Today’s Editorial December 19: Take this study seriously

Looking at the top story in Tuesday’s Caymanian Compass, we humbly suggest that Government rethink its Rollover Policy.

While we understand the impetus of the policy, we realise we can’t afford to lose the cream of the crop of workers every seven years.

Many businesses have already had to make adjustments, bringing in less qualified people to fill the shoes of rolled over professionals.

In fact if you look at the work permit numbers, they have actually gone up from 24,403 in 2004 to 24,865 in 2006. This clearly shows a situation where a country that already has an inadequate labour pool is now subtracting eligible workers from that pool, causing more folks to have to be brought in.

If this country is going to develop to the point that we’re looking at a probable minimum population of 96,000 people within 20 years, much has to be done.

Starting with a re-look at the Rollover Policy is just one of the things that must be addressed.

In addition to the loss of top employees with institutional knowledge and special skills, the policy is causing psychological angst throughout many companies.

We cannot develop a nation on the backs of unskilled, non-professional workers.

And we cannot develop a nation of 96,000 people without some kind of plan.

While we all express shock at the prediction of the high number of folk on this small island, we shouldn’t be so surprised.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2008 report predicted unprecedented growth when it was penned in 1998.

While much has been done to the roads and other areas of infrastructure, those actions have been more of a reaction than based on a plan.

Government has got to take this latest report more seriously than it did Vision 2008 and come up with a plan to ensure our Paradise can handle that many people and still be a viable country.

Any plans have to consider more than just extra bodies, congested traffic and crowded roadways.

Government has also got to get a grip on what 96,000 people on Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac will do to the environments of those islands – both on land and the sea.

And while we’re talking about the environment, if anyone wasn’t concerned about Mount Trashmore before now, they should be very worried now.

Talk about ‘fixing’ the landfill on Grand Cayman has got to come to a halt and action must begin on finding a way to rid the landfill of the mounting trash and garbage with a goal of proper landfill management in the future.

The landfill is a national disgrace now with an estimated 54,000 or so people here now. Can you imagine what it will be like in 20 years?

Government – this one and those in the past – have spent thousands of dollars on studies to help them make decisions about Cayman’s way forward.

It is our hope that Government takes this population study seriously and comes up with some plans of action that will be adhered to by this administration and any that come after it.

Cayman’s future is at stake.