Government isn’t helping Caymanize us

I feel duty bound to comment on two matters that have been reported in the press recently: (1) the retirement of Mr. Harry Chisholm as manager of Royal Bank of Canada and (2) the appointment of the new medical director at the Health Services Authority.

The retirement of Mr. Harry Chisholm, the only Caymanian at the head of a large Class A bank in the Cayman Islands, was treated by the media almost as a non-event.

I consider Mr. Chisholm a national hero, to whom social and political activists like me could point when encouraging young Caymanians to work hard and get an education, because he was proof that Caymanians could rise to the top.

The way Mr. Chisholm developed his Caymanian staff and instilled loyalty is far too rare in the Cayman financial sector.

I was privileged to attend his retirement dinner and it was a real pleasure to listen to the accolades bestowed upon him by stalwart Caymanians like Mr. Bernard Watler, but more importantly, those from his staff, who worked for and with him for over 30 years.

Mr. Chisholm has senior staff members who have been with him for more than 25 years. Several of these have been in senior management for over 20 years.

It is sad that the government of the day, and in particular, the Work Permit Board has allowed this event to be turned into a national tragedy by issuing a work permit for a Canadian to replace him.

Where is the outrage by Caymanians when this is allowed to happen?

Are we to accept that after all this time, and the effort Mr. Chisholm invested in training and promoting Caymanians in the bank that one could not be found from among such dedicated staff to replace him?

The excuse given to me that this successful bank with its loyal and dedicated staff needs new blood is ludicrous and an insult to Mr. Chisholm’s long and distinguished tenure of service to this international institution.

The fact that the Work Permit Board and the Government have allowed the capable, experienced, qualified and loyal Caymanian staff to simply be passed over is a giant step backward and does not speak well for the Government’s plans for Caymanization of the workforce.

If ever there was a case that justified Government involvement and intervention for Caymanians working in the financial industry, this was one.

Contrast this important event and the way it was treated by the media with the media’s crowning of yet another saviour to our medical problems – the recently appointed medical director at the HSA.

The Compass was not shy in giving him a glowing editorial, a front page story and in admonishing the government to let him deliver us from evil.

The profound idea that his experience of working on a United States aircraft carrier somehow equips him to solve the problems at the HSA is preposterous.

Remember, the is coming from an organisation and a culture that has been known to pay $500 for hammers that you and I can purchase from A. L. Thompson’s Home Centre for $15!

I seem to recall that the media crowned two other saviours in the not too distant past. As it turned out, they could not bear the weight of the crown!

Ezzard Miller

Editor’s note: The Caymanian Compass attempted to interview Mr. Chisholm about his retirement, but being the gentle, humble man that he is, he declined our offer. His retirement was featured in a photograph on page 1 of the 7 December issue.


  1. Mr Miller; Further to the comment from the bank ( New Blood )
    A comment from the Business Staffing Board would be most appreciated.
    Surely the Bank has a Business Staffing plan associated with their organization chart. An explanation other then ‘New Blood’ would have had to be submitted to the board to make such an exception to the immigration policy. It is expected that the policy be transparent not diluted.

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