In the July 3, 1969 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the front page carried a report titled “3 children die during 5-day ordeal: 19 Cubans land in Brac”. It read:

“Twenty-two Cubans in a 22ft fishing boat, exhausted from the rigours of five days at sea during which three of them died, arrived in Cayman Brac around midnight last Thursday (26 June, 1969).

“The deceased were all children from one family, twin boys born on the 14th July, 1966, and a girl born on the 19th Oct., 1964.

“Five men, two women and 15 children started out on the journey to freedom, expecting to reach Jamaica in about one and a half days, so very little food and water was on board.

“Some miles out from Cuba, the engine failed. A small sail was put into use and it was mainly the current which carried them eventually to Cayman Brac.

“Two of the children died about 2pm and the third at about 5pm on Thursday.

“Upon arrival all were suffering from exposure and four of the children were sick. They were all temporarily accommodated at Rafaldo’s Club at Spot Bay where they were well cared for by the folk there. Coffins were made for the deceased children.

“The group was transferred to Grand Cayman by Cayman Airways flight on Friday, arriving at 4:30pm. Dr. Smith went to the airport and all were conveyed to the hospital where they were individually examined by Drs. Smith and Bennett, assisted by Mr. Fedum. The mother of the  deceased and two more of her children were detained. Post mortems were carried out by Dr. Smith.

“The funeral of the three children was held at Prospect at 6:30pm, which was attended by quite a few Caymanians.

“In his brief words of comfort, Rev. R. Coke of the United Church said how sad it was that these children had lost their lives at such a tender age because their parents were seeking freedom. He expressed the view that we should commend the parents for the attempt they had made and as these little ones had died in search of freedom, it is the duty of Caymanians to give sympathy and help and to make the remainder of the family and others at home.

“The families are now at Sunset Lodge on South Church Street and a committee with Mr. Harry McCoy as chairman has been set up to look after them and any other refugees.

“Any clothing or other gifts may be left at the police headquarters.

“Inspector Roy Archer who made most of the arrangements and members of the police force who did all the transporting should, we feel, be thanked for the services he rendered.”

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