“Why bring them back when they are likely to smuggle out of the country again,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne in an article on Point Express.
The Prime Minister was referencing the 14 migrants and two Antiguans rescued after a boat capsized off the coast of St. Kitts en route from Antigua to St Thomas, USVI, on March 28, 2023.
In a release from the Ministry of National Security, the government of St Kitts and Nevis said it “continues to pursue workable and diplomatic solutions as it is duty bound so to do.”Prime Minister Browne’s administration has since reneged on the previous arrangement to have 14 migrants sent back to Antigua and Barbuda.
In the Point Express article, Browne said he had no intention of accepting the 14 migrants who left the country, saying;
“How do you feel about us taking them back? We want to treat them humanely. Our challenge is that they have claimed that sending them back to Cameroon would likely result in their death, but I am thinking, for those who have already left our shores, the question is, why bring them back when they are likely to smuggle out of the country again?”
The Antiguan Prime Minister has since asked the French ambassador for assistance from France to get the Cameroonians back to their native land.
Recently nine of the 16 detainees escaped the detention facility, with all but one, Nicolas Santana Areche, back in police custody. Areche is a citizen of Antigua and a Dominican Republic native who is still missing.