Immigration shake-up: PR Chairman Waide DaCosta replaced

The Cayman Islands government appointed new leadership to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board amid a slew of changes to immigration-related governing bodies Wednesday.

Attorney Waide DaCosta, who had served as chairman of the status and residency board for the past eight years, and former deputy chairman Adrien Briggs are no longer on the board. The board has come under significant pressure for the past few years as a backlog of permanent residence applications grew from a few hundred to more than 1,100.

Attorney John Meghoo will take over as chairman, while board member Brenton McLean was elevated to deputy chairman.

Mr. DaCosta was contacted for comment earlier in the week, but did not respond.

The board appointments were not officially confirmed until Wednesday afternoon.

All appointees’ terms on the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board had expired on Aug. 31.

Premier Alden McLaughlin did not immediately comment on the new appointments.

Membership of the board is mixed, with at least six members remaining and a few new members appointed to serve in new positions.

The board and Immigration Department staff are in the midst of marathon hearings, meeting sometimes as often as four or five days a week to resolve the residency application backlog. So far, fewer than one-fifth of the outstanding cases have been heard, but most of those cases have been heard within the past five weeks. Changes to the boards were not expected to slow the approval process significantly, as many of the residency applications are now being heard by Immigration Department staff members. Amendments to the Immigration Law made in 2013 allow staffers, under the authority of the chief immigration officer, to hear PR applications.

A leadership change was also made on the Business Staffing Plan Board, which oversees and approves applications from businesses that employ more than 15 non-Caymanians on work permits.

Human resources manager Philip Jackson has been appointed as board chairman, replacing businessman Charlie Kirkconnell. Jacqueline Terry has been appointed deputy chairwoman.

The Work Permit Board, which approves all work permit grants for non-Caymanians who are not included in business staffing plan applications, stayed mostly the same. Chairwoman Sheena Frederick-Westerborg and deputy chairwoman Sara Dean Barnett will remain in those positions. Only one new member has been appointed to the nine-person board. The membership of the Sister Islands Immigration Board was also appointed on Wednesday.

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