By Linda Straker
Ghanian national Awal Abdul Sharif, who was charged by police with human trafficking connection, with the illegal entry into Grenada of seven Nepalese nationals, will make his second court appearance in court on Tuesday, 5 May.
No bail was granted to Sharif, who appeared in the St George’s number two magistrate’s court on Monday. He has been charged with Human Trafficking under Section 176C (1) (a) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 72 A of the 2013 Laws of Grenada. A guilty conviction to that offense provides for a maximum of ten years imprisonment.
The 34-year-old security officer who is a resident of Trinidad, is alleged to have caused Numkala Tiwari Kafle, 21 years old, Ankit Dhakal, 19 years old, Pradip Adhikari, 21 years old, Dipak Sapkota, 22 years old, Dipak Bhujel, 20 years old and Chandra Thapa, 20 years old (students), and Arjun Kafle, 32 years old (cook), all citizens of Nepal, to unlawfully enter the State of Grenada at a place other than a lawful port of entry and failing to have them report to an Immigration Officer for examination.
As of Monday, an Immigration Official confirmed that the Nepalese nationals are currently awaiting departure to St Lucia. “It’s really a matter of flight arrangements, and until that can be sorted out they will continue to remain in Grenada under law enforcement observation,” said the official, who explained that they are accommodated under the international protocol establish for victims of human trafficking.
Reports out of St Lucia said that the Nepalese entered St Lucia as students, to attend a vocational institution to pursue education in Tourism, with the understanding that they will be receiving training and job experience, and finally gain employment in the USA.
However, on arrival in St Lucia, the students became concernede with the treatment meted out to them, and approached law enforcement which in turn informed them after investigation that they were duped by the owners of Lambird Academy. The owners have since being charged with money laundering and Human Trafficking. The Government of St Lucia and kind-hearted St Lucians accommodated them since the ordeal, with only three of them opting to return, through funding from a UN agency.
A Police release out of St Lucia said that on Saturday, 18 April 2015, St Lucia Police received reports that a group of seven Nepalese nationals were missing from their place of abode. It was later confirmed that the individuals were located in St George’s, Grenada, where they have been detained for questioning in connection with the offence of entering the State without the permission of an Immigration Officer.
Investigations established that the individuals were transported from St Lucia to St Vincent, and onwards to Grenada by boat.