Cayman’s Opposition Leader Kurt Tibbetts 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 last 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 limited to business people.
But he cautioned that any attempt to amend visa rules may
not 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, Mr. 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 the visa waiver issue, but he indicated that
negotiations had 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 visitors had a criminal record.
Premier Bush said that 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 opposition PPM because of the party’s
“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
The premier also noted
that he had never told the Jamaican press that Cayman was going to waive visa
requirements, only that government would be taking a look at it.