A new chairperson of the Cayman Islands Work Permit Board took up that office late last month.
Sophia Dilbert, in-house counsel at Admiral Administration, Ltd. officially took over the position from Bodden and Bodden law firm managing partner Sherri Bodden-Cowan on 26 March, according to the government gazette.
Mrs. Bodden-Cowan served as board chair about a year longer than she had initially planned to. Upon taking up the job, Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said she wished to serve for about six months.
“What I have asked them is to try and identify a younger Caymanian attorney who could come in and understudy me and either take over as chair when I leave … or this person would obviously continue on the board, so that there would be some continuity on the legal side,” Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said in 2010, adding that the initial board appointed by the current government had no lawyers.
Ms Dilbert was brought in to fit the bill. She was formerly employed at the venerable Cayman Islands Maples law firm and is also the current president of the Grand Cayman Flag Football Association. She is listed on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange website as a member of the organisation’s board.
The changing of the guard in March 2012 for the Work Permit Board went much more smoothly than the 2010 shake up that saw the chairman resign and two other directors forced out.
Former board chairman Lemuel Hurlston was replaced by Mrs. Bodden-Cowan while two other board members, McCarron Morris McLaughlin and Dorothy Davis were replaced by Gary Rutty and John Foster. The changes were approved by order of the Cayman Islands Cabinet on 9 November, 2010.
The shake up on the board, which decides on a significant number of work permits for foreign nationals as well as the legal designation of key employee status, had been expected for some time.
Premier McKeeva Bush complained publicly earlier in his term that certain individuals he appointed to the various immigration boards were not following the wishes of his administration.
Mrs. Bodden-Cowan is a prominent member of the United Democratic Party, holding the party co-chair position, and has also been a public advocate for easing red-tape regulations on local businesses.
She previously said she thought comments made by Premier Bush regarding certain immigration boards not following the wishes of the elected government had been misconstrued.
“From what I understand he said in the House, he talked about immigration boards in general – not one particular board,” she said. “This needs to be clarified.”
“I don’t think anyone is entitled to sit in any of these positions for too long, because you tend to have one view and having a fresh look at it is a good idea,” Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said.