January 20, 2022 | Hopeton O’Connor Dennie |
Two Haitian Suspects Detained
In a dramatic development two of the persons suspected in the assassination of the then sitting president allegedly fled Haiti and have entered Jamaica illegally. Palacios who was detained late 2021 was deported by the Supreme Court of Jamaica to Panama. He has since been arrested and taken to the USA where it is said an arrest warrant was executed on his behalf.
The second suspect is said to be a former Haitian Senator who along with members of his family fled to Jamaica. A Fugitive Apprehension Team arrested the former Senator in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.
A neighbour advised Vision newspaper that the suspects were pointed out to the local police by residents who became suspicious of their presence. The underground source informed that:
“They were living in a house opposite mine. Citizens informed the police of their presence.”
Today, Thursday, January 20 the Haitian suspects were taken to court, and were remanded in custody to a future court date. Their attorney said he intends to have discussions with authorities prior to their next court date. They have been charged with illegal entry into Jamaica which is an alleged breach of Jamaica’s Alien Act.
The assassination of the sitting president of Haiti has drawn widespread condemnation and rebuke from near and far. This type of attack is unheard of in this hemisphere. The United States Of America in particular is likely to draw a hard line as it relates to the suspects. This type of conduct is not to be encouraged in this region. A clear message needs to be sent to any possible copy cats. So far Palacios is in US custody in Florida, USA.
There are various perspectives to examine as to their future.
The latest suspects arrested in Jamaica are likely to be deported from Jamaica on immigration grounds. Will they be arrested by US authorities? This is left to be seen. The male Senator seems to be a prime suspect in the assassination of the Haitian President. He too may be arrested by the US authorities. His family members may be deported to Haiti. We have to wait and see. It is all sad indeed!
Can the family members apply for refugee status in Jamaica on humanitarian grounds? Their personal protection and safety may be at stake if returned to Haiti … under the circumstances. What is your perspective?
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, elegist, author, and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper.