Letters to the Editor: Change rules for residents

I have lived in Cayman as a long term, non-working permanent resident for 30 years. I do not have and have never sought Caymanian Status.  

I have recently spent some time in Singapore, where my son now lives. Almost on the equator it is constantly hot and humid. Five million people live there, just under 3 million born locally, the rest ex-pats. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. But English is used in government and schools. 

I was very impressed with this fabulous island city state. I have done some research as to what Cayman could learn from Singapore. Remember the population is 100 times greater. 

The prime minister from 1959 to 1990, Lee Kuan Yew, is something of a rock star among developing nations. Singapore now has the fifth largest GDP per person in the world. 

Just after the second World War Singapore was a backwater port known for piracy, smuggling and drunken sailors. Although they had no natural resources, their people were hard-working and semi-skilled. 

What happened? 

His party began a systematic process of changing their country by stressing science and education. Within a few decades they had a large pool of highly educated technicians. By contrast Cayman does not offer proper after high school training. And none in fields like hair dressing, plumbing, electrical. 

 

Work permits 

Singapore wanted to attract world class scientists to move there. They found such scientists visited but did not stay due to a lack of things to do. 

The government invested heavily in the arts to lure such people to put their roots down and stay in Singapore. 

Imagine if a Nobel prize winner wanted to establish a business and move to Cayman. Current policy would make it clear that while he might be allowed to come for seven years, don’t think about staying for longer as we will want you to go! 

 

Crime 

Singapore is consistently rated one of the least corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International and has a very tough legal system. One can earn a caning for graffiti or drug use. Drug trafficking, firearms offences and murder earn a mandatory death sentence. One can even walk into a bank without fear of being involved in an armed robbery! 

However the press is government controlled and no criticism of the government is allowed. Not good. 

 

Housing 

The government provides cheap, decent quality housing and financial assistance to poorer people. These homes can only be sold to Singapore citizens. By contrast to Cayman. 

 

Foreign investment 

Foreigners are welcome to come and invest in Singapore and the application process is swift and easy. They can own 100 per cent of their businesses, unlike in Cayman where a foreigner must have a majority Caymanian partner. 

Since few business people are crazy enough to accept this policy, the typical foreigner who opens a business here is one who CANNOT locate it elsewhere. Such as a restaurant or dive business. 

Cayman therefore, by policy, locks out potential investors. 

Singapore DOES require a level of local citizens to be employed in these businesses, if they can be found with the appropriate skills. 

Just one example: How much could ALL Caymanian residents save on their weekly grocery bills if Publix was allowed to open here? 

 

Tourists 

Cayman has a policy of welcoming tourists. We put out the welcome mat and say, “Please come and spend your money here.” If it is smart for Cayman to invite people to stay for a week, a month or up to six months without working in Cayman then why not longer?  

A foreigner can become a long term resident (without the right to work) but they must invest some $750,000 in Cayman and have an income of at least $150,000 per year. 

They must also pay a hefty fee for this privilege. 

Why not a middle path called perhaps, long term visitors? These people could stay as long as they want, in owned or rented accommodation.  

Renewable every year, they would have to prove: 

No police record, enough money to meet next years expenses, no working. Immediate deportation if found to be working in the Cayman Islands. 

This could be a major benefit to Cayman, employing more local people and filling some of those vacant houses and condos. 

 

Norman Linton 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Man… it’s awful quiet in here? Cat doesn’t have my tongue! I say BRAVO to Mr. Linton!! Bravo, bravo, bravo!! I LOVE Cayman. I have loved it for a decade or more! I’d love to visit for an extended period. Bravo and thank you Mr. Linton.

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  2. I aggree, I think people would be a lot more willing to contribute to the community if they actually felt like they were a part of it. The current attitude of come spend all your moeny and then get out is not very attractive as well as being at the whim of a different imigration offcie every 6 month that can basically tell you they don’t want you back because they don’t like the way you looked at them.

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