Old guard stays in charge of residency board

The Cayman islands government has appointed a new immigration board to deal with applications of Caymanian status and permanent residence.

Save for the chairman and deputy chairman, all serving members will be new appointments.

Local attorney Waide DaCosta has agreed to stay on as chairman of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, and businessman Adrien Briggs will remain as deputy chairman.

The new board members appointed as of April 8 include: Brenton McLean (representing East End), Christine Burke-Richardson (George Town), Lizbeth Walton (Cayman Brac and Little Cayman), Roy Grant (West Bay), Thelda Whittaker (North Side), Wendy Watler (Bodden Town) and additional board members Denise DeMercado, Terry Ann Duncan and Tonya Mitchell-Meghoo.

In addition, representatives of the chief immigration officer and the director of immigration boards will maintain their non-voting positions on the board.

The appointments to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency board come nearly a year after the Progressives-led government took office. Typically, immigration-related board appointments are made within three to four months of a government taking office.

Mr. DaCosta said last month that the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board had been meeting with a bare minimum of members following the departure of five of its total 11 members appointed during the previous term of the United Democratic Party government.

The departures had come over a period of the last two years, he said, including two members who were asked to leave because of a lack of attendance, one member who became involved in a criminal investigation over the National Housing Development Trust, another member who fell ill, and another who left his post to seek election to the Legislative Assembly.

“I was asked to stay on, I guess they feel I’m doing a good enough job,” Mr. DaCosta said in March.

Also, Mr. DaCosta revealed in March that the board had not heard a single new application for permanent residence since the latest revised version of the Cayman Islands Immigration Law took effect in October 2013.

“Every PR application that has been submitted since the [new] law came into effect has essentially been put on hold,” he said at the time.

The delay, from the board’s perspective, has mainly to do with a lingering uncertainty as to how to score applications from permanent residence-seekers under the new legislation.

The first section of the points system established by the Immigration Law [2013 Revision] awards a potential total of up to 30 points based on the applicant’s job. A person can receive anywhere from zero to 15 points for their job, depending on how much demand there is for that position based on the current ratio of Caymanians to non-Caymanians in the labor market.

Up to an additional 15 points can be awarded for a “priority job,” meaning a position that is needed for advancement of national economic, cultural or social objectives on a long-term basis.

Mr. DaCosta said board members are not aware of any directions given under the Immigration Law’s regulations as to how they should score someone’s job under the “priority job” designation.


  1. I hope the test given to the applicants for permanent residency is reviewed as it does not seem fair. Perhaps the members of the board could take the test and determine just how difficult it really is.

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