Seven year limit no good

Let me try to follow the logic of a law expelling workers after seven years.

It seems that long-time citizens of the Cayman Islands do not want to become a minority in their own country but it is too late to stop that. This law will make the problem worse.

If we do not want more foreign workers, then we must stop building entire new cities, such as the Dart project along Seven Mile Beach. Future land sales must be limited to Caymanian buyers and no new businesses should be allowed.

It is too late to do this, although warnings about this state of affairs were issued many, many years ago. Warnings against allowing construction of seven stories instead of five were issued many years ago, also. These warnings were not heeded, so we now sleep in the bed we made, like it or not; we must accept the increase in foreign workers to fill the huge number of jobs being created. There is no way to increase the number of Caymanian workers to fill the need.

We now have two choices:

1: Forbid foreign workers from becoming a part of the community by telling them they must leave within seven years. This will encourage the type of transient worker who just wants to make money and leave.

We will struggle with average work that is done by a new worker because new workers are all we will ever have.

You will always be mired in the mediocrity that is the result of teaching the same stuff over and over to new people. We will rarely deal with people with more than seven years of experience doing what they do. This will further increase the cost to our local companies and decrease the quality of our service.

Workers who are told that they are not welcome to stay here after devoting seven years of their lives doing a good job (obviously those doing a poor job are not hired back), become less caring. What do people do who do not feel that this is their present and future home? They don’t give to the local baseball team. They don’t bother with the fancy Red Cross fund raising dinners. They don’t care as much about what they give back because they are not giving back to their own future community.

2: We can leave the option open to remain in the Cayman Islands. Allow good employees the option to grow in their job. Allow them to buy homes, to enjoy joining clubs and have pride enough in their new home to donate to local organizations.

Remember, we are trying to import intelligent, talented workers.

Before moving here, they must sell their homes, quit their jobs, break away from friends. They need to know that they are moving to a new career and a new community of friends in a new life.

These are the kinds of stable people who make good neighbors, whom we enjoy greeting in the market, who care about their surroundings. Not all skilled foreign workers are capable of just jumping over to Cayman for a year or two.

The greatest asset that I personally have is my 30 years of experience. Employees with only two or three years of experience limit our rate of improvement and my employees either want a temporary two-year stint or a full time career–none say that they want to stay for five or six years.

Staying here that long is too big of an investment in a short-term position where they would then need to start over to develop another career elsewhere. In order for my employees to stay longer than three years, they need to get out from under high rents and purchase their own home. They will not purchase if they have to leave in a few years. No one wants to plant their garden, decorate their home, join clubs, work hard at improving their job and get a promotion if there is no future.

We must not fill our streets with people who have no future!

Don’t tell me they can just go back home to a wonderful life!

Few people divide their lives and moves around seven-year chunks. I have two wonderful employees who want to make a career of teaching underwater photography here in Cayman. Not a single Caymanian has ever told me they want to work for me as an underwater photo instructor. Not one! Yet my two wonderful employees of two years, who would like to purchase a home soon and make this their career, cannot because the law says that if I can continue to find underwater photo instructors to fill their place, then they will be expelled when their time is up.

My employees want to work for me, not just any photo center. One is middle aged and wants to remain in one place.

They are loyal and want to make this a career and I must tell them that the law of the Cayman Islands says that they must leave. How terrible! It is a dilemma for us. We are a close team. We want to develop new areas of expertise together. No Caymanian wants this job but I am still told that they do not qualify for exemption.

We can stay with this law. We can toss these people back after we have exploited their labor (remember, we do not have enough Caymanians to fill the needs of our rapid construction). We create great personal hardship on many people, but so what. Is that the kind of people we are?

This law will not change the total number of foreigners; it will only change the number of voters. We want the service, we want the wealth, we want development but we don’t want to share it even though it is created by all–Caymanians and imported workers side by side. We cannot have it both ways. We will regret it. No country should operate that way.

Cathy Church

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