US Officials Meet Citizens
Scores of American citizens living in Cayman met last week with visiting representatives of the US Embassy in Kingston, as well as representatives from other American field offices and the US consular agency in the Cayman Islands.
The visit was facilitated by the Deputy Governor's office, which holds responsibility for consular matters.
The town-hall style public meeting was held at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort. The US Embassy officials used this new approach to allow American citizens the opportunity to share and discuss issues of interest or concern.
"This is the first Cayman meeting with citizens - which is long overdue," said Mr. David Stone, who is the American Consul General in Kingston, Jamaica. He explained to the audience the role of his office, especially in relation to the Cayman Islands.
Speaking about the Consular Section of the Embassy, Mr. Stone said that its services include registering US Citizens who live in this region, voting issues, as well as processing passport and immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. Another service is providing country information for the benefit of travelers.
The Consular Section also works with host government law enforcement agencies, and, in instances where US citizens are charged or convicted of crimes, it "ensures that they are treated fairly in relation to the respective country's laws."
The other visiting officials also introduced themselves and briefly explained their roles. This was followed by a range of questions from those assembled on subjects like registering children and spouses and handling social security issues.
US citizens were told that submitting immigration applications to the USCIS offices at the US Embassy in Kingston will expedite processing.
An important embassy service, immigration, is the responsibility of Ms. Adijatu Abiose. She is the Citizenship and Immigration Services Attaché with the Department of Homeland Security in Jamaica. Her office's email address is:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her colleague, Lee Marple, is the American Embassy's Regional Security Officer. Mr. Marple explained that his office assesses threats and vulnerabilities that relate to the United States and its citizens. In so doing, it works closely with the Royal Cayman Islands Police. "The Cayman Islands rate as 'low' for crime and terrorism in the security rating of the region," he noted.
Mr. Marple explained that the US Embassy has emergency preparedness plans in place for scenarios ranging from hurricanes to acts of terrorism.
He emphasized that the embassy provides citizens with information and support (such as evacuation) before and after emergencies, but it may be difficult following disaster situations depending on the type of emergency.
In the Cayman Islands, the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is the official gathering place for U.S. citizens in the case of a declared emergency or evacuation.
Another American official, Ms Jane McEntee, is the Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Officer, and is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is also the regional Federal Benefits Officer and oversees all 49 posts south of the United States.
She told attendees that the SSA's Federal Benefits Unit in Jamaica serves the needs of U.S. citizens living in Cayman and in Trinidad and Tobago. To access these services, log on to www.socialsecurity.gov or email@example.com. The phone numbers are (876) 702-6043/6006.
Captain Dom Micillo, United States Navy, is the US Defense Attaché in Kingston. He represents all the American armed services and deals with issues relating to veterans, as well as processing applications for US military academies. His section works closely with the Jamaican Defense Force and with Cayman authorities in relation to security issues.
Ms. Dee Duggan serves as the US consular agent in the Cayman Islands. This Consular Agency does not offer a full range of consular services, but processes and forwards documents to the US Embassy in Jamaica and provides information as well as notarial services.
The Consular Agency is located at the Cayman Centre, adjacent to the Airport Post Office, and is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8a.m. to 2p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays until 1p.m. The office can be reached by phone at 945-8173, or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The US Embassy's number in Kingston is (876) 702-6000.
For further information contact: Lennon Christian