We’ve recently editorialised on what we termed ‘a disconnect’ between what Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush is saying about Cayman’s immigration policies and what is actually happening.
In particular, Mr. Bush has said the Cayman Islands must back away from its protectionist policies if it hopes to lure and keep businesses here.
In Finance Committee Monday, it became clear that even one of the government ministers didn’t get the memo about abandoning protectionist policies. Minister of Education Rolston Anglin said government would look into ensuring that Caymanian musicians are not losing gigs to expatriate musicians here on work permits.
This apparently isn’t a case of the expatriate musicians engaging in work illegally, but of them getting their work permits varied to allow them to perform in addition to their regular job. Mr. Anglin and Bodden Town MLA Dwayne Seymour want to see this practice stopped because they had received many complaints that it was hurting Caymanian musicians
The question that was not asked in Finance Committee on the subject was why the business owners hiring musicians to play music are choosing to hire expatriate musicians instead of the Caymanians.
It could be a matter of price; it could be a matter of musical material and the desire for variety; or it could be a matter of reliability or quality; regardless, if businesses are hiring expatriate musicians, they likely have a reason for doing so.
There are plenty of Caymanian musicians that stay very busy with work and we must ask what it is they offer that the out-of-work Caymanian musicians do not.
Making a business hire a Caymanian worker just because he or she is Caymanian is protectionism, whether it’s an accountant, lawyer or musician. But especially when it comes to music and other art forms – which are, by their very nature, universal – you really have to give the audiences what they want.