Juan Diego Garcia was denied entry into the territory on December 20th.
Unfortunately, routine checks of the passenger’s room revealed that he had escaped.
Minister for Labor and Immigration, Honorable Vincent Wheatley in an official release today said “ I am aware that this incident has brought a level of unrest and fear to the public, especially considering the possible effects of COVID-19. I would like to reduce those fears by informing you that upon arrival the passenger did undergo the on-arrival PCR testing which I can report was a negative result.”
“While this negative test result may bring some level of relief, the fact that he has broken the law and remains at large is still of great concern for us as a Government as it should be for you as a people,” the Minister further added.
As a result a concerted effort is being made to locate the fugitive and the Minister promised to leave no stone unturned in the matter.
“This passenger has broken several laws set to protect you the people. We will not stand for this! The Immigration Department with the assistance of the Joint Task Force has begun extensive operations to locate the gentleman and enforce all penalties appropriate for this level violation.”
The authorities are now making a passionate plea to the public to report the whereabouts of the 32 year-old man who is light-skin and medium built.
Since learning of the incident, residents have strongly questioned why security wasn’t assigned to the man’s room while in quarantine. Geo-fencing devices were initially mandated for incoming travelers, but over the past few days a plastic wristlet was assigned instead. The new wristlet doesn’t allow for effective tracking. The reasoning behind the switch is still unclear.
On Wednesday December 16th, the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands increased the fines substantially for harboring illegal immigrants.
This was revealed by Minister for Health, Honorable Carvin Malone who said “Cabinet has also approved an increase of the fine stipulated in Section 47(2) of the Immigration and Passport Act from three thousand ($3,000) dollars and two (2) years imprisonment, to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and ten (10) years imprisonment, for a person assisting with or making arrangements for a person to enter the Territory illegally, and for a person knowingly harboring an illegal person for a period of more than two (2) days.”
Therefore, the public is encouraged to report any pertinent information by calling 311. All information will be kept confidential.