According to the latest government estimates, work permit
holders (including government contract employees and foreigners working in
Cayman as an operation of law) number around 20,000 people.
The total permanent resident population of the Cayman
Islands puts the territory at somewhere around 55,000 people.
Supporters of the fingerprinting initiative consistently
make the argument that such a measure is needed for the security and safety of
If that is the case, then why is government’s proposal only
seeking to obtain fingerprints from those individuals who make up less than
half of the entire resident population?
This newspaper does not believe we should start
fingerprinting cruise ship tourists. It is also somewhat undesirable from a
tourism standpoint to start fingerprinting airline visitors on arrival,
although if this can be done in an effective and efficient manner then
arguments could be made for it.
However, if we are going to fingerprint work permit holders
as a condition of those individuals obtaining the right to work in the Cayman
Islands, the territory might as well start fingerprinting permanent residents,
spouses of Caymanians, students here on visas and also Caymanians. If safety is
really the issue, then as a practical matter, similar security measures should
be taken with the entire permanent or semi-permanent population.
In November 2010, this newspaper ran a poll that found more
than 61 per cent of those voting believed fingerprinting only foreign workers
would not reduce crime in the Cayman Islands. The largest segment of voters
from that poll – 205 people or 34.9 per cent – believed there would be a
reduction in crime only if the government fingerprinted everyone. The second
largest segment of respondents – 155 people or 26.4 per cent – thought
fingerprinting only foreign workers wouldn’t reduce crime because the wrong
people would be fingerprinted.
If we are indeed going to take this step as a territory,
let’s take it for all residents. Otherwise, we fear it will end up being a