Published On: Thu, Oct 3rd, 2019

Police detain illegals arriving on sail boat in Great Bay

Illegals sailboat detained - 20191003

GREAT BAY — The pier at the Walter Plantz Square was the scene this afternoon of an unusual situation. A group of young police trainees were seen in action and it was not a police training exercise. A group of 16 people arriving illegally on a sail boat into Great Bay were arrested red-handed on the spot at the dock at the Walter Plantz Square.

According to reports reaching our news desk, police were informed via a phone call from someone on the boardwalk that he had seen a boat spinning around in the Great Bay harbor.

The boat first tried to dock at the Cyrus Wathey Square. However, the captain decided to go to the pier at the Walter Plantz Square.

Police happened to be doing surveillance training in Philipsburg at the time when they got the phone call about the strange maneuverings of the sail boat.

The whole group of police trainees went to the Walter Plantz Square and saw three men who had just come off the docked boat. The young police officers detained these men on the spot.

Upon further investigations on the scene, the captain of the sailboat, two crew members and 13 passengers (including one female) were arrested.

At around 2:30pm on the afternoon of Thursday, October 3, 2019, eye-witness reports, video and photo images reaching our newsdesk indicated that a group of men could be seen sitting handcuffed by police officers on the pier at the Walter Plantz Square. Three other men, who had also been arrested by the young police trainees that were the first to arrive on the scene, were being detained on the ground in front of the Oranje Cafe at the Walter Plantz Square. These men were being detained since quarter to 2pm according to a report we received.

Initially, there were speculations as to the nationalities of the persons being detained. First thought was that they were Haitians. However, eye-witnesses stated that the men were Dominicans from the island of Dominica.

At around 3:30pm a Coastguard patrol boat arrived on the scene at the pier. Also arriving on the scene were a number of police vans. At this point, the detainees began to be led away off the pier to the police vans. The detainees all appeared to be young men. However, one of the detainees being led off the pier to one of the police vans turned out to be a female. This brought the total arrested to 16 men and one woman, including the captain of the sail boat and his two crew members.

After the arrests, authorities conducted an inspection of the sail boat. At this point in time, a reporter on the scene attempted to get a statement for StMaartenNews.com. However, the highest ranking official on the scene quickly departed before he could be interviewed.

StMaartenNews.com spoke with police spokesperson, Officer Josepha, at the police headquarters in Philipsburg and he promised to issue a statement as soon as he had gotten a full report from the Immigration Department. When asked if he had any idea where the detainees will be held knowing that space is presently an ongoing issue at the police stations, Josepha said that he would have to consult with the immigration department and put that information in his press release as well.

A smuggling operation gone bad?

One curious report on social media announced that Customs had stopped a boat with dozens of illegals on board and that three deaths had been reported. When asked about this, police spokesman Josepha said that this was absolutely not the case in this particular situation.


Watch video of detainees at the Walter Plantz pier online here


Video of the loaded police vans on the boardwalk



Onlookers Illegals on sailboat detained - 20191003

Another curiosity is the above photo from a bar or hut on the beachside next to the pier where the detained men were being held. In this photo a bystander can be seen flashing a ‘piece sign’ to the men. This leads one to wonder whether these men were being awaited to be picked up in Great Bay by family, friends or associates.

It was also noted that when the police officers appeared on the scene at the boardwalk on Great Bay at the Walter Plantz Square, several people working on the beach quickly ran away. It is safe to assume that these people working on the beach were not legal or did not have a permit to work on the boardwalk.

When asked about this phenomenon, a police officer on the scene said that once they are aware of this, they will immediately arrest anyone, no matter who, where and when, on the spot if it is suspected that they are illegals or undocumented workers

StMaartenNews.com will be bringing you an update once we receive an official report from the St. Maarten Police Force.

Click here to see all the photos online on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StMaartenNewsOnline/posts/2239410986351091


Related articles:
Official police report: Sail boat with illegals intercepted
The Daily Herald version: Boatload of Haitians, Dominicans stopped by immigration and Police