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System "Open to Abuse"

Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs' Chief Officer Franz Manderson.

The public is encouraged to review the proposed amendments regarding how prohibited immigrants and deportees may apply for permission to enter or re-enter the Cayman Islands.

The proposed amendments are in the Cayman Islands Gazette # 8, dated 11 April 2011. It is available at the Legislative Assembly, and at www.gazettes@gov.ky .

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2011 was published on 10 March 2011. If approved by the Legislative Assembly, it will establish eligibility criteria and the entry application process for prohibited immigrants and deportees.

Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs' Chief Officer Franz Manderson said these new measures will provide transparency and consistency in decision-making.

Currently there are no time - or for that matter, frequency limitations - governing how prohibited immigrants and deportees seek permission to enter the Cayman Islands. Furthermore, there are no formal application processes or eligibility criteria, he explained.

"In other words, a request to enter the Cayman Islands can be made immediately after the person has been prohibited, or deported," Mr. Manderson said. "And if that request is refused, the person may reapply at any time and Cabinet is required to consider the new request.

"The system is totally unregulated and open to abuse," he said.

Minimum Exclusion Periods

The proposed measures would create minimum exclusion periods that are based on the seriousness of the offences committed by the individuals.

Until this minimum period has elapsed, no applications for permission to enter the Islands will be considered.

These are the proposed exclusion periods.

  • For the most serious offences (such as murder, rape, arson, drugs offences, and grievous bodily harm) persons will not be able to apply to enter for a minimum of 30 years from the date of deportation.
  • For less serious offences (including actual bodily harm, fraud, and handling stolen goods) the proposed minimum exclusion period is 20 years.
  • For offences such as consumption or simple possession of a controlled drug; common assault; or immigration offences, persons may apply after having been outside the jurisdiction for 10 years.

However, persons with Caymanian family connections would be treated differently under the proposed Bill. In most of these cases, the minimum exclusion period will be one-third less than the period prescribed for persons with no local family connections.

"Caymanian family connections" refers to a deportee whose mother, father, spouse (whether married before, or after, the deportation); or child (including a legally adopted child), possesses the Right to be Caymanian (also known as Caymanian Status).

"However, in order to maintain a meaningful deterrent, the absolute minimum period before which persons may apply for entry should be no less than 10 years - even if they have Caymanian family connections," Mr. Manderson said.

Advisory Committee

The Bill also includes provisions for an advisory committee, which would assess applications and conduct comprehensive background checks on applicants before making recommendations to Cabinet. This committee would comprise the Deputy Governor, Chief Immigration Officer, Commissioner of Police and a mental health professional.

"This board would enable a much more in-depth examination of applications by specialist personnel," Mr. Manderson said.

Continued Monitoring

Another significant inclusion in the Bill are measures to address the risks of allowing prohibited immigrants or deported persons to re-enter the Islands.

Therefore, whenever permission to enter or return is granted, a probationary period of one year would be imposed. In the event that persons offend during this period, they would be deported immediately and prohibited for an indefinite period from applying for permission to return.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Lennon Christian