Amend CI labour laws

Thank you for allowing me space in your paper to voice my opinion on a specific subject that is circulating in the community.

This letter is to address my fellow Caymanians who find all the time in the world to criticize the exemplary efforts of the new Director of Labour Mr. Lonny Tibbett’s and his staff.

I wrote some time ago supporting the DER’s efforts and I am doing so once again, however, this time highlighting the nonsense of some of our ignorant Caymanian citizens. There seem to be this uproar about the DER supporting persons unemployed in this country on work permits. So I took it on myself to do some research and find out what this was all about. It appears that recently during the DER’s job enlisting fair around the island that there were a number of unemployed persons with valid work permits seeking work that were also listed.

Not responsible

The problem with this situation is that the DER is not responsible for approving work permits and it is certainly not responsible for policing them. It is not responsible to ensure that the employers are complying with them; this is the job of Immigration.. For the avoidance of doubt and clarity for those persons who need to be educated on this subject: the DER is responsible for the individual and to ensure that that person is being treated fairly under the terms of the law.

The problem lies with the Immigration Department and especially with the enforcements section. It appears from my research that this department is severely under funded, staffed and does not have the ample resources to police these unemployed work permit holders who are clogging up the system, which is why when you drive down Eastern Avenue on any given day there are more work permit holders standing on the corners waiting for a day’s work or lined up outside the fences of construction sites, or knocking on doors looking work.

Therefore, this department cannot keep up with the number of persons who are illegally working outside the terms of their work permit or worse case not even for the employer who has been granted the work permit for them.

These persons are forced to live by taking what they can from whomever.

Taking jobs

These same persons are taking the jobs away from deserving Caymanians because they will work for less and do anything. Most Caymanians can’t do this; they have mortgages, a family to raise, school fees, insurance etc. to pay and the unemployed Caymanians are being forced to compete for less.

This is all because the Immigration Enforcements Department cannot cope with the growing precarious situation. Then the DER is forced to list these persons for work, which is what it must do under the Labour Law. This law is available at the Legislative Assembly for a small fee. Go and get your copy to confirm what I just said.

The Government of the Cayman Islands has to put more funding into this department so it can adequately do the job of policing unemployed work permit holders, not the DER.

I am hoping that the day will soon come when the DER is responsible for the approval of work permits, then you will see a change in this country. There will be more employed Caymanians than ever before and fairness and equality will be imposed as well. We have to come to the realty that Immigration’s sole purpose is to protect our borders, not approve work permits, status grants, trading licenses etc. They can maintain the approval of visa’s, but certainly not jobs!

Make changes

So to the Government of the Cayman Islands, I request of you to make the change so that the DER is also responsible for the granting of work permits and stop gesturing with the lives of your Caymanian people because the present system is antiquated does not work.

I have to wonder why it is taking so long and is there some underlying situation our governments don’t want us the constituents out here to know about?

I have to also wonder if it is because the money from work permit grants is what is helping to keep us afloat. Are we shamelessly sacrificing the livelihoods of our Caymanian people for the sake of a few dollars from a work permit? I am sure other ways of earning money can be resourced without taxing the people; (I can name at least 10 ways) rather than money from the grant of a work permit.

So for the few noisy crabs out there in the community who can find the time to take the money they get from social services because they are unemployed and top up their cell phones and call the talk shows to complain I say to you get up off that part of the anatomy that is oversized from non-activity and do something.

Regardless of what that something, is start somewhere; find your talent (besides complaining about a fellow Caymanian doing their job on a talk show); and turn it into a money making business and move forward with your life.

I support the DER and the new director and his staff. They are doing a better job than most that came before them and to the critics out there, get the facts before you start emptying nonsense from that God-given brain you have. Think before you speak and put your brain to better use.

Ruth Scott

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