Editorial for September 17: Mixed messages

When it comes to expatriates, the
government seems to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth.

On one hand we have heard Premier
McKeeva Bush repeatedly say that Cayman needs people – which means expatriates
– for the economy to thrive. He has said Cayman needs to give to get. He has
said Cayman can’t have protectionist policies if it wants to attract and retain
businesses.

On the other hand, the government
has just unanimously supported a motion, which advocates a policy designating
certain jobs be held by Caymanians only.

Although we agree with opposition
MLA Alden McLaughlin that there can be no future for Cayman if it does not
include those who are from here, surely there are better ways of attaining that
without additional protectionist policies. 

The Immigration Law already
specifies that work permits are only granted if there are no able and willing
Caymanians to fill a position, so it doesn’t make sense to designate positions
for which only Caymanians can fill. Creating more bureaucracy to further
protect Caymanians simply sends a mixed message to the private sector about the
government’s willingness to support business.

Ultimately, businesses have to be
able to hire the people they need to be profitable. If that doesn’t happen,
they close down – or they never open at all. That helps no one – Caymanians or
expatriates.

In addition, having a policy or
legislation in place that says a particular job can only be held by Caymanians
is rather insulting to Caymanians capable and qualified for the job because
there will always be an assumption that they didn’t actually earn the position.

The way forward in not through more
protectionism, but through ensuring young Caymanians, when they are educated, are
given the skill sets, work ethic and attitude to succeed in the work place
against all competition – including expatriates. Caymanians are already given
one major advantage in that employers don’t have to pay work permit fees when
they hire them. That, along with competence, hard work and a good attitude,
should be plenty to ensure Cayman’s future includes the people from here.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations! You have hit the nail right on the head, but need to extend your argument somewhat. The rollover policy fits into the exact same mold in that it is an unnecessary protection that directly resulted in an exodus of needed capital and manpower, not to mention the incredibly divisive social rift that it has perpetuated between expats and locals. Recent comments by the premier proposing a reduction in term limits is really an admission of the policy’s failure. How was 6 months selected as the new timeframe, and in what conceivable way is this going to result in any improvement? Businesses will not instantly hire Caymanians to replace lost positions as the Caymanians must still be qualified and competant to do the job… in which case they would be hired in the first place! So again, congratulations on your editorial. Now let’s see if Caymanian voters will respond by putting pressure on the government to also scrap the rollover completely and get back on the right path.

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  2. The best of two worlds for business.
    Location that is tax free, and has favorable immigration policies.
    Close proximity to a country with a depressed economy (cheap labor), with ambitious English speaking nationals.

    And the CEO Said: Can you see Harvard VS Secondary Modern School. Wow! What a profit margin.
    By the way how is that lobby and propaganda fund holding up?. The latest word is Caymanians are lazy, uneducated with a falling population and their Immigration policy is about to be reversed. What is the status of the natives, are they getting restless.? Nah! complacent as ever, has a placebo bill called Caymanian Job only going around. The business staffing plan was no placebo though, what are we doing about that?. The few Caymanians on our Organization chart, are highlighter, any infraction documented and before they reach our ceiling, out they go. The lazy lack of work ethics lobby work hand in hand with this; We are in a win win window, with a weee weee, did I say wee? little trickle down.. How is that labor stream of persons married to Caymanians holding up, that was excellent mining on the part of HR. Slow but steady, and they are happy as a pee in a pod, the wast majority in this category of hire was once domestic helpers, we just double their pay and we get enormous savings of not having to pay work permit fees. What timing, with the roll-over and the down-turn in the economy, all our layoff can be mixed in with the departing roll-overs and our point can be voting feet. Remain proactive now.. I would like a briefing on that other Island you are looking at; Our exit strategy must remain up to date.

    Fiction or fact…

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