Syrian couple transit Cayman for asylum in Jamaica

| 12/08/2013

(CNS): A Syrian couple who managed to get through the Cayman Islands on what appear to be forged passports are claiming asylum in Jamaica, the local press is reporting. Jamaica's Ministry of National Security has revealed that Fadi Al Lababidi and Hayat Hejazi arrived in Cayman from the United States early this month before they then flew from this jurisdiction to Jamaica on Syrian passports, both of which carried the same 1 January birth date.  Immigration officials in the neighbouring country were suspicious and the couple were denied permission to land after claiming they had reservations at a Kingston hotel, which proved not to be true.

"The couple told [immigration officers] they came to Jamaica for vacation,” officials told the Sunday Gleaner. “However, checks revealed they did not have a reservation with a hotel, and they had limited funds and no credit or debit card to sustain their stay in Jamaica … The immigration authorities also said there were discrepancies with the issue date of the visa for Ms Hejazi," added the ministry.

The two were refused entry and told that they would be returned to the Caymans Island. Scheduled to leave Jamaica on Monday, 6 August, the couple announced they would not be going back to Syria and wanted to seek asylum.

"The intervention of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees was sought, and a representative, along with an interpreter and immigration officials interviewed the couple, who expressed fear for their lives if they are returned to Syria," said the security ministry.

According to the ministry, the couple's itinerary indicated that they "travelled from Syria to Beirut, Moscow, Havana, and Grand Cayman and from there to Kingston. They stated that they did not seek asylum in Lebanon or Russia because they felt these countries were friendly with the Syrian government."

The ministry said arrangements have been made to accommodate the couple while the Refugee Eligibility Committee makes a determination on their claim.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: World News

About the Author ()

Comments (33)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    dont want to sound harsh, but just be happy that they didnt request asylum here in Cayman. At the rate the middle east is going, people coming out of those countries are a big gamble. You dont know who they are or what they did. It can get ugly from there. Just look at the UK. They have so many different extremist running all over Britain now, who didnt originate from the UK, and who claimed "asylum" there and are now UK nationals. No place to send them back to because it would be a human rights

    Ill let the immigration pass on this one for now. Good job on botching this one up guys!(seriously) . Jamaica is the right place for these people. I suspect after about a month there, and a trip or two to "Gaza", they will want to return to their home land..DWL

  2. Anonymous says:

    My wife and I have the exact same birth date and have travelled extensively together all over the world for the last 15 years and have never been challenges over this. Don't be so harsh on our immigration officers!

  3. Puh-lease says:

    Whilst there are evidently issues within our enforcement, can we cut the bullshit? They managed to fool not only the Caymanian officers, but the Russians, the Lebanese, and Cubans as well. I would like to see anyone here voluntarily try getting through one of those countries on forged documents and see how well that goes for them.

    In all honesty, it seems as though each country was willing to just pass the 'problem' onto Jamaica since they were merely transiting through rather than seeking to stay. It seems plausible that they saw Syrian refugees and did not want to stick their hands in that mess. Even the US has been slow to act in terms of the estimated 6.8 MILLION Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance having accepted an incredible NINETY refugees over the past two years while neighbouring countries are being severely burdened by the flood of refugees and the agonizingly slow and unfair vettingprocess they have to go through. This is bigger than us and our bullshit problems, people. Does that excuse the failures of whoever let them through? Not in the slightest, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that like in most cases this was a matter of multiple agents going 'nope, nope, nope, I don't want to know' and monkey see monkey do.

    Also, to the person criticizing immigration for the supposed influx of 'third world criminals' into our ranks, take a look in your own backyard. We have our own filth born and bred RIGHT HERE, and an embarrassing 'third world' mentality of our own to be proud of.

    • SSM345 says:

      Jamaican has a large "Middle Eastern" presence, all one needs to do is go to Negril and Montego Bay to figure that one out.

      • Puh-lease says:

        I struggle to see your point. Would you like to know some other countries with a 'large "Middle Eastern" presence'? Russia. Lebanon (which, in case we're playing state-the-obvious, is in the Middle East). Cuba. The USA. As is the case with MOST countries in the world. 

        As someone with Arab-Jamaican family, this is really a 'Duh' and I would be very, very embarrassed by my Caymanian countrymen if it took a CNS comment to learn that.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Does not say much for our border control unit if they were so lax that they did not pick up on these discrepancies!  I guess it was all duly noted and they carried on!

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously they got by US officials also… And US investment in this area is much higher than our own.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I feel so warm and fuzzzy knowing we have such diligent Immigration & security officers at our airport & ports look at this little place a complete Joke! Passport check yeah right.

  6. you-na-no-much says:

    Par for the course my friends. Who was the immigration officer? Should he or she be disciplined? We need to have trained officers in that department.

    Stop the nepotism and the cronyism and put these people through proper training!

  7. C. Ebanks says:

    Our Immigration here is a joke same date of birth and they where allowed to enter our country. Yes yes all are welcome wonder who else has slipped through our lovely shores and maybe still living among us come on Immigration officals do your job 



  8. Knot S Smart says:

    I wonder if we could talk Jamaica into taking the Jordanian off our hands?

  9. Slowpoke says:

    Something is wrong here, first it says "arrived in Cayman from the United States" but then goes on to say "travelled from Syria to Beirut, Moscow, Havana, and Grand Cayman and from there to Kingston."  What happened to the US part?


    Anyway, with 100,000+ dead, I too would do whatever I could to get out.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If they came from United States, why didn't they seek asylum there? Yet the article states " travelled from Syria to Beirut, Moscow, Havana,to Grand Cayman". I don't see United States in there.  

    Goes to prove how lax our immigration is.  No wonder we have so many third world criminals here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Throw out all the "third world" criminals and we still have here our Caymanian criminals.

      Are we still part of the third world?

      • Anonymous says:

        they are the "higher" classed  third world criminals my good sir.. lol. I mean we have one of the most notorious criminal in our prison system publsihing books and eating steak from champion house. Lets not get into the whole "going with the lads to watch some football Mr. prison director" DWL

    • Anonymous says:

      The third world criminals we have here are mostly our own Caymanians so stop your stupidness 10:16. I suppose you think all Caymanian young men are decent church goers eh?

      • Anonymous says:

        the third worlsd criminals are now paper Caymanians and in case you haven't noticied, real Caymanians are a bigger endangered species than the turtle.  

        You have no clue what you are allowing into this country.  At least we know what our Caymanians are and what they are doing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Obviously you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You should spend some time around the court house where you will see a mass of BORN/REAL/ENDANGERED/SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE SOIL Caymanians being convicted on a weekly basis and sent to jail. They far far outnumber the paper Caymanians or expat criminals.

        • SSM345 says:

          08:49, you been smoking the stuff that the 3 Belizians and Jamaican brought in last week?

          I have “toured” Northward as part of the PPC (Law School Bar) and can assure you that 95% of the population are real Caymanians as you would like to say as opposed to “paper”.

      • SSM345 says:

        And those criminals make up the vast majority of the “umemployed” or “umemployable” Caymanians.

        I wonder why?

    • Anonymous says:

      You will still be third world.


  11. Anonymous says:

    There is need for intelligent, smart, and observing immigration officers.  We do not require officers by weight or size.  What are we up to next?  Read more world news and understand how devious people are in their endeavours.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Inevitable that the Syrian tragedy would at some point touch all of us. If they are true asylum seekers, I wish them the best of luck.

  13. Anon-e-mous says:

    Legally landed in Cayman Islands… I wonder if they were originally from 300 miles east of us if they would have a chance to enter and depart our shores. Hmm.