Sugar gliders are small gliding possums.

Bail was extended for the fifth time last week for a man and woman accused of smuggling an exotic pet, known as a sugar glider, into the Cayman Islands. They will find out later this month if they will face criminal charges over the incident.

The 31-year-old man and 26-year-old woman were arrested in June after the marsupial escaped on a Cayman Airways flight from Miami. They have been on bail ever since.

Customs Collector Charles Clifford said, “The two individuals in this case have been bailed again and are scheduled to return on Oct. 25, by which time we anticipate that we will have a decision from the Director of Public Prosecutions on charges in this matter.”

The man who was arrested was identified in an earlier report as Jimel McLean, son of East End MLA Arden McLean.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.



  1. I think that the Judge should tell the illegal importers to take them sugar gliders back of the Islands and that they can stay with them if they don’t want to leave them , so that no more Court time is wasted . The Islands doesn’t need to be inhabited and infested by the sugar gliders . We all know how well most people take care and look after their pets on the Island

  2. Hi Ron,

    I agree completely with you. Creating resources and connections to return these invasive and illegally imported animals would be ideal. I have heard that these Sugar gliders were actually euthanized, which is a shameful and shadowed way of ‘addressing the problem’.

    While I’m not certain if this is accurate, if it is, I believe this actually violates the mandate/purpose of the DoA and we need to see policy/changes which allow for animals which are illegally brought to our islands to be returned to a safe environment to the country of origin.

    “The Department of Agriculture seeks to develop sustainable agricultural production in order to promote measures of self-sufficiency and food security (compatible with economic reality) for the Cayman Islands. To preserve and protect the state of health and well being of plants and animals and to indirectly promote the wellness of residents through dynamic planned development.”

  3. It’s a mystery why the DPP would need 4 months (and counting) to decide whether to charge these individuals. Going by the press reports there seems to be a clear case to answer.

    Such a delay in the charging process is of course no surprise. Anyone who has dealt with the DPP will be familiar with their approach to the 6 month time limit being a target to be reached rather than avoided.

    In this case the suspects are Caymanians and being on bail will not really affect them. For many expats however the experience can be life-changing in the worst possible way. Arrest and seizure of passport followed by never ending limbo, often without employment or any means of support, while the authorities delay. No wonder so many defendants skip bail – who can blame them when the alternative is penury and destitution while they wait to clear their name?