Electric Board sticks to Law

The Electrical Board of Examiners will stick to its interpretation of the Electric Law while it conducts a full review of the legislation.

As a result, Chairman Robert Duty said his board will continue to defer application made from electricians coming from the United Kingdom.

‘At present time the Board will stick to the letter of the law and will defer applications from those applicants who possess a license not issued by a statutory board whose standards are equivalent to standards required in the Cayman Islands pursuant to Regulation 61(9),’ Mr. Duty said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

Electricians in the United Kingdom do not receive their licences from statutory bodies, but rather from guild-like organisations. In England and Wales, that body is the Joint Industry Board, while in Scotland, the body is the Scottish Joint Industry Board.

There is a long precedent for electricians with JIB or SJIB credentials to receive licences in the Cayman Islands, but the newly constituted Electrical Board of Examiners views the issue differently.

However, in order to allay the concerns of local businesses, Mr. Duty said a committee will be formed that will conduct a full review of the current Electrical Law and regulations.

‘The committee will examine the current law and regulations in their entirety in order to address all the problem areas,’ he said.

Members of the public will be invited to give input on the matter.

‘A public forum will allow the committee members to hear questions and comments from the public and give everyone the opportunity to discuss areas of concern before a revised law is finalised, Mr. Duty said.

Alan Roffey, Managing Director of Androgroup Ltd, a leading electrical contractor on Grand Cayman, has had five license applications for UK-trained electricians deferred recently.

Mr. Roffey was frustrated by the Electrical Board of Examiners’ decision to continue deferring the applications, rather than refusing them.

‘If, as Mr. Duty says, the Board has decided to adhere strictly to the law, rather than to exercise its discretion using common sense and the status quo, then it doesn’t have the option of deferring applications whilst this review takes place,’ he said. ‘If it is of the opinion that the applicants don’t qualify, it must refuse them.’

If the applications were to be refused, Mr. Roffey said he could conduct a judicial review on the matter.

Mr. Roffey is also concerned about the time it will take to conduct the full review of the Electric Law, especially since he has urgent need for more electricians and can find none locally.

‘It may take months, possibly years to have the Regulation changed, whereas we are faced with an immediate and damaging problem caused by the Board’s changed policy, implemented without notice by a recently reshuffled board, under its new chairman, Robert Duty,’ he said.

‘Why should the whole construction industry suffer because the Electrical Board of Examiners has suddenly and admittedly decided to interpret the law more strictly than it has done for the last 10 years?

‘It couldn’t have happened at a worse time given that the rollover policy and it is likely to cause the loss of many of the skilled and licensed expatriate tradesmen the industry already has.’

Mr. Roffey said in his opinion, the Electrical Board of Examiners should be more mindful of precedent rather than the letter of the Regulation.

‘The Electrical Board of Examiners has used its discretionary powers in a particular way for the last 10 years regardless of the Regulation’s actual wording,’ he said. ‘It should go with the status quo and continue to do so until the Law is revised.’