14 Cubans flee detention

More than a dozen Cuban migrants escaped from the Immigration Detention Centre in George Town last week as the total number of detainees housed at that facility swelled to 50.

Eleven of the 14 migrants that escaped were caught the same day, 5 April.

One of the three migrants who had remained on the loose turned himself in this weekend, according to immigration officials.

The last two, who officials said were husband and wife, had not been found as of press time Tuesday.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said the large numbers of detainees at the centre may have played a role in the escape.

‘We normally keep it to 15 or 20 people,’ Mr. Manderson said. ‘There were some delays in the cases of people who were scheduled to leave.’

The incident came two weeks after some Cubans being kept at the centre held a demonstration they said was in protest of living conditions there.

Officials at the Department of Immigration and Customer Service said that protest was held after a failed escape attempt in which detention officers seized several items from migrants they said were planning the get-away.

Those items included a knife, screwdrivers, wrenches and a cell phone.

Mr. Manderson said an investigation is under way to determine how the detainees got those items, which are prohibited to anyone housed at the centre.

It’s unclear whether any of the people involved in the 22 March protest also took part in last week’s escape.

The last escape from the Immigration Detention Centre occurred on Christmas night last year when 25-year-old detainee Lester Camejo Suarez ran away from the centre during routine outdoor exercises. He was caught three days later without incident.

On the same day Mr. Suarez was recaptured, another Cuban man being kept at the centre attempted suicide. He was hospitalised and was later put under watch at the Central Police Station.

The detention centre is not operated as a full-security prison. It is used by the Cayman Islands Immigration Department to temporarily house migrants who are being held here awaiting repatriation to their homeland.

Mr. Manderson has previously said total staff at the centre fluctuates between 10 and 12 people who work different shifts keeping watch on the migrants.

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