CIG signs deal to set up fast track in Miami

| 17/01/2018 | 90 Comments
Cayman News Service

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and US CBP representative Todd Owen sign the deal

(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Executive Assistant Director Todd Owen signed a deal at the government building in George Town yesterday to establish a customs and immigration fast track system at Miami airport for US visitors coming to Cayman. The aim is to enable air passengers to clear the Cayman Islands official entrance process before take off, so that when they land at Owen Roberts International Airport they can quickly pass through to baggage claim.

The new process, which is the first of its kind, is in the pilot phase. It will initially be a Sunday only service, one of the busiest days, for just Cayman Airways passengers, but if all goes well, it will be expanded to Saturdays and possibly to American Airlines.

Speaking at a press conference after the officials signed the memorandum of understanding to pave the way for the fast-track airport clearance, Premier Alden McLaughlin said it had been on the cards for some time and a policy of the previous administration. He explained that some technical issues as well as the hurricanes during this past season had delayed the implementation but he was pleased it was now on track. He said the goal was to enhance intelligence cooperation while improving the experience of passengers arriving at ORIA.

The process involved negotiations with US Customs and Border Protection, coordinated by the governor’s office and the heads of customs and immigration. A senior US delegation led by Owen visited Cayman to sign the deal yesterday, bringing the new arrangement into effect. While they are here, the US officials will also discuss wider border security issues with customs, immigration and police leadership teams.

McLaughlin welcomed Owen and his team from CBP and explained that this is the first time that the US has entered into such an arrangement with another country and the first time that local customs and immigration officers will be deployed overseas in such a role.

“It will introduce a new fast track procedure at the airport and help to improve customer experience at peak weekend times,” McLaughlin said. “Our new border control procedures will also be more effective and more welcoming to all who pass through the airport. The work on the initiatives being announced today is a good example of a multi-agency approach within the civil service and our friends in the UK and the USA. This improved cooperation is also part of this government’s overall plans to improve border protection.”

The new arrangement will see Cayman immigration and customs officers working in Miami to pre-clear visitors from March. Officials are also working to identify and assess other new procedures to improve passenger flows and law enforcement.

Wesley Howell, the chief officer in the immigration ministry, said that this would be a low cost operation with no new jobs created, as officers will be flown out on non-revenue seats on Cayman Airways’ first Sunday flight and then back home on the last. He noted that it was also an opportunity for customs officers to ensure that US passengers leave their guns behind, after yet another American visitor to Cayman was arrested at the weekend with a loaded firearm in his luggage at ORIA.

The premier explained that there will be no reciprocal arrangement for Caymanian passport holders visiting the US due to the low number of travellers and the high cost of hosting US security and border control at ORIA. But Owen told the press that Miami is using more and more secure and safe technology that is helping to speed up border clearance for legitimate travellers. He said that the decision to allow Cayman officials to work at Miami airport and enter into the first arrangement of this kind was down to a very long partnership between Cayman authorities and the US border control.

The governor’s office has stated that an experienced manager from UK’s Border Force agency will be seconded to the Cayman Islands shortly to advise on work to transform elements of immigration and customs into a new Cayman Islands Border Protection Service. That officer will also lead on measures to introduce further intelligence-led and risk-based procedures to modernise the way that border control is carried out, following the premier’s policy announcement about the formation of the Border Protection Service in the Legislative Assembly.

Legislation is being introduced that will enable Cayman to also join the CARICOM Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) before the end of the year. This will improve intelligence flows with Cayman’s partners to identify potential security threats and allow border control officers to proactively tackle those risks.

“The new arrangement with CBP and the deployment of an experienced UK Border Force adviser marks the start of a new era of modern intelligence-led border control that will provide greater security to the Cayman Islands, ” said Matthew Forbes, Head of the Governor’s Office. “This is part of a wider programme of work to modernise our border controls, which will see a renewed focus on the prevention of firearms and drug smuggling.”

Forbes said it all amounted to added protection for the increasing external threats that Cayman faces.

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Category: Customs, Immigration, Local News

Comments (90)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Another idiotic idea to waste money from the Cayman Islands Government. Is Cayman going to house immigration officers in Miami to work these flights? If so what are those costs? If not are they going to fly up every morning on an early flight then clear US immigration and make it back to the gate in time to clear Cayman bound passengers? Is Cayman in time going to have officers in all of the regular gateway cities to Cayman? There are more productive ways ways to spend our tax dollars.




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    • Anonymous says:

      READ THE &[email protected]!!* ARTICLE!!!! Even before I read the complete text it states ONLY ON SUNDAYS!! Obvious to me that the officers would fly out on the first flight and return on the last flight.
      How thick do you have to be??




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      • Anonymous says:

        It would be no point to only have the program on Sundays from Miami without a future expansion plan. Therefore the OP’s question are valid.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I believe it is mandatory to be thick if you are on the marl road




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Who will pay for this and who will benefit from it?




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Capital G was a typo. Northern as in perhaps where you might hail from. If it’s anywhere near Watford it’s a real slagheap!




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  4. Anonymous says:

    But as you can see they are not.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Walk ins are welcome as boaters are too. No entrance fees and no inspections either. Come to Cayman and lets party…don’t forget the Cocaine and ganja though!




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  6. Anonymous says:

    How difficult would it be to get some ESTA and Global Entry kiosks after security in the ORIA departure hall, they’re only computer terminals, then all you have to do is present your receipt to a CBP officer in US Immigration hall.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You would have to pay for US Immigration people to live here. We are not just going to send you a couple of kiosks to play with.




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    • Think Outside the box says:

      This is a great idea. Look at all the us visitors customs catch leaving Ci with firearms. It cost 70,000 per annum to house one prisoner. If customs stops just one it will save us alot of money. The TSA or tragic sick a$$es really are a joke. The TSA could not find salt water in the middle of the Caribbean sea.This part of securing our borders from the US. Ci Government is thinking outside the box. Great job.




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  7. White Milk says:

    What we need is a vetting and clearing service to get rid of some of these criminals we have here amongst us thats what the UK and DG should be signing.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    So, are the additional costs for this facility going to turn into even higher departure taxes? Don’t be surprised.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    To supplement Capt. Bergstrom’s comments, Cayman Islands Immigration Department bought and implemented APIS a few years ago. Main problem is, they bought the obsolete version (instead of investing in the current version). Clearly the obsolete software is more difficult to implement and has deficiencies. One deficiency is that it does not collate info from ALL law enforcement agencies so that airline staff are presented with comprehensive info on each passenger – it includes only immigration-related info. Presently some airlines operating locally have not partnered with Immigration on this programme, no doubt due to the fact that the obsolete software is incompatible with their own.

    As far as I know CIG paid somewhere in the region of $800,000 for the obsolete software – clearly a huge waste of public funds. CNS, is this something you could investigate?




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  10. Anonymous says:

    This is such great news! Why all the complainers complaining and whining?
    They just come to CNS to complain about anything to get their anger off their chest.

    This will make us look much more progressive that we are! It’s fantastic.




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    • Anonymous says:

      If you look at the facts, it would be much better to have US border control here for US bound flights (which is the majority of them). As Bermuda has showed, its quicker, more user friendly and you don’t miss connecting flights as a result of long queues or aggressive CBP techniques in the good ol’ US of A airports. Nobody has ever had a real problem here at immigration, occasional longs lines in the season at weekends, but if Caymanians and residents had the Automated passport control more officers would be freed up to deal with the tourists, business visitors and to look for people overstaying their welcome.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Are you kidding me? The U.S. is practically a walk straight through these days with the odd random stop and search. Where are you coming from? Cayman. What’s the purpose of your visit? shopping. Have a nice day.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Not if you get the dreaded black X at the APC terminal, which more and more of us are getting….




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      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you don’t understand what they are doing… They are pre-clearing in Miami, our guests coming here. So that the flights landing here from Miami will walk straight through to collect their luggage.
        This also means that when YOU come back to Cayman and have pre-cleared at MIA, you will sail through with your carry on and exit the arrivals lounge immediately.
        When you say ‘nobody has ever had a real problem here at immigration… Just how often are you coming through??? I travel up to 3 times a week and I can promise you that if you come through on the most popular arrival flights, there is a REAL problem at the line up. Just take off your blinders and look to your left where all of the non-Caymanians are lined up.
        It’s not all about YOU. lol




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        • Anonymous says:

          I work in tourism and have heard multiple complaints with vistors spending longer in customs and immigration than on their flights. This is a great step forward.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    US pre-clearance in Cayman will not be seen in the foreseeable future, if at all. Here are some of the reasons why:

    The US does not want it;
    The UK does not want it ;
    The host country (Cayman) has to pay for ALL costs of the facility – i.e. costs to construct it to US State Department specifications (including ballistic-proof walls), annual costs of staffing it; all costs relating to accommodating the US staff, including rent, living expenses and school fees for their children.
    It’s not worth it!

    US pre-clearance costs Bermuda dearly but they had it before the UK tightened aviation security rules back in 2000.




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    • West bay Premier says:

      Who are going to be checking and clearing these Cayman Officials working and coming from Miami every week ? Would there be more illegal sugar gliders importation ? Has corruption ended in Cayman yet ?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Pre-clearance arrangements is a national matter for the UK. It is deeply disturbing that a regional government thinks it is a matter for them.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Haven’t seen any UK officers clearing people at ORIA so clearance, pre or otherwise, is clearly not a UK issue but a local one.




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      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        Given anyone entering Cayman cannot legally enter the UK without going through the UK’s own border checks, I fail to see why it is deeply disturbing. Moreover, its completely illogical to consider that doing it in Miami rather than here makes any difference. Its not as if the UK carries out the entry checks here.




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        • Anonymous says:

          You miss the point. Border issues ought to be for the UK, not mere territories.




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          • Fred the Piemaker says:

            You miss the point. OP says that border control is a matter for the UK. Its not. What he or you wants does not equate to the what the factual position is. How can you say its deeply disturbing that the government considers it is a matter for them, when that what the actual position is?




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          • Anonymous says:

            The UK is still struggling to control its own borders much less its overseas territories. Does Dover ring a bell? Get out of here talking nonsense.




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  12. Kris Bergstrom says:

    The reality of setting up CBP for pre clearance into the US is a very expensive deal, that included basically setting up a separate immigration and customs hall for outgoing clearance and stationing the US CBP officers here full time. The US CBP have made great progress with the electronic system, and if you take the time and qualify for Global, you will be through the process in less than 10 mins, even at peak times. Cayman sending officers up to pre clear passengers for flights into Cayman is not a sustainable solution. Cayman needs to develop technology that will allow pre clearance of passengers via an APIS system (advanced passenger information) that is transmitted before the flight arrives, and then electronic clearance machines here to check that the correct person is arriving. We could also eliminate the separate checks for immigration and customs, by having passengers collect baggage and then proceed to the exit lines for entrance.

    What is encouraging, is that at least an effort is being made, I’m just not sure that applying thinking from 10 years ago to the future is present (just have a look at our “new” airport) Frankly, its embarrassing.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Not just Caymanians! I’ve found correct Grammar and spelling to be an international problem amongst “native English-speaking” people from Northern countries.




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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Says the poster spelling grammar with a capital G? Incidentally, what are these Northern countries you refer to? North of what – the Watford Gap?




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  14. Anon says:

    Frankly, if you allowed Americans with carry conceal permits to bring in their arms, the number of robberies committed by your panhead immigrants (and Jamacanized Camanian youths) might go down a bit. Robbers are vicious but they aren’t as stupid as someone who thinks that gun control laws actually reduce crime.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Has it occurred to you that if no one had guns, there would be no gun crime? Your policy has worked so well in America?




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      • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

        I suggest that you check the crime stats in America carefully. In the states that readily permit concealed carry, there is less serious crime against homes and individuals. Criminals are not that stupid actually.




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        • Anonymous says:

          But there already was before the concealed carry rules got changed (in certain states) so you’re comparing oranges to tangerines. (Just don’t compare to the apple which is Canadian, K, Australian, etc., gun crime stats.) – I am not suggesting the US change their gun laws, I am just suggesting they not be used as a guide for Cayman laws. Especially not when promoted in such a bigoted manner.




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        • Anonymous says:

          And if they had no guns at all, there would not be an issue at all.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Ah if only that were true in Central America and other third world countries where guns are too expensive. Surely you have seen the videos recently on island from those wonderful people who hack people and each other with an axe or machete? If not then ask around, they surely are not worried about police arresting them.
        Guns were never the problem, just law abiding irresponsible people who like “children shouldn’t play with fire”.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    There are as many visitors here as Bermuda, if not more. We need the CBP here to end that nightmare of Miami or Charlotte or wherever and sometimes having a 2 hour wait in line.




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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      According to the PWC report it would cost over $20m, more than the governments subsidy to Cayman Airways. Still think its a good idea?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Yep. Certainly much better than spending $300m on a port. Might actually create a favourable impression for tourist…and if they sorted the corrupt taxis out we could be on to a winner.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    “Today, CBP has more than 600 law enforcement officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 15 air Preclearance locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada. CBP also staffs a Pre-inspection facility for passenger/vehicle ferry traffic to the U.S. in Victoria, Canada”

    But no it can never be a reciprocal agreement lol! Just not for the Cayman Islands must be.
    I can only imagine the pressure and abuse these officers are going to endure if they find grounds to deny an American entry into the Cayman Islands on their own soil.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Ridiculous comment.




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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Because we are not prepared to pay for it – try getting the chip off your shoulder and actually reading the article “The premier explained that there will be no reciprocal arrangement for Caymanian passport holders visiting the US due to the low number of travellers and the high cost of hosting US security and border control at ORIA”




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Were they able to negotiate any concessions for the Cayman Airways flight crew? Especially with that excruciatingly silly policy of forcing all of them to have to go through US Immigration when they have to fly the same plane back to Cayman that they just brought in.

    The amount of delays this has caused is *smh*

    Also does this policy also apply to the Immigration and Customs officers who would be traveling to do this program?
    When and where would they set up if they are arriving on the first flight?




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    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Totally agree. I recently saw flight crew on a “dead leg” return to GCM lining up like everyone else for a long time. Should never be, and why has this come so late? Nassau has had this facility from before 2007 when I benefited from it on a trip to the US. It can only do good for our US tourism, and I am amazed that this was not done donkey’s years ago!




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  18. Anonymous says:

    what are non-revenue plane seats???




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  19. Frequent Flier says:

    I would like to know what happens to these passengers when they arrive at Owen Roberts; there is no ‘domestic’ arrivals hall, so they will enter the same way as any other passenger; there is no ‘fast-track’ Customs lane.

    In effect these people will be in the same situation as those off a Brac/Little Cayman flight. When it’s quiet Immigration and Customs leave you alone, when there are ‘foreign’ flights in then you have a struggle to get through. Customs especially seem to think they are paid to target inter-island passengers at peak times.

    When/If the airport is ever reconfigured to have proper domestic arrival and departure areas, then it might work. But then we would have a REAL airport and that is unlikely to happen.




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  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a major achievement that all Caymanians can be proud of. Well done to all involved!




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  21. Anonymous says:

    This is another great achievement for CIG. In one week I have seen the public accountant committee rewarding civil servants for the high quality of their financial statements and now this history making achievement. Face it folks so much has changed In our civil service.

    Now if we could only get the statutory authorities to stop wasting money and follow the civil service lead that would be progressive.




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    • Tut Alors! says:

      9.45pm Not for the high quality but just for finally after decades, getting round to producing them. Yet, there are still six agencies,departments including ministries that have yet to produce accounts for the 2015/16 year.




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    • Anonymous says:

      9:45am, you are crazier than your comments. Pray tell when was the last time that the civil service part of the government produced a full financial statements on all ministries and departments/sections/units that was free and clear of qualifications or adverse comments. Hint: try saying 2005.




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  22. Anonymous says:

    Americans arriving in Cayman should be treated the way people are treated by immigration in Miami.
    It is horrible, you’re being seen as a terrorist, a criminal.
    We should do the same.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I guess you’ve never flown from one American city to another.




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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s because w from one of the whole counrties




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    • Anonymous says:

      Damn trolls




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    • West bay Premier says:

      That new set up would be used for skimming and legal creaming to get into Cayman Big Boy Club . In the name of border control . See where they are trying to protect from . Why not start protecting the borders from CI Airport and George Town Port and ever corner of the Islands .




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  23. McCarron MCLAUGHLIN says:

    Now can we get government employees to check us when we leave Cayman. Private contractors should never be responsible for ensuring luggage and people are properly checked.




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  24. Anonymous says:

    What about a finger print system for the Cayman Islands? This is important knowing that criminals tend to hide out in the jurisdiction. Just look at recent media headlines it is too easy to enter the country. Government just made it easier for the bad guys.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You mean the recent headline of the fellow who came here while not charged with a crime, so a finger print reader would have done NOTHING to stop his entry?




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  25. MI6 in Paradise says:

    More Americans with guns to easily enter a foreign country.

    The worst part is the slap on the wrists they get for breaking gun laws in the Cayman’s.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Or maybe Americans stop coming to Cayman all together and you’re already screwed up Country goes from bad to worse. Face it sonny, you need us.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. The Americans get preferential treatment when they should be sentences to several years in jail.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah..right, that makes sense.
        Now get back to work and supersize that for me.




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      • Anonymous says:

        If you don’t see the difference between a hapless 60+ American who is used to carrying his firearm legally everywhere he goes making a mistake and entering Cayman with it and someone who illegally obtained a firearm willfully and intentionally, well I guess you won’t mind paying for his food and housing senselessly for a few years. There should be punishment but a distinction is clearly in order. Probably a very painful fine is in order and maybe a little jail time.




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  26. Anonymous says:

    Bet CIG never considered getting a reciprocal arrangement at Miami, especially, with it’s notoriously long lines!!




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    • No state citizen says:

      Did you miss that part in the article?
      They said no because of the high cost of having US officials here and apparently not enough Caymanians travelling to Miami to justify it.




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      • Anonymous says:

        How does Bermuda justify the expense? They have US pre-clearance there too




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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s their budget problem to justify.




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        • Anonymous says:

          The Bermuda airport was originally a US Air Force base & then a US Naval station until the mid 90’s. They controlled the runway/airspace etc etc so it was considered American soil & they controlled entry into ‘mainland USA’. The Bermuda government got the airport when the lease expired & they kept the US immigration.




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      • Anonymous says:

        And anyway, that is not in the jurisdiction of the CIG. It is a matter for the UK to arrange.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I couldn’t follow the ‘not enough Caymanians’ as pre-clearance would apply to all travelers, not just Caymanians. It works well in Bermuda as you arrive at a domestic gate having by-passed immigration, it also helps with internal flight connections and makes things a lot easier.




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  27. Anonymous says:

    2:19, it’s your simple mind the reflects Cayman as a whole these days. Read! Read the damn article!! Can you READ?? Low travel demand and high cost don’t justify it..




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  28. Anonymous says:

    1st time the US has done this. Impressive.




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  29. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if we can get fast tracked when flying to Miami! But as usual Cayman government is always giving and never getting!




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    • Anonymous says:

      You can if you have a passport from several countries, including UK, apply for Global Entry which fast tracks you through US immigration & screening for connecting flights.
      If you are Caymanian you can get a UK passport then get Global Entry. Yes it’s a bit of work for you & some money, but if you can afford to travel then do a bit of research into the process & stop complaining…




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    • Anonymous says:

      This is being done to enhance the experience of tourists at the United States main entry point to the Cayman Islands. The other way around is peanuts and not worth the cost for the United States.

      In addition many entrants into the United States have Global Entry which is a fast track.

      The United States and Canada are moving more to automation anyways. .




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      • Anonymous says:

        You’re reply though great, is way to educated for the average Caymanian.




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      • Anonymous says:

        “anyways’ is not a word and it’s not even a cute word..




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        • Anonymous says:

          It is a word & it’s use can be traced back to the 13th century….it is used when writers are trying for an informal tone.
          In business avoid it and use ‘anyway’.




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          • Fred the Piemaker says:

            Your source for that? According to the OED its a) 16th Century not 13th and b) only correct when used as an adverb. Current use in everyday speech more an Americanism, with the OED deeming its use as a conjunctive dialect or illiterate.




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