Big changes for immigration boards

The newly elected United Democratic Party has cleaned house on Cayman’s three boards that oversee the granting of work permits, permanent residence, Caymanian status, and business staffing plans.

Of the more than 30 members appointed to the three boards by the previous government, only two members on the Work Permit Board have retained their positions. The remaining members had either already resigned or were not reappointed.

Former Cayman Islands Chief Secretary and ex-National Roads Authority Chairman Lemuel Hurlston is the new Work Permit Board chairman, with Sara Dean Barnett appointed as deputy chair. The two appointments replace local attorneys Sharon Roulstone and Sheena Frederick-Westerborg in those positions.

Mr. Hurlston said he realised his new position would be a great challenge.

‘But somebody has to do it, eh?’ he said.

‘It’s a relatively new area for me, although when I was in the office of the chief secretary, I did have responsibility for immigration,’ Mr. Hurlston said. ‘Of course, that was 15 years ago and things have changed since then.’

One major change since then is that the Work Permit Board no longer handles all permit applications. Routine renewals and non-controversial permit applications are now processed by immigration staff, although the Work Permit Board still has ultimate control over applications where a Caymanian has applied for the position.

On the Business Staffing Plan Board, Sagicor General Insurance President Danny Scott will take over as chairman from Maples and Calder attorney Andrew Reid. Another Maples attorney, Winston Connolly, was named deputy board chairman replacing businessman Mario Ebanks

Mr. Scott was off island and was not reachable by press time Sunday.

Local lawyer Waide Dacosta was named chairman of the Caymanian Status of Permanent Residency Board, with Sunset House owner Adrien Briggs serving as second-in-command. They will replace former chairman Anthony Scott and deputy chair Zena Merren-Chin, who was just named as the new clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

Mr. DaCosta said he didn’t want to downplay the crucial responsibilities the board would have to undertake.

‘It’s a very important board,’ he said. ‘It is vital to this country.’

Although the previous board members were able to whittle down a backlog of some 3,000 permanent residence applications, well more than 1,500 of those still remained to be dealt with at last check.

‘It might be we have to do a bit or extra work and catch up,’ Mr. DaCosta said, adding that new board members planned on meeting next week to discuss future plans.

The following voting board members have also been appointed or reappointed to the Work Permit Board: Jacob Wilroy Williams, Lavern Daykin, Sybil Jackson, Gary Berry, Alex Johnson, McCarron Morris McLaughlin, Dorothy Davis, Irma Arch, and Tyrone Welds.

The other voting board members appointed to the Business Staffing Plan Board are: Tammy Seymour, David Gordon, Christopher Saunders, Donnette Goddard, Ken Thompson, Jacqui Terry, Ellen Lazzari, Cora Grant-James, and Joseph Marzouca.

The other voting members on the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board include: Junilee Brooks, Edlin Myles, Sybil Jackson, Churchill Solomon, John McLean Jr., Christopher Goddard, Judyann Frederick, and Rachel Ann Ebanks.