Today’s Editorial September 18: Shooting in the dark

Since amendments to the Immigration Law created the seven-year term limit for foreign workers on 1 January 2004, various governments have made definitive declarations of the effects of Cayman’s so-called rollover policy.

There have also been some private sector entities and members of the media making strong comments about the success, or lack of success, with the rollover policy as it is structured.

One of the first things the People’s Progressive Movement did when it took control of the government in May 2005 was to undertake a review of the Immigration Law, including aspects of the rollover policy, in order to make it more along the lines of its members’ ideology.

Now the recently elected United Democratic Party, under whom the rollover policy came into existence, has undertaken a similar review of the Immigration Law with the idea of making changes that they believe are needed.

Astoundingly, these Immigration Law reviews have been conducted without the benefit of one critical piece of information: How many foreign workers have been subjected to the rollover policy since it came into effect?

Although it is to be expected for governments in power to want something as important to this territory as the Immigration Laws to reflect their ideologies and strategies, one must wonder on what basis these reviews are being conducted.

Statements made like ‘the rollover policy is killing business’ or ‘the rollover policy is working’ are nothing more than conjecture without statistics backing them up. Knowing how many people have been rolled over, the breakdown of industry in which those who have been rolled over worked, and how many people have left the Islansd before seven years because of their looming rollover are all vital to any sort of effective review of the Immigration Law.

Without such basic information as that, conducting reviews and amending the Immigration Law is just shooting in the dark.