The authorities have now presumed that 16 people are dead after a boat that left Antigua capsized and sank off St. Kitts on Tuesday.
According to reports, thirty-two people, mainly West Africans, were aboard the vessel.
Emergency responders rescued sixteen individuals, including two Antigua and Barbuda nationals.
“Sixteen persons are presumed dead since they are missing. Attempts are being made to identify the cadavers taken to St. Kitts, by way of photos to other members of the group of migrants,” a Cabinet note from the Office of Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, disclosed.
The note said the boat was registered in Guadeloupe, and an Antigua and Barbuda sailor captained it to Antigua.
That captain is assisting the Antigua and Barbuda police with their investigation.
Another individual who was the captain when the vessel sank is in the custody of St. Kitts and Nevis police.
The Antigua and Barbuda Office of the Prime Minister said since the West Africans aboard the boat that sank entered the country of their own volition as tourists and did not seek to evade law enforcement, they were not trafficked migrants.
In addition, it explained that attempts were made to integrate ‘these hapless West Africans’ into the Antigua and Barbuda social fabric.
However, the Cabinet agreed that when the migrants departed secretly after allegedly paying someone connected to the vessel, they participated in migrant smuggling, transforming themselves from economic migrants.
Several of the West African migrants reported that there was expressed hostility towards them by angry people who signaled that they wished them to leave,” the Cabinet note stated.
It said such hostility was not the custom in Antigua and Barbuda, which has a significant immigrant population.
The note also observed that in campaigning leading up to the January 2023 general elections, the migrants learned that they had been wrongly accused of being impostor voters, among other ‘objectionable accusations.’
Yet still we all sing along “We all are Africans and we can’t let the white man harm we”, and Black Man is Black Man worst enemy!!! Why can’t our African brothers and sisters have a resting place? Not in Africa not in our Caribbean? Our ancestors were brought here as slaves so I don’t see no harm if they too want to join us.
Terrible just terrible my people just came once again by the way of the middle passage only to be stepped on by these modern day uncle Tom’s..so they decide to leave rather than be treated like dogs by the extended arm of the United Pac who got their directive from St Lucia.
@The Most Honouable Lucian Highgrade you must be a very ignorant person to make such a statement. I suggest you do some reading on the subject matter.
RIP. Not saying we all have to be friends but surely there must be a better way to deal with this situation than people losing their lives.