A Cayman Islands lawmaker wants a
committee to consider whether certain jobs – in both the public and private
sector – should be made ‘Caymanian only’, meaning foreigners need not apply.
A private members motion filed by
George Town MLA Ellio Solomon, which could be debated as early as Thursday,
seeks to create a committee that would consider what positions or what types of
employment, if any, might be made available only to Caymanians.
“I believe that there are certain
parts of our work force that the country would be best served by ensuring that
these positions remain Caymanian only,” Mr. Solomon said in response to
Caymanian Compass questions on the matter. “This is to offer similar
protections that many nations in the European Union, including the UK, sought
Some concerns have already been
expressed that such a proposal would be detrimental to Cayman’s overall
economy, which depends heavily on foreign labour. However, Mr. Solomon said he
didn’t see a problem with a motion calling for a committee to consider whether
certain jobs could be made Caymanian only.
“I don’t believe that to merely
consider the issue can be detrimental,” he said.
Mr. Solomon declined to state which
positions or types of work, in his opinion, could be made Caymanian only.
However, he said particular attention should be given to public sector
“The position of Deputy Governor is
Caymanian only and so are members of the Legislative Assembly,” he said. “Are
these the only jobs that should be Caymanian only?”
Depending on the findings of the
committee, Mr. Solomon assented that ‘exceptional circumstances’ could be used
in particular situations to allow foreigners to fill positions designated for
“Given the size of our country at
this point in time, there may very likely need to be (such) a provision,” he
How such a ‘Caymanian only’
provision would be enforced is not envisioned by Mr. Solomon’s motion.
Typically, private members motions are merely suggestions that legislators
would like the administration to pursue, and Mr. Solomon said he did not wish
to prejudge any findings such a committee might make anyway.
“It is possible that the committee
may say no jobs should be Caymanian only, but I believe we need to look at the
issue carefully, particularly in the public sector,” he said.
Any provision that would make a job
available only to Caymanians does not fall afoul of the non-discrimination
section of the bill of rights contained in Cayman’s Constitution.
The non-discrimination section does
not apply to “with respect to the entry into or exclusion from, or the
employment, engaging in any business or profession, movement or residence
within the Cayman Islands of persons who are not Caymanian”.
Cayman Islands Immigration Law
requires employers – both public and private – to consider job applicants in a
hierarchy, depending on qualifications. Qualified Caymanians are to be
considered first, following by non-Caymanian permanent residence certificate
holders, followed by spouses of Caymanians, followed by work permit holders who
are already on Island.
If none of those are available,
then companies may select a suitable candidate from outside the Islands.
As of 30 June, there were more than
21,000 non-Caymanians here on work permits, government contracts or working as
an operation of law (awaiting applications for permanent residence or work