Guyanese suspected of being illegal immigrant escapes hotel detention in British Virgin Islands

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On the run: Ianna Thomas

BVI Platinum (August 22) — Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Mrs. Nadia Demming-Hodge has advised the public to be on the lookout for Guyanese national Ms. Ianna Thomas who reportedly escaped from the department’s temporary detention facility at Hotel Castle Maria, earlier today. 

“According to Mrs. Demming-Hodge, Ms. Thomas remains at large and a search is underway to recapture the detainee. The public is urged to be on the lookout and contact the Immigration Department in the event that Ms. Thomas is sighted,” a press release from Government of the Virgin Islands stated. 

Anyone who has information on the whereabouts of Ms. Thomas is asked to contact the Immigration Department at 468-4705, 468-4717, 468-4715 or 468-4754 or the RVIPF hotline at 311. 

The Territory continues to see an influx of illegal immigrants. While they do land in the BVI, historically, most of the illegal immigrants are on their way to the United States; however, once they are captured by local authorities, the responsibility is on the BVI to provide services and eventually arrange for their repatriation to their home country. 

A detention centre had been built to house immigration detainees in the compound of Her Majesty’s Prison, Balsum’s Ghut, but the facility is now being used by the prison. Late last year, then Minister for Immigration, Hon. Vincent Wheatley alluded to the need to build a detention centre for illegal immigrants, pointing to cost to taxpayers. 

In recent months, the Immigration Department has had to seek the public’s help as detainees have found ways to escape from local hotels where they are usually held.


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