Cuban migrants travel on

| 07/02/2011

(CNS): Update 2:10pm — The 16 Cuban migrants who were intercepted in Cayman waters yesterday and again today, decided to continue their journey to another destination after refusing protection from the Cayman Islands Government, which, unless they asked for and were granted political asylum, would mean that they would be returned to Cuba under the terms of the MOU with the Cuban Government. Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said her officers and the joint Immigration/Customs/RCIPS Marine Unit communicated with the migrants, prior to their departure. A group (15 males and one female) arrived aboard a 21-foot vessel powered with a diesel engine this morning (Monday 7 February) off the coast of South Sound.

The Cubans were first intercepted on Sunday in the area of the Creek Dock in Cayman Brac. They proceeded to the “Panama Canal” inlet and explained they were in transit. Immigration and police officers had attended the scene until the vessel departed Cayman Brac at 11:30am. However, the boat was sighted again this morning moored off Prospect Point, and it subsequently moved to Jackson Point off South Sound, where it is was located when government officials issued confirmation of the migrants’ arrival.

The migrants are the first refugees to be intercepted by local immigration staff at sea since October 2009. Once a common occurrence in Cayman waters, the flow of Cuban migrants had stopped over the last year before this group of sixteen entered local waters on Sunday. 

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  1. I did a 6 minutes documentary called ‘Not Worth Water’ about the Cuban Immigrants and the Cayman Islands laws back in 2009 when I documented the arrival of refugees at the west bay public beach dock.

    The video was featured here at CNS back when I published it.

    see the video here: http://vimeo.com/715116

  2. Anonymous says:

    IT funny how human rights doesn’t work in this case in this Islands. we treat people in jail than people looking for freedom.. at least a bucket of KFC and some water and life vest could have help

    • Caymanian says:

      Ok we can hush now. The Cubans have been helped and given Gassoline, water, and gatorade by Caymanians at sea. They are now on their way to Honduras.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So, diffficult times and difficult circumstances. A most hand wringing experience. True this is not of our making but then lets sort this out a bit. Jesus said, “render unto Caeser the things that are Caeser’s and unto God the things that are God”. We are bound to obey the Government on earth and we are to do civil disobedience also when in our conscience that we see things that need to be done. So, Brackers, you go down to the water, fill their water jugs, take them some things to eat and that is ok. But, they are in peril to try to make the journey to South America in an unworthy vessel. This is not good either. Further, it is difficult to swallow but countries have to keep outillegals. There are no clear cut answers and maybe the churches could get together, pray and come up with a plan of action, take it to the Government and do something? No one has any answers and this is what makes this a most, difficult situation. God grant all of us the ability to cry for others in want and to seek God for the answers until the world is united in peace through God’s perfect intervention to end misery on earth.

  4. Viva Fidel! says:

    Can’t be all that bad. Every Cuban I know can’t help but harp on about how great it is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    God Fearing Country! You better be fearful of Gods wrath. God sent Jesus with the new message…do unto others as you would have them do unto you…love your neighbour as your self…forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive them that tresspass against us. The parable of the good Samaritan is a perfect fit for this situation. At least give sea farers in distress, water, food, and fuel before they depart.

  6. Anonymous says:

    According to Cayman 27, theywere given nothing and sent on their way. Whilst it is their choice, there has to be something not right here.  I doubt they had any emergency equipment, and how will we ever know that they got to where they were going??  There could be 16 people floating out there and no one will ever know.  Surely if they are in Cayman waters, they can be assisted in some way and the Cayman authorities can decide the priorities?  But what do I know?

    • Anonymous says:

       True, but if people come to expect it it could become a problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh but you people are very idle and like to make a mountain out of a mold hill.

      Do the CNS or any media said that the people were actually in need.

      I know times when they were assisted – and on their way to other places. You all sound more cruel than the propaganda you are spreading.

      Stop the nonsence and get to doingmething for yourself and the country where you live.

    • I am sure says:

      The Cubans were given gassoline, water and gatoraide, and is on their way to honduras. By Caymanians.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It is disgraceful for a so called Christian country to not offer basic assistance to these refugees.

    But then again scratching the veneer of the Christian surface one quickly sees it is for show only.

    How many Caymanians take the Cuban flights for the women?

    • Anonymouse. says:

      How many Caymanians take the Cuban flights for the women?

      I sometimes do. The reason is that I dont have to worry about being taken to the cleaners by befriending a local woman. If you have been taken to the cleaners like I have then you would understand why I sometimes travel to Cuba.

      That aside, we really need to look at our policy towards these less fortunate people. If life was a bed of roses for them as we are pretending, they would not be taking the risk with their lives to escape from Cuba.

    • Craig says:

      "How many Caymanians take the Cuban flights for the women?"

      Certainly a market we should be looking at ‘tapping’ in to in these tough economic times.

    • Anonymous says:

      hypocrisy not christianity is the cornerstone of cayman society……

  8. Anonymous says:

    I hope they were arrested for being in an unseaworthy boat without the required safety equipment, or does that rule only apply to expat divemasters?

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Excuse me, are you trying to be funny? If you are really a divemaster and in charge of a boat of all people you should know better of the seriousness of this. Please have compassion or keep your comments to yourself. THIS is not an expat/ Caymanian issue in case you have not notice.

  9. Anonymous says:

     "…..in as much as you have done it unto the least of these,… you have done it unto me…."  That is for you God fearing, born again Christians, who sit in the Govt. and pass judgement.  Surely you remember that scripture from Sunday School.  Or is that one no longer relevant.  Turning away refugees does not seem to be so Godly.  

  10. Anonymouse. says:

    We will reap what we sow. I certainly hope for our sake that the tide dont turn on us and put us in the shoes of these poor people.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is madness!  The Cayman Islands government needs to get better acquainted with the UN Convention on Refugees (1951) to which it is bound and its obligations of non-refoulement at international law…. and that’s aside from the clear moral obligation to not permit people who have arrived in your island to sail off into the open ocean in baking sun without any supplies.  The problem seems to a lack of education in two key areas: 1.  asylum seekers have rights even before they are deemed to be refugees and 2.  seeking asylum is not a crime….sure, deport those you deem not to be genuine refugees but you can’t make that decision before any investigation has been made.  Sickening!

     
  12. Anonymous says:

     I would hate to be the person who has to turn them away.  We are too friendly with Cuba and Castro.

    • Half-Breed says:

      It would saddened me to know we could not atleast give them some food, water and gas. These people are truly suffering, and do not believe for one moment that when they are sent back to Cuba they are not put in prison. Yes they are. Cayman help other people who have brought crime to our shores, why dont we atleast give the cubans food gas and water. If the government do not want to then letus the people give them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with being friends with our closest neighbours. We certainly don’t need U.S. type anti-Cuban hysteria.

  13. Michel Lemay says:

    I am amazed that we let 16 persons on a 21′ boat without making certain that they at least have enough supplies for the rest of their trip. Oh I understand the MOU signed with the Cuban (communist) Gvt. but had Caymanians been treated like that in the hard days of rope trading and turtling many more lives would have been lost. I am aware of the law but I am also aware that we should not refuse even a glass of water to anyone. Having made that trip by sailboat in the past to their hoping destination I can assure you that it’s no picnic on a good day. I for one honestly could not rest until I knew they all made it to safety had I been involved in this.And the little Human Rights violation I hear about and complain is a drop in the bucket compare to this And our coat of arms say’s” He founded it upon the Seas”, this is plain cruel thing to do to say the least. Yes these people had a choice; a choice of going back to what we are against and then do you think Fidel will simply say “Welcome Back Compadre”. I can see that we are now reaping what we sow. I am sorry but it makes me feel sick. God Forgive Us.

  14. pmilburn says:

    I certainly hope that we furnished them with enough food water and fuel to get them safely to their next destination.Too many times in the past we have been guilty of not having helped these less fortunate than we are (govt.wise)and it has been left up to the local folks to help them like we should do no matter what agreements we have with Cuba.Bon Voyage and safe journey.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So there were 16 people in a 21 foot long boat that has no visible shade protection for the occupants? One hopes that the government officials at least offered them water & food.

  16. Well Said says:

    Best of luck to the Cubans. I can’t imagine how exhausted and worried they must be. I hope they at least managed to refuel and restock while they were here.

  17. Kerry Horek says:

    Isn’t this a Human Rights issue?  If we are not detaining them as refugees then why not offer these poor people some kindness with assistance such as food, water and fuel to get them on their way?

    My heart is so heavy that we are this God fearing country, but we have such uncivilized policies about other human beings.

    Please remove this MOU or at the very least amend it to allow for us to offer assistance before the rest of the world see what selfish and uncaring people we are. Or turn a blind eye to the citizens whom wish to offer these people assistance.

    • Anonymous says:

       God fearing country??  If they had some money to pay the right people, they would get in.   We worship the almighty dollar.

    • Karma says:

      Too late. Too much selfishness, Too much uncaring. Too much living of the work of others. Balance is at your doorstep.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Send them to Miami. Miami is Cuban Heaven!