and Marine Police officers escorted a boat carrying 16 Cubans out of Cayman
waters on Monday.
21-foot-long vessel, which had been at sea for three days, was first intercepted
in Cayman Brac Sunday. After its passengers told Immigration officers at Cayman
Brac they were in transit, the boat continued to Grand Cayman where a local
resident reported to authorities that it was moored off Prospect Point shortly
after 8am Monday.
boat then followed a joint immigration/customs/police marine unit vessel to
Jackson Point in South Sound where it again moored up at a buoy and the passengers
refused to come ashore, knowing they may face detention if they did so.
don’t want to come in,” said Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans, who along
with other immigration officers and police officers, waited at the jetty at
Jackson Point to see what the Cubans would choose to do.
around 1pm, Immigration officers and Marine Police escorted the crowded boat to
12 Mile Banks after the Cubans said they wanted to continue and had 20 gallons
of fuel on board.
official policy on refugees is not to offer fuel or food or other assistance.
“We cannot facilitate illegal migration,” said Ms Evans.
said the boat was seen in the Brac at 8.35am Sunday morning and left three
hours later. “They did not want any assistance,” she said.
added that the passengers said they had left Cuba on Friday morning.
last time Cuban refugees landed in Cayman was in 2009 when two fishermen came
ashore, the chief immigration officer said. One was repatriated and the other
is seeking asylum in an ongoing case, Ms Evans said. Prior to that, the last
incidents of Cubans coming ashore or being detained in Cayman was in 2008.
asked them yesterday why we had not seen so much of them lately. They said
basically that the government had clamped down on security of all its borders
and stepped up penalties for trying to land [overseas],” said Ms Evans.
is believed that the Cubans were heading for Honduras.