Gov’t rescinded decision to accept Africans after they escaped-Melford Nicholas

Editorial Staff

May 5, 2023

The government changed its mind about receiving the Cameroonians who found themselves in troubled waters in St Kitts and Nevis after they escaped the holding facility there

Initially, the government said that it was ready to accept the 14 or so Cameroonians who survived the boat tragedy on March 28 but has since rescinded that decision

Two weeks ago, eight Cameroonians and one Antiguan escaped from where they were being housed. All but the Antiguan have been recaptured

And speaking on the matter during this week’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Nicholas said the escape of the Africans from the St Peter’s Community Center in St Kitts was the last straw for the government.

“We have taken a position clearly based on [the] intent of those persons who are held in custody…of using Antigua as a transmigratory location; we have updated our position in respect of the courtesy that we wanted to extend… Even if they got back here, [they] would still have the intent of repeating because the idea that they would have escaped custody from St Kitts would have been an indication that they had no intention of remaining within these particular jurisdictions,” Minister Nicholas told reporters

30 Cameroonians and two Antiguans left for St Thomas on an illegal journey to the USVI but their boat, the La Belle Michell overturned on the way.

Only three bodies were recorded and Nicholas said their bodies have been placed in the hands of St Kitts and Nevis.

Family members have been crying out to have the bodies returned to West Africa for burial but that may be very expensive.

“With respect to the persons who have been deceased and how are they going to be disposed of, they were discovered within the geographical borders of St Kitts and Nevis and the responsibility is theirs,” Minister Nicholas said.

He said however that the two countries have not ended their collaboration on the matter.


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