Cayman has voted in support of assisting Cubans on their journey.
Two-thirds of the 473 people who participated in the latest Cayman Compass online poll voted to give migrants arriving on Cayman shores “any and all assistance they need.” That option drew 315 votes, or 66.6 percent of the total.
Way down the list with 68 votes, or 14.4 percent, was the option “Prevent them from landing here in the first place,” which aligned with the 61 people, or 12.9 percent, who voted to “Arrest them as soon as they set foot on land and send them back home.” Together, those who voted for the punitive options totaled 28.3 percent, or nearly a third of all voters.
A further 19 people (4 percent) said Cayman should “welcome them in with open arms,” and the remaining 10 people who voted (2.1 percent) chose the “Other” option.
Some of those who voted to give the migrants the assistance they required to send them on their way also offered comments.
“Abolish the MOU [memorandum of understanding],” one person demanded.
“Allow Cuban-Caymanians to form a charity to fund their fellow Cubans arriving as refugees so the govt. don’t have to cover all the cost.”
Another person said it was “inhumane the way we treat them,” and a fellow commenter mused that “No-one will run away from good things.”
A different poll participant warned, however, that if the refugees did not “want to carry on, they should be put on the first available flight.”
Those who voted to arrest the would-be migrants as soon as they set foot on land also had something to say.
“Make the Cuban Government pay fees for this sort of return travel and enforce them to charter their our waters,” began one commenter.
“ So sad… But the hard truth is Cayman Islands Government will continue to spend funds on this situation; something got to give at some point. Better life is what everyone needs.
“However, monies only make you comfortable but that want of a better life style is the key – that is why land of the free good old USA is where they all want to go.”
A fellow voter for that option was a little more direct.
“Arrest them and send them packing,” was the view.
The “Other” option had the usual blend of different views.
“Warn them that they will be sent home if they land but also offer them the basics to allow them to continue on their way,” one commenter offered.
Another person felt the same:
“Give them a standard ‘care package’ that has a set number of first aid and consumption items in it, then send them off.”
Someone else was a little more sanguine about the implementation of a blanket policy.
“I think we should see what there [sic] situation is prior to making any decisions. If it looks like they could become an active and constructive part of Cayman life invite them in,” wrote the commenter.
By contrast, another pollster said firmly that Cayman should, “detain them and send them back.”
A further commenter sounded a dark tone.
“Be careful you do not become the port of entry,” wrote the poll participant.
Finally, a commenter who voted to “welcome them in with open arms,” was in flippant mode:
“Have them come and salsa at the Wharf.”
Next week’s poll question
- How much time did you spend watching the World Cup?
- I watched as many games as I could
- I only watched the teams I like
- I only watched from the quarterfinals through to the finals
- I didn’t get to watch as much as I wanted because the broadcast was not up to par
- I didn’t watch any; I don’t care about football
To participate, visit caymancompass.com.