by Linda Straker
- Between 1 January and 14 June, 27 individuals have been caught illegally entering Grenada from St Vincent
- Community spread of Covid-19 with 12 deaths in St Vincent
- Fine for illegal entry increased to EC$12,000
Three females from neighbouring St Vincent and the Grenadines were on Friday, 23 July 2021 detained by officers of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for illegally entering the country. They are expected to be charged for violating the Immigration Act.
Police have not divulged details about the capture but have confirmed that the 3 Vincentian nationals were detained for illegally entering the state of Grenada by officers attached to the Western Division.
“They are in police custody assisting with investigations,” confirmed a news release from the Community Relations Department of the RGPF.
Recently, ASP Leroy Joseph Head of the Immigration Department in Grenada said that there is a significant increase in the number of nationals from St Vincent and the Grenadines who are caught illegally entering Grenada. This has become a major concern because of the continuous rise in community spread of Covid-19 in the neighbouring territory.
From the time the first case was diagnosed, health authorities in St Vincent and the Grenadines have confirmed over 2,000 positive Covid-19 cases. That country was also declared as having community spread and there were 12 deaths. Data on the country’s Covid-19 dashboard show that currently there are over 50 active cases.
Over half of the 24 individuals caught illegally entering Grenada between 1 January and 14 June 2021 were individuals from St Vincent and the Grenadines. The other nations are Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, and Trinidad and Tobago. The capturing of these 3 will bring the number to 27. In 2020 the total number of illegal immigrants caught at Grenada’s borders was 15.
In June, siblings Laverna and Leslie John were arrested and charged after they reportedly entered the State of Grenada without adhering to stipulated entry protocols. Both had arrived on island via speedboat. They were charged for Entering the State Without the Consent of an Immigration Officer and Failure to Submit to a Government approved Quarantine Facility. Deportation was ordered when they appeared before the court days after they were charged.
As part of the Government mechanism to contain and control the spread of Covid-19, all incoming individuals must provide a negative PCR upon arrival, reside in a quarantine facility for no more than 48 hours if fully vaccinated or 7 days if not vaccinated. Once in the quarantine facility, health officers will conduct a Covid-19 test and once the result is negative the individuals will be allowed to mix with society.
Individuals who fail to comply with entry protocol can be fined thousands of dollars for violating the Immigration Act as well as the public health, quarantine, and emergency powers regulations. Grenada recently amended the Immigration Act to increase the fine for illegal entry from EC$3,000 to $12,000.