Monday, February 20, 2012

Cubans repatriated after three months in Cayman

Cubans repatriated after three months in Cayman
Posted on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 05:23 in Local News

The Cayman Islands government returned sixteen Cuban refugees last week
who were forced toland on Cayman Brac back in November because of
problems with their vessel. Two men, however, remain on the run.
Fernando Figueredo and Rafael Hildalgo, escaped the Detention Centre on
21 January and are still being sought,officials stated. The 15 men and
one woman were all repatriated, despite their claims for political
asylum in the Cayman Islands, all of which were reviewed and refused.
According to officials, the refugees all signed letters stating that
they wished to be repatriated. One of the men also stated that he would
be getting on the next boat leaving Cuba as soon as he could.

In a release from GIS, the Cubans reportedly stated that they had been
treated well during their stay in Cayman by government, individuals and
the wider community but gave a "thumbs-down" to having to return.

"I'm happy to be going back to see my family, but I will get on the next
boat leaving Cuba but not stopping in Cayman Islands," one refugee
reportedly told GIS.

Acting Assistant Chief Immigration Officer Joey Scott led a team of 17
officers in what was the first repatriation handled entirely by
immigration and the second in two years.

Gary Wong, head of the immigration's enforcement arm, said that the goal
was to carry out the process in a safe and effective manner.

Anyone with information regarding the two missing refugees is asked to
call 526-0418, 526-0433 or 526-0488, or risk facing prosecution.

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