Authorities send 26 refugees back to Cuba

| 10/09/2014

(CNS): Almost 270 Cuban migrants are estimated by officials to have passed through Cayman this year and government repatriated another 26 refugees today. Government officials said that the Cuban migrants, who were all housed at the Immigration Detention Centre were supervised by Immigration and Prison officials, as they boarded a chartered flight from Owen Roberts International Airport bound for Havana. The group included 25 men and just one woman. Despite the size of the group there are still another 20 refugees including seven women and 13 men at the centre who arrived in local waters last Tuesday, 2 September.

Immigration statistics suggest that around 100 Cubans have now been repatriated since the beginning of the year after being forced to land on Cayman as a result of the state of their vessels, sickness a lack of basic needs or as a result of no longer wishing to continue on what is often an exceptionally perilous journey in dangerous waters on makeshift boats.

Refugees often land in Cayman without enough fuel, food or even water despite being only a short way through their journey which is usually to Honduras. Nevertheless, despite the dangers the migrants often repeat the journey following repatriation.

Recent difficulties with the repatriation programme has seen migrants held longer than usual which has led to unrest, near riots and several escapes from the centre. Government, also exceeded its budget allocation for 2013/14 for dealing with migrants and is expected to have a similar problem in the current budget year as well.

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