‘Caymanian only’ jobs motion passes

All nine Cayman Islands
lawmakers who were present voted to support a private member’s motion
calling for the formation of a committee to consider whether any local jobs
should be designated as ‘Caymanian only’ by government.

The motion was introduced
last week in the Legislative Assembly by George Town MLA Ellio Solomon and
debate on it concluded Wednesday.

Mr. Solomon told
lawmakers that the motion itself was merely a proposal for the government to
consider, but he felt that it was necessary to debate “just to make sure we are
providing opportunities for our people”.

“This is not about
foreigners vs. locals, furthest from it,” Mr. Solomon said, adding that any
committee government appointed might come back with no recommendations at all to
support making any jobs available only to Caymanians.

The only positions in the
country officially designated as ‘Caymanian only’ are those held by the 15
elected legislators, and the appointed deputy governor’s post.

“Are those the only
positions that should be Caymanian only?” Mr. Solomon asked previously when
introducing the motion.

Premier McKeeva Bush, a
long-time opponent of what he referred to Wednesday as ‘over-nationalism’,
thanked Mr. Solomon for bringing the motion and noted the proposal was indeed
worthy of further discussion.

“This whole matter of
training of Caymanians has dogged every government,” Mr. Bush said, recalling
the legislative battles he took part in during the 1980’s that eventually led to
the introduction of Cayman’s Labour Law.

“Lest people think that
we have done nothing, they should really check what we have done,” the premier
said, regarding training and education of the local workforce which the
establishment of bygone days “did not support”.  

“We still have not
succeeded, but we have come a long way.”

Despite his kind words to
Mr. Solomon, Mr. Bush warned against Caymanian “feelings of entitlement” that he
said appeared to have grown over the years, particularly in recent times as the
economy has worsened.

“We can’t continue to
build up the expectations if they can’t be reached,” he said.

Mr. Bush said the biggest
obstacle to Caymanian advancement in the short term was the country’s economy.
He added that Cayman’s failing immigration policies need to be addressed as part
of the plan to jump-start economic development efforts.

Please see more on this
story in future editions of the Caymanian Compass…


  1. Wow! So a motion is passed to consider Cayman-only jobs. This should be interesting, seeing that being a Member of the Legislative Assembly (an MLA), is a Cayman-only job that is garanteed in the Cayman Constitution.

    The question on everybody’s mind is just how far will you extend this Cayman-only’ previlege in the public sector???

    I think there is a growing fear of Caymanians not being fully and fairly represented in their own country! Caymanians have become the minority. There are more expatriates than Caymanians in Cayman Islands. I think Solomon’s fear stems from that premise.

    Also, consider that certain jobs ensures the UK’s power and governance over the Cayman Islands. You wouldn’t expect the UK to tolerate a Cayman-only Governor or a Cayman-only Commissioner of Police.

    In a household, entitlement is important. If I have guest, I wouldn’t treat guest like my family, and I wouldn’t treat my family like my guest. So its good that we have Caymanians look out for Caymanians.

    But how far will you extend your feelings of entitlement is the question!

  2. This is going to be a very interesting fact finding mission for this committee and the country! I must also thank the Premier for what appears, based on other articles, his decision to allow democracy within his party while stating his personal views here. Now Brent, it would have been nice to include the names of the nine! Maybe in a comment here?! Elio, great motion, it is very timely.

  3. Why sure Mr. Joey! Here are the nine members who voted for the proposal: Rolston Anglin, Mike Adam, Mark Scotland, Cline Glidden Jr., Ellio Solomon, Dwayne Seymour, Kurt Tibbetts, Moses Kirkconnell, and Anthony Eden. No one voted against or abstained. All other MLAs were either absent from the chamber or absent from the country when the vote was taken.

  4. The real question is. Born Caymanian, or Paper caymanian? Cause if I am correct. There are certain members that were not born Caymanian.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    So, define Caymanian for us please.

  5. Are Caymanians not capable of getting jobs based on merit? Is the education system so deficient that this protectionist, segregationist & demeaning policy is necessary? Can you name another country anywhere with such blatantly self serving rules?
    This is legislated racism designed only to secure votes. Let me guess…all the designated jobs will be white collar, figurehead positions, with a free car and gas card!

  6. Thanks The Press! IMHO this exercise will prove one thing, that it is not possible, with an economy the size and with the complexities of ours, that we can identify Caymanian only jobs. However, this needs to be debated nationally. Good luck to the committee and I ask that you please, in all your deliberations, be mindful of our economy and know this, Cayman is not the only great place on this planet and globalization is very much a part of our daily lives.

  7. Why isn’t it possible with the help of the DOE through which all open positions are registered – supposedly – to find a way to match unemployed or job seeking Caymanians with an open positions?? Once there is an opening lets say as an accountant and a qualified Caymanian is looking for this position – no work permit should be issued for the position. Is it that hard?
    I wonder how these jobs to be held by Caymanians only will be categorized so it will not become a discrimination of Caymanians in a different way!Good luck to the private sector!

  8. A good decision by the ministers. Surely we would not want our economy to be under the dictated of voting feet.
    We may have the horse before the cart, but there is a connection.
    The Schools built, properly outfitted class rooms, the correct curriculum, excellent trained/ paid teachers, a properly planned on the job training program (OJT) Trade schools for the children for a blanket workforce. Our Island financing of the children higher education; Introduce a Payroll-tax/Education Tax to finance the (Work-force education initiative).
    Cayman has been known as a people with a soon-come mentality; the pace of business today is more of I need it yesterday mind set. If we are to accept and capitalize on the opportunities the businesses here offer, we must change our belief that we are still the island that time forgot, and that soon come can compete with done. Education must show and teach the realities of a competitive world-wide work-force, in which we are all competitors.

  9. I find this highly confusing having recently moved here from the UK. Any legislation of this kind proposed in the UK would surely cause outrage and be classified as being so right wing as to be racist. Surely jobs should be earned on merit and not race?

  10. Confused, if you’ve just moved to Cayman from the UK, after a while you will find the immigration/work permit system in place in Cayman most ‘confusing’. Ha ha.

    If I can shed a little light that might have you less ‘confused’: The legislators in the Cayman Islands created a system unique to the Cayman Islands back in the late 1970s to early 1980s that was geared to achieve two goals.

    1. To facilitate the quick growth of a fledgling financial industry that needed to import professional human capital to service it and as quickly as possible.

    2. To service a local economy that was growing rapidly and needed quick cheap labour to service it as quickly as possible.

    The work permit system was created solely for these two purposes.

    The preparation of a local workforce through education and training was never a priority during the boom years of the Caymanian economy as a government policy; there were no profits to made in that area and profits were the sole end goal of policy in those years.

    Now the table has turned and this ploy is really mainly a political one by this group of legislators to keep their Caymanian constituents happy in the belief that they will actually do something to ease their economic pains at this time.

    Its just a ‘feel good’ motion that will have absolutely no impact on the current situation re the work permit/unemployment ratios in Cayman.

    Most of the people elected as lawmakers in Cayman come from either the old merchant class or the newer merchant class of younger businessmen/women and any laws regarding immigration/work permits will always be to facilitate the businesses of Cayman to operate as profitably as possible.

    No need to worry about racist or rights issues in Cayman mate, they simply don’t exist so….

    Enjoy the tenure of your work permit, have as much fun as you can while you’re there and don’t p***s off the local peeps; you’ll be just fine LOL

  11. This is really a very interesting motion. I wonder how they can actually be able to identify those jobs that are supposed to be "Caymanian only"? It seems to be a shortcut solution to a problem. What about the business owners? Aren’t they Caymanians too? Why do you think they prefer to hire other nationalities than Caymanians? Is it because they can pay them less or is it because these people demand less doing more? I think they should go to the roots of the problem instead of forcing everyone to employ Caymanians. Proper education, proper training, are they doing enough of these?? It is not a matter of whether you are in your own land or not. It is a matter of proving what you are capable of and showing off your skills. Being born in one country doesn’t necessarily mean your country will do everything for you.

    I symphatize with the goverment because they just want to protect the citizen but as the saying goes you don’t give a man a fish, you teach him how to fish.

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