100s more expats leave on repatriation flights

| 07/07/2020 | 113 Comments
Cayman News Service
BA flight from Grand Cayman to India via London

(CNS): Government has not given an official estimate for the current population of the Cayman Islands but evacuation flights continue, with hundreds more expatriates leaving this weekend on flights to India, Jamaica and the US. More flights will be departing this week and next to Canada, Miami and Kingston. According to unofficial estimates, the population is now well under 60,000 and dropping, which could impact the post COVID-19 recovery.

Premier Alden McLaughlin pointed out several weeks ago that the absence of tourists combined with people leaving will reduce the money being circulated in the economy with less people buying less stuff.

The withdrawal of cash from private pension plans is now well underway and a chunk of the anticipated $500 million has already been paid out, which government is hoping will keep the economy buoyed until tourists can return. But with a dwindling headcount, the post COVID-19 recovery will be slow and painful.

On Friday 270 Indian nationals left on a British Airways air-bridge to Chennai, India via London. Another 50 people also left on the flight for unspecified humanitarian reasons. Two more air-bridge BA flights have been organised to depart on 31 July and 28 August, largely for the benefit of local students who are returning to schools, colleges and universities in the UK.

The governor’s office will continue to negotiate with countries regarding the repatriation of foreign nationals, but the new government department, TravelTime, which launched on 1 July, is organising all travel.

That team is actively working on more repatriation flights to Miami and Kingston. One flight left for Kingston on Saturday and another two flights will head to the Jamaican capital this week on Thursday and Saturday. Two flights left for Miami this weekend and another two have been scheduled for 8 and 10 July.

The governor’s office also continues the efforts to organise a flight to Nicaragua to repatriate over 100 people in the Cayman Islands seeking to return home to that country but it has not resolved the issue there yet.

Despite public concerns that there are still a significant number of Caymanians stuck in Roátan, the premier said on Friday that he had not heard any pleas recently from people wanting to return here from Honduras.

“I know there are a few people there but I am not sure there are enough people to warrant a flight by Cayman Airways,” he said. “It’s a very expensive exercise.”

The last flight to Honduras was at the end of April and several Caymanians and residents flew back on the return leg.

CNS has contacted TravelTime and Cayman Airways concerning speculation that a private charter had gone there more recently to carry a funeral party and whether anyone had been repatriated back to Cayman on that flight, but we have not yet received a response.

The TravelTime team is leading on all decisions about who can return to Cayman as it is now tasked with coordinating the government’s isolation facilities.

Every person entering the Cayman Islands from overseas is still required to enter government quarantine for 14 days as a condition of return. However, government continues to struggle to find rooms in which to house returning residents and as a result some people have not been able to return home.

Anyone who wants to return to the Cayman Islands on a British Airways flights must register here.

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Category: Local News, Transport

Comments (113)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Whatever Cayman or the world may think – Cayman nor the world does not have a magic button. The sooner The Premier et al realizes this the letter.
    Seems like lots of expats / foreigners are depending on Cayman to solve their problems.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hundreds of expats leave! thousands working from home!!! Schools/colleges closed – thousands of students home! So please tell who/where/why all the traffic????
    This crap surely not adding up. Someone needs to wake up and do their job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How in the hell is there going to be money circulating in Cayman – you gave it to the expats and they wired it out and they are still here with both hands out. You think they are going to spend any money when they are getting “hand outs” on every corner. Mr Premier you are going to be very shock when you wake up!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I want to know about Nepal flight …few Nepal nationality are waiting for fight …🇳🇵🇳🇵🇳🇵🇳🇵

    • Lomart says:

      Can they really put on a flight for “few Nepal nationality”? The Cayman Islands Government has done so much for so many yet continue to be criticised. Many countries have not done as much for their own as what we have done for others.

  5. Bertie : B says:

    God Bless Cayman and all her people , Never met a Caymanian that wouldnt give me a smile . Cayman will forever be close to my heart.

  6. Noone says:

    I think the number is highly under estimated at this point in time , the travel hotline hasn’t been working for weeks on end especially for people wishing to get back to Europe ! Given the ban of transit passengers from US to EU , flights to Miami are definitely an option under any circumstances , but hey , everything is great our side of the marble! I would not expect flights to come back to some form of normalcy before at least November 2020. In such a case the island shall prepare for a deep and lasting recession (think years) . At this point rental properties are ready to circle down the proverbial (loo in value due to the expiration of mortgage forbearances that banks cannot maintain forever unless they accept the value of underlying CLOs to implode (They don’t ) and most of those securitized loans don’t come with heavy provisions for such scenarios as the one we are facing today ! Defaults are creeping up the commercial real estate realm and I wouldn’t be surprised that such defaults cascade into the real estate market where a lot of the CREITs have some legal entities , you would expect Cayman to be a haven for personal wealth and high net worth individuals , you would be surprised by the reality and the high contrast between the perceived and present reality !

    • Anonymous says:

      The next few months will be interesting for sure. I will be definitely keeping an eye on the foreclosures! The time is now for those who were not able to buy because there was nothing available at a reasonable price!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Goodbye Cayman economy. See you again after the lesson is learned. After all you own most of the Cayman islands.

  8. Anon says:

    and here we go, back into the same old racist, bigoted, xenophobic, hatred filled, anti expat, anti Caymanian vile diatribe from a bunch of miserable, self absorbed, condescending losers.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:18pm…. I hope you are including yourself!
      Where did you come from? Why you here??? Think about it!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi all, a bit of info:

    From Cayman Islands Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs.

    A TravelTime phone number has been made available for enquiries: 649-6913.

    · Phone will be available from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    · An email address – traveltime@gov.ky – is also available for enquiries.

  10. Anon says:

    You are beating each other up over a situation that is not the fault of any Caymanian, Canadian, Jamacian, Englishman or USA citizen. If you are going to curse somebody, I elect the governing members of the Chinese Communist Party. The fact is that when they hid the truth about the virus, thousands and perhaps millions in the rest of the world were doomed to die. Once the virus left China, there was no good way to handle the it. The path chosen by the CIG has had disastrous consequences that probably will reverberate for years, but not one Caymanian has died. History will tell whether the Cayman lockdown was all worth it all.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I eagerly await your conclusion!

  12. Anonymous says:

    a sad sign of the economic reality facing cayman.
    makes a mockery of the realtor confidence tricksters predicting a strong recovery for cayman.

  13. Somewhere there is a village missing its idiot says:

    I bet you are the proud owner of a MAGA hat as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    These aren’t normal times, anywhere. It has been assumed that everyone has the mental flexibility to recalibrate their expectations to the context and constraints of the realities we are all now living – not just here, but everywhere. Sadly no.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman’s new real estate sales pitch. Buy a four million dollar condo on seven mile beach. Upon landing one has the pleasure of staying two weeks at our Holiday Inn being served basic and cold food.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear “foreign 4mln condo” during global pandemic, our border is not open for leisure travel. Force majeure. Deal with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. The Ritz is now amongst the options.

      • Anonymous says:

        No? So you’re saying anyone who wishes to buy a condo can stay at the Ritz?

        • Anonymous says:

          The long term rental market will be one canary to watch to indicate which way the economy is trending.
          When/if it reaches bottom and prices begin rising again, investment should follow.

      • Anonymous says:

        At $10,1000 for two weeks of stay in your nice room. No beach, no pool, but Great room service. I would if I could.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance to all! Time to claim our Islands back!

    • Somewhere there is a village missing its idiot says:

      I bet you are the proud owner of a MAGA hat as well.

      • Maganificent says:

        What is wrong with a MAGA hat?

      • Maganificent says:

        What exactly is wrong with a MAGA hat? Please do tell.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly 7:30pm – I wish we could get one Mr Trump or another Mr Jim Bodden – real men!!!! We all need a to wear a MAGA hat and get MakeCaymanGreatAgain merchandise hats, shirts, flags etc. (MCGA).
          Please respect America! Remember who we depend on for mostly EVERYTHING. Thank you!

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ll gladly bring 100’s down with me on my next trip. I already told our boat Captain they are on the way. So even here Trump gets blasted, yet as the articles say, the island was humming to its highest point. Probably nothing to do with USA money flowing south.

    • Anonymous says:

      time to reclaim poverty

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes.. you really had it well developed. People would still be living in caves if it were up to morons like you. Keep your moronic statements to yourself or run for office. Won’t happen once people hear the crap that exits your mouth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure this is a joke, or a true representation of Caymanians on the whole. If it’s the latter I’d expect a thousand plus thumbs up.

    • Anonymous says:

      How ignorant! We need a balance, not isolation. Be careful what you wish for.

    • Anonymous says:

      And then go bankrupt.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, keep going and you’ll be lucky to be making rope and selling coconuts in town to tourists.

    • Anonymous says:

      The owners are leaving and the renters are staying. Claim as much as you can in the limited time you have. The owners will be back. You will be broke.

  17. Garyv says:

    It is sad to see Cayman bounce from economic highs to lows so frequently. I saw the writing on the wall with the pension black hole and luckily got it out in time, deciding that the future looked too uncertain to remain, I left and have no regrets.

    • Anonymous says:

      One don’t have to see the writing on the wall, just who is at the helm of this god forsaken territory. Pompous morons who would not get an entry level job in a real world. Nearly all grossly overweight and many dumb as a door nail.

      Many smart people took pension money before new pension law came into effect and left.

      • Wayout@gmail.com says:

        6.03am… well, well that bad we ugh???? But you took your chance to live amongst us? you are just another ungrateful economic immigrant – you can leave – we don’t need you – never did. SH

    • Anonymous says:

      Well you’re in the minority. Almost everyone who leaves want to come back or wish they could.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly…I’m not Caymanian but I have papers therefore I do not speak on behalf of Caymanians. The Cayman Islands gave me a better chance than I had back home and I guess every expat including myself came here to seek better life and opportunities. Now during this Covid some expats will leave and when this is over they will want to return, why not ride along, help the community, do meals on wheels, walk a dog at humane society, help the elderly, simply give it back! Banks are easing up mortgage, immigration is helping expats during this crisis.

        I believe that the Government should be banning persons who left without a real necessity of leaving. People that are leaving and still have some sort of financial security are seeking for an “extended vacation”. This is worldwide, if you can’t get a job here, what makes you think you will get a job in your home country?

        Anyways, we have to be thankful for the people that left as there will be much less traffic on the road and less accidents!

        • Anonymous says:

          Papers? Work permit or status? If the latter, why is it you do not speak on behalf of Caymanians?

          • Anonymous says:

            Because he/she has been trained by the culture here to believe that they do not belong, regardless of the status earned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well aren’t you clever? LOL

    • Anonymous says:

      People who leave often don’t have any regrets… In July.

      Good luck pal.

    • Anonymous says:

      No regrets🙏… neither do we.👋👋

  18. Ba- bye says:

    Good thing the port was never built and I recall someone blaming expats on the dump problem. God works in mysterious ways!! 100% Cayman run economy!! Finally!! See ya expats!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Write back in 6 month, I would want to hear how your Cayman run economy is doing.

    • TheJohnJohnPensionPlan. says:

      Ha ha. Take away Mr Roper, Dr Lee…and all the hard working honest folks that come here and get the old bigoted go home (but we will take from the UK). I once read the ex-pats were to blame for the cost of water going up… Imagine the new inmproved press briefing (after the MoH gains a Doctorate from the Man from Uncle University College.

      No doubt the future problems will be blamed on the expats – you remember when they were here, they caused all this.

      The Ammended Press Update:

      Q. How many cases of corona do we have?
      MoH: Cases, I have a few in my garage, maybe 4, they are warm tho, and as they say in Italy Salute, and Ireland Slainte.
      Q. Sorry let me ask you in a way you understand, the virus, how many people have it?
      MoH: If you give a man a fish, he can eat. If you give a man a rod and teach him to fish (providing he is Caymanian) he can sell the rod and blame everyone else for his problems. Does that answer your question..
      And silence.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:55am… corona brain – it past time for you to leave. As apparently things are definitely going your way!

        • TheJohnJohnPensionPlan. says:

          11:08am Hi Cayman Brain. Not at all. Just stating the obvious. In what way are ‘things going my way’?

          I would love to see all the Immigration money gone, all the Ex-Pats gone, lets see how the Island does then..

          I can see it now – S for Server, P for Patron

          P: clicks fingers…(in a way I have only seen non-ExPats do)
          P: clicks fingers

          sorry there is no one to wait on you…

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps a few more exclamation marks would help. You’re not the idiot that’s been trying to sell that Jaguar for the last two years are you?

  19. Anonymous says:

    4:25, There is something known as Caymanian entitlement.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Typo – in my response about non-stop flight to UK I wrote “uniformed” perceptions when I meant to write “uninformed” perceptions.

    Also to the original poster, no offence meant on my “one-line” remark (I read quickly) but compared to my own “essay”….

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hundreds of people are trying to get in and are willing to rent empty condos for months. If we can allow them in (through quarantine) some of the economic issues will evaporate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hundreds of condo-renters, that don’t own their own property, or businesses – that left the relative safety of Cayman during a global health pandemic. It’s doubtful these geniuses are going to move the needle on anything, let alone off-set the demand loss from millions of vacationers not coming this year (and most of us are fine with the exchange on that).

      • Anonymous says:

        Know anyone who’s left Cayman and died because of Covid19? If not, how have they left relative safety? Posters on this site claim the virus in Cayman maybe currently silent but is rampant in the community. Hence the fear of bars opening.

    • Anonymous says:

      So they will rent, but not work? People of such means usually buy. But again, no one is allowed in to the Cayman bubble of perfection.

    • Anonymous says:

      Over and above the very modest break-even quarantine costs already passed-along, there should be an additional five-figure diplomatic capital recovery charge assessed for every self-entitled request to raise and lower the draw bridge (impeding more important matters); for what appears mostly to be summertime recreational comings and goings during a global pandemic.

  22. Anonymous says:

    About the non-stop UK flights. For years local aviation professionals and British Airways technical personnel, have known this and, to my knowledge, shared it with our various leaders. I am now retired from local aviation/aviation-related management and was involved in such information transfer.

    At the same time BA marketing personnel confirmed that the Nassau stop on the Cayman route was strictly commercially-based, sharing the route was financial common-sense. Not taking up full fuel in Cayman was the only technical-related factor, because yes, a lighter aircraft has better take-off performance. During my involvement in those discussions, fuel cost was not a primary factor because fuel prices at Nassau were very close to ours. Of course, that’s a variable.

    Over the years all the talk, talk and now expensive completion of runway extension to “allow non-stop flights from Europe” itself was simply a local political issue and uniformed perceptions from the hotel industry and, as a result, many members of the public. I’m not personally aware that any of our sitting Government over the past 20 years ever taking the aviation and BA data under close examination or consideration. Ok, so now they’ve gotten what they wanted, and going forward we should see the long-claimed benefits materialize, if they are to.

    I will tell you another thing I know, in the height of that rhetoric some years ago, I personally asked the then Director of Tourism what data they had to confirm the perception that Europeans were “waiting” to come to Cayman. That Director told me flat outright that they had none because we had no marketing program in Europe. May have changed by now.

    Finally and further, everyone except aviation people, factored-in the significant factor of the new-technology aircraft, especially the B787. That aircraft was designed for long-haul operations under conditions like ours, short runways in high heat and humidity conditions and can fly non-stop from Cayman into Europe. BA operates that aircraft on its London/Cancun route and has long notified our local aviation/airport authorities of their intent to add Cayman to that route, again as a commercial factor. Last I know before I retired, was that certain local preparations, including firefighting among others, have to be in place. But runway extension was not one.

    Sorry my response to a one-line comment is so lengthy but it puts an accurate perspective to the subject.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for the insight

    • Anonymous says:

      We know that the PPM is pre-occupied with large expensive projects. The bigger the better. No disclosures. Lots of zeros. That’s about it. Even better if they don’t need to justify, or see the project through to completion. All this factual mumbo-jumbo is just noise getting in the way of understanding their personal splits.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I think that Cayman is facing a dramatically different future, with dramatically different problems. “Cayman miracle” didn’t last long and no money were securely stashed for the rainy days.

    Hate to say that, but simply surviving in Cayman would become a reality for all.

    Don’t blame the virus (or China, Russia, Trump etc.), such scenario could have been anticipated and the territory could have been prepared.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And who is on the private jets flying in. Don’t see a yellow bus when they arrive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry I was just having a few cases of spending money flown in.

      • TheManfromAuntie says:

        is that you AMc, to pay for your hair treatment? Can I borrow some, FirstLady needs to pay for her personal trainer – he was on double time during lockdown..I skipped out on paying his fidelity pension.

    • Anonymous says:

      The despot-Venezuelan regime’s gold laundering doesn’t need to quarantine.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Since evacuation flights will not be an option if a large storm heads Cayman’s way, it’d better leave now.

    I am waiting to see how dramatically different life would be in Cayman after expats leave en-masse, both, professional and service sector.

    Feel bad for small businesses, including CNS. If CNS goes out of business, there would be no one left to report news.

    And if Civil Service believes they’re invincible, they are in for a real surprise.

    • Go.@yahoo.com says:

      5:39pm 🙏

    • Anonymous says:

      As with any serious Cat 3+ threat, I think we’ll find that private corporate/government chartered evacuation flights are still just a phone-call and wire payment away, just like they were before Ivan. There are a variety of alternate destinations possible, not least of which, the UK which now comes free of the 14day quarantine on the out-bound leg. The only real change, now from then, is that a charter might come with a 14 day stay/cost on each end. When we settle into a near-zero active cases, hopefully there will be some diplomacy to have our residents waived from the 14 day out-bound quarantine everywhere, should that even be necessary. Let’s hope it’s not.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed that the British Airways flights have operated non-stop from Grand Cayman to London with full loads?

    So much for the need to extend the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport!

  27. Time traveller says:

    Travel Time are certainly taking their time.If you complete a travel application which requests a vast amount of information including fixed date parameters which do not make sense, it seems to get absorbed in bureaucracy and you hear nothing more. not even an acknowledgement.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Tell us why one passenger on a KX flight from Miami was allowed to bypass the Government quarantine facility.

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