Cayman to talk with Jamaica about removing visas

| 17/09/2010

(CNS): Jamaica and the Cayman Islands have agreed to resolve the issue of the visa requirements for travel between the two countries. The agreement to talk about the matter was made during informal talks yesterday (Wednesday, 15 September) between McKeeva Bush, the premier and Jamaica’s deputy prime minister, Kenneth Baugh. Bush spoke with Baugh when he visited Cayman with former Jamaican Prime Minister “PJ” Patterson, and CARICOM Economic Adviser Byron Blake when they were in transit to attend a CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Cuba.

 
The visa was first introduce by the CI government in 2005 following the large increase of Jamaican naitonals coming to Cayman as a result of the economic boom here in the wake of Ivan. The requirement was then reciprocated by the Jamaican government which in turn introduced a visa for Caymanians visiting Jamaica.
 
Given the significant amount of Jamaicans living and working in Cayman and the huge family ties of Caymanians with Jamaica the visa has been criticised and blamed for further fuelling divisiness.
 
Aside for discussing the possible removal of the visa requirement the Jamaican delegation also visited the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, where as well as Bush they met with the speaker Mary Lawrence as well as the deputy governor Donovan Ebanks as well as government ministers the opposition leader, MLAs and official members.
 
After watching the Legislative Assembly at work, the guests talked about the close historic ties between the islands. They also spoke of the need to rebuild the traditional Caribbean foundation of strong parenting and families in their countries, A GIS release stated.
 
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  1. Devil's Advocate says:

     I agree that not all Jamaicans are poor.

    Unfortunately, the ‘skin colour’ may NOT be the best indicator of the impact of Jamaicans in Cayman. So don’t just pick on the poor because many may have a different complexion and less resources, remember strength can come in numbers too.

    Who owns the majority of  the major developments (marinas, small-medium sized businesses, restaurants)? Aren’t many of them ‘light-skinned’ Jamaicans?

    CNS: I am sorry to say but it just seems that most of these blogs are attempting to create division, put native Caymanians against ‘black’ Jamaicans. Wonder if some of these people are scared that that combination may stop them from accomplishing their goals because the majority of native Caymanians tend to be more compatible with native Caymanians and they hate the thought of integrating with these two groups? The perpetual racist sterotypes is not helping anyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A visa application process helps to confirm that somebody who comes to Cayman has the means to support themselves and pay any cost associated with their stay. For example, what do you do if someone who comes from Jamaica visits, falls ill and is hospitalized, now turns out they do not have the funds to pay their bills and they do not have valid insurance. Who is supposed to pay for this?

    • Richard Brown says:

       Therein lies the problem…If someone desperately wants to come the Cayman Islands or the States, they can always forge documents. That is why the US doesn’t rely on bank accounts or land titles etc when making a visa decision. In fact they dont even ask youto bring those things in.  The Cayman embassy basically asks you to submit documents then send them off. If you  need to prove  that you have money in your account, you can basically ask family members to deposit money in your account for a period of time so it will appear that you have money.

      If you are concerned about means of support while here, make it mandatory that you have travel insurance for the duration of your stay. In that case both the Cayman government and the visitor benefit.

      In my humble opinion,  the visa process just make it more difficult for regular people to enter the country. The criminals normally have no problems getting visas. They usually have enough money to forge documents, buy police records and do whatever they want to do.

      • Anonymous says:

        While no visa system is fool proof, it certainly is a deterrent for many who do not go through the length of forging documents etc to get here.

        If for every one that slips through 10 or 15 have not even bothered to try, I would say it was worth the effort.

        However, if we do not even set a minimum standard and requirement, then we are just left wide open. People who really come here with good intentions and having nothing to hide will go through the visa process. Somebody who came here and has forged the visa documents etc has comitted a crime and can be dealt with accordingly.

         

        • Richard Brown says:

           I am not certain if you have been though a visa process. It has nothing to do with anyone having good intentions or not, It has a lot to do with the inconveniences that it places on people. Most people who have the money to travel to the Cayman Islands are working people. It’s difficult to get time off your job during the  week, travel two or three hours..wait for an hour or so and go true all the hassle, get a police report, take another day off to get the police report and another day to pick up the visa, just to spend three days in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman is very small and not overcrowded. There are many other ways in which you can reduce illegal immigrants or non genuine visitors on the Island.

          Firstly..you can make it mandatory to have travel Insurance for the duration of your stay. Trust me, this is not cheap.

          In order to visit, you must secure lodging..If you are staying with family or friends, they will be held responsible for you while you are visiting and will be required to pay a fine if the visitor runs off.

          Fingerprints could be taken, upon entry.

          healthcare and education are only accessible to citizens and legal residents

          The problem with my suggestion is that it would make it necessary for immigration to be in top of things.

          Again, most people who are going to run off or whatever can afford to provide the documentations if needs be..The visa is more of a deterrent to people who are going to contribute to  the local economy. People like my friends who cant be bothered to get a visa to go to the Cayman Islands when they can just hop on a plane and go to the Bahamas. Curacao, Barbados or some other Caribbean Island.

          If your view is that we  or our money are not welcomed in your Island then i can somewhat understand yor logic.

           

  3. Anonymous says:

    THE VISAS SYSTEM MUST GO!!

    We need to have access to the jamaican, usa, uk, and canada finger print data base so the immgration at all port will know who entering each countries, the current system not working

  4. Richard Brown says:

     I am a Jamaican that was educated in the US. After university, I moved back to Jamaica. I have a fairly decent job here. I have been to the Cayman Islands three times to visit my wonderful Caymanian friend there, most recently in March of 2010. I think Cayman is a very clean Island, has wonderful clean beaches and a very cosmopolitan and International vibe to it, despite its size.

    I do need to clarify a few things. Jamaica does have an image problem and a lot of it has to do with small criminal element on our island. Having said that, It is a very beautiful Island. Montego Bay is being developed into a nice little town. In fact, Cayman reminds me of a cross between Mobay and Negril.  During the latter years of the Patterson administration, several projects commenced. Both airports were semi privatized  and were expanded and renovated. If you have been to Mobay or Kingston recently you will agree that they are two of the most modern airports in The Caribbean. The previous and current administrations have embarked on a major road network programme to make travelling more comfortable for the locals. Highway 2000, (an interstate model motor way )designed to make travelling from one end of the island to the other fast and unrestricted,  is being worked on with some phases finished. The major highway from the western part of the Island to the eastern part via the north coast is almost done, and most recently the current administration has secured a 250 million US dollars loan from the Chinese government to work on the secondary roads. New investments such as the port of Falmouth being developed to accomodate the world’s largest cruise ship  and the redevelopment of the historic downtown is scheduled to open soon. The Montego Bay civic centre will soon be opened..condos, new hotels and shopping plazas are being opened. Harmony Cove project (something similar to Camana Bay) will start in January of next year. Crime, despite the fact that it is still a huge problem, has been cut in half  since the Dudus escapade. The Jamaican dollar has been gaining value against the US dollar. When you include the fact that Jamaica is extremely beautiful with the fact that a lot of our businesses are locally owned..Jamaica is finally realizing it’s huge potential.

    I am not  here to bash the Cayman Islands. I just wanted to inform people that have never been to Jamaica, that despite the negative stereotypes, there are a lot of hardworking, educated, middle class Jamaicans who love it here andhave chosen to develop our country despite the many challenges. We are also tired of visiting the US because its  more of the same in a lot of ways, that is why we choose to visit the different Caribbean Islands. I have no desire to migrate to the Cayman Islands, not because it isn’t unique or has its own positives, but because I am quite content with mylife here like many of my friends.

    What i do find frustrating is that I f I want to visit my wonderful friend in the Cayman Islands for a weekend with several of my other friends , I have to go to Kingston, secure a police record, apply for a visa, pay extra money for securing the visa and traveling to Kingston, show job letters, bank account, land or car title and all of those other things. The hilarious part is my friend can just talk to the immigration official and i get a visa..That in itself makes the process ineffective.

    That is why i think the visa systen should be reevaluated to see if it is effective and if it does  in fact help our hinder the relationship between the two countries.

    P.S. A lot of middle class Jamaicans have chosen to go vacationing in Curacao, Panama and other Caribbean countries since the implementation of the visa programme

     

  5. Tracy from Swamp says:

    Sucking up again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian I am often times embarrassed at the raw hatred that my people tend to express and it never ceases to amaze me.

    I believe you can make your point without the need to denigrate an entire country of people.

    I prefer that the visa restriction remain in place so that we are not able to use the old excuse that all crimes are being done by Jamaicans. Just maybe one day we will admit that the majority of our crimes are by our own people and we need to admit and have the will to put in place the necessary programmes needed to stem this surge in violence. We are raising a violent group of young men who have absolutely no remorse or accountability for their actions because we are busy blaming everybody else especially Jamaicans for OUR problems.

    Also, I must address the absolutely non-sensical argument that the 2003 status grants to Jamaicans are the ones that voted in the UDP!!! I am so sick to death of hearing this argument and worse from supposed intelligent individuals as well.

    FACTS!!

    There were 2,850 status grants awarded by Cabinet in 2003.

    12,287 people voted in the 2009 Elections.

    In comparison to the 2005 Elections voter turn out was actually REDUCED in all districts with the exception of the George Town and Bodden Town. In  George Town the highest number of votes were to a PPM member and Bodden the PPM member trailed the leader by 59 votes!

    So even if all 2,850 votes went solely to Jamaicans I think it is safe to say that CAYMANIANS voted in UDP.

    Lets step up the level of our debate please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanian @ 18:45 as well you go talk to a donkey,that hard working animal would have a better understanding than most of these ignorant people here on CNS,what you are saying is nothing but the truth,………unfortunately your comments are too difficult for idiots to comprehend!!!!

  7. Common Sense says:

    Uh, I thought we had run out of money. Does MacDoodle want to do away with the revenue cow of the Caymanian visa which generates hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (if not millions) to our cash-strapped treasury?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Nationals who do not hold a UK passports have to apply for a Schengen State Visa to travel to certain countries in Europe. This even applies if they are married to someone who is from one of the Schengen States, and is despite the fact that Cayman is a UK oversears territory. Now try and negotiate that this requirement is dropped and see how far you can get.

    Why are we negotiating our national security with other countries? It is what it is and if you don’t like it, then don’t come and go somewhere else.  Simple!

    • Richard Brown says:

       It can be negotiated…Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and The Bahamas, all small Caribbean Island states have negotiated with the EU. They thereforeno longer need a Schengen visa to travel to the Schengen States if they are visiting for a limited time.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As usual the dumb and the ignorant is the first to speak. Here is a scenario for you you to consider. A Jamaican is deported from the USA, UK, or Canada. His crime was never committed in Jamaica but rather one of those countries.

    He spends a year in Jamaica. He just had a clean Jamaican police record. A record he can now use to apply for a Cayman visa. However, ask him to get a US or UK visa…I wish him luck. Their security measures are much more stringent that ours.

    CNS…you were not there. I noticed that your article left out the fact that the Premier said that if they had a a US or UK visa they could visit. The visa is not entirely being removed. Frankly, I prefer that option as God knows…we have given Cayman visas to people who could not get a US visa.

    Additionally, some of you naysayers are the very same ones that call up the immigration department here begging for a visa for someone in Jamaica. damn hypocrites.

    Additionally….except for one comment thus far….I noticed that the bulk of these negative comments were posted by anti-Jamaicans during working hours….and you wonder why Jamaicans come here and take jobs. Go give your employers a honest days work and stop posting crap. 

    • Anonymous says:

       Really?  You seemed to have missed the article about all the people that used false police records to obtain US visas.  All of those visas are now void and new police records have to be obtained.

      United States has the worst security in the world.  Remember 9/11? The The terrorist trained to be pilots  by the United States in United States.  Let’s not forget Bin Laden the biggest terrorist.  Guess who trained him?

    • Anonymous says:

      Rather like the Premier, you are not thinking this through very carefully.

      1. There is reliable intelligence that U.S. Visas are being forged in Jamaica. (This was the reason that that route was scrapped the first time around). The UK and the U.S. will have their database and the equipment from which they can determine whether what purports to be their visa is genuine but we do not.

      2. As for the stringent standards, consider that Dudus Coke had a U.S. visa.

      3. If the Cayman visa remains in place for Jamaicans who do not possess U.S. or UK visas, it means that while we will still have to maintain a visa office in Jamaica there will be much less revenue to support it. 

      4. The opposite of your example is that a Jamaican who commits a crime in Jamaica will not necessarily have their existing U.S. or UK visa revoked.  A visa for Cayman will at least mean that the criminal record is checked at that time. In this regard it would be preferable for the Cayman authorities to have access to the Jamaican criminal database that relying on police clearance certificates which corrupt officials may be bribed to produce. It will mean that we can verify that the person who arrives at the airport with what purports to be a Cayman visa corresponds with the database of visas granted.

      It is not necessarily a bad thing that we grant Cayman visas to Jamaicans who could not get a U.S. visa, since the grant of U.S. visas is sometimes influenced by political considerations, e.g. around the time the Jamaican govt. was resisting the extradition of Dudus Coke many Jamaicans who had previously held U.S. visas and even Green Cards were being denied a visitors visa.      

      Not that I have asked for anyone to be granted a visa myself, but exactly how is it hypocrisy to ask Immigration to grant a visa for a Jamaican friend or relative for whom you will be responsible?  It seems to me that that is compliance with the system. 

      These are not anti-Jamaican comments  as I have many excellent friends and in-laws who are Jamaicans and I enjoy my visits to Jamaica. It is being mindful about our security.  

           

  10. William says:

    Where is the "Love thy Neighbor Principle." Two cousins can’t get along! One too proud and the other poor! Wake up people.

  11. Anonymous says:

    OK – but here’s the deal. If a Jamaican commits a crime in Cayman, the Cayman Courts get to choose the sentence but the sentence be served in Jamaican prisons and opposite where Caymanian commits a crime in Jamaica. 

  12. Richard Wadd says:

     The Visa requirement for Jamaicans to visit Cayman was born out of a REAL necessity, as a result of the mass-influx of casual workers that came to these islands in the aftermath of hurricane Ivan. 

     I personally saw three individuals who I knew and recognized as having criminal backgrounds, and who had spent time in prison in Jam.

     One of them even told me (blatantly), that he was able to come here by using someone else’ Passport.

     While the Visa system cannot stop a determined person from entering these islands, it is a DETERRENT.

    XXXXXX

  13. Bumble Bee says:

    Is this way the UDP depends to grow our poplulation?  Why are we messing with a great thing?

    All Jamaicans are not poor but how many Jamaicans are deported from the USA each year- thousands. And how did they get to the good old USA- A visa!  The same visa that they will now use to come to Cayman- Just Great!

  14. Anonymouse says:

    Did those visiting Jamaicans require Visas to travel intransit to Cuba. Was it not P.J. Pattersons party who put the requirement in place for Caymanians to visit Jamaica.

    Most Jamaicans travel to Cayman for economic reasons. Caymanians who travelled to Jamaica mostly did so for pleasure leaving money in the country.

    The Jamaican part of the Visa requirement was obviously a Boo  Boo on their part and must have cost them some revenue. So why dont they drop the requirement while Cayman keeps it in place. That way we can continue to have some form of control over who comes here. The costs of the Visas could do with some adjustment as most people who require them find it hard to afford. That is mostly the spouses and children of those Jamaicans working here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most Jamaicans used to travel to Cayman to visit family working here. While here they would spend their money and do a bit of shopping to take back to Jamaica. Now the family working here just goes back to Jamaica to visit them – a lot easier and cheaper.

      • Anonymous says:

        Have many of the makers of anti -Jamaican sentiments on these posters ever visited jamaica? No? Many people only follow what haters post on this site. You need to take a visit to Jamaica and visit places such as Dunns River , Lovers leap, Negril, Ocho Rios and other beauty spots. And, while you are at it, take a tour up the Blue Mountins, view the coffee plantations in this cool region.See its rivers and villages, some going back the the Spanish era. They don’t rub it in our faces that we are Caymanians and to be "treated with disdain" when we visit either. Check out the beautiful Jamaican girls, some of  whom marry Caymanian men and are contributing to the economy of this Island and loving their Caymanian families and .Also men of integrity who marry Caymanian women and raise model God-fearing families. Do you know of any famous Caymanian that got their education in some of Jamaica,s prestigeous high schools?You may have seen  some bad examples of people who came to our shores and get involved in unlawful  acts, but they are in the minority. Jamaicans are not all poor people as is sometimes implied; and most well to do Jamaicans don’t travel to Cayman. Have your heard of the many Caymanian who did business in jamaica in the past, who only moved to Cayman in the Manley era? And yes Kirk Lines was one of the principal carriers for Jamaica at one stage. I want the visa to continue in place so that when our erring young people commits crime we can place the blame where it belong. We talk about other expats from other countries  but when it come to nationals of that Island , we "over kill". Why?

        • Anonymous says:

          "Moved to Cayman in the Manley era" – I love the way you describe a near forced exodus, some of it racially motivated, by which thousands lost almost everything they had.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please be advised that the Cayman Islands economy actually suffered because of the visa requirement. As we all know Jamaicans who visit the Cayman Islands do shoping; Just speak to the owners of the various businesses on the islands. On the other hand many Caymanian who visit Jamaica do so to obtain a US Visa; they normally stay for one day and spend very little cash. anyhow this Visa system effects both Islands expecially family, sports activities, cultural exchanges and others. The system should have never been implemented in the first place, the Cayman economy takes a down-turn ever since.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Premier does not know a thing about what is going on in the Island,   He has beome short winded, oont care attitude, Too High and Mighty and rich.  Time will do it.  Unless he has stopped reading his bible and believing in God

  16. Anonymous says:

    The office in Jamaica has rude people working there who are insultive to those who apply for visas and treat them like dogs. The grand cayman visa office is not much better. The small jamaicans applying for visas for their family and  friends are treated like criminals and you have to beg and plead to get a visa. You even have persons here on permits who want visas for their infant children to come and visit and these visas are turned down – even for those with cayman connections. What crime can an infant or young child commit visiting family for the summers do. Just too much power for some civil servants.

    • Tim Ridley says:

      This poor experience is mirrored elsewhere. It seems to be that, as the world gets more global and internationaltravel increases, the attitude of those who control the ability to travel gets worse.

      The US embassies in Kingston and London are no better in their treatment of applicants, even those who have visas already and want them renewed. And the UK passport office in London is a shocker too, again even for those who just want to renew their UK passports. These facts I know from direct personal experience over the past few years, having had my UK passport impounded for three weeks plus, for no good reason by the US embassy in London,  and having had the issue of my new UK passport delayed (having paid the expedited fee!) again for no good reason by the London passport office. And not a sniff of an apology from any of the officials.

      All very odd when UK passports and US visas are readiy issued, it would appear, to those who would do us all harm in the air. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I think they are prejudice aganist jamaican

  17. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree withn Kiveh,  "KEEP THOSE VISAS IN PLACE"  do you all remember why it was put in place, think back my friends. I agree that we need investors here, yes I said investors – people that will leave there money in the country, not more people who will send money out of the country.

    I really cannot fathom what the Premier is thinking, the McKeeva that I knew would not do something like that, it has to be his advisors, those who are telling him what to do, but they themselves are just making guesses as how to best try and get us out of this mess we are in.

    Mr. Premier please sir think about what you are doing. Are all the other UDP members in agreement with this, I can’t see brillant men like Elio, John-John, Eugene, & Mark Scotland joining you in this. Come on guys you are all intelligent men?? Stand up for your 3 little islands, cause we going down fast.

    I guess I’m just begging in vain, because it was people from that country that help put you all where you are now. Anyway, I am still hoping you guys have some guts and stand up for the country.

     

     

  18. Kiveh says:

    Please let my eyes be decieving me! Tell me this is not real!

    NOW THIS WILL BE THE END OF OUR COUNTRY AS WE KNOW IT!

    Leave Visas in place! Otherwise we will be OVERRUN! Every and ANYONE will be able to come here then! You think crime is bad now, just you wait!?

    This is one of the ways the Premier thinks that he can easily increase the population in order for us to create "economic stability"! We need investors not poorer people which are not going to do anything but finish dragging down our economy! Poorer people means CRIME RATES SOAR is this what you want for your country!? Cayman has more than enough people on this tiny island as far as I am concerned. If you’re going to make it easier for people to come here make it for people who are going to benefit my country not make it worse…

    THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER!

    STAND UP AGAINST THIS CAYMAN!

    Kiveh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just looking more votes to go along with the over 3000 he got from the status grants he gave away.

      Poor Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be alarm. There were less crime before the imposition of visa restrictions on these people travelling to Cayman. And by the way All jamaicans are not poor.

      • Anonymous says:

        im a 110% Jamaican!Yes,it is a fact that  most of us are poor, let us admit that that but there are also brilliant minds and steep pockets down there so dont count us out of the potential investment pool..anyhow, im not alarmed at this headline, everytime government officials from both countries happen to " buck up" somewhere there is some kind of visa lifting argument..where has it gone…no where..this is just another false alarm..as far as im concerned this is merely rum talk…. so let us both caymanians and jamaicans get on with our lives and stop paying attention to idle arguments…by the time this comes around it would probly only benefit my grandchildren and im just 25 yrs old

      • Anonymous says:

        So given that we are already having problems with crime you want to relax  border controls? Doesn’t seem sensible.

         

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree not all Jamacians are poor. Only the poor ones want to leave Jamaica and come here. The rich Jamacians do not want anything from Cayman. Thats why most people think that Jamacians are criminals, because the ones that does leave Jamaica, only leave for one reason. To make money and send home

        Jamaica is a beautiful Island and ask any one of them if they had money and was living well in Jamaica, would they come here? NO. That why we get the ones that can’t make a living there and want to come here to make the money and send it ALL BACK TO JAMAICA.

        The Visa was in place for this reason, so please keep it in place. Any true Jamacians that can afford to come here to visit/invest should not have any problems going to get a Cayman Visa. We have to prove to the US that we can afford to supportourselves when we apply for a US visa and Jamacians should have to do the same, no matter what country they choose to visa.

        What Mr. Bush needs to do is try and work with the US to try and get a US Embassy office here on Island for the people of the Cayman Islands. Most of us only go to Jamaica for a US visa anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if you think its only "POOR" people that come from Jamaica, some of the Caribbean’s most prominent people come from that country.

      It seems like you may have a certain problem with Jamaicans….but that my freind would be your problem.

      I think it is a good move to relax the visa requirements between the countries, as the Immigration department has enough policies in place to weed out the bad seeds so to speak. And the new Cheif has a lot of potential…so instead of beating down on the people who are trying to improve this Island maybe you should support them.

      And on the note of crime, as far as I see it it is not the expats that are committing the crimes it is our very own CAYMANIANS….yes maybe there has been cases where a few expats have been envolved but I am sure and confident that justice was served.

      Cayman’s downfall is on us as the citizens of this island, instead of fighting and tearing each other down we need to come back together as a people holding fast to that which is good. Do you understan this concept? Or are you too racist to realize what I mean?

      Grow up and realize that Cayman can’t survive on its own and with solid partnership and leadership we might have a chance.