Minister: Caymanians support roll-over

Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin said Caymanians support the seven-year term limit for expatriates.

Although some Caymanians have expressed their objections to the roll-over policy, Mr. McLaughlin indicated they were in small minority.

‘Some Caymanians are against the roll-over policy, and a few call in to the radio stations,’ he said. ‘But I live in the real Cayman.

‘I have confidence in my abilities to know what the [average person] thinks and feels and says. That’s how I got here – twice.

‘My sense is that Caymanians are mostly in support of the roll-over policy.’

Mr. McLaughlin reiterated the Government’s belief that many Caymanians feel overwhelmed in their own country. He said Caymanians give him support for the Government’s stance on the issue every day.

‘They call me, they text me, they come to my office,’ he said. ‘They say Government has to hold the line on this or the country will be lost.

‘I have every confidence that this is what Caymanians want. All evidence is that, by and large, a high percentage – possibly as high as 90 per cent – of Caymanians are in favour of the roll-over policy.’

Mr. McLaughlin suggested that the possible consequences of the roll-over policy were exaggerated.

‘There is a lot of scare mongering about the economic effects of the roll-over policy,’ he said, challenging the media to investigate the statistics that would show key economic trends.

‘Look at the number of lawyers being admitted to the bar.’

Mr. McLaughlin said the number of expatriates on work permit had grown 25 per cent since the implementation of the roll-over policy.

There is no proof of the roll-over policy negatively affecting the economy, Mr. McLaughlin said.

‘All of the evidence points the other way.’

Commenting on high availability of rental accommodations recently, Mr. McLaughlin said it was most likely a result of an increase in supply due to the building of new apartments.

‘Thank God the rental rates are going down,’ he said, adding that the rental market would continue to adjust itself under the economic principles of supply and demand.

Mr. McLaughlin also discounted the suggestion the population might be increasing in labourers and other low-earning people and declining in other higher-earning expatriates.

The fact that lower earning expatriates tend to share accommodations could explain why there are more apartments available even while the population is growing.

‘There are sectors of work permit holders who do live in shared or multi-family arrangements,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of establishments that are even set up in that way for them.

‘But I really don’t believe that there is a significant reduction in the number of people in middle to upper levels in the economy.’

Mr. McLaughlin said all indications were that more and more people were applying for work permits.

‘There is no indication that businesses are closing or downsizing as a result of the rollover policy,’ he said. ‘If that is happening, we’d like to know about it.

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