The leader of Cayman’s opposition political party slammed Premier McKeeva Bush late Friday over comments Mr. Bush made to the Jamaican media about the potential waiver of visa requirements for Jamaican nationals travelling to the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Bush told the Jamaica Gleaner earlier this week that he is considering making
it easier for Jamaicans to visit Cayman once they already possess a
United States visa.
Mr. Bush said he believes the rigorous process to which applicants for US
visas are subjected should be satisfactory for entry to Cayman, eliminating the
need for the granting of a Cayman visa.
“The US visa process is well scrutinised. If it serves the US, then it serves
us. What I do believe needs to be done now is to consider allowing entry to
persons with US-issued visas,” Mr. Bush told the Gleaner.
The premier said he could not commit to whether the visa waiver would be
business people. But he cautioned that any attempt to amend visa rules
go well with the People’s Progressive Movement, Cayman’s opposition party.
“Only God knows what they will do. They will jump on
any political bandwagon,
but we have to do what is right,” the premier said.
On Friday, Cayman’s Opposition Leader Kurt Tibbetts said the premier was being “mischievous” and that Mr. Bush knew his statements had “no bearing of truth”.
“It casts the wrong impression on the country,” Mr. Tibbetts said in a statement to the house. “It was wrong for the premier, on the international stage, to make remarks on a local issue that he knows to be very emotive.”
Mr. Tibbetts said that his party had twice met with Jamaican officials regarding visa waiver issue, but indicated that negotiations stalled over whether Cayman would be granted access to Jamaica’s law enforcement database.
The opposition leader said that access was needed to determine whether or not visitors had a criminal record.
Premier Bush said Friday was the first time he had heard about People’s Progressive Movement officials – Cayman’s former ruling party – discussing the matter with anyone.
Mr. Bush said he made statements about the visa waiver issue possibly not going well with the now-opposition PPM because of their past performance in office.
“There’s nobody who has done worse with the Immigration Law or that people (referring to Jamaican nationals) than him and his government,” Mr. Bush said, referring to Mr. Tibbetts and the PPM administration.
The premier also noted that he had never told the Jamaican press that Cayman was going to waive current visa requirements, only that government would be taking a look at it.