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Letter: A bad first impression

Published on Thursday, April 22, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

My husband and I just returned home from our twenty-third visit to your island in seventeen years. Needless to say, we have fallen in love with the island and the people we have met. We know what I'm about to describe does not reflect the people we love and we certainly will to continue to return. However I feel I must speak out.

Coming through Immigration at the airport is always a fairly slow process, as several planes usually arrive simultaneously. We're used to it. This time, there was one planeload in the building ahead of ours and, as usual, the left lanes for visitors were long, the right lanes for residents etc. were not. After most if not all residents are seen to, an Immigration Official moves the ropes and tells us to move over to all lanes. That is exactly what happened again this time.

As it turns out, my husband and I were first in one of the right lanes and we walked up to the person who checks passports. She said nothing to us, just took our passports with a scowl on her face. She kept looking back at the lines, back at us, over and over. Again not a word was exchanged. She then called over one of the other Immigration individuals and says..."It isn't fair that residents have to wait in line while these people get served ". He said nothing and walked away. She proceeded to process us again without a word being said to us. She merely pushed the passports back to me and looked away.

First of all, we were in her line because we were directed there by one of her colleagues. Second, it appeared almost all the residents had been served and rightly so. And, finally, mere courtesy would have been appreciated. Had we been a first time visitor and she was our first impression we would not have been impressed.

We come to the Islands and spend our money here. To be treated as we were and to our face referred to as "these people” was uncalled for. We were, quite honestly, angry at being treated that way. I would hope the airport Immigration people will take this to heart. This is not the way anyone, new to the Island or not, should be treated.

Except for this, our week was again wonderful, made more so by the people we come in contact with. These people will be back. Others treated this way may not.

Cindy Smith
West Des Moines, Iowa
Reads : 1428


I had a similar bad taste in my mouth after our visit in March. We too are regular visitors to the island since 1996, and found our arrival at immigration unacceptable. It took an hour to get through it on a Sunday. That's ridiculous. Someone, somewhere in authority knows that a certain set of planes will be arriving, so prepare for their arrival. As in the other case, the resident line quickly finished up and the employees (paid to accomplish a job) sat there. One woman finally directed a few people to them but then the slow, slow process began. We watched as the majority of employees barely lifted their heads to greet the incoming visitors. No one cared that there were people lined up against the back door/window area because the incoming line was so long. The one woman who was doing the directing also lacked an approachable personality. Do any of these people realize that we are what gives them a job to do?? I don't get it. We want to visit, spend our money, and will gladly be courteous; so why can't they just do their job? Island time has nothing to do with performing a job poorly. Some need a refresher course in dealing with the public, and more need a course in exactly what their job entails.

Tom Halliday:
Sure hope that does not happen to us when we return. Customs must realize that without tourism they would only need one line; if that. Cayman is just one group of islands competing for scarce discretionary spending, and first impressions mean a lot. Hope this employee gets the message.


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