Turks and Caicos Islands

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 13th January 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to prevent illegal migration onto the Turks and Caicos Islands and to reduce the number of potentially fatal journeys taken by such immigrants.

Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Illegal migration from Haiti to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a UK Overseas Territory, is a very real problem, as made evident by the recent tragic incident on 25 December 2013, which led to at least 19 fatalities. I discussed this issue with the TCI Premier during our bilateral at the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council on 25 November 2013.

The TCI Government have constitutional responsibility for immigration policy and border control, but the Government have a fundamental objective and responsibility for the security of TCI flowing from international law, our shared history and political commitment to the wellbeing of all British nationals. The Government have therefore provided substantial support to TCI, including funding for a radar station and training for marine police.

The Government are encouraging the Haitian Government to step up their efforts to combat people trafficking, and to discourage their people from undertaking the dangerous journey by boat to TCI which may lead to their death and almost certainly to their detention and deportation. We are also supporting the TCI and Haitian Governments to develop practical co-operation. A Haitian consulate opened in TCI in February 2013. We are supporting negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding covering deterring and combating illegal migration.

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