Passport issue tops JMC meet

| 21/07/2014

(CNS): The UK's decision to repatriate its passport process is one of the specific areas of concern for most of the UK's overseas territories and was one of the main items on the agenda at the Overseas Territories Heads of Government pre-Joint Ministerial Council Meeting held in Cayman last week. With the exception of the Falkland Islands, where the decision has been made for its citizens to adopt a British passport and abandon their own unique territory passport, all of the other leaders, including Cayman's own premier, are concerned about this issue. At a press briefing following the two-day OT talking shop, Alden McLaughlin outlined a number of difficulties with the repatriation and said it didn't appear it would be resolved "anytime soon."

The annual gathering of OT leaders ahead of the yearly meeting with the UK, on home soil this time for Cayman and chaired by McLaughlin, provides an opportunity for the UK's territories leader to discuss their position on a range of priority issues relating to the UK's white-paper regarding its remaining colonies before they all meet with the UK minister and foreign office Mandarins in London in December.

Of the various issues causing concern, the move by the UK to bring all printing of British passports back to the UK appears to be a difficult one. In the final communique from the meeting, the leaders stated that a major aim was: "Ensuring the security and protection of our borders and the safety and welfare of our people, including access to all passports, specifically emergency travel, despite the UK’s new policy to repatriate the printing of all passports to the United Kingdom by the end of this year."

The passport issue not only raises concerns about cost but also the issue of travel to the United States, which is of particular concern to the regional territories and Cayman as it may require some British passport holders to get visas to travel to America.

The repatriation is scheduled to happen by the end of this year but given the recent challenges at the UK passport office, with long delays in the delivery of full passports, the UK government created a one year passport renewal to get past the delay for those with pending travel plans but these passports won't support the US visa waiver system known as ESTA, which means holders may have to go through the ordeal of applying for a US visa, which also takes months and will already have begun impacting Caymanians and other territory citizens.

McLaughlin was pessimistic about this "issue being resolved anytime soon”, as he warned that in order to meet the UK repatriation requirement and retain the country's name on Cayman passports, things would be problematic.

The overseas territory leaders pointed out that this problem was not of their making. At a press briefing last week Fabian Picardo from Gibraltar said it was a "unilateral decision taken by the UK" without consultation.

McLaughlin also explained that the way Cayman Islands passport holders' information will be sent to Britain has still not been sorted. He said he believed it would transmitted via the local passport office to the UK for processing and then once issued it would be sent back to Cayman.

Among the other issues discussed by the OT leaders was economic diversification, the principles of good governance in the administration of all the territories and the rights their citizens people to self-determination, as well as environmental concerns. In addition, the financial services sector and the thorny issue of an open register of beneficial ownership of offshore companies was also on the agenda. 

Read full communiqué

Read related story on CNS Business: 

Overseas territories jittery over register

Category: Politics

Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Since there  is such a significant backlog. Is the UK willing to allow the British passports to be distributed from other passport centers as it was in the past? MLAs can you lobby for this? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thumbs up if you think we have the dumbest Immigration laws in Cayman. For starters, where else in the world can you have the passport of a country yet still can't claim the nationality of said country??

    • Anonymous says:

      Schoolboy error. You assume Caymanian is a nationality, it is not. It is an immigration permission. You assume Cayman is a country, it is not. It is a colony (now politely called a British Overses Territory).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some of you caymanians may not know your history. But these islands were discovered and controlled for England (UK). Natives of the Cayman Islands came from England.When World War I and World War II happened  Caymanians went to war on England's side not the caribbean side, nor the french,italian,or the USA. We were representing England. Caymanians umbilical cord came from England. Even if you don't look white and have straight hair. One side of your family came from over there. We have done well in this island as oppose to other islands in the caribbean. Anyone that has a personal problem with an individual should not take it out with the motherland.

    When we get a british passport Ifeel honored to say I'm apart of the UK. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Close.  But not close enought to pass.  And not close enough to hide the fact you are a bit dim.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are not "a part of the UK". We are British Overseas Territory aka, a colony. Big difference.

      We were not discovered by England but by Christopher Columbus on behal fo Spain and we were officially Spanish until the Treat of Madrid in 1670.

      Many of our ancestors did not come from England. Some came from Ireland, some from various parts of Africa. Some were Amerindians from Latin America.   

      • Anonymous says:

        When Sir Francis Drake thought he was the first to discover these islands he nor anyone from his crew saw a spanish flag. He had no knwledge of Columbus. The Watlers were from Wales (part of England). The Boddens were also from chesshire in England. Our history tells us that these 2 family names are the largest families in the Cayman Islands. I believe that they make up more then 50% of Caymanians. If you follow your family tree you will find someone in your family with one of these 2 names.

        When they first came to Cayman they came as soldiers to fight the spanish . So they were fighting for England. The first land grants were given by our english king. So therefore we came from England when they came to live here. End of history lesson.

        • Anonymous says:

          It would astonish you how much I know of our history which is a lot deeper than your kindergarten version. I am descended from both Boddens and Watlers by the way. While these two families are the oldest Caymanian families and dominated Cayman in the 1700s today Watlers occupy less than 1 page in the phone book. Many families came from Ireland including Ryans and McLaughlins.

    • Anonymous says:

      Total nonsense! Your ignorance about our history is shameful.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why is there even such a thing as a passport with "Cayman Islands" on it?  It is not a country.  The UK should just have one standard BOTC passport issued from London.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, why do we have a passport with Caymanian on it? it means nothing! to be a Caymanian is a sin in the eyes of our leaders and the new incoming nationalities.

    • Anonymous says:

      – 04:40.Or maybe we should ask ,should the UK still be considered a country or just another state in the European Union.Maybe that one standard passport should read "European Union Citizen".

  5. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians are screwed. 

    • Dread on Dread says:

      BOT Ministers sitting up in de fine chairs, eating crumpets and drinking tea just like dey colonial Masters, deliberations with no meaning or fruitful outcome. I sayyyy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dread, why do we always blame the BOT ministers? we have a local government/ leaders here that can and should be taking care of their people.

        Im tired of us blameing the UK for our lack of care and concern for our own.

        • Dread on Dread says:

          Yow did ya read wa de an say baby, no slipping no sliding no weaving huh. Me say dem OT Minisyers like Dem colonial Masters drinkingtea, me nablaedemingish feed tea. Free pan ya youth. Ya  lack reasoningsah.

      • Anonymous says:

        Idjit…..

        • Dread on Dread says:

          And ya must belong to Uncle Sylvester, can't spell idiot , makes you one you know .

          • Anonymous says:

            Can you not tell that the person deliberately spelled idiot that way!?

            Wow!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is this a sign of full takeover or independence? Taxes and full implementation of all UK laws? 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Would that mean that uk citizens can move to the Cayman Islands freely without a work visa? 

    • Anonymous says:

      I doubt it very much… they're happy to take the Uk passport and all that comes with it – but very reluctant to give anything back. US citizens are allowed to live / work in US virgin islands without a visa and same applies wi the Dutch Caribbean – but not here.

      • Dread on Dread says:

        Very reluctant to make te heads happy and less for Brits ya know what I mean.

      • Anonymous says:

        Many Caymanians don't want the passport. 

        • Anonymous says:

          And many Caymanians cannot get one, even if they did.

          • Anonymous says:

            Interesting from the thumbs down that many seem to believe that Caymanians are all entitled to Cayman and British Passports. It is a fact that thousands are not entitled to either. For a start, large numbers of Caymanians are not BOTC’s, let alone British.

            • Anonymous says:

              True. The ignorance of that fact  at even high levels of government is scary. 

            • Anonymous says:

              If they are not BOTCs then they are not real Caymanians.

              • Anonymous says:

                Not according to the Immigration Law. Although it was written in a manner to prevent non BOTC's fromever becoming Caymanian (without first becoming BOTC's) it seems a total failure by many in control, and in particular politicians, to understand what they were doing has now resulted in many thousands of Caymanians who are not BOTC's and many thousands of BOTC's who are not Caymanian.

                 

        • dr scaramanga says:

          Hand them back then!

      • equal playingfield says:

        Portuguese have full residency rights for Madeira and Azores with an EU passport.

      • Anonymous says:

        You're an idiot. Obviously the UK granting a few thousand Cayman BOTCs right of abode in the UK would not be equal to Cayman granting such a right ot tens of millions of Brits here. That would be completely unreasonable to expect. And you conveniently seem to forget that for decades they took away the right of abode we originally had in the UK but were treated like any other foreigner.

      • Anonymous says:

        What part of "non-reciprocal" do you not understand? That was the specific basis of the offer by the UK and we would never have accepted British Citizenship on any other basis. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The EU will eventually require free movement.  It is embedded in the treaties already, and is just waiting activation.

      • Anonymous says:

        That would mean free movement within all OT territories. A hop, skip and jump away from living on each OT and working freely!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        It's in the Treaties all right but it won't apply to the BOTs.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think if you look closely the framework to extend the freedoms out to territories such as the BOTs already in place, slumbering until activated.  Some have argued that the provisions are already capable of direct effect as they stand, but I don't go that far.

    • Anonymous says:

       10:17.I can see where your viewpoint is coming from ;afterall  the UK is forced to accept free movement of European Union citizens whether British citizens like it or not.When the E.U says jump,the UK asks ,How high?.These days the UK who was fondly called John Bull is now more like John Steer,a bull who can't play ball anymore because he lost his balls.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why is this such a big deal?? Just get rid of the Cayman Islands passport all together. Quit sweating the small fish Cayman….we have much bigger problems than our passport retaining Cayman Islands on the cover.

     

    Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. The Cayman Passport doesn’t get me into the USA or Jamaica  without a visa.

      The UK does so why bother with the Cayman one.

       

    • Anon says:

      I have no problem with that. But, how long will it take to get a passport if UK insists on printing them there? With the situation that obtains, it could take a year or more. 

    • Anonymous says:

      How does that solve the problem, dimwit?

    • Anonymous says:

      How would you distinguish a Caymanian from a Brit in immigration in Cayman?

  9. ole faith says:

    [chuckle] they fighting so hard to be like them in the UK and then this …