The Governor of the Cayman Islands has decided against easing visa restrictions for Jamaicans, citing risks to internal security.
Governor Duncan Taylor said the country’s Immigration Department does not have the capability to identify fraudulent visas for the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
Earlier this year, Cabinet considered a proposal to waive the requirement for a visitor’s visa for Jamaicans under the age of 15, over the age of 70, and in possession of a valid Canadian, UK or US visa.
However, Governor Taylor said he does not agree with the across-the-board waiver.
While noting that the majority of Jamaicans are law-abiding citizens and make positive contributions to the society, he said, there is a minority with the potential to cause trouble.
“The problem is that I am advised that there is a lively market in forged and counterfeit documentation in Jamaica, including in visas for the UK, the US and Canada,” he stated.
“The Cayman Islands Immigration Department does not have the capability to determine whether such a visa is genuine or not and the respective countries have indicated that they are unable to provide the Cayman Islands with the access to the resources on which they rely to make these determinations. The authenticity of a Jamaican national’s UK, US or Canadian visa could therefore not be guaranteed and this fact could be exploited.
According to the governor, the visa restriction that was imposed in 2005, has led to a “significant and measurable” reduction in the involvement of Jamaicans in crime in the Cayman Islands.
“Lifting the visa requirement as proposed could potentially allow unscrupulous Jamaicans visitors to gain entry to the Islands using forged or counterfeit visas which could have a significant negative impact on the security of the Cayman Islands,” he added.