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Consulates on immigration data during Hurricane season

Cayman was spared the ill-effects of Irma but we’re still more than a month shy of hurricane season’s end. Consulates on Islands say, to get their countrymen the assistance they need in case of emergency…The agencies need to know how many of them are here.

Over a third of Cayman’s 60-thousand person population are foreign nationals. After storm scares like the one Cayman faced with Hurricane Irma, consulates are renewing efforts to ensure expatriates can be accounted for in the event of emergency.

“Just to find out actually how many people and who is on island at any given point in time, it is also very important to know particular on the impact of a disaster to make a report or to look for individuals knowing who they are and where they are if they are accounted for our not,” said Honorary Consul for Austria, Martin Richter.

Honorary Consular to the Austrian government, Martin Richter says for over a decade, consulates have been asking the immigration department for data on citizens who may not register with their country’s agency.

“I would never know there is a group of Austrians diving maybe in east end, I would have no idea, maybe somebody lost their passport and cannot leave the island,” said Mr. Richter.

Mr. Richter says there have been negotiations in the past, those yielded little progress.

“And I think one of the major issues are that there is so much changes in the immigration department, so even when we came close by, we said yes this is the solution, we can work with,” said Mr. Richter.

He says consulates can receive supplies from their host country when natural disaster strikes, but they need accurate information from which to base those requests.

“So they can help or administer according the rescue or help, if I don’t have any data, they will not obviously send this help maybe that would be needed,” said Mr. Richter

In the absence of immigration data, Mr. Richter is encouraging foreign nationals to register with their consulate sooner rather than later.

A statement issued from home affairs chief officer Wesley Howell, says governments will not give their information to 3rd parties and that it must be used for its originally intended purpose.

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