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Overseas Security Advisory Council
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Cayman Islands Country Security Report

 

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication indicates that travelers should not travel to the Cayman Islands due to COVID-19. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

Crime Environment

​There is minimal threat of crime in the Cayman Islands directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Crime “C” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Cayman Islands.

The crime emergency line in Cayman Islands is 911. Review the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Crime: General Threat

​As a major Caribbean tourist destination, the principal crimes of concern in the Cayman Islands are those of opportunity, such as pickpocketing and purse snatchings.

In 2020, serious crime in the Cayman Islands continued to decrease; there was an 18.2% year-on-year reduction compared to 2019. Overall levels of violent crime decreased by 12%, and crimes of serious violence decreased by 6%, albeit with an increase in the volume of crimes involving bladed weapons. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service initiated operations in the second half of 2020 to prevent and detect criminal behavior at venues linked to the nighttime economy. 

Property crimes decreased substantially in 2020, with a 41% decrease in burglaries, a 29% decrease in robberies, and a 24% decrease in thefts. It remains to be seen whether crime will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels once COVID-related travel restrictions ease.

Crime: Areas of Concern

​There are no areas of special criminal concern in the Cayman Islands. Remain aware at establishments catering to nighttime events.

Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and Outs, Considerations for Hotel Security, and Taking Credit.

Kidnapping Threat

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Kidnapping “K” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Cayman Islands. Review OSAC’s reports, Kidnapping: The Basics and Active Shooter and Kidnapping Response Tips.

​There is minimal threat from kidnapping in the Cayman Islands. The Caymans registered no kidnappings in 2020.

Drug Crime

​In 2020, there was a slight increase (7%) in the number of recorded drug crimes. Authorities attribute some of this increase to the more intrusive approach taken by police as part of their efforts to enforce COVID-19 restrictions, indicating it was enforcement and not criminal activity that increased. Marijuana and cocaine are the most common drugs involved in drug-related crimes.

Consult with the CIA World Factbook’s section on Illicit Drugs for country-specific information.

Terrorism Environment

​There is minimal threat of terrorism in the Cayman Islands.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Terrorism “T” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Cayman Islands.

Terrorism: General Threat

​There is no recent history of terrorism in the Cayman Islands, and no indication of any terrorist attack plans.

Political Violence and Civil Unrest Environment

​There is minimal threat of political violence and civil unrest in the Cayman Islands.

Elections/Political Stability

​Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory subject to United Kingdom laws and government. April 2021 snap parliamentary elections proceeded smoothly with no security concerns.

Protest & Demonstration Activity

​Protests and demonstration activity are relatively rare in Cayman Islands.

Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Security Agencies

​The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is a national police service with a unified command structure. It is an unarmed service, with an armed response capability, mandated by statute to deliver the full range of police services across the Cayman Islands and within its territorial waters.

The RCIPS operate in a variety of roles, including emergency response, road and marine safety and enforcement, child protection, criminal investigation, intelligence, drug and firearm interdiction, border security, community outreach, finance, and administration. In addition to regular policing, the RCIPS is responsible for border control, marine search-and-rescue, and criminal interdictions in territorial waters. 

Police Response

​Police support is generally adequate for victims of crime. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston is unaware of any confirmed cases of police corruption, bribery, or harassment. Victims of any type of crime should call emergency services to report the crime to the police or visit a police station. Each station is responsible for crimes that occur within its district.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Emergency Contact/Information

​The emergency line in the Cayman Islands is 911.

Transportation Security

Road Safety

​Driving regulations are like those in the U.S. Local law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Right turns at a red light are legal. The use of cellular telephones while driving is illegal unless used with a hands-free device. Police will fine drivers caught talking on a cellular telephone while driving (without a hands-free device). The speed limit varies between 25-50mph. Heavy fines are issued for speeding in a school zone.

Unlike in the U.S., driving is on the left side of the road. There are many traffic circles, or “roundabouts” that range from one to three lanes and often lack directional markings. Vehicles in a roundabout travel clockwise and have the right of way over those yet to enter, unless otherwise marked. Motorists entering a roundabout must yield to those already in it.

Authorities strictly enforce laws against driving while intoxicated.

In the event of an accident involving injury to a person, animal, property, or vehicle, involved parties must exchange names, addresses, dates of birth, registration numbers, insurance details and report the accident to the police within 24 hours.

For detailed, country-specific road and vehicle safety information, read the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety.

Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Public Transportation Safety

​All types of public transportation are considered safe and reliable in the Cayman Islands.

Review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights; and consider the European Union Air Safety List.

Aviation Concerns

​The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Cayman Islands’ Civil Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Cayman Islands’ air carrier operations. 

Maritime Security

​Yacht owners wishing to anchor in littoral waters or marinas should educate themselves on required registration procedures and permits prior to visiting the Cayman Islands.

Personal Identity & Human Rights Concerns

Safety Concerns for Women Travelers

​There is no specific risk or safety concern for women in the Cayman Islands.

Consider composite scores given to Cayman Islands by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in its Gender Development Index, measuring the difference between average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development, and Gender Inequality Index, measuring inequality in achievement in reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market. For more information on gender statistics in Cayman Islands, see the World Bank's Gender Data Portal.

Review the State Department’s webpage for female travelers.

Safety Concerns for LGBTI+ Travelers

​While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQ+ events in the Cayman Islands, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an issue in the Caymans.

Review OSAC’s report, Supporting LGBT+ Employee Security Abroad, and the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI travelers.

Safety Concerns for Travelers with Disabilities

The Cayman Islands lack comprehensive disability legislation, and, while many hotels and resorts are well-equipped for disabled guests, other tourist facilities, such as the airport and the cruise ship dock, are much less so.

Safety Concerns for Travelers Based on Race, Religion, & Ethnicity

​There are no serious concerns for travelers based on race, religion, or ethnicity.

Review the latest U.S Department of State Report on International Religious Freedom for country-specific information.

Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment

​There are no concerns about anti-U.S. sentiment in Cayman Islands.

Concerns involving the Rule of Law, Arbitrary Detention, Official Harassment, Corruption &/or Transparency

​Cayman Islands follows the United Kingdom legal system and has relatively strong rule of law, but has been considered a hub for white collar crime. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston is unaware of any confirmed cases of police corruption, bribery, or harassment.

Communication Issues

​There are no concerns with press or internet freedom in the Cayman Islands. Freedom of speech is legally protected in the Cayman Islands.

​Health Concerns

Emergency Health Services      

​The medical emergency line in the Cayman Islands is 911. The response time is generally like than in the United States. The quality of medical care in the Cayman Islands is generally comparable to that available in the United States, but some procedures and cases requiring critical care may require medical evacuation (medevac) to the United States. Appropriate medical treatment is typically available only on Grand Cayman, with limited care available on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. First responders are generally unable to access the smaller islands to provide urgent medical treatment.

Each year U.S. citizens drown or suffer cardiac arrest while snorkeling or SCUBA diving in the Cayman Islands. Be honest with your instructor or the dive shop if you have a pre-existing medical condition that snorkeling or diving could exacerbate. Ask about the availability of a hyperbaric chamber for treatment of decompression illness prior to any dive.

Find contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on health insurance overseas.

The U.S. Department of State has included a Health “H” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Cayman Islands, indicating that Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that temporarily disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. Review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) country-specific Travel Health Notices for current health issues that impact traveler health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters.

See OSAC’s Guide to U.S. Government-Assisted Evacuations; review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad; and visit the State Department’s webpage on Your Health Abroad for more information.

Vaccinations

​Strongly consider COVID-19 vaccination prior to any travel.

The CDC recommends that travelers ensure they have the following up-to-date vaccinations at least four weeks before traveling: measles/mumps/rubella (MMR); diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT); polio; hepatitis A and B; typhoid; and rabies (only for travelers whose activities that will bring them into direct contact with bats).

Review the CDC Travelers’ Health site for country-specific vaccine recommendations.

Issues Traveling with Medications

​Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medication.

Water Quality

​The tap water across all three Cayman Islands is safe to drink. Tap water is desalinated seawater produced using reverse osmosis. The process begins with the extraction of raw feed water from wells drilled deep into the limestone bedrock beneath Cayman. This seawater does not contain the contaminants usually associated with open seawater sources.

Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My Water?

Environmental Hazards

​Zika Virus, Chikungunya, and Dengue Fever are prevalent in the Cayman Islands. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, as well as through sexual contact. Chikungunya and Dengue are mosquito-borne illnesses that are becoming more frequent in tropical and equatorial climates around the world. Preventing mosquito bites is the most important way to prevent these illnesses. Carry and use CDC-recommended insect repellents.

The Cayman Islands are located in an area highly susceptible to hurricanes. Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. Multiple high-profile hurricanes came close to or made direct hits on the Cayman Islands in the last few years, causing various amounts of damage, including Hurricanes Delta, Zeta, and Eta (2020) and Elsa, Grace, and Ida (2021). Power outages, lack of communication abilities, flooding, transportation impairment, and overloading of medical capabilities are some of the potential issues involved with tropical storm activity on the Caymans.

Cybersecurity Concerns

​In 2020, cyber-enabled crime accounted for 6% (223) of total recorded crime, most of these 49% (109) were use of an ICT service to defraud, abuse, annoy, threaten, or harass. A total of 22% (50) crimes linked to Public Order offences such as harassment, alarm, or distress while 22% (50) linked to acquisitive crime or money laundering.

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling Abroad with Mobile Devices, and Guide for Overseas Satellite Phone Usage.

Counterintelligence Issues

​There are no serious counterintelligence issues in Cayman Islands.

Other Security Concerns

Landmines

​This country has no known issues with landmines.

Import/Export Restrictions

​The possession or importation of weapons (including air pistols and catapults) or ammunition (including empty magazines) is illegal. Violators are subject to severe penalties. Even a single bullet inadvertently loose in a carry-on bag can lead to arrest. Authorities strictly forbid importing or possessing firearms. A Conceal Carry Permit, employment by a police agency, or service in U.S. Armed Forces does not allow you to bring a firearm or ammunition into the Cayman Islands. If you travel with firearms, firearm components and parts, and/or ammunition to the Cayman Islands, authorities will arrest and prosecute you, which will result in a substantial fine and/or incarceration.

A country-specific listing of items goods prohibited from being exported to the country or that are otherwise restricted is available from the U.S. International Trade Agency website.

Photography

​There are no restrictions to photography.

Review OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.

ID Requirements

​There are no ID requirements beyond typical travel documents.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

​There are no natural freshwater resources in the Cayman Islands. Drinking water supplies derive from reverse osmosis desalination plants and rainwater catchment. A major interruption of the plants or a severe drought could threaten domestic freshwater supply.

OSAC Country Chapters

​There is a functioning Country Chapter in the Cayman Islands.

Contact OSAC’s Americas team with any questions.

Embassy Contact Information

U.S. Consular Agency: 150 Smith Road, Smith Road Center, Unit 202B, George Town, KY1-1010, Grand Cayman. Tel: (345) 945-8173. Hours: Monday – Friday, 0800-1400.

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