Saint Lucia police have issued a grim warning to persons who try to enter this country illegally by sea.
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir sounded the warning Wednesday during an appearance on the government’s National Television Network (NTN).
He said that according to information, the illegal entries are made during the night.
Desir said persons who know the sea at night will understand that it is different to daytime.
“Boats have lights but it is for just other vessels to see them,” he explained.
According to the Acting Police Commissioner, the lights on a vessel do not permit people to see anything.
“Once a vessel has been intercepted I cannot guarantee persons on that vessel that they will have it safe – a safe arrest,” he declared.
Desir said persons can interpret his comments.
“I could tell you, things may happen in the night,” he warned.
He issued an appeal to everyone, including those who have families over in Martinique, to let their relatives stay on the French speaking Island.
Desir made it clear that the police will be very strict in regard to persons coming here illegally from Martinique.
He adding that both by the Marine Police and otherwise, there will be 24-hour surveillance at sea.
“Actually, I have emptied the cell at Custody Suites,” he revealed.
Desir said the persons who were in the cell have been sent to the Marchand Police stations and other stations.
“Custody Suites is empty,” he disclosed.
“Any person on the waters or on the beaches, or even if we have information that they have landed illegally, the police have the power to arrest them and that is what we will do,” the Acting Police Commissioner told NTN.
He indicated that he has been in discussion with medical officials to ensure that the persons who are arrested and put in the cell at Custody Suites can be visited by health authorities, in the same way as if they were confined in a quarantine centre.
“I must say, that is not the way we want to go, but at this point I believe we have no choice,” the senior police official said.
He warned that smugglers and persons who harbour individuals who enter Saint Lucian illegally will be arrested.
“That is done all in the hope of limiting the spread of the COVID-19,” he made clear.
“You are coming from Martinique, you have not been medically checked and you do not know persons you may infect – even your own family,” Desir explained.
He disclosed that persons are at the Rodney Bay Medical quarantine facility free of charge.
“It is a hotel – it is not a detention, persons have not committed any crime, persons are free there, so I do not know why they do not want to stay,” Desir lamented.
He spoke against the backdrop of the recent escape from the facility by some persons who have since been returned.