Police use pepper spray on Cuban migrant

Disturbance breaks out at Bodden Town community center

A group of migrants is watched by security guards outside the James M. Bodden Civic Centre in Bodden Town Tuesday, following an incident in which one of the migrants was pepper-sprayed. – Photo: Jewel Levy

One Cuban migrant was hospitalized and several others reported being sickened after they inhaled pepper spray that was used by police to help quell a disturbance at Bodden Town’s community center Tuesday.

About 40 Cuban migrants are being temporarily kept at the center under 24-7 guard because the Immigration Detention Centre in George Town is at capacity and law enforcement officials have nowhere else to house them.

According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, officers were called to the center around noon after security guards reported a disturbance that they were unable to control.

It was reported that one of the migrants told center guards that his shoes had been stolen by another migrant staying at the civic center. The migrant who reported the theft was then set upon by several other migrants at the center, police said.

When officers arrived, they found the man who reported the theft in a dispute with several other men, one of whom appeared to have a piece of metal in his hand.

Police officers used pepper spray on the man with the metal piece in his hand after officers said he refused to drop it. The man who was pepper-sprayed was taken to hospital for observation.

At least three other migrants who inhaled the pepper spray were treated on scene by ambulance personnel. Police said only one person was transported to hospital.

Police have responded to a few disturbances at the center since it began providing housing for the migrants this year.

Compass journalists Brent Fuller and Jewel Levy contributed to this report.

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  1. The police did what they had to do. If you drive by these centers holding these refugees, the tension is just a bomb waiting to go off.
    We here in Cayman and anyone else, need to understand that these people think differently from us. No matter how much you do, or give, or care for them; it is never enough. If you have not had the opportunity to live amongst them for years you will never know this because the face that they show you up front is not who they are.
    95% of those refugees have a prison record, they know it and Cubans here know it too. When they come out of prison they go back to the bottom of the pile where getting a job is concerned, so they have to stay in house and cannot be seen walking the streets in daytime or they will be put back in prison for five years. They become house husbands. The waiting time can be very long because by being in prison they have dropped out of society and cannot get back a work.
    They are not use to being pepper sprayed in Cuba, but I can tell you one thing you never heard of this behavior among any of them in Cuba, even in the prison, because the Cuban Government will do what they have to do, even if that means having to shoot you; so they respect and fear the Government.
    Our governments have no teeth, and are always making these bad- bargains with people who are not from here. Look at the money they are spending, while Caymanians are loosing their homes, cannot feed their children, loosing their small business and do not have a job.
    Yet they want poor people to support and vote for them come election. Don’t vote for them!!!. Do not support them until they get things cleared up before the end of the year. Do not allow them to make any promise to you about what will happen next year. They either do it before December, or do what the Cubans do.
    Voters it is about time you begin holding your Government responsible, because they are the persons responsible for the refugees being here. It can only be done in Cayman. Load up that plane and drop them off at Cuban airport, turn that plane around and head back home. You cannot change a Cuban, take that good advice.

  2. Utilizing the guards. Use these detainees for something other than photo ops. Have them clean the streets, care for the animals in the shelters, clean the beaches. Cayman will get something for the $4 million being wasted on nothing.

  3. If you put tracking devices on the Cuban migrants, and have them clean the beaches rather than take up space, Cayman gets a return on their money. If they have to work, they’ll be eager to return to their mother land. The most plausible solution is to just SEND THEM BACK immediately. Why the delay. The government is abusing the taxes that hard working Caymanians must pay, if they frivolously and cavalierly waste these funds, which they are doing very well.