Gov’t to create asylum tribunal for Cuban refugees

| 29/08/2017 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The premier told members of the Legislative Assembly Friday that the number of irregularly landed Cubans seeking political asylum is increasing and so the amount of time they are spending in the local detention centre is also getting longer. As a result, the government is in the process of establishing a dedicated tribunal to hear asylum applications made by refugees, separating the process of those economic migrants willing to return to Havana from those who believe they have a genuine asylum claim.  

Those who land in Cayman because their journey to the US was interrupted often want to go back as quickly as possible so they can try again but those claiming asylum are staying longer and longer.

Although the number of Cuban migrants that ever actually receive asylum is tiny, the number trying has been steadily growing over the last few years, which is impacting the budget for dealing with migrants and Cuban refugees. As the LA dealt with the supplementary appropriations for the last administration, members voted another $2.87 million to deal with irregular migrants for the 2016 financial year.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has responsibility for immigration and the Cuban migration issue, explained that although government has been able to create a smoother repatriation process for Cuban migrants that are willing to return those applying for asylum are adding to the length of time Cubans are staying on island and continuing to push up costs. He said that the process for returning migrants who are happy to go back had “dramatically” improved, with voluntary repatriations happening in some cases in a matter of days rather than months.

But he added that because of international obligations to refugees, asylum claims need to be properly heard. When they are refused they have the right of appeal, so government is hiving off that process from general immigration to make the process more efficient.

The issue of Cubans landing in Cayman is an unpredictable one. The last to land in Cayman was in April. While there has been a decline in the numbers arriving on local shores over the course of this year, political changes in Cuba or the United States can trigger a sudden surge in Cubans taking to the seas to find a better life. When that happens, Cayman inevitably finds more migrants coming ashore when they can no longer continue their journey in the often unsafe, unseaworthy and overcrowded, dilapidated vessels.

According to the most recent official figures from immigration, at the end of last month there were 44 Cuban refugees and migrants at the centre but some of those have been here for over one year waiting for asylum claims and appeals to be conducted.


Category: Local News

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Years ago when we had that influx of Refugees things was handled so badly that we sent those that should have qualified for Political asylum back or they got to the USA. We kept like the one who is forever on a hunger strike and others including Communists who was in charge of chasing down the suffering Cubans who was trying to steal out of Cuba. Such was given Political Asylum and is holding down good jobs in Cayman today. Brilliant Cubans was sent away. What is coming today seems to be prisioners who are not good behaved like what we saw in the past. Whom so ever is on that deciding panel should be intelligent, very observing and speak Spanish fluently. That’s why so many of the educated Cubans was sent away in the last influx. We cannot use people from third world countrys who can speak alittle Spanish to make those decisions. As little as we might think of the Jamaicans at least we can understand their language and the majority of them are God fearing. Thank God we did manage to get Four Great Doctors from that influx of Refugees who has served our Country well. Let us be careful and select the best for monies spent.

    • Anonymous says:

      The must sad thing about this IS that Immigration doenst know at all how to deal with this cases. They dont have any idea . All they do IS applying the Memorándum of understanding wich it IS powerless comparing with The UN convention for Refugees

    • Valentina says:

      Is cayman only accept political asylum?

  2. Jimmy Seville says:

    I’ve never seen so much public funds wasted as I’ve seen at the Cuban detention centre, must cost a fortune to keep them so long, lol
    Money to burn

  3. Anonymous says:

    The precedent has been set. Many more will come. And not just from Cuba.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:44 pm, agreed, but don’t understand how we become such a fool Country.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because you are part of the UK that’s why 4.44pm……..the biggest mugs in the world!! Take all the waifs and strays that no other country wants and it’s us tax payers that suffer.


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