The headline describes the dysfunction — indeed the absurdity — of the Cayman Islands permanent residence “points system.”

While the government’s decision to value the occupation of cleaver-wielding butcher above scalpel-wielding surgeon may appear anomalous to the ordinary person on the street, within the context of Cayman’s embattled points system, it’s anything but an anomaly.

The PR points system (like the work permit system) is polluted with apparent caprices, inequities and contradictions. It’s no surprise it has been identified as one of the most vulnerable legal pressure points amid the generally flawed PR apparatus constructed by the Progressives government in fall 2013.

Here are just a few examples from the list:

  • A “secondary school teacher” gets 8.6. points. A “teacher, secondary school teacher” gets 6.4. (Please re-read that one.)
  • A “head teacher” gets 5.8 points. A “primary teacher” gets 8.9. (So much for being the boss.)
  • A “dentist, oral surgery” gets 12.6. But a “surgeon, oral/dentistry” gets 8.
  • An “aircraft cleaner” gets 13.8. An “engineer, aircraft” gets 3.2. An “airline pilot” gets 3.
  • The occupation of “Deputy Governor” gets 0 points. (Sorry, Franz!)

We could go on, and on, and on.

For the record, an occupation that gets the maximum 15 points from the government is “translators, interpreters and other linguists.” They’d certainly earn every one of those points, in our opinion, if they were able to translate the PR points system, and the broader Immigration Law, into something that makes practical, logical and legal sense.

As ridiculous as the points system is, there’s nothing funny about its consequences. More than 900 PR applicants and, by extension, their spouses and dependents (likely adding hundreds or even thousands to the queue), have their futures directly linked to these absurdities. The aforementioned  “queue” hasn’t moved in more than three years.

It must be pointed out that the candidates for permanent residency applied in good faith and at great expense to themselves and their families. By definition, every applicant has resided here for more than eight years and followed the law – and the excruciating process – divined and designed by the Cayman Islands government, more specifically the Progressives government led by Premier Alden McLaughlin.

We are also chagrined to observe that Governor Helen Kilpatrick (and by proxy the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the U.K.) have opted to remain passive and silent on this issue. We understand that Cayman’s immigration policy may be considered a “local issue,” but the governor’s constitutional obligation to ensure “good governance,” as well as growing concerns over human rights that are now finding their way to the courts, cannot be dismissed as purely parochial matters.

Countries should not – must not – behave with such shameful disregard for the lives and circumstances of their foreign residents who, after all, are here at the invitation of both their employers and the people of these islands.

The significance we place on this subject should be obvious: We have devoted the entire front page of today’s Compass, plus two full pages inside, to a story package that examines Cayman’s current PR situation in the most comprehensive and in-depth manner that has ever been attempted.

We encourage you to set aside time today or this weekend to read carefully the story and study the graphics — the result of weeks of effort from journalist Kayla Young, senior journalist Brent Fuller, other reporters and Compass designers and editors.

Ambitious and extensive reporting such as we publish today takes time and substantial resources, but we believe the effort, and the expense, is obligatory for a newspaper committed to the betterment of these islands.


  1. I don’t think it is fair to express comparison of a cleaver-wielding butcher to a scalpel wielding surgeon in reference to PR point system, simply because both jobs are just as important as the other. One can cut your steaks, while the other stake your cut.
    Furthermore I think it is wise that the Governor remain passive and silent on this. I am sure she has been here long enough now to know whether the glass is half empty or half full on immigration matters in Cayman..
    @ the fourth paragraph from the last “Countries should not – must not – behave” I believe that may be suited better posted in the ” Washington Post” USA.

  2. If Cayman were to have a functional PR system the issue of rating various occupations would be a relevant one. Since Cayman does not have a functioning PR system, the subject is moot. Further, if Cayman had a functioning PR system that was transparent with rules, records, statistics open to the public, it might be possible to see why from time to time certain professions would have greater weight in the application process; due obviously to shortages of that profession.

    After all if there were a sudden shortage of trained mechanics, and an over abundance of attorneys for example, it would be obvious that the mechanics would be granted a higher number of points on the residence scale when the streets were suddenly littered with broken down cars.

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