The Turks & Caicos Islands are a small island chain in the Caribbean, and they are a British Overseas Territory, meaning they are nominally controlled by the United Kingdom.
They are currently pleading with the British to help them, because the local islanders are completely overwhelmed by a tsunami of illegal Haitian immigrants:
But the port district of Cap-Haitien is a hub for a people smuggling trade that has claimed numerous lives and plunged the nearby British territory of Turks and Caicos into chaos.
“We have begged the UK to help. I don’t think they realize how urgent the situation is,” said the archipelago’s housing minister, Goldray Ewing.
“As a British territory we don’t have our own defense force. We told them it’s an invasion and a national crisis. There’s no other way to describe it.”
Each year, thousands of young Haitians try to escape the poorest economy in the Caribbean, where 60 percent of the population of 11 million people live on less than $2 a day.
With migrants willing to pay anything from $300 to $1,000 to reach the territory of 35,000 people in the hope of a better life, this is big business.
Meanwhile the 14 shantytowns across the Turks and Caicos grow every day, said Ewing. Newcomers cause difficulties for long-term residents, one shanty-dweller said.
“The area gets flooded with people coming in fresh off the boats and they’re not always friendly,” he told AFP. “They sometimes bring guns with them — it’s frightening for us. People just keep coming.”
I’ve previously written about Haitian illegal immigration here. Haiti is essentially the Mexico of the Caribbean, and as conditions in the country have deteriorated, Haitians have been pouring out of the country in greater and greater numbers. In prior years, the US accepted the bulk of these immigrants, but with Trump cracking down, they’re turning on their Caribbean neighbors instead.
The Turks and Caicos will never be able to absorb thousands of hostile, armed Haitians – they are a relatively poor area with only 35,000 living on the islands. The islands are already reeling from the damage from Hurricane Irma. An armed gang of Hatians could do immense harm to the area, which has no capacity to defend itself.
Combine that with the problems Trinidad is having from illegal Venezuelan immigrants, and the Caribbean looks like it is developing a major security problem.