I am a Jamaican by birth, a Caymanian by grant, a British Overseas Territory Citizen by naturalization and a British Citizen by registration.
I lived the first seven years of my life in Jamaica, two years in Costa Rica and the past 28 years here in the Cayman Islands. I attended boarding school and university in the United States for 10 years, but returned to Cayman on every holiday, long weekend and other opportunity I could. I have been fortunate enough to travel to different countries over the world and I have attended the Cayman Islands Law School form which I graduated. I have friends who are foreigners who have lived here as long as I have and I have friends who are native Caymanians. Cayman is the place I call home, but what am I?
I am accepted by my native Caymanian friends as Caymanian but I am viewed nonetheless by man locals as a foreigner who cannot integrate into this society during my lifetime.
Like you and many others how and why should I have to replace any honest, hardworking and capable employee(s) after seven years for someone who may or may not be of the same character? Wouldn’t it be better for these islands if its society was comprised of the same honest, hardworking, capable and dedicated people rather than a stream of hits and misses? That is not to say that new people are not welcome or valuable. I was after all once new to these islands, but there is no guarantee of stability with constant change. Sometimes change is good and needed, but why try to fix something that is not broken? Is Cayman without a seven year rollover period really broken or is it that certain conditions exist in some instances/businesses that need to be corrected?
Would native Caymanians really prefer to have an unpredictable and ever-changing society, which may sometimes be good, and other times ugly, rather than a society that is stable, constant and beneficial to all?
This of course begs the questions that have troubled me for years. Why must we concentrate on the differences between foreigners and locals? Why can’t we instead concentrate on the integration of both to better this society? Surely the two are not mutually exclusive! Look at the world around us. There is hardly a country that is not made up of several different races and nationalities.
People are continually migrating from place to place. The focus should be on keeping the good, integrating them and their customs with local ones to make a better society and getting rid of those who have nothing to offer. Why must we even have this distinction of native Caymanian? Why must they be outnumbered? Many people born and raised in these islands have been educated, have lived and have worked in other countries. Some of these people and their native Caymanians have married foreigners, had children and live here in the Cayman Islands. So does this make them and their families less Caymanian? Or as decent, hard working people, are they individuals who together comprise a different aspect of Cayman’s society?
In my opinion I would rather have the same hard working, honest and capable employee(s) forever, with the right for them and their families to reside here permanently rather than a series of employees over a turn over period, some of whom may be of good character and some of whom may not. That, of course, is only if I can get someone who will come for seven years. And even if I do, I believe that such a person is not likely to care about these islands as much as what they can get out of them in the time period they have.
I have given this issue a great deal of thought and I have chosen to speak out now because I love these Islands and they are home to me. I recognize how fortunate I am to have been able to make Cayman my home after fleeing the country of my birth during its demise and it is because of this that I so dread the same happening here.
The rollover policy has the potential to seriously harm these Islands and that should not be allowed to happen in this country, which has so much good to offer.