Jamaican athletes and Carifta visas

| 25/03/2010

(Jamaica Gleaner): The unifying influence of sport cannot be overlooked nor can the overall discipline which it breathes into the life of athletes and their affiliates. This explains why the next two weekends will be glorious ones for Caribbean athletes and their adoring fans. First, the local Boys and Girls’ Championship marks a century of competition at the National Stadium and next weekend, the Carifta Games will be staged in the Cayman Islands.

The Carifta Games began in 1972 among English-speaking countries to mark the transition from the Caribbean Free Trade Association (Carifta) to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It was later expanded to include French- and Dutch-speaking countries.

Amid all the intrigue and excitement that these games promise, I felt very distressed when I visited the Carifta Games website and learnt that of the 25 countries slated to participate, Jamaica and Haiti are the only two requiring visas for entry into the Cayman Islands.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Will Jamaica be waiving the visas for all of the Caymanians listed in today’s Compass that are going over there for the swimming portion of CARIFTA? Mr. Quill, I expect you to lobby your government immediately to correct this unfairness against our Caymanian people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If Cayman is really expected to ‘make’ US $500million from the CARIFTA games we should be hosting them every year! Budget problems solved!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr Dennie Quill what makes you and the team so special that your Visas be exempt from coming here, have you ever asked that question when going to the US or any other country that Requires a Visa.

    • Anonymous says:

      His point is the fact that out of 25 countries… only 2 require a visa. with visas to the US, no matter which country you are from you need one. He is just pointing out the prejudice that the Cayman Islands Government has for its closest neighbour and for one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean.

      I guess they have their reasons for such open discrimination.

      • Anonymous says:

        He has no point, and neither do you. Clearly, it is a matter for each country or territory to decide where the risk lies and therefore where to impose visas. It is silly to suggest that unless one imposes visas on every country then a visa regime is "prejudiced". Jamaica itself imposes visas on the Haitians, one of its closest neighbours and the poorest in the hemisphere.  And of course you are wrong about the U.S. imposing visas on every country. For example, Canadians, Bahamians and UK citizens do not need visas to visit the U.S. We don’t either if we get a waiver issued by the Governor’s office. It is all a question of risk. Pretending that there is no greater risk in respect of Jamaicans than any other nationality flies in the face of the facts. Other than Caricom members there must be few countries in the world that do not have a visa in respect of Jamaicans.      

  4. Anonymous says:

     I am so sick of these smug, self righteous pompous Jamaican journalists spouting off at the mouth about how wrong it was for Cayman to impose a visa regime, and whining about an anachronistic allegory. People, get over it! Yes at one time Jamaica and the Cayman Islands were jointly administered by the British Crown through the Governor in Kingston.  Cayman was therefore never really a Jamaican dependency, it was a BRITISH dependency and at that time so was Jamaica. That relationship changed when Jamaica became an independent nation in 1962. Yet free movement continued between the countries for over 40 years. 

    The Cayman Islands has the right to protect its borders; the duty of the Cayman Islands Government is to the Cayman Islands, not Jamaica.  In the promulgation thereof, Cayman has the right to impose visa regimes if we see fit. How dare Jamaica think it has some entitlement on these islands!

    If visas are so morally wrong, tell me why Jamaica, the poor Haitians how come to your shores are required to have visas to enter your country? How is it you have the right to secure your borders, but I don’t have the right to secure mine? Boy Looky yah, unna doh make me get wex!

  5. confused says:

    This is a response to all that claim Caymanians need Visas to enter Jamaica. Since when is this the situation? Don’t most Caymanians have UK Pasports, thus making it possible for them to travel to Jamaica without a visa? Are you all very sure of your facts or is this just a case of sounding off against a (very biased) journo?


    • Anonymouse says:

      AFAIK it is a fact that you need a visato visit Jamaica as a Caymanian, i.e., on a Cayman passport. If you visit as an Englishman, i.e., on a British passport, you don’t. Therefore, when Caymanians go to Jamaica on their British passports they are not going as Caymanians, they are legally British. This works in several other countries around the world as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      It has been the case since 2003. Many Caymanians do not have UK passports and if they enterJamaica with UK passports they are entering as british citizens not as Caymanians. That is absolutely clear.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a former CARIFTA athlete I find this article ridiculous.  Cayman is always seen as the stuck up country who isn’t really Caribbean when were just kids trying our best to make the team and compete.  But myself and my teammates had to do the same things to travel abroad as well.  Some weren’t even eligible to participate because of their immigration status.  We travelled to South America once as well and needed to get various vaccinations.  Should athletes be exempt from that as well?

    This author’s viewpoint is very skewed.  It might seem that athleticism is the only way to make something of yourself at such a young age, but youngsters also must learn that, no matter what, you aren’t above the law.  This is why persons like football and american football stars head swolllllll. 

    In all fairness more countries should be forced to participate in VISA’s, but the truth of the matter is with Jamaica and Haiti, thesecountries have extremely high "flee" rates and with the number of Jamaicans probably having surpassed the amount of born Caymanians on-island the implication of a VISA was necessary. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    No arguments! Jamaicans  get your visas and come and do us Jamaicans PROUD as you always would!! We are here to support you all!! GO TEAM JAMAICA!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    It seems that some countries actually recognise the importance of fostering a sense of togetherness during sporting events and waive visa requirements for its competitors. If both Canada and the UK can do it, I’m not sure why Caribbean nations like Cayman and Jamaica can’t.


  9. Sole Provider says:

    Food for thought:

    If the CARIFTA Games were being held in Jamaica, Caymanian athletes would also need a visa to travel to Jamaica.

    It is interesting that the author of the above article failed to mention that point.

    The way things are going, all Caymanians, residents and visitors alike should be fingerprinted. All who live here should have to carry a national photo ID including their biometric data. 


    • Anonymouse says:

      Except that, in the countries that have national IDs, they have done nothing to stop serious criminality or terrorism. So its a waste of your privacy and your money.

  10. Former Caymanian Athlete says:

    There is not secret that these nationals would need a visa to come to Cayman.  This is not new.

    Rules are Rules.  If these atheletes have followed the rules of their country and are qualified they will no doubt obtain visas, then they will be able to compete to the glory of their country.

    Any true sportsman would have an appreciation of the rules.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When Cayman Athletes have to pass through Jamaica to attend meets etc, they have to get a visa so what is the problem.  Jamaica dont give them any special treatment when they go there.  Also when Cayman athletes travels on the charter with the Jamaican athletes  to other Carifta’s games the Cayman Athletes can not board the plane until after the Jamaican athletes board.  They get seated preference over the Cayman Athletes.  They dont complain even thou they pay the same fare. So gues what suck it up and move on.

    How about that?

    Deal with it!

  12. Anonymous says:

    You are right, it may be be a good idea to add more countries to the list of those requiring a visa to enter the Cayman Islands.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The author of this article is amongst those who shamelessly exploit nationalism of their countrymen and foster bad relations between peoples.

    The imposition of a visa has nothing to do with an exhibition of superiority. Like visas to any other country its purpose is border control and to help weed out undesirables before they take the flight and arrive at our airport. It is not a statement that all Jamaicans are undesirable but rather that we recognize that there are some rotten eggs who have negatively impacted us and we need a means of sifting them out.

    Ironically, it is the author who is exhibiting a sense of superiority in taking issue only with Cayman’s visa and not the visa restrictions on Jamaicansin any other country and conveniently ignoring the fact that Jamaica itself has visa restrictions in respect of Haitians.  The reference to us having been a dependency, far from an allusion to the close relationship between us, is to hint at that sense of superiority. 

    Here is a question: when the Jamaican athletes compete in the Olympics and other international meets are there not many host countries who do in fact require visas for Jamaican athletes? If the answer is yes, then the indignation is purely hypocritical.

    To blame journalists for the imposition of the visa is to disingenuously suggest that there was no real cause for it. If author has a better suggestion as to weed out the undesirables and protect our borders we are all ears. While he is at it, he might recognize that Caymanian athletes who might go to Jamaica will also need to obtain a visa, which we know, by contrast was imposed, not because of border control concerns, but out of pure spite.       

  14. Anon says:

    I think that the visa & fees should be waived for competitors & officials only. It does seem strange that this subject was not brought up and discussed by the effected teams at a much earlier stage.

  15. Alice says:

    Not sure what is the issue here! Jamaicans and Haitians needs visas and they have to obtain them. Caymanians need visa to travel to the USA and other countries – would we dare ask for our visa requirments to be waived to tarvel to the USA.  No way!  We would obatin a visa to fly to Jamaica and apply for a visa at the USA Embassy.

    But then again this is the Caymanian way!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I suggest you get over it very quickly!