By Makeida Antonio
Members of the public have been warned against harbouring wanted individuals following the escape of five illegal migrants from the Immigration Detention Centre.
Wanted bulletins were issued by the Department of Immigration on Friday for the five Haitian people, detailing their physical appearances and the work being done with regional agencies to find them.
Minister of National Security Steadroy Benjamin said the matter was being investigated by the authorities.
“I am aware of the matter. We are taking appropriate steps to recover the escaped detainees. I cannot say much to compromise their investigations at the moment … all I can tell you is that everything is being done to make sure that they are captured soonest,” Benjamin told Observer yesterday.
The group of four men and one woman arrived in Antigua and Barbuda via the VC Bird International Airport from Santo Domingo, with the apparent intention of continuing on to Montserrat.
They were intercepted and detained after authorities discovered none of the individuals possessed “the proper documentation to enter Antigua and Barbuda”, a statement said.
Arrangements were then made to book flights to repatriate the quintet back to Haiti on Sunday.
However, they absconded before they were able to be deported. Benjamin said he was “very concerned” about how they had managed to escape, adding that the details remain unclear.
The Department of Immigration says it believes all five are still in Antigua.
They include 21-year-old Sami Roodly Loisueu, who is fair in complexion, approximately 5ft6 in height, slimly built, and weighing approximately 150lbs.
Frannyel Manuel, 28, is said to be fair in complexion, approximately 5ft4, slimly built, and weighing approximately 150lbs.
Andrecin Pruneau, 25, who is also fair in complexion, is approximately 5ft7, slim, and weighing about 150lbs.
Angener Rinjour, 28, is also fair in complexion, approximately 5ft9, slimly built, and weighing approximately 140lbs.
The lone female, 19-year-old Fabine Fleurant, is also said to be fair in complexion, approximately 5ft5, slimly built, and weighing approximately 130lbs.
Ongoing political instability and economic uncertainty, especially following the earthquake in 2010, have forced thousands of people to flee Haiti.
Additionally, the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 further destabilised the country and has contributed to heavy gang violence in recent months.
As recent as May 13, the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) reported that at least 11 Haitian migrants had drowned in an attempt to reach Puerto Rico in a boat which left from the Dominican Republic.
In September 2021, the US deported thousands of Haitians after their arrival at the Texas border.
The Department of Immigration is imploring members of the public in Antigua and Barbuda to be vigilant and report any sightings of the five escapees by calling 464-3245 or 464-3141, contacting the nearest police station, or calling 774-8289 or 464-3245.