Cuban migrant stays behind as 12 others press on

| 12/07/2016 | 5 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cuban Migrants in Cayman Islands waters, 12 July 2016 (Photo by GIS)

(CNS): One Cuban migrant from a group of thirteen opted to disembark from a 20-foot wooden vessel that arrived in Cayman Brac yesterday evening at around 6:30pm, officials confirmed. The latest group of migrants to enter into local waters (nine men and four women) were met by local authorities. Twelve of the Cubans said they wanted to continue their journey and left earlier today (Tuesday, 12 July), but one migrant decided not to go on and stayed on the Brac.

With the constant stream of migrants coming through local waters, usually aiming for the Central American mainland to begin their overland journey to the United States, immigration officials stated again that international law prohibits the Cayman Islands from facilitating illegal migration.

They reminded the community that this extends to members of the public, who are also prohibited by international law from helping them, whether on land or at sea, with food, shelter, transportation or other forms of comfort.

Officials said local laws criminalize acts by anyone who assists or facilitate illegal transportation, harbouring or the movement of migrants, whether or not for financial gain. These acts attract a fine of CI$50,000 and seven years imprisonment.

The immigration authorities further noted that anyone helping the Cubans are assisting them on a journey that is both dangerous and potentially fatal. But the authorities said that they do have a responsibility to the migrants to offer them the resources they need should they choose to land.

“Although persons who arrive in such a manner are detained pending a repatriation process, the Cayman Islands Government is responsible for ensuring that they are able to access resources necessary for health and well-being while in custody. This includes food, clothes and medical treatment,” officials said.

But recent revelations by the Human Rights Commission has exposed concerns over the treatment of migrants and the conditions in which they are being held while awaiting deportation. The HRC has called on government to address the problems, which include allegations of sexual abuse in detention centres and drug taking among migrants and guards, to issues regarding the safety and security of the facilities they are being held in.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I will donate to the ticket home.

  2. Inquiring Mind says:

    Who pays for their flight back to Cuba?

  3. Anonymous says:

    International law does not prohibit helping migrants. This is purely Cayman policy. Bad policy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. International law prevents encouraging people to set out to sea and risk death and prohibits people trafficking. Both of which are encouraged if you have a policy that allows assisting migrants in this situation.

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