Passport problem not resolved

| 08/12/2014

(CNS): The UK’s planned implementation of the repatriation and centralization of passports for its territories has been delayed again, the premier told the Legislative Assembly Monday morning when he reported on his trip to London last week for the Joint Ministerial Council meeting. Alden McLaughlin said the date had been pushed back to May next year, and until the repatriation was complete, the local passport office would still manufacture Cayman passports from its current stock. But he warned that stocks are running out and may be finished by the time the UK implements the new system and said that the FCO had still not sorted out the issue of Cayman issuing its own emergency passports after repatriation.

The premier said there was nothing he could do about the UK’s he decision to repatriate and centralize all passports, including those for the overseas territories. He said it was made unilaterally by the Home Office without any consultation with Cayman or other overseas territories and long before the PPM took office.

“As I have reported before, we have been able to ensure that aspects of a BOTC passport, such as the name of the territory on the front remains,” he said. “We have also had robust talks with HMG regarding timeframes for the manufacturing of the new passports to ensure that this is done as fast as possible and also for the Cayman Passport Office to maintain control over the actual issuing of passports. And we also raised the concern regarding the need for Cayman and other OTs to be able to provide emergency passports when needed.

“The issue of emergency passport issuance is, however, still outstanding. I made strong representation to the Home Office and the FCO that this must be treated as a priority,” he added.

McLaughlin said the Home Office acknowledged the need and has agreed to send a small number of officials involved with the repatriation project to Cayman early next year. The premier said that he had also requested that the issue is added to the agenda at a meeting the CIG will have with the FCO early in the New Year.

Among the other issues dealt with was the beneficial ownership register. McLaughlin said all of the territories had stood firm and there will be no centralized public territories register relating to the offshore sector any time soon. (See full story on this issue on CNS Business tomorrow).

Many other issues, from environment to public finances, were also on the agenda and the premier said much of the discussions were useful, though the OTs and the UK did not always agree. Though in the end he said there was more agreement than not and a final joint communiqué was produced.

“Regardless of what some may think, the relationship between the OTs, CDs and the UK remains mutually beneficial. The UK benefits in many ways from the relationship, including in meeting its environmental obligations, as the OTs have some of the most bio-diverse environments around, in fact accounting for more than 90% of such bio-diversity found within the UK and its Territories. And similarly, the OTs, including Cayman, also benefit from historic and constitutional arrangements,” he said.

Reviewing the week-long trip, McLaughlin said members would see from the communiqué, which was laid on the table at the Legislative Assembly, that many areas were covered during the week of discussions and side meetings, including acknowledging the obligations of the UK to its territories, the protection of children, enhancing the economies of the OTs, matters concerning the environment, required major projects, security and crime and other matters.

He said the 2014-15 roadmap includes working jointly to raise international standards to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption. It also implores the UK government to explore with international partners how territories can engage directly to commission technical and policy supports to introduce renewable energy sources. Another roadmap mandate was the ratification of multilateral environmental agreements.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully while they are looking at how to resolve this they will also appoint an experienced manager and more efficient staff for that office! I recently had to visit there and found myself havingto deal with staff at various levels to get a simple answer. Painful. I finally was attended by a very nice and knowledgeable lady named Nicky to whom I am grateful. She was exellent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The basic issue is that we live in an Overseas Territory, not a Country.  We "benefit" from the the bureaucracy of the Mother Country, sometimes this is good but often not so much. Our other choice is to go it alone but I'm not convinced things would be so great as an actual Country given our Banana Republic political class.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The issue of passports is a national issue for the UK not a local government issue.  If emergency passports are needed then the Governor's office should handle it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Concidering that CIG pays for the Governor's Office thats a rather roundabout way of doing things, dontcha think? (Same Gov. Office that couldn't help when people's passports were expiring earlier this year, they were stuck out of the UK without their passport, and the UK Passport Office was backed up to teh rafters. – Not blaming the Governor but remember they're just an extension of the FCO/UK who came up with this incompetent plan of 'repatriating passports' in the first place. )

  4. Anonymous says:

    So why don't we stand up to the uk for moving the implementation date from January to May. What are we going to do when we run out of passports ? And what will happen when there are medical emergencies??

    i don't get this….this is something that we have done well and it is being taken away from us…..what next?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. The passport office is the most efficient and helpful department in government. I tell them that all the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      You might find we have in the past issued a number of passports to persons who may not have been qualified to receive them. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Whats next! you have become the true state of the European Union!

      You people need to take some time out and educate yourselves of what the Union means to these little Islands..stop blaming the UK they have it harder than us.

      We should be encouranging the UKIP party to win the next election and get the hell out of the Union.

      The UK cant take a shit unless Brussell tells her to.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That is the least of our passport problems. We still have to deal with the fact that thousands of Caymanians may not even be eligible for Cayman passports, while thousands of expats are. You could not make this crap up!

    • Anonymous says:

      And yet Hazzard wants to tie increased duty waivers to Cayman passports. SMH

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah, the joys of ill considered cabinet status grants and populist immigration provisions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not a real issue. If they are born Caymanians or bother to take the step of being naturalised as BOTCs then they will be entitled to Cayman Passports.

      • Anonymous says:

        And yet PR holders (even if they have not paid any fees, and their children who may not even live here, and even persons who have had their PR revoked), can enter with Cayman passports  without so much as filling out a form. And what makes you think that a Caymanian who has been working abroad, or who has criminal convictions, or has spent significant time outside Cayman can get naturalised? 



      • Anonymous says:

        Contemplate this. If an expat marries a Caymanian then they must wait at least 8 years before they are eligible to apply for and obtain a Cayman passport. 

                                        If an expat marries a PR holder they must wait only 3 years before they can apply for and get a Cayman passport. 

        It can actually be much easier and faster to get a Cayman Passport by an expat  marrying a work permit holder (who then gets PR) than marrying a Caymanian.

        Non issue?