Less than two days before a group of 21 Cuban migrants was due to be sent home, a fight broke out at the Immigration Detention Centre in George Town and ended in the arrest of one of the migrants.
Royal Cayman Islands Police officers were called to the scene around 6.30pm Monday by a security officer at the detention centre. The officer reported a fight had broken out among a group of migrants who had returned to the centre following their temporary release that day.
‘They just had too much to drink while they were out and had a little disagreement among themselves,’ said Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson. He stressed the incident occurred in the detention centre and not while the migrants were out in public.
The Immigration Department has recently begun allowing migrants permission to leave the centre between 9am and 6pm during weekdays as long as they agree to return on time.
The temporary releases are only being allowed for 21 migrants who ended up on Cayman’s shores after fleeing Cuba earlier this year. All of them were sent home via a charter flight Wednesday morning. Some had been housed at the detention centre for more than five months.
Six migrants who arrived in Cayman 10 July are still being kept in detention awaiting repatriation.
Immigration officials suspended temporary release privileges for all of the migrants on Tuesday because of the fight.
A police spokesperson said an RCIPS officer who responded to the scuffle was attacked by one of the male migrants.
That migrant had to be forcibly restrained and was taken into custody by police. The man suffered a cut on his chin and police said he was checked out by ambulance crews before being taken to the George Town police station.
The Cuban migrant was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, assaulting police, resisting arrest and damaged property. It was unclear at press time what the damaged property allegation related to.
RCIPS stated the police constable involved in the struggle used ‘a reasonable amount of force’ to restrain the migrant. The officer was not seriously hurt.
Police agreed with the decision to send the Cuban who was arrested back home since he would have been detained here much longer if his case had to be heard in court.