Officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are in Antigua and Barbuda for an assessment after a deadly boat incident.
The boat capsized and sank off St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday after leaving Antigua and Barbuda with 32 people on board, mainly West Africans.
Emergency responders recovered three bodies and rescued sixteen people, including two Antigua and Barbuda nationals.
But they have since suspended the search for survivors.
State-owned ABS reported Saturday evening that the UNHCR and the IOM officials would assess the situation of West African migrants who arrived in Antigua and Barbuda late last year.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne explained that the UN officials would assess the migrants’ skills, determine who wanted to return home and how to assimilate others who wished to remain.
“We will continue to deal with them in a very dignified manner,” he told ABS News concerning the migrants.
“We understand too that there has been some – let’s say, bad treatment meted out by some members of the public to them. But we are asking our people to embrace them,” Browne stated.
And amid an ongoing investigation into the boat tragedy, Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney has warned against participating in migrant smuggling.
The Antigua and Barbuda top cop declared that it is illegal.
In addition, Rodney said the risk was too great.