Cayman News Service, October 8, 2011
The Cayman Islands authorities have confirmed that they are holding 19 Cuban migrants on Cayman Brac after their boat reportedly ran aground off the Sister Island yesterday evening. Government officials said that the migrants are being temporarily housed under immigration control, and several other government as well as private sector agencies are helping meet their immediate needs. A spokesperson from government said that the group were expected to be transferred to Grand Cayman early next week for processing. No information was given regarding the sex or age of the latest group of refugees from Cayman’s northern neighbour. Although, Cuban boat people have frequently landed on Cayman the migration via Cayman had stopped throughout 2010 but this is now the fifth vessel that has passed through local waters this year. Cayman policy dictates that Cuban migrants cannot be assisted by the Cayman Islands if they wish to continue with their journey. If they request help, even food, water and fuel, they are taken into custody and eventually repatriated to Cuba. If the migrants choose not to be deported they must leave Cayman waters unassisted. In circumstances such as these if the boat is not seaworthy the refugees face enforced repatriation unless they claim political asylum.