatment from residents, which may have led them to take that dangerous trip.
About 13 Cameroonians are still missing after a French fishing boat that was on its way to transport 30 of them to the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday sank. Only 16 people were rescued. Three dead bodies were recovered.
Nicholas told reports on Thursday during a press briefing that the government had received reports that these men and women were given a degree of hospitality but were treated badly in some cases.
“The vast majority of persons that we know have been hospitable and they have responded to the need to provide that type of comfort and assurance…Persons who were a part of the group of 600 stranded have been given a degree of hospitality,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas added that a number of these Cameroonians were provided with jobs by several businesses but have “told the tale in the background.
“And I think it’s critical for us to understand the conditions that may have led them to take a decision, a risky decision to go to another land…They have also told a story of areas where they have been exploited. They have lived in clustered environments…They have been exploited insofar as rent and other measures are concerned”.
He said notwithstanding the government’s decision to provide legal means of staying here, “all may not have been well with them. And in consequence, they may have been motivated to seek greener pastures. It’s not a question of trying to place blame, that is just the reality of what we’re dealing with,” he said
Adding, “the government is not casting any blame in aspersions. It’s a multifaceted issue that’s going to continue to affect our discourses concerning this particular development”, he added.
Meanwhile search and rescue are no longer looking for survivors. Instead, they are searching for bodies that could have been washed up.
The Chief of Defense Staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Colonel Telbert Benjamin said the “vessel went down in relatively deep water, and so recovery … might be a bit of a challenge”.
When you force a rat to stay with a cat the result will not be different from what we have on the table now. The preconception of the notion that the African visitors were comfortable in Antigua was just the misconception of the actual reality because non of those assumptions were actually verified to know their minds and couple with the hostile treatment from some Antiguans citizens, this people could risk their lives and those of their generation just to get out of that man’s hole chamber or confined space. If this situation is not properly handled, more Chios with still follow given the fact that this people have chosen poverty in freedom over richest in slavery
The one that smuggle them out illegally is to be blame, image the gross sum of money he got. now please prime minister i beg, please set a legislation now, so that anyone found smuggling humans in and out of Antigua and Barbuda waters will pay a penalty of 1 year jail. (Al meno sei mese in jail). 6 MONTHS IN JAIL. IF this matter is not handle urgently, then we can have many more cases like this on on our shoulder.
We Re not the reason why these people took a small boat to cross the ocean in search for greener pastures. They do it all the time. They take small boats to Italy. England and other big countries and in the interim its the risk they take to lose their lives. All they need is a stepping stone to land unto a rock. Please stop blaming the Antiguan people for these Africans misfortune and watch the news or read a bit more.
The prime minister and marvelous mike should be charged with smuggling these people out of Africa in the first place, why people want to get down on the captain of the boat, smuggling is smuggling, weather by boat or by plane.
I agree that the Leader of THIS Country AND Marvelous Mike (is This his REAL Name?) haveQuestions to Answer!! Plus the FACT that THIS was a Signed Deal between them with our Birthright (Passports) being Placed in THIS Deal!!!
How Dare the Prime Minister to do THIS to the People of THIS Nation???
Has he not learnt from the Last couple of Times he did THIS! Giving our Passports as Part of his Deals! And Not A Man nor Woman in the Cabinet of This Country have the BRAVERY to Tell The P M that THIS Action is Very WRONG!
Where are the Passports he gave to the Chinese Person as well as YIDA? Who is MONITORING THESE Passports!! What is the LATEST News on these? How many have been used and How?
To Think that in Opposition The Present Leader of this Country was against the CIP Project as designed by the THEN Administration. And NOW he has Brought that Project to the LOWEST of Lows!!!! Sad! Sad!! Sad!
What is WORSE He sees NOTHING WRONG with Taking a Loan (BORROWING) $$$$$$$ from the Investor who wants to BUY Up Barbuda’s Land, and he Dared to PUT That phrase in the Contract (when Barbuda Land Becomes Freehold)!!!!!
Please tell Him to use his own $$$$$ (millions) to pay back that Loan!!
Barbuda’s land will NEVER BE Freehold!! Why???? Because Our People’s Taxpayers’ $$$) has ALREADY Bought ALL Estate Lands that Papa Bird used to pay back the Loan taken to pay the people who Huffed Our Land; had Our Ancestors work for FREE to Build up the Future of the Huffers and their descendants!!!!
Please SOMEONE Educate the Prime Minister and his Cabinet on the HISTORY of ANU/BAR!!! And please Make Our Local History MANDATORY in Our Education Curriculum!! Let us keep the Little Bit that is left of our Lands to BUILD The Future if Our descendants AND Try to get back what our Leaders gave Given Away to our Previous Enslavers!! Peace! 🌻😇