Cubans spend week off Cayman

A group of Cuban migrants who seemed determined to continue their journey across the Caribbean to Honduras showed up in Cayman Brac and at three different locations along Grand Cayman’s south coast within the past two weeks before finally shoving off at the South Sound dock on Friday.

Cuban migrants

Cuban migrants wave goodbye to on-lookers in the South Sound Friday afternoon. The group has been traversing Caymanian coastal waters for nearly two weeks.
Photo: Brent Fuller

Fifteen migrants first appeared off the Brac coast on 13 November. When they were approached by immigration officers, five of the 15 chose to turn themselves in to Caymanian authorities and be repatriated to their home country.

The 10 others went on and ended up along Cayman’s East End near the Royal Reef Beach Resort on 15 November. According to resort managing director Tom McCallum, they left the same day after getting their make-shift boat’s engine started.

The migrants were spotted the next day off Frank Sound where they anchored to wait out rough sea conditions.

They stayed there through last Thursday. Several people were seen bringing the migrants food, water and other supplies while they waited off the sound. There were also complaints about the Cubans coming ashore to use a nearby beach as a bathroom.

The 10 migrants attempted to leave Cayman on Thursday but had to be rescued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Marine Unit when their engine failed. They were later escorted back to local waters and ended up in South Sound Thursday night.

The group spent the morning at the South Sound dock. Several further donations of food, ice, even what appeared to be an electrical cord were made by local residents. They departed around noon, the deadline immigration officials had set for them to either leave the island or be taken into custody and repatriated.

It was not known by press time when the Cuban migrants had been successful in getting out of Caymanian waters.

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