Rollover policy scares Caymanian

I am a frightened Caymanian.

Over the past two months ever since the rollover policy has been getting mass publicity, I have seen a steady decrease in my real estate business.

Other realtors in the industry have expressed the same concerns. I have spoken to bankers who have voiced concerns about lending to individuals whose time is limited on the island. Come on, which bank would lend to someone who is about to be kicked off the island?

I have spoken to concerned car dealers and Caymanian developers who have not seen any enquiries on their projects let alone sales ever since the reality of a rollover policy became clear and widespread.

If you want a good indication of the rental market look and see how many pages of rentals are in the Friday’s edition of the Caymanian Compass. Many of these rentals belong to Caymanians who have a little rental place to help pay their every increasing mortgage payments.

I have had to search for a new helper, and numerous workers for other businesses I am involved in where I had loyal, qualified and hard working ex-pat employees.

Other Caymanian businessmen and women are trying to desperately replace their workforce with new employees.

There are approximately 15,000 born Caymanians who are able to vote in a population of over 52,000 people.

Based on that ratio we have already passed the stage where we are a minority in our own country.

The rollover policy will not cure this problem. We must try to develop more hardworking Caymanians.

The expatriate individuals who have lived here and contributed greatly to these islands should be fairly treated.

We should not be proposing to bring in a whole new bunch that doesn’t care about our islands because in less than seven years they know they are out of here.

When the Compass quotes our Leader of Government Business as saying, “The Government understands that there’s a growing resentment among our own people about feeling overwhelmed in their own country’ and ‘radio talk show callers complain about foreigners coming here and trying to impose their own cultures,’ I become very concerned.

The mere fact that it quotes callers to a talk show as the ‘Voice of the Caymanian people’ is frightening.

I strongly believe that our leaders are not hearing the voice of the hardworking, educated, entrepreneurial Caymanians.

Our time is so taken up with running our businesses that we do not get the chance to call in and state our positions.

I am a businessman.

I understand and know that this country needs the ex-pats to not only compete but to merely exist in the financial and tourism industries and we all know that Caymanians can’t do it alone.

I am not associated with any political party.

I believe in supporting any Government that has this country and its people at heart.

After talking to a number of professionals and business owners who are Caymanians, all have said that they were not happy with the current policy.

I say that telling the expatriate they have to leave for two years before they can return to this country is basically telling them we want you out of here.

No one is going to disrupt his or her life for two years and come back to this.

One solution: Have a much shorter, break before the rollover takes affect. I would suggest three to six months.

Show that we are a country of intelligence, fairness, and compassion.

That would solve the problem of not having the existing expats become Caymanians anytime soon.

It would allow them to keep their homes and continue renting and not have employers have to find new and untrained workers, to say the least.

I am therefore urging you, my Caymanian friends and colleagues, to let your voices be heard.

We are trying to get as many signatures together to hand deliver to our Government leaders to let them know that we are not happy with this rollover policy.

If you would like to leave a comment or suggestions please go to Caymanians concerns www.cayconcerns.blogspot.com and leave your comments there.

Paul Aiken