The opulent proposal plan of a real estate businessman was disrupted when an immigration official in the Bahamas mistakenly concluded his Moldovan model fiancée, 25, and her sister, 36, were sex workers.
The New York Post stated that Miami developer Hal “Nuby” Sears planned to propose to his girlfriend Darina Pînzaru on a nine-day journey on his 70-foot boat beginning on Valentine’s Day.
But then she was denied admission to the Bahamas, forcing him to call off the proposal.
A female immigration official at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport canceled Mr. Sears’ romantic vacation with Darina, a model and content producer he met last summer in Romania.
She had traveled with her older sister Ina, but both were turned around by the official, who said, “I know why you’re here.”
“It was so horrifying what they went through. It is beyond comprehension. They were prejudged,” Sears told The New York Post.
The Pînzarus and ten other guests were intended to join Mr. Sears on his $5 million yacht, Amici, for a sumptuous journey that included stops in the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
But when Darina and Ina arrived from London, their island-hopping hopes were thwarted by “nefarious prejudice,” he added.
The two are Moldovans with Romanian citizenship who had met all of the conditions for entrance to the Bahamas, including hotel bookings and verified future itineraries.
Mr. Sears had come to the airport to meet Darina and her sister.
Ina stated that she was first permitted access into the Bahamas, even having her passport stamped, but Darina ran into problems.
According to Ina, the couple was taken to the airport’s immigration office and questioned about their plans.
“We were treated like criminals,” Darina noted.
“They even threatened to put us in jail.” Darina texted Mr. Sears about what was going on, and he requested assistance from the Four Seasons Ocean Club resort where he was staying.
Mr. Sears was accompanied to the airport by the hotel’s head of security, where they met the chief immigration officer.
Yet she was “dismissive” right off the bat, he claimed.
“‘They’re not in, they’re out,” Mr. Sears remembered the official saying.
“I have information, they’re not coming in.”
Immigration officers grabbed Darina and Ina’s phones and kept them for hours on the opposite side of the gate.
Their phones, computers, and bags were all checked, and their fingerprints were collected.
“‘Do you have the financial means to stay in the Bahamas?” Ina remembers being questioned. “I said, ‘Yes, of course we do, we have cash, cards, no problem.'”
Finally, the employee spoke with her female boss.
“She talked apparently to this lady, the head of the immigration office,” Ina explained.
“And she came outside, shot a glance at us, and said, ‘They’re not going in.’ That’s all.”
According to Ina, immigration officers provided “zero” rationale for the denial of the entrance.
“Up until this point, nobody explained a thing to us,” noted 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 remembered her remark about Moldova.
“We don’t want to you here, and you’ll never set foot on Bahamian land.’”
Ina stated that she can only make one assumption.
“My feeling is that she thought we were from Eastern Europe and we came there as sex workers,” she noted.
“They said they were putting us on a flight back to London and that’s all.”
Mr. Sears then lodged a complaint on Darina and Ina’s behalf with the Bahamas embassy in London.
He added the three had not gotten an answer as of this week.
Messages sent to the embassy and the Bahamas’ Department of Immigration for comment were not returned.
Darina and Ina categorically reject any involvement in the sex trade.
The oldest sister works at the family company, Di Vero Atelier, which creates bespoke bridal gowns and evening gowns in Moldova’s capital, Chişinău.
Perceptions of young Eastern European women working as prostitutes have long been fueled by real official worries about some nations’ failure to combat sex trafficking.
The State Department has voiced worry about Moldova’s ability to fight traffic, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has designated the nation, along with Romania, Russia, and Bulgaria, as one of the principal suppliers of trafficked women in Western Europe.
Sears claimed the event derailed his plan to propose to Darina, but he hopes to make amends next month in Amsterdam by putting a 2.5-carat diamond on her finger.”
“The only justice we want is an apology from the Bahamian government,” Sears added.
“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.”