Sunday 5 April, 2020

Special accommodations in place for Caymanians in the UK

The Cayman Islands Government office in the United Kingdom (CIGO-UK) has turned its attention fully to those Caymanians remaining in the UK and is working closely with networking organization, Cayman Connection UK in order to not only disseminate messages and to ensure Caymanians know where they can go for information and support, but also to develop a virtual community of support and togetherness during this time of restricted physical gathering.

Recent announcements of UK lockdown mean that Caymanians away from home could be feeling even more isolated, and Cayman Connection is working with CIGO-UK to bridge this gap and ensure that Caymanians overseas are supported.

Prior to these developments, and over the last two weeks, the CIGO-UK has been attending to the questions and concerns of overseas Caymanians including providing general advice, guidance and updates for those contemplating whether to remain in the UK and assisting with travel arrangements for those who determined to leave the UK prior to the Cayman Islands airport closing Sunday, 22 March.

Officers from CIGO-UK also went to Heathrow airport, or were standing by remotely, to monitor the check-in process for the last flight to Cayman in case any consular services issues arose.

Kate Kandiah Founder of Cayman Connection commented, “Over the last three weeks we have been communicating with all of our members, by direct phone call, email and message, keeping messaging coming through Government and the private sector through to our network. We have had lengthy conversations with many Caymanians overseas unsure of whether they should travel home or not. It has been a really tricky and difficult time for Caymanians overseas. We coordinate very closely with the CIGO-UK to try to reach as many Caymanians as we can. We are encouraging Caymanians overseas to get in touch with us for support at this difficult time and to find a sense of community with us. We also want to reiterate that Cayman Connection is not just for students.”

Current initiatives include Virtual Yard Meetups. These are Zoom calls that are hosted by Kate Kandiah of CCUK and facilitated by Management Consultant and Caymanian in the UK, Tom McCallum. The calls are open to any Caymanians overseas and are also attended by CIGO-UK, to share concerns, ideas, and offer a confidential forum for Caymanians overseas to talk about their situations and ask for assistance and community support.

Lead Student Ambassador Ashlyn Goboult-Ebanks is currently back in Cayman and will continue to support Caymanians in Cayman and the UK. She can be contacted via email at ashlyn@caymanconnection.org."

Cayman Connection commends all who have worked so hard to ensure smooth passage for Caymanians home last week and now wishes to continue all efforts alongside CIGO-UK and Friends of Cayman to continue supporting Caymanians overseas.

Caymanians in the UK can sign up to the virtual community at: https://caymanconnection.org/caymanians-staying-overseas/

The next virtual meetings are being held by zoom on Wednesday March 25 and Thursday March 26 6PM GMT. Calls are hosted by CCUK in conjunction with CIGO-UK to provide support for Caymanians overseas. RSVP and requests for information can be forwarded to hello@caymanconnection.org

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