911 loses contact with Cubans on tags

| 05/04/2021 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cuban migrants (file photo)

(CNS) UPDATED: More Cuban asylum seekers who have been living in the community wearing electronic tags as they wait for their asylum claims to be heard have gone missing. Border Control has confirmed that they have been unable to locate ten refugees. With the last signals from the monitoring devices being received by the Department of Public Safety Communications from the sea on the night of 4 April they are now unable to verify their current whereabouts.

Cayman is obligated to recognise asylum seekers and to process them as such, or deport those who do not claim asylum back to Cuba. However, both processes seem to take a very long time and as a result the Cayman authorities must provide support for the migrants while they remain under the supervision of the border control agency. Because the country is not able to provide an immigration detention centre that meets human rights standards, the government has begun housing the migrants in the community with electronic tags.

Despite the departure of the Cubans officials said the electronic monitoring technology and operating procedures utilised by the DPSC was working effectively according to an ongoing inquiry following the incident. But officials said the migrants are not prisoners and have no restrictions in moving about on the island. CBC said it is currently working with partner agencies, including, the RCIPS the Cayman Islands Coast Guard and DPSC to investigate the incident and locate the migrants.

The DPSC said it is compiling a comprehensive report which will include information extracted from their automated systems to assist the CBC and RCIPS with their ongoing investigation into this matter and they added the welfare and safety of the Cubans was of paramount concern.

This is the second group of Cuban migrants who were residing in the community and using the tags that has left the Cayman Islands via boat in an effort to continue their journey to mainland central America. The last group was in November, when 14 Cubans left aboard a boat and made it to Cancun, Mexico. Five days after the authorities here admitted losing track of the group, they were rescued by the Mexican Navy in a boat that they had presumably acquired in Cayman.

Anyone with information about the latest group to leave by sea is urged to contact the confidential information hotline at 1-800-534-2546 or email legalim@gov.ky

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Category: Border Control, Local News

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Through local “third parties” their boats should be repaired and then send them on their way. The Cuban Government will still believe like this incident, that the country is complicit in their escape, but not our Government. These poor souls do not want to stay here, we do!

  2. Anonymous says:

    “in a boat that they had presumably acquired in Cayman..”

    And therein is the central question – how did these migrants acquire that boat? No one has reported one stolen, at least that the RCIPS has advised. Yet aiding – and that would include selling them a boat as well as gifting them one – a migrant is meant to be a offence. But 5 months after the last incident RCIPS seems unable to determine how the Cubans got the boat in question, let alone how they managed to evade the tagging. And now we have another case. Is this actually a government policy – give them a boat and wave them on their way to avoid the cost of keeping them in rented accomodation?

    • Anonymous says:

      So your saying I cant sell my boat or give it to a foreigner?
      How would I know?
      Should I check with CBC before I sell?
      What if they are a visitor?
      If I sell my car to you is it my responsibility to check you have a license?

      • Anonymous says:

        You wouldn’t know they were Cubans? You wouldn’t be at all suspicious that someone turned up to buy your board and couldn’t engage in any conversation about local issues. And let’s get to how Cuban migrants have the cash to buy a boat. My post was that it was highly unlikely that they acquired a boat, but given that anyone seeking or giving them one would be under suspicion of an offence it was remarkable that RCIPS had not found out who gave the last lot their boat and what the circumstances were.

    • Anonymous says:

      Plenty of non-resident property owners have boats here. Unless they’ve got security in place those would be easy pickings.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We should expect to see more persons stopping in Cayman and then leaving. They are trying to get to the US boarder via South America. Not sure what else can be done via monitoring, but it’s evident that the goal is to get up to the US. The US border is having a overwhelming surge of persons trying to get in, google search “U.S.-Mexico border crisis“

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Good luck fellas

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great secure borders you got there, Alden.

  7. AnonymousZ says:

    The problem is when they come here, Human Rights is always on governmen’s case – we can’t do this, we can’t do that. We use to house them at one detention center. Human Rights cries: We are treating them like prisoners. Then we allowed them to live in the community, we give them little monies to get by in our expensive country … And this is a big risk. Human Rights cries: Ankle bracelets restricts them and treats them like criminals… and the list goes on. One Cuban protested in front of the government building and wants his wife to have Asylum too, since he has it … All I have to say, our government need to address how we are going to properly deal with the Cuban migrants here. There needs to be a balance in protecting the country and their human rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our bureaucratic ineptitude is ever-present. That’s the normal state of affairs with or without marine arrivals. Even after all these decades: that we can’t anticipate, or sort people in a timely or Humane manner, with millions allocated to doing this, is inexcusable. The Governor’s office and UK foreign secretary should be actively involved, and there should be well-trod pathways and protocols for one of: (a) repatriation, or (b) political asylum, or (c) humane continuation of the marine journey. All they have to do is pick one of those three lanes and get on with it, as if, you know, someone’s life hangs in the balance.

      • Anonymous says:

        We need the all clearance from Cuba to repatriate them, and the Cuban government holds that up for months. No answer from Cuba, they are stuck here whether they get asylum or not. That’s out of our hands.

      • Anonymous says:

        The very same one’s you think are the solution are part of the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the Cuban refugees had money they could just buy status like everyone else I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why they don’t go to Jamaica , answer that question and then Cayman do the same as Jamaica

  8. Jotnar says:

    So the electronic tag system, meant to protect society against people on bail or convicted, doesn’t provide immediate notification of when the wearer disables the tag? In which case what the he’ll use is it? Or are the 911 reviewers hopelessly negligent that they simply ignore alarms? Or, could it just be the authorities turn a blind eye to Cuban taggees going on the lam! More if these answers are particularly complimentary to the authorities- looking forward to the explanation ( except, like other difficult questions, we simply won’t get one.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is at least the second time, seemingly having corrected no earlier errors in policy, hardware, or oversight from the previous incident(s). Whatever open flaws there are with the administration of Human Rights claims, and we can only guess, since there could be a catalogues of them – someone sympathetic has decided to leave gaps in the fence and time, for them to organize help, provision, and leave on to somewhere else. Abnormal ambient levels of ineptitude doesn’t hinge on there being (or not being) any lives to ruin, it’s just regrettable that it does collide with innocent people often in Cayman. Anywhere else, heads would roll, and there would be a half dozen or more NGOs like Amnesty International and Transparency International sniffing out our problems and reprinting them. Maybe that attention will come too as a consequence of failing to understand our geographic address in the Caribbean, and the perverse entertainment value of exploiting proximity to an Authoritarianism ally.

    • Anonymous says:

      The tags didn’t stop working – nor are they geo-limited in this case since the Cubans do not have restricted movement. The issue is that they got on a boat and left, so the alarm would have been sounded well after it was too late to effectively do anything about it (and realistically, other than to ensure the boat they’re on looks seaworthy, why would we at that point)?

      • Anonymous says:

        If the tag has no geo fence then why do you have them tagged, hmm? If they are free to wander wherever they like, when they like, the. It’s a bit pointless tagging them. Like everything else with these two espisodes, the official explanations make no sense at all.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, as much as i sympathize with them, if they cannot follow a simple instruction given to them by authorities? Thier claims for asylum should be denied. If they are allowed to stay, what other laws/direction will they choose to willfully disobey? Send them back or move them on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Boat done sailed on that one, my friend.

    • Anonymous says:

      At this stage, repatriation should be their only option. Maybe Panama will keep them since they were supposedly located in their waters.

      Most Cuban refugees do NOT want to be in Cayman and are trying to get to the US. Forcing them to stay here is ridiculous and a drain on public funds.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As long as they are leaving, it’s all good. It was impolite not to say goodbye, but we’ll get over it.

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