Cayman prepared to discuss visa issue

Cayman would be happy to send a delegation to Jamaica to discuss the visa situation, Leader of Goverenment Business Kurt Tibbetts said on Thursday.

And it had twice been indicated in writing to officials that Cayman wished to engage in dialogue, he told the Cabinet press briefing.

Mr. Tibbetts said the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Jamaica had written and a reply had just been sent to him.

That reply indicated that Cayman would be quite happy to send a delegation, once a time had been agreed, to sit down and talk the matter through, he said.

Jamaica’s reply was awaited, he added.

The difficulty had been that, as hard as they had tried to work it out, when they tried to make an exception they would crumble the whole thing and might as well not do it.

There was no way to make exceptions and make it have effect, he told the briefing.

There was nothing with regards to the actions taken that was pointed at anyone or any nationality, Mr. Tibbetts stressed.

Minister Arden McLean wondered if the need to control the country’s borders had been properly explained.

The government had responsibility to protect everyone within its borders, he said.

Minister Charles Clifford said some people had tried to gain political mileage out of the issue and portray it as a Jamaica versus Cayman problem, which was irresponsible and dangerous.

It was a border control issue and Jamaica was one of 116 countries whose citizens required visas to come here, he said.

Minister McLean the issue was being blown out of proportion.

The government was not trying to stop people coming in, it was trying to control the borders, he said.