The cry of doors being closed for Caymanians resounded in letter written by a young Caymanian and published in another publication recently.
This cry is being heard more than the cry of Caymanians resent foreigners.
The majority of people are asking for a fair share of the pie, a fair minimum wage; they are not asking for a division of the country. They are not asking for hurried departure of people. They are asking for good governance, that looks not only at creating opportunities, for those in the work force today, and in the future, but also that governs with fairness, diplomacy and in the interest of all who are native or have been allowed to reside on our shores.
I won’t go into details of the damaging or non-damaging effects of the recent immigration policies/politics, however, I will say that I am personally dismayed at the lack of a policy that concentrates on knowing the numbers that are needed to fill positions and address how to get at least a fair number of Caymanians up to the level of qualification and experience that industry demands within a defined period.
I make this statement on the basis of my review some time ago of the Business Staffing Plan document that lacked the qualifications of either the expatriate personnel or Caymanians where applicable, and a myriad of statements made by various governmental entities.
This aspect would allow a clearer view of where the training needs to be directed, if indeed we are concentrating on providing all possible avenues for our people.
The Tourism Industry is a possible example of positions wherein that could be filled by Caymanians from the Private Sector, Government departments, by school leavers and future school leavers.
If there was a real political will to examine the numbers of permit holdings -bookkeepers, accountants, bar personnel, chefs, cooks, waiters maintenance personnel, house-keeping etc in the tourism industry, we would find that there is possible alignment, which would demand retraining, and a new level of policy direction that over time could assist perhaps in the reduction of the total salary component of, for example Government while Caymanising further the Tourism sector.
No doubt this course of action would have to be tempered with a planned progression and companion minimum wage increase to ensure fair and consistent wages.
In addition, the creation of a hotel school on these islands with integration of courses within the educational system at an early age and eventual professionally accredited certificates would certainly enhance the process.
In other words what we need is the creation of a culture and a process that aligns our people to understanding and seeing the merits of working in this industry. We are indeed grateful for the present efforts of the administration and the industry on a whole and we hope that they will give consideration to what is portrayed in this writing.
What I really want to drive home though is that it seems from the view point of many that we are reacting instead of carefully analyzing our course in the ever changing environment that we live and compete. This is confusing to a lot of our people and creating resentment levels never before seen in this community.
We seem to be following a path of governance for some and not all of the resident components of our society. It is recognized that there are many issues being tackled that should have been tackled many years ago, but, this seems to be hallmark of every successive government over the past 20 years.
It is now time to recognize that it’s not just about blaming previous administrations for policies they enacted, Also it’s not about hiring consultants at exorbitant prices, to give us advice on what we have already been advised on or could be advised on by local entities, nor is it about how many votes I will get at the next election.
It is now about ensuring that there is a process in place where neither Caymanians, visitors nor residents feel ostracized.
It’s about being able to create employment opportunities for our own, while providing a non hostile, crime free climate for present and future citizens, visitors, and local and foreign investors.
It’s about providing the right level of education for the youth at an early age but also ensuring that companies and government educate and train our present local work force.
It is about partnership between government and industry, not my way or the highway.
It is about nationalism with a sense of understanding of who brought us to this point, (our forefathers and foreigners) how and what we had to do to get here and what is the best course of action to maintain a stable country, a highly educated and competitive work force, and a healthy environment for present and future generations.
It’s about ensuring that the human rights of all (natives and foreigners) that live here are protected and respected and that a culture of understanding that all have to work in harmony and with respect for one another in order to ensure our mutual survival is continually nurtured.
That is the deep rooted fervent cry of many, that is my cry and that is the cry of many other Caymanians, Jamaicans, English, Irish, German, Honduran, Cuban, Indian, African, Canadians etc who live in this land that God has blessed.
Take warning me brothers take warning, take warning you better do good. Respect your fellow man as you should.
John Henry Ebanks