A Miami-based real estate developer said his proposal plan was derailed when a bigoted immigration official refused his girlfriend and her sister entry to the Bahamas on suspicion they were sex workers.
Hal ‘Nuby’ Sears, 64, had been planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him during a nine-day trip to the Bahamas, during which they were planning on staying on a 70-foot yacht.
Darina Pînzaru, 25, and her sister Ina, 36, from Moldova, were denied entry in an act of ‘prejudice’, and sent back to London, Sears told the New York Post.
Sears, who met Pînzaru last summer in Romania, said the officials turned her and her sister away after they arrived in the Bahamas in February, telling them: ‘I know why you’re here.’
‘It was so horrifying what they went through. It is beyond comprehension. They were pre-judged,’ he told The Post.
‘The only justice we want is an apology from the Bahamian government,’ Sears said. ‘But we’re never going to get it, so we at least want others to know they’re at risk of this kind of nefarious prejudice – there’s no other way to describe this.’
The original plan was for the two Pînzarus and ten other guests to join Sears on his $5million Pershing 7X yacht on a trip that would take them throughout the Bahamas and to Turks and Caicos.
Sears told The Post that he had been waiting for the pair to arrive, but when Ina was about to have her passport stamped Darina started facing issues.
Ina said they were both sent to an immigration office where they were grilled on their plans and asked if they had money and a place to stay.
‘We were treated like criminals,’ Darina told The Post. ‘They even threatened to put us in jail.’
After she messaged Sears to let him know what was happening, he called for help from the Four Seasons’ Ocean Club resort where he was staying and the hotel’s head of security arrived, according to the Post.
They both spoke with the head immigration officer who they say showed no signs of budging.
‘They’re not in, they are out,’ Sears recalled the official as saying. ‘I have information, they’re not coming in.’
Ina described how they took away the sisters’ phones, laptops and bags and even took their fingerprints.
‘Do you have the financial means to stay in the Bahamas?’ Ina said she was asked. ‘I said, ‘Yes, of course we do, we have cash, cards, no problem.’
‘She talked apparently to this lady, the head of the immigration office,’ Ina told The Post. ‘And she came outside, shot a glance at us and said, “They’re not going in.” That’s all.’
‘Up until this point, nobody explained a thing to us,’ said Ina. ‘While we were sitting outside, this lady, the head of the immigration came out and she said, “Yeah, I know your culture, I know why you’re here”,’ Ina said she said. ‘”We don’t want you here, and you’ll never set foot on Bahamian land.”‘
The two were then put on another plane and sent back to London.
Sears says he later filed a complaint in the Bahamian embassy in London on behalf of the two sisters but had not heard back.