(CMR) Sixteen (16) male migrants were repatriated to the Republic of Cuba while twenty (20) migrants were transported from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman in what the Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Service described as two successful operations.
CBC, assisted by officers from Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Services and Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman, carried out the two operations on 11 January 2023.
The chartered Cayman Airways 737-8 departed from Grand Cayman at 9:58 am arriving in Cuba at 10:36 am with the 16 Cuban nationals. It then departed from Cuba and arrived in Cayman Brac at 12:19 pm, taking on 20 migrants who disembarked in Grand Cayman at 1:21 pm.
CBC Director Charles Clifford states, “I want to thank HMCIPS and WORC, who assisted our CBC officers with today’s successful operations. For security reasons, such operations require two trained officers to secure each passenger being transported. These operations are vital in managing the current migrant crisis these islands are facing. Additional repatriation flights will be arranged soon.”
Twenty (20) migrants were housed in Cayman Brac from vessels that arrived before and during the Christmas holidays. Resources on the Sister Islands are limited; therefore, CBC must make arrangements for them to be transported to Grand Cayman for longer-term management and processing.
“I thank the CBC, HMCIPS and WORC staff members who made these operations possible. We are dealing with a difficult irregular migration situation in our Islands that has stretched our national resources, but these dedicated professionals have consistently stepped up to ensure we are both maintaining security and adhering to our international human rights obligations,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Border Control & Labour Hon. Chris Saunders said
“I look forward to increasing numbers of repatriation flights in 2023 as we work to expedite the political asylum application process following the passage of the necessary legal amendments. While we collectively have sympathy for the migrants’ economic plight, the Cayman Islands simply cannot absorb these increasing numbers of migrants or afford the burdensome cost of their long-term residence and maintenance here,” he added.
Since 2022, a total of 28 migrants have been repatriated, and another twenty-three (23) are in process for repatriation.