Dignitaries from the United States and Cayman Islands governments celebrated the formal dedication of Grand Cayman’s new U.S. consular agency office in Smith Road Centre.
Set to open to American citizens in the first week of October, the new office is larger and more secure than the consular agency’s existing space in Cayman Centre on Dorcy Drive.
“Service is our key,” U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater said.
Ms Bridgewater said the U.S. continues to have good relations with the Cayman Islands, mentioning coordination on law enforcement activities and singling out Cayman’s tourism and medical sectors for providing services to American citizens visiting Cayman.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who cut the ribbon on the new office with Ms Bridgewater, said the U.S. government was instrumental to Cayman during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when the U.S. enabled some 5,000 Cayman residents to leave the islands by relaxing paperwork requirements for evacuees traveling through the U.S.
Also present at last week’s ceremony were representatives from Cayman’s tourism industry, U.S. Consul General to Jamaica Mike Schimmel and consular agent for the U.S. embassy to the Cayman Islands Gary Montemayor.
The U.S. consular agency is open to the public, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The agency provides services to American citizens, including passports, applications for U.S. documents, reports of birth and emergency assistance.
For example, the new consular agency office has a vault in which to store the possessions of American citizens who die in Cayman but have no readily identifiable next of kin. Ms Bridgewater said 17 U.S. citizens died in the Cayman Islands last year, but the good news is there were about 70 births of new U.S. citizens registered in Cayman during the same time period.
Visa services are still handled through the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.