Editorial for 29 May: Change law to help out Cubans

It is sad when Cubans who are in our waters are turned away
from our shores and refused gas, water, food and other necessities as they
continue their journey from their homeland to Honduras.

But until lawmakers change the memorandum of understanding
this country has with Cuba, nothing more can be done.

No, we don’t agree that human beings should be sent back to
sea unprepared to face swells and potentially bad weather.

In a perfect world, we would be able to give our brothers
and sisters from the north the provisions they need to continue in a safe

Unfortunately, a man was arrested last week as about 50
people gathered in West Bay to watch a boat carrying 30 Cuban migrants that had
stopped offshore. They told officials they were having trouble with their boat.
While police later said that the arrest had nothing to do with the Cuban
incident, the man was arrested for disorderly conduct and assaulting police.

Under the terms of Cayman’s memorandum of understanding with
Cuba signed in 1999, Cubans who enter Cayman’s waters on vessels can choose to
land here and receive care in accordance with international conventions.
Cabinet regulations passed in January 2005 state that if the migrants choose to
continue their journey elsewhere, they cannot be offered any assistance or be
allowed to land to repair their vessels.

To say that the police weren’t doing their job on Thursday
is wrong. They were. While we are ready to complain about police, when they are
upholding the law we have to give them credit.

If it is the will of the Caymanian people to be able to help
Cubans who find themselves off our shores in distress, then they should pester
the people we just elected and who are forming a government to change the law
and the MOU. We believe the MOU goes totally against the human rights of the
Cubans, who are trying to flee their homeland for a better life.

The law can be changed; it just takes the political will to
do it.




  1. I’m sure it genuinely IS the will of the Caymanian people (and of non-Caymanian residents too) to help Cuban boat-people in distress. Caymanian seafarers relied on the law of the sea back in the old days, and it’s to Cayman’s utter shame that we as a community have forgotten that we have a moral duty to help other seafarers.

    Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the will of our political representatives. People reading this story and Editorial should insist that our new MLAs do their duty.

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