US Embassy reps meet with Americans

For the first
time ever, representatives of the US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica hosted a town
hall meeting for American citizens living in the Cayman Islands.

Also attending
the meeting, which was held at the Marriott Beach Resort, were representatives
from other American field offices and the US consular agency in the Cayman
Islands.

The visit was
facilitated by the deputy governor’s office, which holds responsibility for
consular matters.

The US Embassy
officials used the town-hall approach to allow American citizens the opportunity
to share and discuss issues of interest or concern.

“This is the
first Cayman meeting with citizens – which is long overdue,” said David Stone,
who is the American consul general in Kingston.. He explained to the audience
the role of his office, especially in relation to the Cayman Islands.

Speaking about
the Consular Section of the Embassy, Mr. Stone said that its services include
registering US Citizens who live in this region, voting issues, as well as
processing passport and immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. Another
service is providing country information for the benefit of travelers.

The Consular
Section also works with host government law enforcement agencies, and, in
instances where US citizens are charged or convicted of crimes, it “ensures
that they are treated fairly in relation to the respective country’s laws.”

The other
visiting officials also introduced themselves and briefly explained their
roles. This was followed by a range of questions from those assembled on
subjects like registering children and spouses and handling social security
issues.

US citizens
were told that submitting immigration applications to the USCIS offices at the
US Embassy in Kingston will expedite processing.

An important
embassy service, immigration, is the responsibility of Adijatu Abiose. She is
the citizenship and immigration services attaché with the Department of
Homeland Security in Jamaica. Her office’s email address is: [email protected].

Her colleague,
Lee Marple, is the American Embassy’s regional security officer.  Mr. Marple explained that his office assesses
threats and vulnerabilities that relate to the United States and its citizens.
In so doing, it works closely with the Royal Cayman Islands Police.

“The Cayman
Islands rate as ‘low’ for crime and terrorism in the security rating of the
region,” he noted.

Mr. Marple
explained that the US Embassy has emergency preparedness plans in place for
scenarios ranging from hurricanes to acts of terrorism.

He emphasized
that the embassy provides citizens with information and support (such as
evacuation) before and after emergencies, but it may be difficult following
disaster situations depending on the type of emergency.

In the Cayman
Islands, The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman is the official gathering place for US
citizens in the case of a declared emergency or evacuation.

Another
American official, Jane McEntee, is the Social Security Administration field officer,
and is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is also the regional Federal Benefits
Officer and oversees all 49 posts south of the United States.

She told
attendees that the SSA’s Federal Benefits Unit in Jamaica serves the needs of US
citizens living in Cayman and in Trinidad and Tobago. To access these services,
log on to www.socialsecurity.gov, or [email protected]. The phone numbers are (876) 702-6043/6006.

Captain Dom
Micillo, United States Navy, is the US defense attaché in Kingston. He
represents all the American armed services and deals with issues relating to
veterans, as well as processing applications for US military academies.  His section works closely with the Jamaican
Defense Force and with Cayman authorities in relation to security issues.

Dee Duggan
serves as the US consular agent in the Cayman Islands. This Consular Agency
does not offer a full range of consular services, but processes and forwards
documents to the US Embassy in Jamaica and provides information as well as
notarial services.

The Consular
Agency is located at the Cayman Centre, adjacent to the Airport Post Office,
and is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8a.m. to
2p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays until 1p.m. The office can be reached by
phone at 945-8173, or by e-mail at:  [email protected].

The US
Embassy’s number in Kingston is (876) 702-6000.

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