Four Haitian nationals have been ordered to pay EC$2,500 forthwith for attempting to leave the country illegally and one Dominica was slapped with a five thousand dollars fine for the same offence to be paid in two instalments.
That fine was imposed by Magistrate Pearl Williams on April 4, 2021.
The four Haitian nationals and one Dominican attempted to leave Dominica via an unapproved port to Martinique on March 22, 2021.
According to the facts, as presented in court on Thursday, April 1, 2021, by police prosecutor Inspector Davidson Cadette, the Dominica Coast Guard at about 9 am responded to a call from the Marine Search & Rescue Emergency Center of Martinique from a distress call from a boat “One Short” about one (1) mile out of Scotts Heads.
“As a result, the Coast Guard captained by Alexis Bellot and two other officers went in search of the distressed vessel, but a search from the reported located proved futile,” he told the court.
He said that the officers then went west and saw some disturbance on the water and moving closer saw the boat “One Short.”
“A quick observation by the officers was that the boat was loaded with passengers and based on the sea conditions decided to escort it to the Coast Guard Base at Woodbridge Bay Fond Cole.”
He told the court that the boat registration number J7090SFE was powered by a sixty-horse Yamaha engine and had nine (9) male passengers on board. They were all asked to disembark and escorted to the Coast Guard Base compound with their bags. A search was conducted in the bags and on the individuals but nothing illegal was found.
The Haitians are Celes Benoit, Wisken Saint Pierre, Wilvensky Joseph and Asly Tibeau. The Dominican is Delbert Michael Xavier of Soufriere. Of the four Haitians only Asly Tibeau who was not represented by a lawyer. The three others and the Dominican were represented by lawyer Wayne Norde.
A check by police revealed that all the Haitians arrived in Dominica legally via the Douglas Charles Airport and over the past two years have requested and obtained an extension of time on their permit while working in various fields.
Meantime, 46, year Delbert Michael Xavier of Scotts Head who also pleaded guilty to attempting to depart Dominica illegally was fined 5,000.
Xavier was the captain of the boat, his lawyer told the court that he was a fisherman by profession and had not wasted the courts time. “Be very lenient on him and we beg you not to impose a custodial sentence, he is very remorseful for his actions,” he lawyer Wayne Norde told the court.
When questioned about how much he got paid for the Martinique trip by the Magistrate, Xavier said “nothing.” He told the court that he had met them in Roseau and had decided to assist one who was ill and was surprised when all the rest showed up.
He is to pay $2,500 on or before April 30, 2021 and the other $2,500 on or before May 31, 2021 in default six months in jail. Police corporal Derick Prince who is stationed at the Soufriere Police Station was the investigator in the matter.