John Harris

Why won’t Boris put the Covid-free Cayman Islands on the ‘green list’?

Why won't Boris put the Covid-free Cayman Islands on the 'green list'?
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Has Boris Johnson forgotten about the Cayman Islands? While the weather here is distinctly un-British, the overwhelming majority of the 65,000 or so inhabitants are British citizens. We are, after all, a British Overseas Territory, with a governor appointed by London. Next week, we’ll be enjoying a bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. But during the pandemic, the British government has turned a blind eye to our Caribbean paradise by refusing to relax travel restrictions. 

It’s hard to think of anywhere on Earth from which arrivals would represent a lower risk of bringing Covid into the UK. Since last summer, we have not had a single case of Covid transmission in the community. Yet still Boris refuses to allow the Cayman Islands to be added to the green list. Why?

Like the rest of the world, we have had to cope with the challenge of Covid. Our government was quick to grasp the seriousness of the situation. It imposed strict measures after our first case – a visiting Italian cruise tourist, who sadly died in March 2020. 

All tourism was stopped, cruise ships were banned, and our borders were effectively closed. A strict lockdown came into force, with everyone except essential workers confined to their homes. People were allowed out only on alternate days to buy groceries, and for limited exercise. Those who broke the curfew were jailed.

It worked. On 21 June 2020, all restrictions were lifted other than those on incoming travellers, who must quarantine. Since then, for most people, things have returned to normal. We've had a year in which the Cayman Islands have effectively been Covid-free, with only a handful of cases reported. 

More recently, we have implemented a successful vaccination programme as a result of which 60 per cent of our population have received both doses, and 70 per cent one.

There is no Covid in the Cayman Islands, most of us have been vaccinated, and the only way to get from here to London is a non-stop, direct BA flight.

We are told that our Governor and our local ministers have lobbied the UK government ‘at senior levels’ for Cayman’s inclusion on the green list. Much good it did us.

Cayman Islanders have strong ties with the UK. Our families and friends are there. Some of our children go to school there. We do business there. And we are, most of us, British.

So I ask again, why shut us out, Boris?