The popular Spanish-speaking radio station in Miami, WYBA of the Univision network has criticised the Cayman Islands Government on the new guidelines recently instituted, regarding Cuban immigrants.
Friday, February 18, 2005
During a morning news bulletin on Wednesday 16 February the radio station newscaster said, “While the new measures are hurting Cubans, the Cayman Islands Government is developing a “sugar stick” relation with the Cuban authorities.”
Twenty-eight Cubans have so far been repatriated since the new policy took effect on 12 January, replacing the more lenient procedures that were adopted last year by the Cayman Islands Government.
The reason for the change of policy Government said is as a result of increased migration of Cuban nationals through the Cayman Islands and reported incidents of violent methods used to commandeer vessels to transport Cuban migrants to the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Government, has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Republic of Cuba to return all Cuban migrants to that country who illegally enter the Cayman Islands.
Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson explained that the number of Cubans arriving in the Cayman Islands increased steadily during 2004, reaching a total of over 300 for the year.
Under the guidelines, migrants encountered in Cayman’s territorial waters or who come ashore any of the three Islands will be refused permission to land and will no longer be given assistance to enable them to continue their journey.
Those able to depart immediately and wishing to do so will be allowed to leave. Otherwise they will be detained and repatriated to Cuba.
Cuban migrants will not be permitted to either acquire additional or alternative crafts; or arrange or accept transport by alternative means. The guidelines however have provision for rendering humanitarian aid if necessary. They state: “Should a vessel carrying Cuban migrants become disabled or in distress every effort must be made to prevent loss of life. In these circumstances any Cuban rescued will be repatriated.”