Cubans assisted after landing at Spotts Newlands

| 01/10/2008

(CNS): A group of what appeared to be nine Cuban men landed in Grand Cayman yesterday afternoon and then elected to continue their journey. Unconfirmed reports by eye witnesses suggest they were given some minor supplies including food, water and fuel by local people despite the current policy which is not to offer any assistance to Cuban refugees but to allow them to pass unaided.

The immigration Department is yet to officially confirm the arrival of the boat at Spotts Beach and its departure or make comment on what happened when the Cubans arrived.  Not a common landing place for Cubans who normally find themselves near the Brac, their arrival in Grand Cayman reportedly drew a number of onlookers.

According to the current policy of the Cayman Islands government, if the Cubans cannot continue their journey without assistance they aredetained and then deported back to Cuban, despite the fact that each and every one has the right when landing here to apply for political asylum, as stated in the United Nations Refugee Convention. The migrants are rarely if ever advised of this by local officials and when they do they are not provided with legal council or advice from an independent source. Generally Cubans are told they can land and be repatriated or they can continue on with no assistance.

There has always been a considerable amount of sympathy among the local community for the plight of these refugees. Regardless of the policy and the threat of being arrested, many Caymanian residents and visitors still provided assistance to them.


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