Cuban Migrants in Local Waters
Thirteen Cuban migrants entered local waters yesterday evening. The group consisted of 9 males and 4 females. They arrived in Cayman Brac around 6:30pm aboard an approximate 20 foot wooden vessel. Upon arrival they were met by local authorities. The group departed Cayman Brac earlier today having expressed the desire to continue their journey, with the exception of one migrant who decided not to continue and disembarked in Cayman Brac.
International law prohibits the Cayman Islands from facilitating illegal migration. This extends to members of the public assisting migrants, on land or in local waters, with food, shelter, transportation, or other forms of comfort.
Although persons who arrive in such a manner are detained pending a repatriation process, the Cayman Islands Government is responsible for ensuring that they are able to access resources necessary for health and well-being while in custody. This includes food, clothes and medical treatment.
The Immigration Department notes that the restriction on assistance is in part due to the dangerous and potentially fatal journey which such individuals face.
Local laws criminalize acts by any persons who assist or facilitate illegal transportation, harbouring or the movement of migrants, whether or not for financial gain. These acts attract a fine of CI$50,000 and seven years imprisonment.
For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks