Stop bashing rollover policy

I found you editorial in the Wednesday, 19, December Compass rather confusing and somewhat troubling.

While you appear like the rest of us native Caymanians to be concerned with the past, current and projected population explosion through immigration to provide a work force for an economy that is driven, promoted and mostly beneficial to the non-Caymanian immigrant, you promote a reversal of the role over policy.

This at the very least is contradictory and in the extreme condescending to Caymanians.

The purpose of the rollover policy is simply to allow these immigrant workers at all levels in the economy to benefit, contribute and leave after seven years so they cannot qualify for Caymanian status and contribute to the population explosion you are so concerned about.

Your assertion and I quote “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”, is a sad indictment on your value of Caymanian labour by asserting Caymanians can only be unskilled and non-professional.

However sadly this view in the work place is not unique, the only commodity in this free enterprise, capitalistic Caymanian economic environment which is in high demand and short supply but has no value is qualified Caymanian labour.

Qualified Caymanians with five years of relevant industry experience are regularly passed over and ignored by foreign management to promote non-Caymanians who have zero knowledge and experience, or, if they have any experience it was gained after they arrived in Cayman, in offshore finance or tourism.

The rollover policy is in many respects already negated by the provision in the law of key employee and the qualification to be certified as such is so broad and easy that most of the 24,865 persons on work permits in 2006 can qualify as they only have to meet one of the several criteria and not all the criteria.

Caymanians should be aware that most if not all these persons certified as key employees will be granted status as this is supposedly the most difficult gate to pass in the process.

The proof that the rollover policy is not the demon you propose it is, lies, in the fact that the work permit numbers have increased not decreased with this policy, so there is no shortage of qualified people to recruit and secondly I am aware of at least two companies that identified about 30 of their employees as key employees when the policy was introduced three years ago.

These were employees without whom the partners insisted the company could not possibly continue to grow or even survive.

The cold hard facts are that today all but two out of 20 in the case of one company and one out of 10 in the case of the other have left the employ of these two companies without so much as hick-up in both of their phenomenal growth over that three year period.

Did they find replacements for these key employees? You bet they did and in most cases they will tell you better employees.

Did they have difficulty recruiting these employees because they could only stay in Cayman for seven years unless certified as key employees? Of course not. Did they try to find Caymanians? Of course not the work permit route was far too easy.

I do agree with your concerns that Cayman cannot accommodate a population of 96,000 with the present infrastructure and that the Government needs to do something; not as you suggest to prepare for this population but in my view to curtail the growth so it does not happen.

The crime and economic issues faced by many of our neighbouring countries have as much if not more to do with their unbridled population growth as with their political status.

It is time for the media and the non-Caymanians to stop bashing the rollover policy and offer support as a means to promote the best for Cayman.

Ezzard Miller