MLA Ezzard Miller warns of 'revolution' and 'bloodshed' in Cayman streets


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. 

Mr. Miller


  1. Mr Miller makes ominous predictions as to the future of the country. Then stating that bloody prediction we learn that Ezzard will be in front of such a violent revolution suggests that he supports such an option. Ezzard’s statements made in the LA are protected but such is not the case on the radio.

  2. I don’t know about the "bloodshed" thing but what I do know is that I am finding that more and more Caymanians are expressing serious concerns about what is happening in the Cayman Islands.

    What is clear to me is that many companies have a preference for foreign workers. For the entry level jobs this appears to be because it is easier to exploit foreign workers which results in more profits for unscrupulous business owners. For the middle and top end jobs this appears to be a situation where people seem to have a preference for their friends and fellow countrymen over Caymanians.

    This does not mean that a Caymanians should be entitled to a job just because they are Caymanians; but some of the things I have seen are nothing short of shameful.

    Example 1:

    I spent some time (over a period of a year) talking with a number of entry level workers and some of the things that I was told, if true, should result in their employers going to prison. What was interesting in the vast number of cases is that the employers themselves were once not Caymanians.

    Example 2:

    Manager A in company B is an expat and is charged with the responsibility of locating the most qualified person for a position. Manager A hires person C that just so happens to be from the same country as them and when further checks are made it is determined that both parties share common friends. Whenever the permit for person C comes up for renewal manager A insists that the company can’t function without person C and that there is nobody that can be found to replace person C. Person C eventually gets status and leaves the company almost immediately. As soon as person C leaves manager A is quick to hire another person that he knows and indicates that the new person is even better than person C. Manager A leaves the company and is replaced by manager D. Manager D when asked the find the best person for the same jobs hires someone that he know from his country of origin.

    Such are things in the Cayman Islamds. What you also find is that people are hired for one position and once employed their employer gives them all of the training they need for a completely different position so that when the position becomes available the company can block any Caymanians from the position on the basis that no Caymanians have the necessary exposure and experience required for the position.

    And yet another scam that is of note is when an employer indicates that a position filled by an expat is only temporary and that within a year or two they have a Caymanians that will take over the position. While saying this to the immigration Dept. that same company is signing a guarantee for a 20 year mortgage for the same expat worker that they expect to replace in a year or two.

    Such is the reality of things in the Cayman Islands.

  3. The business staffing plan!.. If I am to remember the intent of this initiative, it was meant to serve as a road map to employment/promotion for Caymanians in these large companies.. Also, that the current administration has identified lack of enforcement as a failing in this initiative..

    Who are the individuals responsible for tracking these companies organization chart to insure they are meeting or even trying to meet their agreed projection in staffing. I would dare say the individual whose name is shown on the organization form..

    Those individuals should know their position and planned progression through the organization.. Government should know through milestones identified and met via a e-report based reporting regime.

    I personally have asked a number of individuals if they have ever seen their company organization chart, You can guess the answer.. Mr Miller may be way off in his assumptions, but likewise is the Business Staffing in its governance. A revolutionary new computer software program seem to be in order..

  4. While I find Mr. Miller statements to be incendiary and with a certain amount of callous disregard for unity and working together for a better Cayman, you can not discount the ever increasing discontent and dissatisfaction by Caymanians with regards to jobs being held by work permit holders instead of locals. One prime example of this inequity is the Police Force where a great percentage of positions are held by foreign nationals that do not have a vested interest in the long term well being of the Cayman Islands!!

  5. I have to agree that Mr Miller words were harsh , don’t mean that we should take them without a grain of salt , I know a lot of kindhearted people who would a love them selves to be kicked around and promised , but when they don’t get what they want or promised their attitudes changes. I think that it’s a topic that the LA should have a discussion on.

  6. I think the three biggest problems here are:

    1. High welfare pay relative to low paid jobs. Why take a job at even $6 an hour when you can be paid almost $10 an hour for doing nothing.

    2. Low education standards in government schools.

    3. Belief that it is evil for businesses to want to make a profit. That they should instead pay more for possibly less productive workers.

    Add to this the general loss of jobs in the financial sector. For example Caledonian Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland.

    But I really don’t think Mr. Ezzard has too much to worry about.
    A few more speeches like this and foreign investment will run from these islands.
    And so will foreign workers.
    And there will be less jobs for everyone.

  7. What a load of rhubarb.

    If he is trying to appeal to the vast swathes of unemployed people who want to work, I am sorry, there is no such thing.

    You want a job and you are Caymanian, you can get one. It may not be the job you want, but it is better than nothing…or as Norman points out, it isn’t better than nothing; nothing pays fairly well.

    The bloodshed and revolution??? what planet is he on?

  8. I don’t think the entire problem rests with employers discriminating against local workers. They are making choices to pick foreign workers for an economic reason. For the most part, work permits aren’t cheap and the admin for them is a burden, so most employers would prefer a Caymanian staff member for their position if that was a viable option. Any business naturally wants the best employee for the position, regardless of nationality.
    However sadly since I’ve been here these last 8 yrs, I’ve seen a steady stream of employees come and go from the company I work for, and almost without exception, the staff have exhibited a number of common traits that frustrate employers. Such as persistant lateness, often being "sick" on Fridays, not turning up for work at all, spending more time on the phone or texting than actually working, rudeness to colleagues and superiors, not wanting to undertake certain aspects of their job they agreed to do, constant complaining, lack of hard work and professionalism, low regard for quality of work or employer/customer satisfaction and a general mis-understanding of what is expected of a good employee.
    Perhaps Mr Miller needs a frank and honest discussion with employers about their genuine reasons for favoring foreign employees based on their actual experiences, and then seek to put his energy into turning around those issues rather than threatening revolution and bloodshed against those who are only working hard to do their jobs and run their companies.

  9. What is happening in the Cayman Islands? Mr.Boland asks. Good question. On the surface it might look that expats are taking over this country. They have jobs that pay enough to buy real estate here and apply for PR. Is it good or bad for the country? Depends on the observer. If you are a Caymaninan gainfully employed by CIG who gets money from, let’s simplify it, expats it is probably good. If you are a successful businesses owner and your business thrives because expats are your major customers, it is most certainly good. Many so called real Caymanians are employed in financial sector and thrive.
    Now, you are a real Caymanian,educated but with no experience and can’t find a job. Most probably invasion of expats looks bad to you. The first question is to ask yourself WHY no one hires you? Most expats had the same problem in their countries of origin, finding that first job. I don’t believe for a second that you don’t get hired because employers prefer expats. I personally know many Caymanians with no experience,just education, getting jobs in financial service sector.
    Do you know that half of the year expats working in financial service sector have 60-70 hours work week? Can you do that?
    So back to the question. What happening is a transition of the country time once forgot to a country with the highest standards of living. ALL because of the expats and its businesses.
    A wise leader would use this luck to secure wellbeing of its citizens and guarantee basic necessities to unemployed, disabled etc., such as food, shelter, education and health care. We are taking about Basic necessities here. Many countries have done just that. It is appears that leaders of this country have been using this luck for personal enrichment and billions go unaccounted for. The money wasted, stolen, unaccounted for could have easily supported Caymanian people in times of hardships. Disadvantaged people exist in every country. You help them,teach them, rehabilitate them, not lead a bloodshed, a revolutuon.
    So I would suggest you turn your focus inward and keep your leaders accountable for every penny they spend.
    And be grateful for what you have. Things can change fast. Another direct hit can cause widespread poisoning of this island ( the famous dump !!!) and quickly turn things around.

  10. @L Bell:

    Thank you for the feedback.

    There was no question anywhere in my previous comment because I know exactly what is happening in the Cayman Islands.

    What you have essentially described in your comment is an country where the local population has been outnumbered and overrun. Where people like you think that it is only expats that contribute to the local economy. Where people like you put Caymanians down by suggesting that they are not able to work 60 – 70 hours each week. Where people like you feel the Caymanians should be happy to be treated like trash in their own country.

    The real problem for Cayman is that the country has been too open and accepting when in reality it should have been more selective and cautious.

  11. What stupid comments!
    What he describes is a mile from reality, and second, to resort to this type of action would kill the business that feeds the Islands stone dead, Caymans people are not that stupid!
    This man regularly spouts nonsense, and why shouldn’t he, it isn’t compulsory to be clever! But in the best interests of his fellow Islanders he should curb this sort of comment because there are people outside the Island who will read this and assume he has some intelligence because he is an elected MLA, we know better, and so should he!

  12. Well, it seems he”s finaslly secured the votes of both the ignorant and the radically ignorant. This type of rhetoric is truly embarrassing. I”m talking mind-numbingly idiotic. And to think, he represents the Cayman Islands.

  13. Mr.Boland, this is Your perception of my comment and I do not think the way you suggest. With all due respect you do not qualify for a psychic position.
    The Tale of the fisherman and the fish comes to mind when a politician makes warning remarks. This demonstrates the inability to understand that even in a booming economy there will always be some level of unemployment for these reasons: people are in between jobs,miss-match between worker”s job skills and employers” needs.
    Secondly,your country doesn”t appear to have a windfall strategy that includes an untouchable buffer fund to keep portion of your current profits generated by foreign busuneses out of the economy by declaring them the property of the future generations of Caymanians. So when the oil runs dry, figuratively speaking,you will be prepared.
    Thirdly, you don”t appear have social programs equally benefiting all citizens, because if you had, there would be no need for a revolution.

  14. Way back in December 2010, when I was just starting my blogsite ("Barlow’s Cayman"), I posted a short essay called "Everybody’s Cheating", referring both to 1) government executives who pursued an agenda of protectionism and entitlement for native Caymanians and 2) to private-sector employers who protected the efficiency of their businesses by evading the government’s restrictions. What I wrote then is still relevant today.

    Indeed, three years later I intended to write and post a follow-up called "Everybody’s *still* Cheating", but I didn’t have the heart to finish it. It was too depressing, to report that the politicians and senior Civil Servants had virtually nothing to show for all their bullying.

    I remember a saying from my younger days: "Softly, softly, catchee monkey." Apparently, our rulers have never heard of it.

  15. I’ve never run a business in the Cayman Islands,

    But I did employ many people in the UK. Like most bosses I didn’t care if my employee was male or female, white, yellow or black, Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

    But I DID care that they showed up for work on time and worked hard while they were there. I wanted a fair days work for a fair days pay.

    Young Caymanians are being let down by an educational system that could be much better.

    No matter what Ezzard and his friends say, no one has a right to a job that they cannot do.

    Ezzard cannot create jobs. But he can drive jobs away. And not just ex-pat jobs. He can create an atmosphere of fear and doubt among those who would open and expand their businesses here.

    But I guess his comments play well to the blame crowd that wants to hold everyone else responsible for their problems in life.

  16. @L Bell:

    If it was left to you I would not even qualify for the positions that I am actually qualified to hold.

    We have seen this type of thinking before as this is not the first time that this type of ugliness has raised its head.

  17. Though, as Jack points out, the LA gives him an opportunity to make such statements free from the risk of prosecution under acts such as "incitement to racial or religious hatred", he can still face censure from his fellow MLA’s;- there can still be consequences (”driftwood-gate” ?)

    The entire ethos of using protectionist legislation to supposedly give a Caymanian a better chance misses one major point – Skills are portable, legislation is not.

    A forward looking government should be empowering its people not overprotecting them. With the right skills the Caymanian stands an equal chance of getting the job whether the interview is in George Town, or Capetown… The East End of Cayman or the East End of London.

    How many of Caymans youth are condemned to only being able to compete in a small, local, legislatively skewed job market. They are left without the choice to set their sights farther afield should they want to – the power of those magical policies that creates the illusion, fizzles out a few miles from shore.

  18. @ Mack Boland

    How about Example 3.

    Caymanian owned businesses that employ lots of foreign workers. Such as Fosters Food Fair and Kirk Home Center.

    Are they also prejudiced against their fellow countrymen? Or are they just doing what any sensible businessman does? Trying to employ hard-working people at the lowest cost.

    Here’s a solution. Maybe.

    Please return to my earliest comment today:

    Why would anyone work for $6 an hour when they can do nothing for $10 an hour?

    Let’s say we had a minimum wage significantly higher. Say $15 per hour and also cut welfare for the able bodied from $10 to $7 an hour.

    At the same time increase the work permit fees for low paid workers so their average cost per hour, including $15 an hour in wages, was closer to $25 per hour.

    Now you have a real incentive to get off welfare and get a job. And for local employers to hire locally.

    Of course there will be less work permits being issued as foreigners are replaced by Caymanians. But the dramatic extra cost per head should keep the fee income similar.

    But there would still be problems:

    1. When people are paid $15 to do a job that previously paid $5 per hour prices will ROCKET!
    This might make our hotels uncompetitive. Not to mention increasing local grocery bills by 20-30%.

    2. You still have that nasty problem of poor education.

    3. Some businesses that don’t need to be here will go elsewhere. And there will be no jobs. For anyone.

    4. What if you do all this and STILL there aren’t enough willing local workers.

  19. I was going to write a big comment… and then I thought, "you know what… it’s not worth it." These discussions have been going on for years on this very website and it all makes no difference.
    If elected politicians come out with these kinds of public statements, you can only wonder if there are actually people in charge that have the intelligence and capabilities to improve things in this country for both Caymanians and expats? Unfortunately, the sad truth has once again been made very clear…