Archbishop Calls for International Efforts After 17 Migrants from Haiti Die in Rough Seas in the Bahamas
17 bodies were recovered by rescue teams, including one infant, according to a statement by Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis.
The Archbishop of Nassau in the Bahamas has reacted with sadness at the news of a boat carrying migrants from Haiti capsizing off the coast of the Bahamas on Sunday, calling for international efforts to remove the reasons migrants risk their lives to leave their homelands.
17 bodies were recovered by rescue teams, including one infant, according to a statement by Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis, who said the migrants were believed to be on their way to Miami, Florida in the US.
So far, 25 survivors were brought to safety and eight are believed to be missing.
In a statement provided by email to CNA on July 25, Archbishop Patrick C. Pinder, said: “As a community of faith, we hold firmly in our prayers all those who have perished or those who have been impacted by this tragedy at sea. We hold dear our belief that every human life is sacred. Every human life has dignity.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force told media the boat capsized near Blackbeard’s Cay, about 7 miles off the island of New Providence.
Archbishop Pinder noted that “two men are in police custody following the tragedy”, and Prime Minister Davis condemned “the organization of smuggling operations which risk human life.”
Referring to the high levels of crime and poverty in Haiti, the Bahamian Prime Minister added: “I understand the situation that many of these migrants face that would encourage them to take such a great risk.”
Davis appealed to anyone considering “making such a voyage, not to.”
In his statement to CNA, Archbishop Pinder said: “We encourage and support international efforts which seek to mitigate the conditions, whether social, economic or political, which cause migrants to leave their homeland and risk their lives in search of a better way of life for themselves and their families.”
The United States Coast Guardreported on June 29 that it had intercepted 1,527 Haitian migrants last fiscal year, up from 418 migrants in the previous year.