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Home Affairs hosts BVI

A British Virgin Islands (BVI) delegation recently traveled to the Cayman Islands to gather first-hand knowledge about local laws and procedures that address refugees and the processing of asylum requests.

Deputy Secretary (Atg) in the BVI Premierís Office Geraldine Ritter-Freeman led the visiting team which included Chief Immigration Officer (Atg) Ian Penn and Crown Counsel Sarah Potter.

The agenda for the BVI visit, in late January, included meetings with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson; Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush, MOHA Deputy Chief Officer Wesley Howell, Chief Immigration Officer (Atg) Bruce Smith; and former Chairman of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal Sophia Harris; as well as several staff members from the Immigration Department and Her Majestyís Cayman Islands Prison Service.

As the United Kingdom is a signatory of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the document extends to British Overseas Territories such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

In keeping with its principles, the Cayman Islands has passed legislation, policies and procedures for considering asylum requests, including legislative provisions for appeals. The UNHCR has recognized these provisions as being in keeping with the spirit of the 1951 Convention.

Local officials report the BVI team found the visit productive and have since moved closer to refining their own asylum protocols.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks