As a five or sixth generation Caymanian, I applaud the panel of local business and education leaders for their courage to stand up and say that our Islands are in need of a larger population. I would say it is time, however, more cautiously, I would say that I trust more that the power to be that executes this concept is more consciously aware and whatever is done that it is done for the betterment of all concerned, not just on a superficial level or as a knee-jerk reaction.
I had a conversation in the year 1995 with a fellow young Caymanian and even then we were aware as younger Caymanians that our Government needed to encourage Caymanians to have more children. This was obviously not a thought on too many people’s mind at the time; but for both of us, at least we were seeing the future.
Then later on, to solve the somewhat obvious “problem” forced on us, we gave out Status like hotcakes indiscriminately and found ourselves in another predicament. Along with that was born the rollover policy, which was obviously created with discrimination in mind towards certain nationalities.
You see, when anything is done to discriminate against another human being, the end result is never for the better, simply because it only took some people into consideration and not others who willingly came over here and sacrificed their time and dignity so folks like me could find time (and afford) to do other things, like go to work to make a living while I had someone looking after and caring for my young children. Yes, whether Caymanian or not, employer-employee relationships are borne from the same need and contribute to what we are all seeking.
Let’s first look at the obvious: jobs that are being advertised in the local newspaper. I have read and heard of so many jobs that are being offered at such ridiculously low prices that anyone with half a brain knows that a Caymanian or local person is not who the employer has in mind to work with. In fact it appears as a deterrent to hiring a local. Who here can financially sustain themselves working for $5 per hour or $12 per hour in a job that obviously wants qualifications above and beyond that price range? Why isn’t there a specific individual in our Immigration Department to read the local job advertisement page daily to make certain that employers meet real-world salary standards to ascertain that Caymanians can get a job?
Our current situation is such that even if a Caymanian wants to change jobs for one reason or another that is close to impossible, let alone finding an avenue such as a Labour Board to make complaints to, if necessary, where partiality can be found.
Secondly, as I see it, now is the time for our Immigration Department to cut the red tape on the one-Caymanian parent seeking Caymanian Status for their child/children born here or in another country. Why are Caymanians who have children with foreigners given a difficult time to get Status for a child? Here is another area we have shot ourselves in the foot! And are now paying the price and don’t even realise it. And also, if a child is born here, give that child citizenship, no matter where the parents are from; if we had done this in the 90s when we were so discriminatory I believe we would not be having half the problems we are facing today.
Thirdly, it is my opinion that people under the rollover policy should be first in line for Caymanian Status. Even in retrospect. I feel certain that many of these people would invest money here in businesses, but if their future is uncertain, then of course they will create businesses in their own country. Why can permit holders who are in good standing with the law and have no tarnished police record not be good enough to be offered Caymanian Status?
We don’t only need professionals here. We need the nannies or domestic helpers from any country, especially those we have known for a long time and have proven trustworthy, even if their tenure is up with one person, they can then be recommended to another in good faith. We need from carpenters and masons to the lawyers and doctors.
Why do we think that people from one nation is better than from another? At least we know our own Caribbean people and we share similar cultures and by golly, people are people no matter what they look like. Criminals come in all races, creed and cultures. Everyone on Earth has criminal tendencies, so do not think that for one moment education deters a criminal mind! I think that should be obvious to all of us by know. It is time we put racial prejudices aside, because at the end of the day, people are still people. We need to not create superficial likes and dislikes. We need to create a Cayman where we have built a solid foundation with solid walls, not having to build a foundation and then tear it up in a few years’ time.
This time around, let’s create a win-win situation for all concerned on this Island, because the choices we make always have far-reaching results, we cannot isolate the ripple effect of any choice we make whether on a personal level or a national level.
I am in good faith the right choices will be made to create a more lucrative Cayman, both spiritually (its true meaning) and financially.