Cubans allege sexual assaults at centres

| 24/06/2016 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cuban migrants in Cayman waters, 5 May 2016

(CNS): The Human Rights Commission has raised concerns with the premier’s home affairs ministry over the treatment of Cuban migrants, including allegations that female detainees have been sexually assaulted at detention centres and guards are sharing drugs with migrants. Writing to the ministry’s chief officer, Eric Bush, HRC Chair James Austin-Smith highlighted ongoing problems with the treatment of migrants and the conditions at the Immigration Detention Centre, as well as the civic centres being used as a stop-gap. Pointing out that the ministry is responsible for the safety and security of the migrants in detention he said that over the last six months detainees have made serious allegations that officials are neglecting their obligations.

The HRC said migrants have made these complaints to the ministry as well but it appears the problems continue. Complaints include accusations that they are not being properly assessed on arrival or on a continuing basis to determine the most appropriate detention conditions for them and to establish which detainees needed to be secured at higher-risk or lower-risk facilities.

The Cubans state that there are different rules at different detention locations and inconsistent procedures for handling migrants with special medical needs, such as those who are pregnant or who are HIV positive.

The HRC also heard claims of criminal behaviour and allegations that there has been sexual activity, some of which may constitute sexual assault, among detainees and reports of a sexual relationship between a private security guard who was working at the East End Civic Centre and a migrant. Concerns were also raised that detainees at the civic centres are, in some cases, susceptible to being exploited by visitors who have been allowed into the centres.

In addition to allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a guard and a migrant, security staff at the East End Civic Centre were also accused of regularly smoked ganja with detainees and giving them special privileges and allowing migrants to leave the property during the night.

The HRC chair also highlighted the overcrowded conditions at buildings being used to house migrants, where fire exits are being blocked and where men and women are forced to use the same bathroom facilities, which also have mould.

The last group of migrants from Cuba landed in Cayman at the beginning of last month and officials reported that 106 Cuban migrants were in custody at the beginning of this month when police were called to a disturbance at the Bodden Town Civic Centre. Government officials have not revealed any repatriation details since then.

The HRC has made a list of recommendations on what the ministry needs to do to meet its obligations to the migrants and not infringe on their basic rights while they are detained in Cayman. Austin-Smith also urged the ministry to properly investigate the drug and sexual activity reports as a “matter of priority” and and to involve the police where there is alleged criminal offending.

In addition, the HRC chair called for the drafting of comprehensive written policies and procedures to address the problems and to rethink the use of private security at the overflow centres, as well as cleaning them up and making them safe and secure.

The letter, dated 8 June 2016, has now been published on the HRC’s site along with the letter that was sent to the acting chief immigration officer making similar recommendations to deal with the management of detainees, address procedural irregularities, and provide facilities to ensure detainees’ rights to fair trial are observed, in May. See both letters below.

Letter to Chief Officer Ministry of Home Affairs on Concerns about Cuban Migrants, 8 June 2016

Letter to Acting CIO re Migrants Policy, 19 May 2016

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Category: Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Establish a proper migrant policy Immigration.. clearly you are just being re-active!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is this not a poor reflection on the Deputy handling migrants at Immigration and should he and his managers and supervisors be held accountable? …. probably not business as usual I am afraid.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yet this security company will continue to receive contracts from government.

  4. Sharkey says:

    We have to remember that there’s two sides to this and every story . The men in the camp is horned , the women are looking good, or it could be all political .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do not cast your pearls before swine.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Imagine….nothing from Ezzard, Arden, Eden or other MLA’s on these matters eh?
    Wait till there is allegation of Gay Refugees…then we’ll hear their big mouths!

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Eye in the Sky says:

    The Security company is paid over 1 million annually to maintain order at the detention center. These are some of the results that have been known about for some time within the Home Affairs ministry yet nothing changes and no contracts are terminated. Ask yourself WHY?

    Corruption is systemic in the Cayman Islands.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Said it a long time ago this is a disaster waiting to happen…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Were gonna build a wall

  11. Anonymous says:

    They need to stop coming here. We cannot feed our people and should not have to spend these millions on them. They need to stay in their country and change the conditions there instead of running. They are economic migrants, we have our own to deal with. So sick of this foolishness, for all of you who I am sure will retort that ” Caymanians went to Cuba” yes they did but they were not refugees, they went to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why does it have to take so long to get them out of here. It costs less to give them fuel, food supplies and let them go on their merry way. The Kant gang we need to have per he’d in our Civic Centres are HIV carriers. Stop flopping wings and get them out of here. They are a set of ungrateful people. Use taxpayers money on the people who genuienely need help.

      • Anonymous says:

        I heard on the radio that it takes a while for them to be sent back because they all have to be processed. If they are applying for refugee status the governement can’t just let them go they have to take it seriously and there is a lot of paper work to get through. If they are not, then they will be sent back, but that takes a couple of weeks at least because they come without paper work so their identities are not always known.
        I think sometimes people forget that these cubans are people just like you and me. They are not from an alien planet. I know it is frustrating that they come and take a lot of our resources but we shouldn’t judge them because we have no idea what their stories are. If they were happy in the slightest in Cuba they wouldn’t be doing this. They want a better life for themselves and their families which is something that I think we can all relate to. In life we have to take the rough with the smooth where ever we live and the Cubans coming us just something we have to put up with. Be grateful that you in freedom and relative safety.
        It’s sad that there is trouble in the centres, I hope they sort it out soon.

        • Austin Tacious says:

          Please continue to believe everything you hear on the radio. Our entertainment would be otherwise incomplete.

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t want to stay here. It is our stupid Government that detains them instead of just giving them some food and water so they can go where they want to go…

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently they dont care what you think they ought to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what you think they want to do?! It is not that they do not want to work it is that they are not allow to. And yes a lot of caymanians went Cuba when they did not have anything here so they went to cuba and Honduras looking for a better life just like Cubans are trying to go to another country now. They wanna work to give their family a better future. Before you open your mouth get you facts straight. My grandmother is from cayman brac and went cuba when she was 19 by herself to have a better future because back then cayman couldn’t be compare to cuba but sadly cuba economy is getting really bad so she came back to cayman when she was like 60 brought all her half Cuban and caymanian children with her grandchildren too. So therefore I do know what I am talking about and I have been here for 10 years and even though I have caymanian blood in me I feel ashamed of saying I have caymanian blood because of people like you that make caymanians look bad, i feel more proud when I call myself cuban than caymanian even though I lived in cuba until I was 12 and I have been in cayman since then and I am 23 now. So I basically know more about cayman culture than cuban culture since I was a child when I came. And it is because of people like you that other nationalities speak so bad of caymanians. Do a research before opening your mouth and make yourself look stupid. And you are too selffish because cuba never denied any food or shelter to caymanian migrants and you call yourself a Christian country, what a joke

    • Anonymous says:

      That is oh so very Christian of you. But you are right. How dare people born into a less fortunate situation than you want to move someplace where life could be better for themselves and their family. How selfish of them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Are you sure its not a Cayman night club?

  13. Anonymous says:

    The process of sending migrants back to Cuba are too lengthy due to complex policies. It’s in the best interest of everyone and cheaper to put them back on a plane immediately after notifying the Cuban government, instead of housing them for months on end for required paperwork etc. Let them sort out the mess! Cayman has enough problems without taking on someone else’s issues!

  14. Anonymous says:

    That’s just what you get with warm and friendly people.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Don’t put all private security companies in the same category as the one who has allegedly committed these offences..

    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      Nooooooooo let’s reward the Chief Officer by making him Cayman’s Ambassador in London for yet another scandal on his watch.

      Well done Deputy Governor Manderson. SMH.

      Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  16. Anonymous says:

    Are we going to know “which security company” is providing these services? Remember some higher up which we won’t mention names put a certain security company in Fairbanks and a few others….at that time NO Bids went out….so do you think maybe now someone should be held accountable for this???

  17. Anonymous says:

    Can we have the the sex offender speak at our college. The current management and faculty supports such people.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Have no fear the DG has it all under control.

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