Expats can’t use Jamaica nannies

If you’re an expatriate resident of
the Cayman Islands and you have a Jamaican nanny or domestic helper, you are
breaking the rules.

The rule is dictated by policy set
down by Cayman’s immigration boards.

The largely unknown measure, which
is not a part of the country’s Immigration Law, was revealed during a Tuesday
meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee. Opposition MLA Arden
McLean questioned whether this is the boards’ policy.

“As far back as 10 years ago there
is a policy that restricts the employment of nannies and helpers from Jamaica
to Caymanians,” said Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer
Franz Manderson, clarifying later that only Caymanians may employ helpers of
Jamaican nationality.

Permanent residents – foreigners
who have been given the right to live in Cayman for the rest of their lives –
can become naturalised Caymanians after a process that typically takes 15 years
overall.

Mr. McLean questioned why such a
policy existed, since most permanent residents will have the chance to
eventually become Caymanian nationals if they remain in the Islands long
enough.

“In effect, we have integrated a
permanent resident into society as by all accounts…that person is going to be
Caymanian,” Mr. McLean said. “That person is part of us now. Why does that
policy have to remain?”

Also, Mr. McLean said he was
concerned that an immigration board policy was apparently taking governance
issues away from elected lawmakers.

“It should be their policy how they
operate the board, but not how we operate the country,” he said.

Back bench MLA Cline Glidden Jr.
said this policy could mean trouble for Cayman when the country’s first Bill of
Rights comes into effect in 2012.

“From a human rights standpoint, we
would have to be getting into borderline discrimination,” Mr. Glidden said.
“That’s pretty blatant discrimination.”

Mr. Manderson, the former
immigration chief officer, said the policy was created at a time when there
were not many permanent residents in the Cayman Islands. Now, there are
believed to be more than 2,000. Mr. McLean said it was likely that
administrators of the day were trying to balance various foreign nationalities
within Cayman.

Jamaicans make up the largest
single group of foreign workers here. According to immigration statistics,
nearly 10,000 Jamaicans hold work permits in Cayman.

“I will certainly ask the boards to
look at that policy,” Mr. Manderson said.

Premier McKeeva Bush said he
believes the policy on Jamaican nannies is a clear indication of how Jamaican
nationals have been treated here over the years.

“For far too long we’ve had
discrimination against that nation and against those people here,” he said.

There are three main immigration
boards that deal with various issues including the granting of work permits,
permanent residence and Caymanian status. All members of those boards are
appointed by the ruling government. They set a number of policies, some of
which remain largely unknown even today.

Mr. Manderson said he expected all
board policies and procedures would soon be posted on the government’s web page
“in keeping with the spirit of FOI” (Cayman’s Freedom of Information Law).

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a blatant descrimination towards Jamaicans as the premier pointed out. Two countries never shared closer ties. From the first Jamaicans came over to settle the cayman islands to having share policies and currency up until Jamican Independence cayman culture and people are a wholly result of Jamaican influence.

    Yes some Jamaicans are a plight on cayman society but not all. Proper permit screening and background checks would prevent any such incidences.

    Also, Jamaicans make up the largest percentage of the expat population and simple statistical analysis will show that the larger group of a particular set will show more activity (good or bad) than any other minor set.

    As a Jamaican i feel like we have been milked over the years of all our cultural and associated influence here in the cayman and we are now being thrown to the wayside. I love Cayman, i love its people and i love its diverse culture, but please show us some mutual respect and understanding.

  2. What do they plan to do with the exhisting nannies already in place at this time. Are we thinking of the best interest of the children at this time? Many of these children have become attached to these nannies.

  3. Well this only validates what I’ve heard most expats complain most about living in the Cayman Islands; ‘they’re treated like 2nd Class Citizens’. If they come to this island to provide essential services & they need a nanny for their child/children, by the time they wait 15 years to comply, they don’t need them anymore! Secondly, whatever Jamaican nanny they hire, I’m sure is going to be especially scrutinized w/top credentials. After all, they’re being hired to care for their children, not their yard. The noose is tight enough already with our immigration laws and enough bigotry has been allowed to exist in our government too long. In the face of our financial future, it’s time we start acting logically. We need expats and we need honest legislation. When we get these rouge cases of expats gone wrong in this country, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves, ‘how did that type of person be allowed to come here in the first place’? Status used to be passed out like ‘toasters in a bank’. In fact, several years back, I was sharing an elevator with visitors (not even a resident) who was commenting to their partner, ‘they just gave me status like it was a toaster’. The amount of time it takes to get a permit, should be ample time to properly check backgrounds and proper records. If there is a scam for false documentations and other requirements not being met, shouldn’t the investigating immigration officer be scrutinized? I scratch my head at the expats I see here that can’t take an order for a meal or drink because they can’t speak the language. We’re all looking in the wrong closet!

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