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LA to vote extra $3M for Cubans as more deported

| 21/02/2017 | 14 Comments

(CNS): When the Legislative Assembly begins its final sitting of this administration Wednesday, one of the items on its long agenda is dealing with the supplementary appropriations arising from the budgets spanning the Progressives’ term in office. For the 2015/16 budget MLAs will be voting on nearly CI$3 million more for the premier’s home affairs ministry to cover the costs of dealing with the massive influx of Cuban migrants last year.

There are 51 migrants still detained on Grand Cayman after another 20 Cuban men and women were deported to Havana on Tuesday.

After the Department of Immigration, the Customs Department and the Prison Service escorted two women and 18 men from the Immigration Detention Centre to a charter flight at the Owen Roberts International Airport, there are now 11 women and 40 men still detained and awaiting deportation.

It is now not clear what will happen following the change in US policy announced last month that has pulled up the welcome mat for all Cubans who crossed over America’s land borders.

The détente between Havana and Washington that began under former US President Barrack Obama’s term saw an increase in migration from Cayman’s large neighbouring island as people feared the new warming of relations between Cuba and the US signalled the likely end of the ‘wet-foot, dry-foot’ policy in America.

This fuelled a significant increase in migrant numbers, as they believed time was running out to make it to America and stay legally. As expected, some days before Obama handed the reins of power to Donald Trump, the administration signalled an immediate end to the policy with no warning to prevent an even greater surge.

Given its geographical position, many Cuban migrants ended up in Cayman waters in unsafe, makeshift vessels, where they were forced to end their journey. But since the announcement just one group of migrants, already en route before the news reached Cuba, entered Cayman waters.

It is still not clear if the numbers of those trying to leave Cuba will fall. The new administration has been extremely difficult to read when it comes to foreign policy and its hard-line approach to immigration. While Trump and many Republicans denounced Obama’s Cuba policy, their attitude towards immigration may see the current administration turn cold on the Havana government and the Cuban people, keeping the welcome mat firmly rolled up.

But for Cayman, the issue of migration from Cuba remains an unpredictable one. The processing and detention as well as the repatriation of migrants landing in Cayman has to be paid for but it is difficult for government to estimate at the start of a budget year how much will be required. While government cannot go over the total expenditure it budgeted for each year, it can reshuffle cash from one place to another and it has had to juggle an extra CI$2,897,702 to cover the costs of migrant services in the budget that ended on 30 June 2016.

How much will be needed in future, however, remains to be seen.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (14)

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  1. frangipani says:

    does Government just pick these figures out of mid-air?

    I need to find their money tree




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  2. Anonymous says:

    1)We can’t send Cubans back to their home until their Gov’t says so.
    2) What is 3 million dollars on refugees when we spend ridiculous millions of dollars on a gymnasium , another Public High School for new Caymanians who should pay for they’re schooling.
    3) Government needs to scale down and reduce over 6000 workers who are not pulling their weight.
    4) We would have more money for infrastructure projects we wouldn’t be worried about a lousy 3 million dollars .




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  3. Sharkey says:

    These politicians have too much dam money to waste and no brain to spend it wisely..




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Repatriation of illegal immigrants is a pretty normal thing for most countries, why would it not be? Whilst I have sympathy for Cubans wishing to flee what is still a repressive (albeit improving) regime, they need to understand that they will be sent back if arriving illegally. They would be better served as becoming agents of change and pushing for reforms in their own country. Trumps new crackdown on illegal immigrants is getting a lot of bad press (I am not referring to the travel ban, but the deportation of illegal immigrants) is in my view correct-and I don’t agree with Trump on anything. The fact that it may make it difficult to get people to clean or look after your kids is their issue, not ours. Can you also imagine what it would be like here if we did not deport illegals? Would be no room for anyone…




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    • Anonymous says:

      10;00am, We agree with you, why spend millions on them, (we wonder) Mr. Premier why don’t you give the poor old suffering seamen a little raise, better watch out on may 20th..




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    • Anonymous says:

      Why do we wait 6 months to do so, feeding, watering and housing these poor folks in sad pens, accruing all of the added expense of delaying the inevitable? That’s on us.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if we weren’t warehousing these poor humans like dusty PR applications for months at a time – and dealt with them fairly, humanely, and promptly – our bills might be lower? Why a private charter? Wouldn’t it be quite a lot cheaper to send them back in some of the empty seats on our many regular and empty commercial flights? How many do we have per week now?!? We create the added expense by trying to conceal our duplicitous shame from the Cuban visitors served by our flag carrier. Our priorities are all out of whack. Smh.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to the DG. By forcing the refugees to stop rather then giving them humanitarian aid and allowing them to continue we now have to foot the bill.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    When Franz going send Havana the bill? Not fair to burden residents with having to pick up the tab…that’s $3 mill that could’ve been used elsewhere on island




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    • Anonymous says:

      8; 59, we all agree with you




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    • Anonymous says:

      The guys they are sending back I suspect end up in prison or with a black mark on their score card which will make getting a job more difficult. I do agree Cuba should be doing more to prevent illegal immigration but sending illegals back (in an airline case) costs the airline-if they arrive under there own steam, its a government cost-simple as that.




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  8. anonymous says:

    Some have a nerve to say that Cubans work for free here. Free food and lodging that is for sure and they like it so much so they apply for assylum.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The cost of food should be minimal, due to the fact that their diet should be the same as they were used to in Cuba. Rice and beans are duty free. Reduce the cost further by decreasing the processing time. It is costing taxpayers too much, when what is spent on them could better be used on our own.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Why not suggest Turtle chow – we’re already buying $6mln worth of that every year (evidently). How about we try to do our work faster and start treating any and every person that is not a born Caymanian like a human being instead of proposing a menu from some WW2 prison camp. #Caymankind




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