Clipped From The Galveston Daily News
Duvalier says band of refugees will be reintegrated into 'social life 9 of Haiti NASSAU, Bahamas (UPI) —' A sickly band of 118 Haitian refugees, herded aboard a ship by club- wielding Bahamian police, headed back to Haiti Thursday and Haitian President Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier said they would be reintegrated into the "social life" of the island. ; Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The refugees were removed from tiny Cayo Lobos, where they had become stranded while trying to reach the United States. They were put aboard the Lady Moore, a 130-foot vessel expected to reach Port-au-Prince iate Friday. American television crews in helicopters filmed the uniformed Bahamian police clubbing and beating a group of the Haitians who staged a sit-down protest in an attempt to avoid removal from the island. One of the helicopters carrying three network newsmen and a pilot disappeared while en route back from Cayo Lobos. A day-long' search failed to turn up any trace of the craft. Bahamas Police Commissioner Gerald Bartlett said he was "unconcerned" with news reports of police brutality on the island. He said the Lady Moore's captain would not file a report on the incident until his return. "I am certain they (Bahamas police) have not committed any crimes," said Bartlett in a telephone interview from Nassau, Bahamas. "I feel my men acted accordingly — we just got them (the refugees) off the island." Bill Kalis, spokesman for the Bahamian News Bureau, said in Nassau "there was onlv minor resistance" during the evacuation of the refugees who occupied the coral-and- limestone island for 40 days with scant supplies. After meeting with officials of his government, President Duvalier said in a statement released through his information officer that "these people will receive the same security and protection to reintegrate into the social life of Haiti without any type of discrimination." It is illegal for Haitians to leave their country, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, without an exit visa. Haitian authorities have applied the law only when they actually catch the refugees at the docks attempting to flee Haiti. In Miami Thursday, representatives from eight different organizations including the Friends of Haitian refugees, the Nicaraguan Support Committee, and the United Farm Workers registered protest of the situation with the Bahamas Consul. The representatives said the refugees should have been taken to the Bahamas and then to the United States. A spokesman for the organizations said, they were prepared to send a boat to Cayo Lobos Wednesday, "but the offer was refused by the Bahamian government." United Nations High Commissioner Poul Hartling said the U.N. offered to help, "but we cannot do so univited. "We are not in a position to intervene in a country," Hartling said.