Nearly two-thirds of the respondents to the latest caycompass.com online poll believe the Cayman Islands should be help Cuban migrants.
Of the 411 respondents, 264 said Cayman should give the migrants food, water and gasoline and then let them continue their journey elsewhere.
‘The rule of the sea is to assist materially as needs dictate,’ commented one respondent. ‘We should not interfere with refugees, even if we cannot afford to accommodate them here.’
Several people commented on the morality of not helping the migrants and that it was only the humane thing to do in helping them.
‘How would you like your mother, your son, your granddaughter to be treated if the roles were reversed,’ asked one person. ‘How much food do you throw away after a meal? Each week?’
‘Whomsoever you see in distress, recognise in him a fellow man,’ commented someone else.
Eighty-three people (20.19 per cent) thought Cayman should continue doing exactly what it is doing as dictated by the Memorandum of Understanding with Cuba. That MOU calls for the migrants, if they come ashore here, to be detained and then repatriated to Cuba.
‘Repatriate them immediately,’ said one person.
‘Stipulate a clear plan that if they are not collected within 30 days, they should be set free,’ said another person.
Twenty-six people (6.33 per cent) said the migrants should be giving refugee status and allowed to live in Cayman indefinitely.
Another 21 people (5.11 per cent) thought they should be put in Northward or Fairbanks prisons until they could be repatriated.
‘If they’re going to keep breaking out of the [detention] compound, the government should put them somewhere they can’t do that so easily – before someone gets hurt in an act of desperation.’
Seventeen people (4.14 per cent) said they were not sure what to do with the Cuban migrants, or offered alternative suggestions.
‘Sign a better, more efficient agreement with Cuba in order to make the turnaround process faster and easier,’ said one person.
‘By law, what the government is doing is right,’ said another person. ‘However, morally it feels wrong.
‘Our society can’t observe all the refugees that want to come here, but sending them on their way to become another country’s problem isn’t exactly right.
‘At the crux of the matter is what happens to them when they are sent back to Cuba. Are they jailed or worse? If this is the case, then the Cayman Islands and the world need to find a way to accept them in the country.
‘If the Cubans are just escaping because of economic reasons and they will be accepted back into their country without penalty, then send them back.’