The police are asking Jamaicans, especially those living near the coastal areas, to be on the lookout for Haitians who may seek to take refuge on the island following a massive prison break there on Saturday.
More than 170 inmates escaped from a prison in Arcahaie, a coastal town about 30 miles north of Haiti’s capital. Yesterday, prison authorities there said only a dozen inmates, including the mastermind, were recaptured.
Yesterday, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams stated in an interview that the police are monitoring the prison break as it is not far-fetched that some of the Haitian escapees might venture to Jamaica for some sort of safe haven.
“We know that it is possible because there is a great deal of traffic between both Haiti and Jamaica. Fishermen go to Haiti and bring back things we don’t want them to take back to Jamaica,” he said.
“It is likely that people will be smuggled in, persons with shady character.”
The commissioner said the police would have to be vigilant of ‘shady characters’ rushing to our shores, so the authorities would utilise fielders and activate their intelligence. The commissioner is asking Jamaicans to be vigilant and report any sightings of Haitians who may be in Jamaica illegally.
“In the event these people show up, let us know. We are asking citizens in communities close to the sea to be on the lookout, and tell us if they see anything strange happening,” he said.
The community of Arcahaiea is far from the southwest area that was slammed by Hurricane Matthew’s eye earlier this month. Its also understood that the escapees stole an unknown number of weapons, and some exchanged gunfire with police during the chaotic breakout at the prison, which housed 266 inmates.
One guard was reportedly killed and others were injured. An inmate reportedly died following a bad fall, while trying to scale a prison wall. Haitian national police officers set up numerous checkpoints along roads to search vehicles, and small boats in fishing towns were also being checked.
Meanwhile, Minister of National Security Robert Montague last week met with Haiti’s Minister of Justice Camille Edouard in Washington, DC, where both ministers are attending the Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue to discuss issues affecting both countries. The talks centred on the drugs-for-guns trade and relief for Haiti, which was recently severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew.