Cuban migrant boat intercepted

Department
of Immigration officers said a Cuban vessel carrying 21 people was intercepted
off the north coast of Grand Cayman Thursday afternoon. . 

Deputy
Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said a couple from the craft decided to
come ashore, while the others opted to continue on their journey to Honduras.
The couple, both aged 28, are currently being detained by immigration
authorities.

Mr. Smith said the couple would be held at the Immigration Department’s detention centre
in George Town, which has not been used since 2009, once the Public Works
Department ensured the centre’s electricity and water services were connected
and the facilities were habitable. In the meantime, they would be held in
custody by Immigration, he said.

“Right
now, we are treating them as Cuban migrants, but we need to make sure everything
is in order. We have to make sure all the immigration guidelines, responses and
other controls are in place,” he said.

“They
have to be processed in accordance with international human rights and the United
Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees,” he
added.

Mr.
Smith said it typically took about 21 days to arrange repatriation of migrants
back to Cuba. Although Cuban migrants have previously stayed here for four to five months awaiting repatriation in past years.

The
joint Immigration/Customs/RCIPS Marine Unit intercepted the boat around 3pm. It
had arrived off Cayman Brac Wednesday.

The
joint unit were preparing to escort the boat out of Cayman waters late Thursday
afternoon.

Another
Cuban vessel arrived in Cayman waters just over a month ago. These two craft
were the only migrant boats to be intercepted in Cayman waters after October
2009.

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