Online Poll: 'Rollover' tops list of priorities

While most of the nearly 650 respondents to the online poll believe that the rollover policy for foreign workers is the most serious issue confronting the Cayman Islands government, a plethora of “other” opinions indicates a vocal and frustrated electorate. 

Rollover, if not synonymous with immigration, is intimately tied to the subject, which itself rapidly broadens to questions of unemployment and even the cost of living – making it difficult to separate the issue into hard and fast categories. 

Among the 246 – or 38.3 per cent – who voted “rollover” as the most pressing issue, opinion divided on whether more or fewer expatriates ought to live in the Cayman Islands.  

“Do we Caymanians really have an issue with the rollover policy, even with it in place most Caymanians don’t benefit from what it was set up to do,” said one respondent, citing a widespread feeling that the policy was intended to protect local employment, yet nearly 2,000 Caymanians remain out of work. 

From a different perspective, however, comes the sense that reducing Cayman’s population reduces economic opportunity for everyone. Fewer people means less spending, a smaller consumer base, restricted economies of scale and fewer jobs. When expatriate financial managers depart, for example, one politician indicated, employment casualties frequently extend to local secretaries support staff, among others. 

“The clock is ticking and Cayman really can’t afford to lose more people right now,” one respondent opined. 

“The immigration issue as a whole is a top priority,” said another. “While [infrastructure] redevelopments are urgently required, immigration reform must happen.” 

At least 18 “other” opinions touched on immigration reform, ranging from “immigration corruption, far too many people on this island, THEY NEED TO GO,” according to one answer, to a more moderate consideration of the legal parameters and a call for enforcement of applicable laws. 

“Make it mandatory for employers to hire Caymanian first,” one said. “If not, [we] need to find out why. I notice lots of employers never really have the intention to hire or train locals.” 

Meanwhile, cruise berthing ranked as a second concern among voters, drawing 180 ballots, or 28 per cent of those surveyed. 

While comments were sparse related to the passenger docks, people were clearly concerned about maintaining one of Cayman’s most vibrant industries and the local jobs it entails. 

One respondent felt both immigration and berthing could simultaneously form government’s top priority, while another remarked more generally that if the national budget were given the care and attention it deserved, everything else would fall in line. 

“Deal with the budget … if we fix the economy, the rollover issue, the cruise ship berth, the landfill and airport redevelopment issues will all be fixed … my vote is for the party who will address the budget.” 

In third place, garnering 90 votes – or 14 per cent of those who responded – was the loosely described “other” bloc, comprising a wide range of opinion. Those responses included corruption, annual multimillion-dollar cash injections into chronic loss-makers such as the Turtle Farm and Cayman Airways, duty on fuel imports, excessive public expenditure, civil service reduction, crime and the cost of living. 

The most articulate call was for improved education: “First order of business should be education. Students in lower grade sets should be given more math and English classes and less physical education. A recognised trade school needs to be implemented. Also sexual education classes needs to be taught from Year 7 and up with classes at least once a week going into depth on sex, contraception, diseases and prevention. Like it or not, the youth of today practice a lot and know very little. Nurses should be brought in to give talks.” 

Finally, the George Town landfill – and presumably the associated waste-management facility proposed for Bodden Town – ranked fourth as issues of concern for voters, gaining 85 votes – or 13.2 per cent – while airport redevelopment gained 42 votes – or 6.5 per cent. 


Next week’s poll question 

What changes to the Elections Law would you like to see, if any? 

Let more people be eligible for early voting 

Have pictures of candidates on the ballot 

Allow liquor licensed premises to be open on election day 

Do away with campaign expense limits 



  1. Whose Top priority?.. Yes!. make this a top priority by overhauling the labour department, and reinforcement of the enforcement arm off immigration. More constructive yet, the labour department should be managing the work permit process. Lateral transfer the immigration staff under the labour department.

  2. Frankly speaking, I think the Roll over situation needs to be addressed first. The Government Immigration body needs to look at the situation where we have foreign workers here holding on to jobs where there are qualified Caymanians can do these jobs. Employers are only getting all of these foreign work permits because they can hold a hammer over the heads of the work permit holders and work them like slaves.
    Look at the enormous population from certain countries. Look at what money they spend here. Come on Cayman, we know who these people are. They rent one three bedroom house for 1,000. or 1,200. a month In that house the sub rent each room to at least three or four persons. Which brings a total of nine or more persons living in the one house. Each person then contributes 100.00 per month and share utilities. Giving the opportunity of sending home more than 75% of their salary monthly.
    What I would like to see happen is that the government charge a tax of 5,00 five dollars on every 100.00 sent out of this country. This money should be put towards the Children Family services; so as to assist with the heavy strain that is on them. That department needs assistance more than any other government department.
    The people have spoken PPM and take good advice it is time you all control the money leaving the Island. This is Cayman biggest problem next to employment. However if the money leaving is controlled then I am sure the government will see some major house cleaning. The rollover may not be necessary then. After all we are looking for an honest days pay for an honest days work. So charge the five dollars on every hundred dollars US or CI. The people have spoken PPM so listen to what CAYMANIANS ARE SAYING.

  3. @hunter
    they already charge the 5% you speak of and it actually comes to about 8% I guess you have never been to western union .
    About roll over Do you really think everyone wants to make cayman there home? Its messed up here, you know that. those that wish to stay should be able to.
    Roll over was designed to give expat workers a 1 year vacation.
    Immigration policy and methods must be reformed Its a failure with conflicting rules and its only designed to punish locals mostly for example my friend got married to someone from overseas, they did not want too thin the blood anymore yet, the Govt has to approve there marriage and charge them a fortune to have his wife here. Thats so wrong.
    Lets speak about business here. Ever try to start a business here? It costs a fortune just to try a little thing. my friend wants to open a mechanic shop a real mechanic permit costs him 2800 that may not be granted a TB costs him 800 the tools will cost 1000 rent on a little shop 750 Thus my friend is unemployed
    because he cant afford to open up shop. His choice of worker may not be approved and his TB may not even be granted. He knows this so why should he even try.
    My other friend wants to be a painter it will cost him almost 15000 to do that, if he is given permission.
    Thus he is stuck in his low paying job
    Do you Understand?
    What needs to be done is the fees cut for small business and the immigration fees cut for certain businesses.. Not the white collar jobs. but the fees associated with real businesses that people start themselves. A policy of., if the Caymanian pays the fee its granted not wait for a board to approve it. Perhaps then things will improve.
    Realize with the way it is No one is able to start there own business.
    And about unemployment those that are unemployed are unemployed for a reason that cannot be fixed unless they want to change themselves

  4. @Hunter,

    Cost saving measures of work permit holders is none of your business and immigration as well. Would it bother to see 10 people sharing one bedroom? Sanitation is not compromise for as long 5S are practiced, sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining. Space being the third dimension is relative, it’s only of matter of thinking of what you have and what others have. Just for example a commercial airplane compartment has the most dense space but could maintain excellent sanitation service to passengers. If you think you are god of cleanliness, watch those 10 people sharing in one bedrome don’t use tissue paper but instead soap and water to clean their as*. Who you think is more sanitized then?

  5. Don quijote, please yes, let it be understood it does bother us to see 10 ten people living in one room. Cayman people respect privacy but I guess what one is used to we cannot change. Furthermore how can there be sanitary conditions with 10 people sleeping in one room? Someone be the judge.

    Now Fredsanbford, I do agree with much of what you have said, and yes I have been to western Union Many times. What we must realize is that we have 75% foreign people with laptop computers at home. so the commenting percentage is 75% more than the Caymanian. These luxuries cannot be afforded by most Caymanians. So the on line polling is only about 25% Caymanians.

  6. @Hunter,

    I understand the problem you referring to. Your solution is not the one I would vote for. Basically you said the those people are pushed out of their country in search for any opportunity to earn money through hard and honest work to help their relatives back home. They (your words) treated like slaves by their employers. Salary is low and they have to live 10 people in single house to be able to help their relatives back home. Quite a miserable life. What do you offer? You offer to put some additional taxes on them. Very nice.

    But problem is here and it is very difficult to tackle – workers from low-wage countries, adapted to lower standards of living (and dwelling) come to higher-income country and agree to work for salaries which are incomprehensible for local population. This is not Cayman problem. This is world problem. So I am not saying that I am genius and I can solve world-level problem.

    One of steps might be introducing minimal wage – at such a level that Caymanians would find it reasonable to do those jobs. This will naturally lead to expats being pushed out of the islands. But it is also not a perfect solution. It will raise cost of everything on the island, making it even less attractable for tourists.

    But I think it is still better then what you proposed.

  7. Don Quixote, no surprise to me you are an expat. with an itch. Just imagine the audacity of you saying that cost saving measures and work permit holders is none of my business or immigration as well
    My foreign friend you should be more careful about making that remark, because you obviously do not know that your statement is a very grave concern.
    And I repeat NO we do not appreciate the unsanitary utilizing of one room and one bedroom by 10 people. You may not see anything wrong with it but it is gross nasty.
    I do hope Caymanians are not letting these sort of people cook their food. I get around very well, and every one who has eyes and an ear can see what is happening to Caymanian and some foreign families living here. Its going on right in your business and right under your nose.

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