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 the country. This has become a major concern because of the continuous rise in community spread of Covid-19 in the neighboring island.
“This is becoming a very serious challenge for us,” said Joseph, who disclosed that more than half of the people caught illegally entering Grenada between 1 January and 14 June 2021 were individuals from St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Joseph said 24 people have been caught of which 7 were people from nations including Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, and Trinidad and Tobago. In 2020, 15 illegal immigrants were caught at the borders.
The latest 2 individuals were siblings Laverna and Leslie John and arrested and charged on Saturday, 12 June 2021, after they reportedly entered the State of Grenada without adhering to stipulated entry protocols.
“Both individuals arrived on island via speedboat last Thursday, 3 June 2021 at Victoria, St Mark, and were subsequently detained by Immigration authorities,” said a news release from the Community Relations arm of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF). They were charged for Entering the State Without the Consent of an Immigration Officer and Failure to Submit to a Government approved Quarantine Facility.
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 the society.
People who fail to comply with entry protocols 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 its Immigration Act to increase the fine for illegal entry from EC$3,000 to EC$12,000.
Grenada currently has no active or new Covid-19 cases. However, since the first case was diagnosed in March 2020 the total number of cases confirmed was 161. There was one death.