Bahamian and Jamaican charged with murder in Haitian boat tragedy

FLORIDA, United States, Tuesday October 29, 2013, CMC – United States law enforcement authorities have charged a Bahamian boat captain and his Jamaican crewman with causing the deaths of four Haitian women who drowned after their overcrowded smuggling boat capsized in waters off Miami 10 days ago.

On Friday, a grand jury charged Captain Naaman Davis, 53, and crewman George Lewis, 38, along with four others, in a 24-count federal indictment.

Davis and Lewis also face charges of conspiring to smuggle migrants into the United States and causing their deaths, as well as smuggling the migrants resulting in four deaths.

In addition, Davis, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges, is accused of killing the women “without malice” while “operating a vessel in a grossly negligent manner.”

If convicted, the men could face the death penalty or life in prison.

US federal prosecutors have also charged six survivors with attempted alien smuggling and illegal re-entry into the United States.

Officials said three Jamaican survivors – Matthew Williams, 30, Everton Jones, also known as “Everton Bryce,” 40, and Kenard Hagigal, 35 – are convicted felons, who were previously deported from the United States.

Another passenger, Sean Gaynor, 37, also a Jamaica had been deported, as well as the two crewmen, Lewis and Davis.

The 15 Haitians were traveling in the vessel when it turned over on the morning of October 16 just southeast of the entrance to Port Miami.

The US Coast Guard found 11 survivors, including a 15-year-old girl, clinging to the boat’s hull.

Earlier this week, US immigration authorities released four Haitian survivors – Pierre Louisias, Widly Cajuste, Fallonne Alouidor and the 15-year-old – from custody. The status of a fifth survivor, Vincent Anderson, is not known. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)