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Cayman Islands Home Affairs issues statement on Immigration Detention Centre

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 2.50.25 PMFrom The Ministry of Home Affairs


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) remains cognizant that safety, security, and well-being of detained migrants is a matter of critical importance. As such, the Ministry has focused resources to evaluate and improve relevant policies and procedures. In doing so, the MHA has overseen improvements to the operation of the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) inclusive of matters related to the reception, processing, and accommodation of migrants.

Recent improvements in migrant detention operations have resulted from a joint effort that spans the Department of Immigration, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, and other key public service departments such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, the Public Works Department, and the Department of Environmental Health.

Structural upgrades and enhancements to the Immigration Detention Centre have progressed steadily such that beginning next week its maximum capacity will increase to 100 persons, which will reduce reliance on secondary accommodations such as the Bodden Town Civic Centre and the East End Civic Centre.  Notwithstanding, as those civic centres are used to supplement accommodation in the event that the IDC is at maximum capacity, the Cayman Islands Fire Service has been engaged to conduct fire safety inspections of those centres in addition to the IDC. Similarly, the Department of Environmental Health will be engaged to identify potential health concerns within the centres.

On the matter of security, a recent public Tender was issued by the Prison Service to procure a sole provider of security services. The procurement of a single security services firm was a strategic decision in the public interest as it was based on an evaluation of operational considerations including risks, logistics, and consistency in retaining quality security services. Additionally, key personnel within the Department of Immigration and the Prison Service have undertaken to strengthen the risk assessment process at the intake phase and throughout the continuum of the detention process despite continuous challenges with regard to migrants’ lack of official travel documentation and sparsely available criminal background verification. 

In relation to information recently collected by the HRC through interviews with detained migrants, the Ministry notes that some of the allegations were indeed of a serious nature. Notably, however, the Department of Immigration nor the Prison Service have received a formal complaint from any detained migrant regarding the use of drugs, consensual sexual activity, or sexual assault at either the IDC or any of the Civic Centres. Based on the limited information presented by the HRC, however, investigations and subsequent operational action was taken which involved specialists from the Department of Immigration, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, and the Prison Service. For this reason, in addition to the fact that the matter remains on-going, it is disappointing that the HRC has chosen to publish communications that carry an accusatory undertone of inaction on the part of the Ministry and other supporting departments.  

The decision of the HRC to engage in a public relations endeavour on matters with implications for security, safety, and well-being of detained migrants ahead of a completed investigation is fundamentally contrary to good practice and natural justice. Nevertheless, the Ministry encourages the public to vigorously engage in discourse on the overarching matter of mixed migration, and in doing so, to dialogue with the Ministry and share potential solutions that may assist with the on-going efforts to improve the delivery of public services in this particular space.     


See also related iNews Cayman story published June 26 2016 “Cayman Islands Human Rights have Cuban migrants concerns” at:


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