In 2003, the Leader of Government Business awarded status grants to 3000 people; an act that shocked Caymanians – and rightfully so.
No other act could possibly have been such a betrayal to the Caymanian people.
Subsequently, the rollover policy was used as a tool to assure that no further flood of status grants could occur.
To date, the policy has not worked and the first signs are beginning to appear as to how Rollover is damaging the future; for not just expatriates, but Caymanians. Those who have been hurt first have been the employers.
The effects will spread outward from there and, in time, all Caymanians will suffer, even though many do not yet see it coming.
The present Government has wisely perceived the danger and is in the process of redrafting the rollover policy.
Theirs is not an enviable task.
They could have left the policy alone and sat back and watched the damage take place; then point out that it was passed in the last administration. However, they did not. They chose instead to tackle the problem head on.
For what it’s worth, here is what I believe:
Of all the Governments that have been in the House in the last 30 years, the present Government is by far the best we have had.
The rollover policy is a pivotal one and, depending on how it is written (and implemented), it can either provide increased protection for Caymanians or it can dramatically deteriorate life for Caymanians in the long term.
Government is in the process of considering the most important document that it will ever deal with.
In my talks with members of Government regarding rollover, we have agreed on several points and disagreed on other points; however, there is no doubt in my mind that their desire is to protect Caymanians in the present, while creating a balanced relationship between Caymanians and non-Caymanians that will assure a positive future for all.
A rollover policy can be made to work, but, as its effects are so complex, it must be formulated and agreed on by Government and Caymanian business jointly.
The revised policy will be released soon. When it is, it will be important to understand that no one will be 100 per cent pleased with it, as we are all too polarized on the issue.
The temptation will be for all of us to denounce Government for writing a policy that doesn’t please us 100 per cent.
We will need to remind ourselves not to shoot the messenger. While we will most likely all have criticisms of the draft, we must remind ourselves to continue to support Government itself.