In remarks made on the floor of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller warned of coming “revolution” and “bloodshed” in the streets of the Cayman Islands if the territory does not change immigration policies that impact employment of Caymanians.
“If we don’t do it soon, we’re not going to do it without bloodshed,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Miller went on: “I’ve said on the floor of this assembly several times: Revolutions are not caused in countries by poor, disadvantaged people. They are the people that are used. It is them [sic] kind of unemployed, education [sic] people that are going to cause the revolution in this country.
“We have two options being presented to us on a daily basis in this country: People are asking for a Martin Luther King to come out and get us a part of the pie that we used to have, get it back for us. There are others who are asking with a Malcolm X attitude. ‘We want a part, we must have a part and if we can’t get a part we’re going to destroy it.’ The latter is becoming far more popular than the former.”
Mr. Miller continued: “The young people, the families they have tried everything in the former, of trying to negotiate to be a part of. One commodity, capitalist market, free society, that has no value is qualified Caymanian labor. Why? Because we allow the route of the work permits.
“We need to do something about it urgently. I believe one way to do that is allow them to see what’s available [through making business staffing plans public information].”
“I’m going to probably be in front with them in leading the revolution,” Mr. Miller added. “They’re not going to be leading it against me, I’m going to be with them. The Bahamas made their adjustment in the ‘70s, you know. They made it early enough that they had no bloodshed. We don’t have too many moons here to make the adjustment locally and put Caymanians back in charge.”
Contacted over the weekend, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush both distanced themselves from Mr. Miller’s remarks.
Mr. McLaughlin said, “I was shocked and disappointed at the rhetoric employed by Mr. Miller in his debate. I regard it as irresponsible and dangerous for an elected member to make such utterances.”
Mr. Bush, while acknowledging that he agreed that there were some employers in Cayman who discriminated against qualified Caymanians in the job market, said he in no way would agree with, or condone, Mr. Miller’s remarks regarding revolution and bloodshed.
Mr. Bush said that the financial services sector in Cayman was “already under pressure from the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, and one of our greatest strengths and attractions to international investors is our safety, security and stability.
“Both our tourism and financial services industries – and for many years I was responsible for both – are highly dependent on tranquility and stability, and we must never allow those to be compromised or called into question.
“Ezzard and Alden have already done enough hell to both while opposing me in 2009-2012.”
Mr. Miller’s comments on the House floor came in response to the Progressives-led government’s opposition to his private members’ motion that asked the administration to force local companies who employ 15 or more people on work permits to make their business staffing plans public.
Cayman Compass reporter Brent Fuller contributed to this report.