Ombudsman mediated for refugees in need

| 14/10/2020 | 34 Comments
Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, Cayman News Service
Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston

(CNS): When a group of Cubans, comprising some who have been granted asylum in the Cayman Islands as well as asylum-seekers, held a demonstration this summer at the Government Administration Building in George Town seeking financial help, the Office of the Ombudsman was able to negotiate a resolution without resorting to a full blown inquiry. The office stepped in to help after receiving a complaint from three Cuban refugees that they had been refused assistance because they were not Caymanian, according to a press release.

Two of the three Cuban asylum grantees who made the complaint had been working in the tourism industry but were refused any of the benefits being offered to Caymanians, even though those granted asylum should be offered the same rights as citizens. This left the group of several dozen Cubans destitute, including some children who had not eaten properly in days, the complainants told the ombudsman’s office.

The releases stated that, presented with an urgent situation, one of the office’s investigators, who is a Spanish-speaker, undertook to mediate the situation between the Cubans and Customs and Border Control (CBC), acting as the go-between and communicating with both sides to effect a swift resolution.

“Although some of the discussions were intense, this ended up being a great example of the dispute resolution services the ombudsman’s office, aided by a responsive government agency, can provide,” said Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston. “Not every problem requires an in-depth investigation, especially when there are matters which must be resolved urgently and government agencies are willing to work towards early resolution.”

Part of the discussions resulted in an agreement by CBC to take over the payment of benefits to asylum grantees and asylum-seekers going forward, as the agency’s officers are more familiar with the legal requirements regarding such individuals. A CBC “help desk” will also now be established at the GAB to assist with asylum-related matters that may arise in the future.

The office noted that anyone granted asylum is afforded similar rights and protections to those given to Cayman Islands citizens, including the ability to apply for and receive assistance with living expenses from government.

Anyone with questions about the ombudsman or wants to file a maladministration complaint against the government can call 946-6283
or email

All matters discussed are kept strictly confidential.

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Category: Local News

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How come the Cubans got so much mouth in Cayman, but in Cuba their country they keep their mouth shut.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL! Only few of them here, but they make sure they are being heard. Not like thousands spineless anonymous here.
      All Cuban want what must be theirs by LAW!
      Good for Cubans! Stand you grounds! Teach locals how to stand for your rights.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians should try that in Cuba….see what would happen!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Send the back to Cuba. Problem solved.

    Why is Cayman government constantly doing for people who cannot sustain themselves while our own people are suffering?!

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because its what international law requires. And before you go off on one about that, have a little think about where Cayman would be if everyone else ignored international law.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Was it negotiated from their office in Canada or some other satellite?

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about she just require them to follow the law, all day, every day!

    • Anonymous says:

      They must follow the law without someone requiring that they follow the law. THAT IS THE MAIN PROBLEM here.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that she swoops in to fix things one at a time, with the result that the core underlying issues are never resolved. There is no accountability. She should never have to be called before basic legal requirements are adhered to.

        • Anonymous says:

          Correct. Nevertheless she did help.

        • Concerned says:

          The problem is indirect discrimination and outright discrimination. The CIG are sowing problems with actions like this. I say that because there are so many non-Caymanians here now that you cannot treat them differently – either morally, politically or legally. This is because international legislation requires actions that are non-discriminatory.
          The issue is, as they discriminate it takes just one person, just like in the domestic partnership case, to force Cayman to treat people with dignity. Something that currently, generally across society, CIG are failing to do. This is because they speak for the same electorate that is overtly discriminatory. It will lead to political action from the UK because CIG cannot recognise the duties they HAVE to perform over pleasing the electorate. Whether Caymanians like it or not ex-pat population is at or close to 50% and thaf 50% pay the majority of the fees thaf sustain these islands. Turning to the Ombudsman. I hope they don’t see this as some sort of value. They are under performing across their portfolio and until ACTION comes from them I see them as part of the problem not the solution.

    • Anonymous says:

      Laws here only apply to a certain subset of society.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re joining right? Have you heard of the CPA?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Everyone has an advocate except for Caymanians themselves. Also, wasn’t there a recent issue with the ombudsman’s office itself? Has that issue been resolved?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ombudsman! But it shouldn’t have escalated to that level if people who work at CBC were qualified for positions they hold.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good for Cubans who don’t take No for an answer if the Law says Yes! They’re not spineless cowards as many others here!
    The arrests that took place must not go unpunished (not related to this article incident). Bring international attention to the incident. Someone authorized the arrests, unless RCIPS just like CBC is really that dumb.
    If Cayman wants to preserve its reputation as a civilized territory that adheres to international laws they better get their $hit together and treat Cubans with due respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      They earn respect in Cuba. Were they invited here? They should be sent back where they are treated so royally. They can’t demand anything in Cuba but we allow all of them to come here and spread their wings.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Islands Citizens? What are those? Do they mean Caymanians? Do they mean British Overseas Territories Citizens? They are not the same, and have very different rights.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Each and every politician should be ashamed of themselves…do we realize that the majority of Caymanians is descendants from Cuba…to name a few….the Rivers…Ebanks…etc..

    • Anonymous says:

      Those people are actually Cubans of Caymanian descent….. It is amazing with all the resources available on how lost and misguided some people on the history of the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what are Caymanians? They aren’t indigenous so I really don’t think any of it matters.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance, Ineptitude, Incompetence!
    This kind of things could only happen in Cayman.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “… as the agency’s officers are more familiar with the legal requirements…”

    The sheer ineptitude is mind boggling.

  13. Anonymous says:


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