Airlift rolls on as hundreds leave

| 10/05/2020 | 115 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Over the last seven weeks since the airports closed in March evacuation flights have continued to take foreign nationals home and almost one thousand people have left the Cayman Islands. On Friday Governor Martyn Roper, who has been overseeing the airlifts, confirmed that 921 people have gone home on these special charters to various destinations, from Costa Rica to the UK.

However, with estimates that there were almost 70,000 people living in Cayman, with as many as 30,000 permit holders, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the population is still believed to be more than 60,000. After Cayman began its lockdown procedures and announced that the borders would be closing on Sunday, 22 March, at 11:59pm, people began leaving but many have also returned.

Between 15 and 22 March, when Owen Roberts International Airport was closed, 12,574 people left the islands, but 4,003 people returned, leaving a net migration of 8,571. Although almost a 1,000 more people have left since then, the governor said another 370 people have returned on the various evacuation and airlifts that have been organised.

And the airlifts continue. Cayman Airways has scheduled another flight for Miami next Friday and seats are now on sale. A limited number of Caymanians will be able to return on this flight but they must be on a pre-approved list to access those seats. A CAL flight is also going to the Dominican Republic next Sunday, 17 May.

For full details of these flights visit CAL’s website here.

Meanwhile, the governor has said that efforts are being made to organise another British Airways air-bridge flight. His office also remains in discussions with the governments of Jamaica, India and the Philippines to help others who want to leave, although the situation of airlift remains challenging.

Earlier this week Roper noted that the Nicaraguan government was still refusing to accept returning nationals but will keep the situation under review.

The governor also urged foreign nationals who believe the employment situation will improve in Cayman soon and have opted not to take advantage of the air evacuations to re-consider if they have an opportunity to leave. He said that even as the economy re-opens and work opportunities emerge here again, Caymanians who have lost their jobs will be first in line.


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Category: Business, Local News, Transport

Comments (115)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    May God have mercy on us. The heart of men is desperately wicked these day. But God is going to pour down is worth upon us if we don’t change we are too hateful and wicked my God man. Look what is going on in the world n we still refuse from changing our dirty ways. 😭😭😭😭😭

  2. Anonymous says:

    The way some of us caymanians talk you would swear we’ve been living on these islands for thousands of years. News flash, one way or the other we are ALL descendents of immigrants. Humble yourselves.

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  3. bobby says:

    But why there is so much foreigners on this island what’s wrong with the native residents are they not part of the work force on this island.

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    • Anonymous says:

      12:54am – greed and corruption. And some people trying to look big.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really you know whyy cayman have plenty forenger because no every one work in construction, cleaning, all the strong work,in this country is make for expatriate.

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  4. Odalys says:

    I will like to find out when there will be a Cuba flight for cayman because am a residents and I will like to return to my husband and family there?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You will have more freedom

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ask jon jon……he afterall single handedly renamed Cuba’s nationality to Cubian so he seems to have some influence in Cuba dwl.
      Honest answer, not sure haven’t heard a thing about repatriation flights to Cuba.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Makes me laugh out loud with frightening tears.. So many idiots on this tiny rock. Please get the planes to take them to their homelands. For crying out loud

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian and very disappointed with some of the comments on here. Cayman Airways brought a lot of Jamaican here. Not Caribbean Airlines.

    The Jamaican build these islands back in the 60th and 70th, please go and read our history. The Jamaican help rebuild these islands after Ivan and they are here to help us after Covid-19.

    To all the Jamaicans who resides here, please don’t leave, we respect you and thank you for your help over the years.

    Caymanian born 👍

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    • Observer says:

      This isn’t the 60s and 70s. The ones here now are a different sort. If you can’t see and understand that then you are part of the problem.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8.08pm you need to re read our history – Jamacians came here to work because there was a little money flowing and Cayman was a better place to live. They were/are PAID and paid good for whatever they did/do; so please get it right “they never built up these islands” like you think. Fake information.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So when the Jamaicans came here and work….what did they do? And in the 50s and 60s when Jamaicans were coming here to settle it really was not because of better money. The ja$ was relatively stable and strong at that time. If I’m wrong please tell me the story of the history. I’m eager to know why we hate the Jamaicans. Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:08, not only is your grammar deplorable, but also your grasp on reality.

      First, no one came to Cayman to “help rebuild” anything. Cayman had MONEY to pay! So therefore attracting labor wasn’t an issue. After all, people who need money to survive tend to take jobs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get serious, no one is leaving and there is no push cause that will drive Caymanian wages back up.to late 1970s early 1980 levels coupled with a collaspe in real estate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      5:27pm … well the whole world is in dire straits – and Cayman can’t solve/accommodate everyone’s problem – we have no magic button, Caymanians are also suffering at the moment. Expats with no jobs; WP or other going to have to find their own yard.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is past time to open up the borders and end this madness!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Open to whom? Who is travelling? Do you know of tourists just waiting to visit?
      If a resident leaves they are likely to spend 14 days in quarantine when they arrive at their destination. So what is the rush?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The Jamaican Permit Holder repatriations are beyond the scale of our airlift capacity. We would need to collaboratively charter huge passenger ferries.

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    • Anonymous says:

      700 people work at the ritz yet only 900 people have left

      When the below are all closed!!!

      Ritz
      Westin
      Sunshine
      Morritts
      Kimpton
      Reef
      Comfort suites
      Marriott

      What are these people doing???

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Americans and Canadians are trying to get home. A few Costa Rican’s and others have been able to get home. The Jamaicans and Hondurans are just chillin – but going to potentially get hungry (and homeless) pretty soon. Need to realize no more Tourism this year and increase the pressure on those evacuation flights.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Do these places only employee Jamaicans? So I get that there’s a lot of Jamaicans here on work permit and as status holders. But to be honest I’ve rarely ever seen much Jamaicans working in hotels and dive companies and the likes. You know the nationalities that hold these jobs, why jump on the Jamaicans back? Everything is Jamaica. Just goes to show how important Jamaicans are to the ppl of these island. I get that you want the Jamaicans to leave but frankly I think the Brits, Americans and Canadian’s are way worse in how they turn their noses up at us. If anything the Jamaicans are proably just laughing at us for being so riled up at them while ignoring our true prosecutors.

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    • Anon says:

      12.30pm Carnival? – patties and jerk chicken on the menu, overnight sessions, reggae reveille etc.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly… and what ever it takes we need to activate it. Because Mr Seymour knows now we don’t have facilities if we have a 2nd and 3rd surge, we will have a catastrophic disaster.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Surge? Surge? We haven’t had a surge. Barely a ripple.

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        • Anonymous says:

          6:17 THANKS to WHOM!

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          • Anonymous says:

            May God have mercy on our souls look like no body can’t see what is really going on around up tomorrow. We need to stop pull down each other n show some love my God man kind is so hateful against each other. God please have mercy on us.😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

        • Anonymous says:

          The surge that’s killed hundreds of thousands globally in half a year. Don’t be dumb.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Not yet – idiot. And we hope not. But the deal is we just don’t know – and like the whole world / what a disaster it I’ll be.

      • Anonymous says:

        The same Mr Seymour who mentioned the “Cubians” today? Sure knows a lot…..

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree and we must do it now, ferries, planes, navy, RAF. Etc……whatever it takes.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    does anybody know how many of the 12,574 people who left between the 15th and 22rd of March were actually residents? I’m assuming most were tourists, as the restaurant I work at was packed with tourists at least for the first couple of days of that week.

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  11. Anon. says:

    Reporting of the actual number of people currently on island is confusing because CNS initially says that there were reportedly 70,000 living in Grand Cayman, that number is presumed to come from the Economics and Statistics office and the census, which was done when?

    Saying that many people have returned makes it appear as though the people returning were not initially counted in the 70,000 when my understanding of those who had returned were mostly students studying abroad and residents who happened to be abroad when the closure of the airport was announced.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We have so many undocumented stragglers, we cannot get an accurate count. Look on the roads we could easily be pushing 80,000 right no! Don’t depend on Government’s info. And my thought is that mostly the one that were brought back are status and PR, some students. One mess after the other.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I am wondering what’s going on for the Jamaicans I barely even hear some news about us in this time I think our Prime Minister should try to stand Up for us

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    • Anonymous says:

      PM Holness has, so far, not been keen to avail receiving airports.

      Maybe the governor’s office should ask him to open a receiving port instead? We have perhaps 15,000 Jamaican permit holders on Grand Cayman, if anywhere near that number wanted to depart for home, it might require some 125 one-legged repatriation flights – a huge chaotic undertaking for our little airline with only a few crews and planes operating.

      Whereas, most of the ocean-going ferry charters in our region are idle, and might provide a more cost-effective option for getting people back to where they need to go. Cuba, Belize and other regional partners have huge passenger carriers sitting at anchor right now that we might collaboratively charter – including CI registered high speed air-conditioned catamarans that carry 960+ at a time.

      https://www.cubaferries.com/havana-express.htm

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      • Anonymous says:

        Andrew holmess …. needs to come and get his people. We are not responsible to get them to him. Caribbean airlines brought them here – so Caribbean airline needs to start coming for them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That should be the expectation, but that is not the current process. There is a website to register for repatriation permission, on your own dime.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Is it wrong for persons to pay for their flight back home? There has been so many flights in and out of cayman and persons had to pay for the tickets so I dont see the deal in repatriating on your own dime.

        • Anonymous says:

          3:08 you have that part WRONG they were here long before any Caribbean Airlines!

        • Anonymous says:

          Didn’t caribbean airlines just recently started operations in cayman last year? I’m so confused. I think you need to review some information and stop being ignorant.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope you mean accepting you all back on your island! Well call him and find out! You all need to pressure him! You all are his problem; not ours.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    When will the mandatory 14 days quarantine on returning citizens end?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    What I don’t understand with government of these countries is if there people did want jobs other people would not come an do it

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    • Anonymous says:

      6.55am If I understand your bad English – no one put a gun to anyone’s head for them to come here – and no one has a gun to their heads now. You all got an opportunity – you all made good – now things are gone bad the world over – and now it’s time for you all to GO!

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    • Anon. says:

      True but they may not have a choice and they may be forced to take those very jobs that they rejected previously. A job is a job and some revenue is better than no revenue so Caymanians better bury their pride do what is necessary.

      Some jobs they won’t have the skill because they thought becoming a plumber, an electrician or some other similar vocation was beneath them.

      Suddenly a Caymanian will realise they can be a janitor or work for a cleaning company or be a nanny for other Caymanian children.

      What I am wondering if all those businesses are going send home all the Filipinos so Caymanians can have access to those jobs.

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      • Anonymous says:

        9:46am…. praying that this is the case. We would not need all these people if there were not so many greedy, corrupted people. Like taking out work permits for hundreds of people and letting the go on the island.

        And Government letting far too many unneeded people on island!

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        • Anonymous says:

          If Caymanians would take the jobs and actually show up everyday and on time there would be no need for a lot of imports on permits.

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        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          But………. but.…. we can’t have Caymanian bartenders can we? 😉

      • Anonymous says:

        Correctly Caymanians continue the Jamaicans but the jobs Jamaicans hold are not the jobs caymanians want why the Americans Canadains Europeans and Phillipians are never mention in these comments Think back Caymanians Ivan not far back in our heads who stayed help rebuild the country sure wasnt Europeans Anericans Canadians Phillipians they ran like flies Jamaicans stayed some worked for opportunity to have somewhere to call home Caymanians careful how we continue to bash foreigners

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know how long it takes to hear back from the emergency travel dept. We’ve sent emails about our situation but don’t get any replies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have been waiting for WEEKS, and have been stuck off island since lock down.
      I seems they will not let work permit holders back even when their family and home is there.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes please someone help! Who can provide this information? We need to travel for medical treatment not available here.. This is our home and we cannot be stuck in Miami for weeks or months. We have jobs and on work permits.

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        • Anonymous says:

          If you can afford to fly private you can go and come back, but you’ll be in 14 day quarantine when you get back.

          • Anonymous says:

            600pm – Do you know this for sure for Permit Holders?
            I told them I would return private BUT still no response.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:16am… I hope you are correct – go and stay gone.

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        • Anonymous says:

          927 How can you be so horrible.
          If everyone treated me like that I will take my company and move all business to an Islands that treats people better!
          Be careful what you wish for!
          There are a lot of us on work permits that own companies and contribute to the community AND pay a hefty fee to the government for this!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Which is entirely wrong. Call the Governor’s office.

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    • Anon says:

      It’s like the DVDL, any govt entity by it’s nature does not respond to emails/telephone calls, Covid or not.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Please remenber a lots of caymanian are not working .

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  17. Anonymous says:

    I really wondering when they are going to get a flight to Jamaica

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    • Jamrock says:

      Jamaica does not want its own people. What a statement. Sounds like they jammed them on this rock.

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      • Anonymous says:

        7:49pm – jamacia has always treated their people rough – and theY have always been pushing them on everyone else – they – Andrew Holiness- even convince the premier that tourism between Jamacia would be good / what joke and bigger joke the premier fell for it and started bringing them here by the plane loads (Caribbean airways) from all the eastern Caribbean islands. What a big mistake that was. Now I call on the same airline to make at least 100 trips and get them out of here. They are STILL not our problem.

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    • Anonymous says:

      7:12pm You mean approximately 100 flights out to Jamaica is needed immediately.
      Not a flight!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Too many for air. We’d need an armada of multiple passenger ferries carrying 1000+ people at a time, and keep running those evacuation sorties for a week. Of course, before that, there would also need to be a welcoming coordinating receiving port on that end!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Nice weather we’re having 🌂……..let me the brew going!

  19. Anonymous says:

    In my opinion: at the moment we are under a national threat and government must get these people gone. We are in a dangerous situation.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    1:45pm … because of greed and corruption. Our immigration department is in shambles – honesty and integrity is but gone. Government has let too many people in and mainly property stricken and criminals from every corner of the world. Disgraceful.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are one horrible person. Every single person who comes here on a work permit has to prove they don’t have a criminal record. Can’t say the same for most of the locals who seem to think laws don’t apply to them.

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      • Anon. says:

        Considering how corrupt some of the countries they are coming from are, presenting a police record claiming that you have no criminal record means nothing!

        You can buy them in several countries and with no real collaboration between Cayman and other authorities, they let in anyone.

        Also, several people have had criminal records in the US, been deported back to Jamaica, and they apply for a job in the Cayman Islands with a “clean” police record from Jamaica.

        Saying the locals don’t think the laws don’t apply to them does not equate to them having a clean police record so your point is moot.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Who are those countries? The people? Call names Anon. I’d really like to know which country is selling clean police records and who are buying them. Don’t care for assumptions, just the facts.

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    • Happy in Cayman says:

      This is an absolutely ignorant statement and untrue on several levels…. WTH

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    • Say it like it is says:

      6.47 pm It is nearly always possible to discern a Caymanian contributor, from his poor use of the English language and/or his xenophobia. There are however some notable exceptions and Beaumont who is one of them, can be counted on for a balanced and erudite commentary on his subject matter.

      CNS:
      I don’t understand how you don’t understand that this comment is xenophobic.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @ Say it like it is 11/05/2020 at 2:41 pm – really!? and expats wonder why there’s so much antagonism towards them?! I’m Caymanian and I can guarantee my written English and grammar is far superior to yours!

        CNS: I believe it’s only true of a small minority of expats, especially those who don’t know many (any) Caymanians.

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        • Say it like it is says:

          3.58pm You are certainly not Beaumont (who is Caymanian). Just read the comments on this article from Caymanians, and you will see what I say is true. As for your “guarantee” comment, give me your qualifications in the English language/literature and I will tell you if they are better than mine.

          CNS: The wise thing to do when you are in a hole is to stop digging. You called out people for being xenophobic in the most xenophobic way possible, suggesting that all Caymanians (except very few “notable exceptions”) are semi-literate and/or racist and that any comment that is well written and literate must be written by an expat. Just stop. And then really really think about what you wrote.

      • No state citizen says:

        Oh, the irony of this comment.

        So anyone who writes, what you consider proper English, must be an expatriate because you think most Caymanians are idiots.

        Yet you wonder why they are wary of expatriates and tell them to leave.

        Some expatriates actually take time to get to know Caymanians, and appreciate and respect their culture. You chose to come here, so at least try to integrate before
        insulting Caymanians.

        Who are you again? Just another expatriate looking for warmer climate or to improve your economical situation and this is what you think of your hosts.

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  21. Just me. says:

    Well done. Thank you for getting the planes in and out. I am sure it wasn’t easy but it helped many. I myself will need a way out some day. And hopefully and way back.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    This was the plan all along. The Jamaican Government messed it up for Alden though

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    • Anonymous says:

      2.24pm … well Alden is the Premier of the Cayman Islands and he calls the shots for us and he should not let Holiness or any one else hold us hostage – this is most dangerous. Come on Mr Premier do the right thing. We are counting on you.

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      • Anon says:

        That is easy for Mr. Premier to get them back to any Country. Stop the outgoing payments. Their leaders will quickly cave and accept back their people!

        • Anonymous says:

          Payments? What are we paying the Jamaican government for? In intrigued.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Jamaicans send home a lot of the money they earn here.. Many countries particularly the poorer ones depend on this foreign currency to keep their economy going…

            • Anonymous says:

              Ok, a quick google search shows that remittance is 15.92% of Jamaica’s GDP. Mind you Jamaicans can be found in all corners of the world and not just Cayman Islands. What the percentage is for Cayman to Jamaica remittances, I cannot answer that. But if Jamaicans who are all over the globe send money home, they all contribute to that 15.92%. Remittances from cayman could just be 5% of that 15.92%. Now with this in mind, do you really think that stopping remittance services would encourage the Jamaican Govt to take it’s people?

  23. Anonymous says:

    How on earth can immigration or CIG not know how many people are actually on the island? And how can they possibly be 10,000 out? Mind boggling stuff 😨

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    • Anonymous says:

      It has been the case for well over a decade. It is not only incomprehensible – but dangerous, especially if having to deal with health or food emergencies.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Just don’t ask about the magical fingerprint machine that was supposed to track WP holders. Someone got rich off that fiasco.

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