Civil servant rollover on hold

A report concerning a proposed term limit or rollover policy for non-Caymanian civil servants has been delayed from release by Governor Stuart Jack’s office partly because the newly elected government hasn’t decided what changes it plans to make in the Islands’ Immigration Law.

Mr. Jack said two years ago that it was his intention to implement a term limit on residency for foreigners working in the Cayman Islands civil service.

The evaluation of the proposed term limits for civil servants was presented to Governor Jack about a year ago.

In denying a Caymanian Compass open records request for the report, a representative of the governor’s office stated that the report would not be released until decisions were made about changes to the Immigration Law by the United Democratic Party government.

“Any premature release of the report could potentially prejudice any review that the new government is proposing to undertake,” a letter from the governor’s office read. “The report will now be considered by the committee that has been established to review the immigration policy. As it will form part of the review (which will report to Cabinet) we would not wish to disclose the report at this stage and don’t feel that it is in the interest of the review or the public to do so.”

When Governor Jack first announced his intention to implement a term limit policy for civil servants, he said all final decisions would be made at his sole discretion as head of the civil service.

The five elected members of the Cayman Islands Cabinet would weigh in on the issue but they were to act in a more advisory role, the governor said at the time.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush has previously indicated that some changes to the seven-year term limit on residency for private sector workers could be considered, particularly in certain industries like finance.

“The whole immigration policy definitely needs review,” Mr. Bush said Monday. “Protectionism hardly works in most countries that can afford it…but there has to be some protection of Caymanians in the work force.”

Mr. Bush has not addressed specifics regarding what changes, if any, might be made to the country’s overall immigration policy. But Cabinet members have previously expressed little interest in the removal of the term limit policy in its entirety for the private sector.

“I want to say to employers throughout this country that we as a government are going to support them,” Mr. Bush said. “But I am not going to tolerate situations where people who work for companies for 36 years are pushed out, put on the sidewalk, with someone watching them like they did something wrong.

“When other Caymanians…see situations like that, then it causes more strife in this country.”

However, Mr. Bush also urged Caymanians to adopt a more tolerant attitude toward foreign workers.

“Leave personal problems and dislikes at home,” he said. “Immigration cannot solve personal likes and dislikes.

“We can’t make an immigration policy that hates Jamaicans and loves Filipinos. We can’t make an immigration policy that will chase people out of this country.”

The Immigration Task Force, which is reviewing the private sector immigration regulations, will start work by the end of August.