Caymanian attorney Sharon Roulstone has been appointed chairman of the Work Permit Board beginning 1 May.
The announcement came Thursday afternoon after Mr. David Ritch resigned from the post.
Mr. Ritch said the decision to resign was difficult.
However, he also expressed satisfaction that, during his 21 months as chairman, significant strides were made in improving the internal administrative machinery of the board, and in creating the efficiencies needed to process its work load in a timely manner.
‘By combining hard work, long hours and computer technology, we were able to meet the goals we set for ourselves, and to provide the level of service that the public is entitled to expect from so important a statutory board,’ he said.
‘This was very much a team effort, and I would like to take this opportunity to record my deepest appreciation to the staff of the Immigration Department and the Computer Services Department.
‘Last but not least, I express my sincere appreciation to members of the board,’ Mr. Ritch said. ‘They all worked late into the night and on weekends for many months in order to make it happen.’
Mr. Ritch has a long history of service to the country in key immigration-related positions dating back to1989/1990, when he served as chairman of the then-Caymanian Protection Board. Mr. Ritch again served as chairman of the Immigration Board for 18 months in 2002-2003, in addition to his latest tenure from 2005 – 2007.
Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts expressed government’s gratitude for the valuable service that Mr Ritch has provided to the Cayman Islands.
‘We realise that being chairman of the Work Permit Board is, to a great degree, a thankless task, as it is impossible to please everyone,’ he said. ‘However, the country and the government certainly appreciate the service Mr. Ritch has given to our Islands.’
During Mr Ritch’s latest term, the board significantly reduced the backlog of more than 10,000 applications since August 2005; and as of March 2007, it is virtually current on renewals and only a matter of weeks behind on grants.
Ms Roulstone has vast experience and knowledge of immigration matters, having previously served as deputy chairman and chairman of other immigration-related boards. She is a partner with the law firm of Turner & Roulstone, and is well-known for her vast knowledge of relevant laws, as well as for her sound judgment.