Two migrants who entered the territory illegally were caught on Peter Island (above) last Thursday, officials said Saturday, adding that they were seeking about 10 others. (File photo: PROVIDED)

More migrants allegedly entered the territory illegally last week, but most of them had not been reported apprehended as of Beacon press time yesterday afternoon.

After receiving a tip about suspected migrants on Peter Island, police, customs and immigration officers apprehended two Indian nationals there last Thursday, according to government.

On Saturday, they asked the public for assistance in locating others.

“It is suspected that at least ten other migrants of varying nationalities remain on the island,” according to a Saturday press release issued by the Immigration Department.

The two Indians brought the total number of migrants apprehended here since mid-February to at least 88, including 52 Haitian men, women and children the government has struggled to process due to restrictions on sending them back to their violence-plagued country. Immigration officials did not respond this week or last week to requests for information, but as of their last comprehensive update on March 26, at least 45 other Haitians were in custody without a clear path forward.

Previous incidents

The incident last week comes after at least four others like it in recent months.

On Feb. 14 and 15 on Cooper Island and in nearby waters, 32 Haitians, including 11 children, were found along with the two Syrian men, according to police and immigration officials.

All told, 18 of them were males, including four children between the ages of 1.5 and 4, acting Chief Immigration Officer Nadia Demming-Hodge told the Beacon at the time. The 16 females included seven children ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 years old.

On Feb. 29, 14 more migrants were found in an abandoned building on Virgin Gorda after entering the territory illegally, police said.

They included nine Haitians and one national each from Cameroon, Romania, Britain, Ecuador and France, Ms. Demming-Hodge said at the time. Nine were male and five were female, including a French child, she added.

Twenty-one more migrants were apprehended March 21 in the North Sound area of Virgin Gorda: 12 Romanians, four Haitians, two Colombians, one American, an Irish national and an Ecuadorian, Ms. Demming-Hodge told the Beacon at the time.

Eighteen were male, including three children, and three were female, including an American child, she said.

On April 19 in Coxheath, 19 more migrants who had entered the territory illegally were apprehended, according to police and immigration officials.

The group included ten Romanians, seven Haitians, one Ecuadorian and one Honduran, the Immigration Department announced last week, adding that two were minors.

Castle Maria

As of March 26, the migrants apprehended on Feb. 15 and 29 remained Hotel Castle Maria, which serves as a temporary immigration detention centre, along with the four additional Haitians apprehended March 21, Ms. Demming-Hodge previously told the Beacon.

“The additional 17 migrants were detained at Paradise Suites,” she wrote in an email at the time. “However, the department has since repatriated 16 individuals, resulting in 53 migrants remaining in immigration custody, 45 of which are Haitians.”

She has declined to comment on the costs of housing and processing the migrants.

Haiti violence

The violence in Haiti has escalated dramatically in recent months. A coalition of armed gangs took control of much of the country after then-prime minister Ariel Henry left in late January to sign agreements in Kenya and Guyana for an international security force to help restore order.

The gangs prevented his return and demanded his resignation. Last month, they got their wish. After Caribbean leaders met in Jamaica on March 11 to discuss a way forward for the country, Mr. Henry said his government would resign following the formation of a transition council.

The members of the council — whose mandate runs to February 2026 — were sworn in last Thursday.

Mr. Henry had led the country since July 2021, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.