Visas no longer needed for kids and elderly Jamaicans

| 12/11/2011

visa stamp.jpg(CNS): The Cabinet has now approved the amendment to the country’s immigration regulations to allow children and elderly Jamaicans to travel to the Cayman Islands without a visa. Jamaican nationals who are under 15 years of age or older than 70 are now exempt from needing to obtain the official travel pass before they come to Cayman. Officials said Friday that notice of the change had been given to the airlines, the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration’s Visa Office in Kingston and to the International Air Transport Association. The decision to exempt these groups of people came after the governor refused to allow the premier to lift the visa requirement for all Jamaicans that already had a UK or US.

McKeeva Bush had revealed his plans to remove the requirement for Jamaican nationals to have a Cayman Islands visa if they already have one for the United States when he was visiting the country in July last year. He told the Jamaican Gleaner that the move would not be well received by the PPM.

"Only God knows what they will do. They will jump on any political bandwagon, but we have to do what is right," Bush had said at the time. The move was halted however by the governor as the visa requirement was not a PPM policy decision but one made by the official arm of government

During a public meeting in West Bay in September Bush revealed that it was Duncan Taylor who had refused the government’s request to change that rule because of security reasons the UK would not allow it.

In a statement released from his office the following day Taylor confirmed that, although he had agreed to the premier’s proposal of removing the visa requirement for children under 15 and people over 70, he did not agree with an across the board waiver for all Jamaican nationals coming to Cayman with US, UK or Canadian visas. This, he said, was because the Cayman immigration department does not have the capability to detect forged visas.

The premier has used the governor’s refusal to illustrate that the elected government had no power over the governor on issues of national security at a meeting focusing on the surge in violent crime in the district that month after three young men had been shot and killed in West Bay over five days. 

Taylor stated that he had taken advice from the UK on the issue and while most Jamaicans were law abiding citizens, the visa restriction had ensured that the few that were not did not get access to the Cayman Islands, which, if the restriction was lifted, might happen.

“I know that the vast majority of Jamaicans are law-abiding citizens. This includes residents who make a positive contribution to our society and economy in the Cayman Islands and short-term visitors, including business visitors, whose visits are welcome and trouble free.  There is, unfortunately, a small minority who have the potential to cause problems,” the governor said.

He pointed to the “lively market in forged and counterfeit documentation” in Jamaica which, he said, included UK, US and Canadian visas.

“The Cayman Islands Immigration Department does not have the capability to determine whether such a visa is genuine or not and the respective countries have indicated that they are unable to provide the Cayman Islands with the access to the resources on which they rely to make these determinations.  The authenticity of a Jamaican national’s UK, US or Canadian visa could therefore not be guaranteed and this fact could be exploited,” Taylor said in defence of the decision. 

He also stated that the introduction of the requirement in 2005 led to a direct and significant reduction in the involvement of Jamaicans in crime locally.  The governor added that lifting the visa could potentially allow unscrupulous Jamaicans to gain entry to the islands using forged or counterfeit visas.

For further information, contact the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration Call Centre at 949-8344.

Category: Local News

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh joy of joys!  Now my 73 year olddad can travel here freely, but my mom (his wife) who is 65 has to go get her police clearance, pay the necessary fee, fill out the visa forms, prove how she can sustain herself here or who is sponsoring her, and then wait for weeks to hear if she can be blessed with a visitor's visa to visit  your lovely country.  NICE. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    We have a Premier who cares more about Jamaicans than his own people.  Thank God for Ezzard Miller who always put Cayman and Caymanians first.  Ezzard should be running this country not Bush.   

  3. Not scared to visit ppm site says:

    As a Caymaican, a Jamaican and Caymanian, I promise the CNS viewers that I will once again vote for UDP, because I find no other party that has looked out for us and has not branded us like "criminals." That is what the PPM did on imposing visa restrictions on "all" Jamaicans, and still most of the crimes committed here are from young Caymanians. It is a shame that the PPM government has us paying large amounts of money just to come to Cayman. They steal from the people who has helped the Cayman Islands so much.  My grandmother always tell me, how you treat people will backfire on you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok then. Explain this to me. I personally witnessed a large number of Jamaicans engaged in looting after hurricane Ivan. There was a Jamaican lady watching them. I commented that they were giving all Jamaican people a bad name – and it would be nice if she might help me dissuade some of them. She laughed and said this was not her country and she did not care.

      Cayman imposed visas on Jamaicans and crime reduced as a direct result according to the Governor. I believe him.

      No Caymanians are looting and robbing in Jamaica – but Jamaica has imposed and maintains visa restrictions on all Caymanians. Your viewpoint is not very balanced and you seem to have a clear preference for the well being of your country of origin over your adopted home. Forgive me, but that brings me to hold you in a certain disdain.

      • Anonymous says:

        The disdain is reciprocated to you.  Firstly, Jamaica only introduced the visa system on Cayman because it was Cayman who first did it to Jamaica, and that is the "rule of reciprocity".   Secondly, if the visa system helped to reduce crime as you and the governor suggests, then why in the dickens has murders, robberies, invasions of home and business both in night and daytime, grown?   Most of the occupants of Northward are young caymanian  youths whose parents don't give a damn enough to raise them properly and allow them to grow up in gangs.  Stop blaming Jamaica for your crime and all your other problems, you create these problems for yourself.   If expats were given security of tenure, they would be more willing to view this as their home and speak out and report who they witness doing the crimes.  Expats have no rights here and if they so much as squeal on a Caymanian, the first thing that Caymanian does is get their buddy in Immigration to revoke their permit and get them off theisland.  Or run the chance of becoming a victim themself if they so much as dare as to report on a Caymanian.  So believe me when I say I also hold you in disdain.

        • Anonymous says:

          Amen to that!  And I am a born and breed Caymanian

        • Anonymous says:

          There was no "rule of reciprocity" involved at all. If Jamaica was operating by such a principle it would have been obliged to require visas for every other country which has imposed visas on Jamaicans but it has not done so. Has it imposed any visa on the UK, the Bahamas? the BVI? Turks & Caicos?Anguilla? Canada?. Please don't even try to pretend any moral high ground for you know that there is none. Visas are not imposed out of reciprocity; they are imposed because a particular need arises to protect your borders. Many other countries have seen the need to do so in respect of Jamaicans. On the other hand Jamaica's visa was motivated by spite, pure and simple. There was an arrogant sense of "how dare these little Islands that were once our dependency do this to us. We have to teach them a lesson". You can pretend that the problem is with Caymanians  but the reality is that the response is the same all over the Caribbean. Read the Barbados news blogs.  

          The fact that crime has grown obviously does not mean that it would not have been greater had there been no visa in place. But of course a visa alone is not sufficient. There are clearly illegal landings as with the 5 men who were drug smuggling. They also land guns and there is also evidence to suggest that persons enter illegally to commit crimes. You refer to the occupants of Northward as Caymanian youths but no doubt as you know very well expat prisoners are released much earlier than their Caymanian counterparts. Again one of the alleged drug smugglers had been convicted of the same crime in 2008 and here he was back again committing the same offence.

          As for expats being given security of tenure that is a total red herring. The fact is that many expats do have permanent residence or Caymanian status and they still do not view Cayman as home. They spend as little as possible here and meanwhile their real homes are back in the UK etc. And please stop the tired xenophobic Caymanian bogeyman rhetoric about Caymanians getting a buddy in Immigration to revoke their permit because they
          "squeal on a Caymanian". A revocation of a permit must be justified and may be appealed if there are no reasons under the law. Any complaint has to be revealed to the permit holder.

          Would you grant permanent rights to anyone in Jamaica who held Jamaicans "in disdain" as you hold Caymanians?                

          • Anonymous says:

            Do you ever get tired?  I do!

            • Anonymous says:

              When it comes to standing up for my country, NEVER. May it always be so.  

          • Anonymous says:

            Jamaicans were restricted from coming here by visa and also purged by the rollver, and still you have to blame them for your own problems.  If there was no local Caymanian criminals here ready to buy up all the drugs and guns from these illegal landings that you refer to, the illegal landings would not take place.  Drugs and guns go whereever there is a ready market for it.  Get off your high horse and stop fooling yourself that it is Jamaicans who are fuelling the crime here, when you know fully well who is fuelling it – your own Caymanian youths who your own Caymanian parents allow to fall by the wayside.    As to your comment about expats who have PR or status who still do not view Cayman as their home – ask yourself why that is?  Could it be because your own politicians and your fellow Caymanians, keep the "them and us" mentality well and alive, making these ones feel alienated and unwelcome despite whatever legal residence papers they have earned?   Furthermore, revenge killings are a well-known and much feared activity here, so much so that your own Caymanians are afraid to report one another, much less an expat reporting a Caymanian.  You cannot convince me otherwise.  Your response is a typical response from one who refuses to acknowledge the truth and come out of the darkness of ignorance.   If you refuse to be taught and educated, then I have no more time to waste on you.

            • Anonymous says:

              Be careful. Bitterness and hatred can destroy a person.

            • Anonymous says:

              Jamaicans were not "purged" by Rollover. That is just inflammatory rhetoric. There are thousands of Jamaicans living here. It is still by far the largest expat community in Cayman. Some "purge".

              No one is saying that there are not native Caymanian criminals. Certainly there are, but that cannot be a reason to ignore the threat from outside as well. 

              From the earliest accounts Caymanians have been known as a friendly people. Our tourism product was originally based upon it. However, as the posts on this site show it is expats as much as anyone who keep the them and us mentality alive and well. Posts like yours only tend to deepen the divide. However, the real reason that many expats do not view it as home is because they see it simply as a place to earn money and trample on the natives while doing it. You are joining with them because you believe you have some common cause but when they are finished with us you would suffer the same fate.  

              My post is from one who knows the truth experientially and precisely and is quite willing to articulate in a public forum. What Caymanians are experiencing is a psychological war against them to dispossess them of their own land.          

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear deluded, the only reason this visa policy has been modified is because Cayman was feeling it in their pockets and realized Jamaican tourists coming here to visit family and friends used to shop locally unlike others including Caymanians who prefer to  shop in Miami.  Stop drinking the coolaid.   Remember who it was that introduced the rollover policy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Allow me to enlighten you. It was the UDP who introduced Rollover. And not only did they introduce it, a certain prominent member of the UDP went around telling the financial sector not to worry because it was not for them (i.e. the Brits, Canadians and Australians) it was for the Jamaicans. You are simply being used as donkeys by the UDP.      

    • Anonymous says:

      The recent news that the Governor, based on the intelligence received from law enforcement, had not approved the complete removal of the visa should have told you that this was not merely a PPM thing and did not reflect the anti-Jamaican sentiment of a political party but legitimate national security concerns.  A visa in respect of a particular nationality is not tantamount to branding all persons of that nationality as criminals. Instead, it is saying that there is a need to screen those nationals so that we let in only the good ones – you know, much likeyou do at your gated communities in Jamaica. Are gated communities in Jamaica a statement that all non-residents of those communities are criminals?

      As for the cost of visas, they do require administrative overheads to administer and the fees are intended to offset those costs. Removing visas for the old and they young may mean that the overhead costs, which will continue as before, will not be met by the fees.  

      But since you are very concerned that visa requirements brand the subject nationals as criminals and any required fees amount to theft, shouldn't you also be complaining about your own govt's visa against Caymanians as a criminal brand and a theft from Caymanians, especially as Cayman is a place that has helped Jamaica so much with employment opportunties, remittances etc?          

  4. Anonymous says:

    But loooky ya boy you dont think we have enough crime round ya now!

  5. The Prophet says:

    Ok, I believe this should be well accepted by the people of Cayman Islands, Now let us sit back and see if the Jamaican government will do the same, and allow kids under the age of fifteen and adults over the age of 50 free travel to and from Jamaica without having to get a visa.

    Its called working to gether for the betterment of all, so let us see what happens next.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ya can't stop it mon a we run things.

  7. A local spirit says:

    You are accurate! I am the only one that reads this site periodically and the UDP supporters really do not read it. Notwithstanding the fact, you ommitted the zero that follows the four(4) instantaneously. Uncle Mac has 40 more years at the helm.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Of course, Caymanian children and the elderly still need visas to visit Jamaica. Well done UDP – well done indeed! I thank God for the Governor.

  9. Observation on Claims says:

    Hmmm… PPM brags about the majority of supporters are on their side, based on the CNS polls. Guess what?  The McKeeva's party was behind the granting of 3000 status, most Jamaicans and wealthy supporters like Dart who voted him in power. Now… interesting, it is of no surprise that I am the only one, commenting here about news on lifting JA visas. You would think that Jamaicans would have commented. But it shows to me not one of the 3000 is visiting this site. Beware PPM and Alden, you better wake up and start looking out not only for your own, but those who don't visit CNS!  I could see UDP back into power again for another four years. Just saying….

    • Anonymous says:

      It's time to bury the old dolls.

    • Anonymous says:

      Florida has Cubans, we have Jamaicans.  This would potentially not be a problem at all if not for party politics where rhetoric is going further divide communities along cultural boundaries.  McKeeva has caused soo much damage in the long term for Cayman it is unfathomable(Taking everything, not just this, into account)

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you 100 percent. People forget that besides the few bloggers here, McKeeva has alot of followers in the hundreds; especially, in West Bay and George Town zone. If any of these MOU's  kick off; especially, the ones with dart, I won't be surprised at all

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you need to check out the Caycompass poll as well. Nuff Jamaicans there.