HAMILTON, Bermuda, Wednesday April 27, 2016 – In the first of its kind deportation exercise in Bermuda, authorities have released seven foreign prisoners early and sent them back to their homelands in Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Maarten.
The inmates – all of whom would have been released between this year and 2020 and were eligible for early release – were deported on Sunday, Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said.
With the exception of three Jamaicans who had previously been granted early release, five additional requests for early release were made in mid-April, which resulted in the Governor granting approval to four people last Wednesday.
“Between Wednesday and Sunday, the Department of Immigration, in collaboration with Government House, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Department of Corrections, and the Ministry of National Security worked tirelessly to ensure that the necessary processes and protocols were followed, thereby making it possible to deport a total of seven foreign nationals out of Bermuda,” Fahy explained.
“This is good news for the taxpayer as it means that we will no long be paying the incarceration fees and associated costs for these individuals.”
The Home Affairs Minister said that over the past year, the Department of Immigration has been faced with many challenges regarding the deportation of foreign nationals who have been incarcerated in Bermuda for a range of offences.
“As a result of recent restrictions imposed by Bermuda’s gateway countries – United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – the deportation process has been extremely difficult thereby making it virtually impossible to secure passage through any of the aforementioned countries,” Fahy said.
“As a consequence…the Department of Immigration feverishly explored several options to deport the foreign nationals including, but not limited to, chartering a corporate aircraft for each deportation which had the potential of being extremely costly for the Bermuda Government.”
However, the minister said that when the Department of Immigration learned that the Royal Bermuda Regiment was planning to hold its annual overseas camp in Jamaica, it capitalized on the opportunity by arranging the deportation exercise.