Dr. Patricia Holness, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Registrar General’s Department, said based on evidence her office has received, it is likely that baby Lateisha Clarke will be registered in Jamaica.
The premature baby was born to Jamaican parents Shellesha Woodstock and Laflin Clarke, aboard Cayman Airways Flight 600 en route to Jamaica on 2 October after Ms. Woodstock claimed she was advised by hospital officials in The Cayman Islands to return to Jamaica to give birth after her water broke.
The Gleaner last week reported that the parents were facing difficulties registering the child, as they were informed by local authorities that the child could not be registered here as she was not born on Jamaican soil.
However, Ms. Holness on Friday told The Gleaner that the RGD is not opposed to registering the birth of baby Lateisha as long as the office is given a factual account of the birth.
“Once I get a statement from the pilot outlining the details, we have no problem registering the event of the birth,” she said.
She explained that once this is done, baby Lateisha would have no problems acquiring Jamaican citizenship.
Baby Lateisha’s story created a stir both in Jamaica and here when the Caymanian Compass broke news that the 19-year-old mother, who was 29 and a half weeks pregnant, delivered her premature baby on board a Cayman Airways flight.
Ms Woodstock said a doctor and nurse at the Cayman Islands hospital advised her that caring for a premature baby in the Cayman Islands was too expensive and that it would be cheaper if she went back to Jamaica. She was then given a signed letter by doctor Gilbretha Alexander authorising that she was fit to fly.
Both the Cayman Islands government and the Jamaican Consulate in the Cayman Islands are conducting independent investigations into the incident, the results of which are due next week.
As it stands now, Lateisha is a nowherian, a Trini term given to someone who has no fixed place of abode.
Cayman Immigration Chief Franz Manderson said, ‘even if you are born in the Cayman Islands, there is no automatic acquisition of citizenship; unless the parents are Caymanian.’
She’s not the only nowherian.
‘I am a nowherian myself,’ explained 80-year-old James McLaughlin.
He still works on the cruise ship tenders in the harbour.
‘I was born on the high seas on a schooner travelling between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman.’
With his pencil thin moustache and lean muscular build he looks almost too fit and strong to be 80.
‘Nowhere is off limits to me. I have a United Nations passport, I can live and work anywhere; I can go anywhere in the world,’ he said.
Some years ago a woman, whose family is from Cayman Brac, was born on a Lacsa aircraft. Lacsa is a Costa Rican airline and at the time the plane was in mid air between the Brac and Grand Cayman.