Immigration officer was insulting

I feel compelled to write you about a situation that is almost unbelievable.

I am a 65-year-old black woman and I have been coming to Grand Cayman since 1975. I had a very well paying managerial job with a major US airline and have been retired for 10 years. My husband and I purchased a home in Breakers in 2001. It is fully paid for. It is our winter home and we have been coming and going for 10 years since we retired.

We arrived for the Christmas holidays as usual and received the 30 days we requested. We discovered some structural problems with our home and I decided to stay an extra two or three weeks to have the problems fixed. My husband had flown home with our grandchildren.

On 24 January I went to the Immigration Office to get the few weeks extension I needed and I was denied! The reason – the Cardinal sin of not being a US citizen. I have been a legal resident of the States for over 50 years but I have never felt the need to swear allegiance to the flag. (Just my personal conviction.)

The immigration officer informed me that I would need a visa for the few weeks extension and I would also need to show my house deed, bank statements, etc., etc. I had five debit cards on my person, but that did not satisfy her demands. They wanted me to pay $95 for a visa and another $65 for the extension fees. I left the office and told her never mind. I intend to fly home tomorrow and fly back down in a few days to finish my house projects here.

For the last 40 years I have spent so much money in Cayman. I have stayed at the Galleon, Holiday Inn, The Westin, etc., etc. I would come about three times a year and I would always be accompanied by eager tourists or airline personnel that were anxious to sample the serenity and beauty of Cayman.

I was a one woman ambassador! It was a slap in the face when that immigration officer said they need proof of how I would support myself the next few weeks.

Incidentally, my husband, who is white, has never had any problems getting an extension here. I suppose their assumption would be that he’s wealthy.

Wake up Cayman! You are about to lose a couple of people that have infused your economy for years. There are other beaches!

Leonie Donaldson-Quintelier

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Structural Racism on auto pilot. The lynch doctrine is difficult to correct since it had tiers of discriminating objectives meant to remain hidden in plain sight, by being ingrained in the fabric of society, and should we forget, self fulfilling. The password and gate pass is color coded..

    Sorry to hear of your difficulties Ms. Quintiller, but we need more individuals to speak up when it is encountered, it is the only way some will recognize, understand and correct their subconscious link.

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  2. Dear Leonie Donaldson-Quintelier

    This was not a racist attack. This was simply a government employee following a set of procedures that was set up by his/her supervisor.

    I am South African born and know all about the bureaucracies associated with Visas and had to endure procedures for many years.

    Now I am a Wealth UK Citizen retired in Cayman on a PERSON OF INDEPENDENT MEANS VISA.
    When my mother in law visit and I wish to extend her stay over 3 months I also have to take in a current bank statement to show that I can support her stay with us even though she is wealthy in her own right.

    I myself am white and only mention this as you made it a point that they disliked you due to the fact that you are black.
    They do not care if you are Pink, Purple or a light Maroon at Immigration, they treat everyone under the same procedures.

    Also I think all the people I have seen on the front desk are black them self.

    You never mention which passport you hold, as this will make a big difference. Some Countries do not have open book arrangements with others and then make visa arrangements complicated for there nationals.

    You have lived for 50 years in the USA and enjoy there life style but do not want to take citizenship form them, it sounds that you might be the person that holds resentment, NOT the government employee who tried to serve you at immigration.

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  3. These are the same things I always have to show when I ask to stay for 6 months, I just never looked at it racism. We just about always get funny looks as soon as we say we are staying for 6 months we just show them what they ask for and that’s usually it and we are careful not to give them attitude knowing that they can easily send us packing on a whim. I wouldn’t let it get to you Miss Leonie, Immigration departments are rough all over the world, just be prepared with all the correct paperwork when you go through in case you get an officer that has an attitude. Its best to have a local Bank Account with adequate funds in it to support yourself for the length of your stay and always show them respect even if you think they are disrespectful to you, remember your goal is to get to your home in breakers that you worked so hard for and enjoy the sun and the sand, don’t let an experience with one person ruin that for you ..

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  4. I for one did not say it was a racial attack, and as for blacks being at the front desk, we were the group that received the sustained indoctrination, and who discriminate against one other the most. Black on black crime is another manifestation. Immigration officials do have some flexibility.

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  5. There’s no one to blame but yourself Madam Leonie. Smart should prevail than emotion, you refuse US citizenship so don’t expect to receive treatment same as US citizen.

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