(CNS): Matthew Forbes, the head of the governor’s office, opened a two-week intensive training course on asylum and immigration, Monday, for 20 immigration officers, officials said in a release. The course was developed by UK Visas and Immigration, working in partnership with the local home affairs ministry to make it relevant to Cayman, said Acting Deputy Chief Officer Micheal Ebanks.
News of the training course on dealing with migrants who claim political asylum comes in the wake of a judicial review of an Immigration Appeals Tribunal decision to refuse asylum to a family from Mexico who fled that country after they were targeted and tortured by a local drug cartel led by the brother of the local police chief.
The judge upheld the IAT’s decision but raised concerns that the United Nations agency for refugees, the UNHCR, had declared the family were refugees and had written to Governor Helen Kilpatrick expressing concern that they had been refused asylum and asking the Cayman government to afford the necessary support to the family under the convention — a request, the court heard, that had been ignored by her office for more than a year.
The release said the training was intended to provide a clear understanding of the UN refugee conventions, the legal basis for asylum claims and a structured approach to assessing credibility, evidence and material facts. Forbes told the trainees that asylum applications should be dealt with quickly, fairly and professionally. He said that dealing effectively with migration and asylum is key to national security and that migration plays a significant role in Cayman’s development.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the collaboration with the UK on this and other important areas was “vital to enhance the effectiveness of operations in the Cayman Islands”, as he pointed to the opportunity for immigration officials to gain further skills and knowledge in the area of asylum.