The Cayman Islands government recently learned that it was
removed from an international “blacklist” released last year by the
A total of 41 countries and territories had been
“blacklisted” at the recommendation of the Philippines Foreign Affairs Office
due to the fact that their labour and employment practices had been called into
question. Staying on the blacklist would have meant that Filipino workers could
no longer have come to work in Cayman.
Attorney General Sam Bulgin said last week that the
Philippines basically didn’t do its homework before announcing the Cayman
Islands’ name on the list. He said, if they had done so, this whole situation
might have been avoided.
It seems that the situation may have been the same with 30
other countries that were also taken off the list in the months following the
Philippines government’s announcement.
The “blacklist” declaration seems frankly to have been done
a bit irresponsibly by the southeast Asian nation.
However, this newspaper is not quite certain that our
territory is in the position to demand an apology.
Let’s be brutally honest: Treatment of Filipino nationals in
the Cayman Islands during the past 10 years has not been among our territory’s
proudest of achievements. Many know of reports of Filipino workers living in
substandard conditions; often six, eight, 10 to a small apartment or house. The
workers often paid pittance for working long hours at jobs no one else wants to
The typical response to this sort of statement is: “well, if
they don’t like it, they should go home then”. The problem with that is that
the people who invited them here in the first place were … well … us.
The issues surrounding the Philippines worker “blacklist”
are disappointing for all sides. Let’s hope all of us can strive to do better
in the future.