Cayman Islands legislators have a packed schedule over the next few days as they consider seven new laws and parliamentary motions on the controversial topics of immigration and gas prices.
One bill that will not make it to the House floor in the upcoming meeting is the Cancer Registry Bill, which Premier Alden McLaughlin said has been put off until later in the year due to concern from various stakeholder groups – including local doctors.
Wednesday’s Legislative Assembly meeting will be the first in four months for Cayman’s governing body.
The Progressives-led government is expected to pass legislation that would exempt non-Caymanian caregivers from the country’s nine-year term limit on residency if they obtain a certificate for those purposes from the Immigration Department.
The Immigration [Amendment] Bill, 2015 will re-establish the “Certificate for Specialist Caregivers” under the law, allowing those workers to stay up to 10 years beyond the end of their normal term limit, as long as they are still caring for the same individual.
Unlike in the previous version of the law, approved in 2010 under the United Democratic Party government, applicants who obtain the certificate can apply for permanent residence once they reach at least eight years of continuous residence. The changes made in 2010 were crossed out of the legislation in 2013 amendments to the Immigration Law.
Meanwhile, a private members’ motion filed by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller seeks to require all Cayman Islands companies that maintain business staffing plans under the Immigration Law to make those plans public.
Mr. Miller has requested that government amend the Immigration Law to “require that all businesses that have a business staffing plan make them available for public inspection during normal working hours of the business by any member of the public.”
“There is much concern amongst Caymanians that the Business Staffing Plan Board is not protecting their opportunities for employment,” Mr. Miller’s motion stated.
All companies in the Cayman Islands that employ at least 10 non-Caymanian workers on work permits are required to file annual business staffing plans, which must be approved by the relevant immigration board.
The subject of greater regulation of gas prices in the Cayman Islands will come before the Legislative Assembly this year.
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush filed a private members’ motion in January asking government to consider more specific reporting requirements for the islands’ two major fuel distributors on the “actual costs” of shipments to the territory.
Mr. Bush said at the time that he believed even $4 per gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is too high a price. Since then, four gas stations have dropped their prices below $4 per gallon. The current retail price for unleaded gas in Cayman averages around $4.10 per gallon.
“There should be no need for debate on this matter as each and every citizen is very curious as to why our gasoline/fuel prices consistently move upward within weeks of any global price increase, but never can follow a downward trend on global fuel,” Mr. Bush said.
This private members’ motion also seeks to expand the authority of the Cayman Islands Petroleum Inspectorate to include subpoena powers to “ensure market prices are passed on to the general public.”
Premier McLaughlin said Monday that government would consider the creation of a Public Utilities Commission to assist in regulating gas prices and other public utility issues.
Also in the upcoming meetings, the Directors Registration and Licensing Law will be changed to allow an appeals process for individuals whose fund directors license or registration is suspended or revoked. The proposal will amend the current law, which does not contain an appeals mechanism.
Another bill seeks to make changes to the operation of the Coroners Court, and a third seeks to amend the Proceeds of Crime Law. Additional private members’ motions filed last year by Mr. Miller, including proposed changes to the Customs Tariff Law and the Liquor Licensing Law, will also be taken up.