Minimum wage committee members appointed

Lemuel Hurlston will serve as chairman of the government’s advisory committee that will investigate the financial implications of introducing a minimum wage at different price points, according to a government press release. 

Cabinet announced that 12 full members and seven ex-officio members have been appointed to the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, which is scheduled to present recommendations to Cabinet by the end of October.  

Full members represent an equal number of employers, employees and independent members, according to the press release.  

The committee was formed a few months after legislators rejected a legislative proposal asking the ruling Progressives government to accept a $5 per hour minimum wage, which sparked a debate in the Legislative Assembly between North Side MLA Ezzard Miller and Tara Rivers, the minister responsible for employment. 

During the debate, Mr. Miller, who has put forward the same motion backing a $5 per hour minimum wage for Cayman before, said implementing a $5 minimum wage would help prevent employers “taking advantage of people from other countries with lower income levels.” 

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Ms. Rivers said the government believed that passing a minimum wage without conducting proper research into the matter would be reckless. She said government would bring a proposal for a minimum wage at an unspecified rate for consideration under the current provisions of the Cayman Islands Labour Law. Those provisions include the formation of a Minimum Wage Advisory Committee to recommend a base wage rate. 

The committee members were voted for by various organizations, services clubs and individuals, through a nomination process organized by the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. 

“It was important for us to invite nominations from a wide array of organizations so that as many industries and jobs as possible could be represented as a minimum wage is going to affect everyone and every employer,” said Ms. Rivers. “We wanted an equal representation of employers and employees on the committee, and also a committee that is gender-balanced and that recognizes the contributions of and challenges related to young people.” 


Full members, including Hurlston, are: Nicolas Joseph, Caymanian Bar Association; Maria Zingapan, director, Economics and Statistics Office; Annette Murphy, University College of the Cayman Islands; Andrea Williams, Business and Professional Women’s Club; Stephen Tatum, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman representative; Lauren Langlois, female youth representative; Pierre Connolly, male youth representative; Ian Pairaudeau, Cayman Contractors Association; Woody Foster, Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, Ahisha Bodden, Cayman Islands Society of Human Resources Professionals; and Danielle Wolfe, Cayman Islands Tourism Association. 

Ex-officio members from the civil service will support the committee, managing key subject areas that would be directly affected by the introduction of a minimum wage, including labor and pensions, immigration and gender affairs. They are: Mario Ebanks, director, Department of Labour and Pensions, or his designate; Adolphus Laidlow, senior economist, Economics and Statistics Office; Linda Evans, chief immigration officer, Immigration Department, or her designate; Christen Suckoo, deputy chief officer, Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs; Philip Scott, the ministry’ senior policy advisor for human capital development; Tammy Ebanks, the ministry’s senior policy officer (gender affairs); and Kimberly Kirkconnell, the ministry’s policy analyst. 


Minister for Employment Tara Rivers, Chief Officer for the Ministry of Employment Mary Rodrigues, Chairman of the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee Lemuel Hurlston, with the other members of the committee at their first meeting.
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  1. It sounds as if the committee is just there to decide upon an appropriate rate. I hope someone has the sense to ask whether any rate at all is appropriate. A minimum wage prevents businesses from hiring low cost people who learn how to work at those low rates and become qualified to seek higher wages. Those who would have had the low wage jobs now must live at taxpayer expense or turn to crime to get by.