Cayman Islands lawmakers will hold their next Legislative Assembly meeting at the Aston Rutty Centre on Cayman Brac, starting Sept. 5, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed this week.
The last assembly meeting held in the Brac was in 2014. Before that, lawmakers had not convened in the Sister Islands since 2003.
Mr. McLaughlin said Tuesday that his government would like to hold at least one meeting per term away from Grand Cayman as a matter of standard practice.
“It gives us great pleasure and satisfaction that while we live in a country that is a global leader in the financial services industry, we remain small enough to bring the business of the Legislative Assembly to the people who do not live on the main island,” the premier said.
The meeting is only expected to last three days, from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7. A Cabinet meeting will also be held in the Brac on Sept. 4, before the start of the assembly. Cabinet typically meets in the Sister Islands about once a year.
There are already plans for significant legislation to come before the House during the September meeting, the third one to be held this year.
Substantial changes to work permit advertisement and approval processes, as well as the establishment of what is essentially a complaints board for local job-seekers who do not get hired, are due to come before the Legislative Assembly next month.
The newly formed Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman, or WORC, agency will oversee the new work permit approval process to ensure confirmation that there is not an available, qualified Caymanian to take a position offered and that the permit approval process would be “efficient and mindful of the needs of the business” seeking the permit.
The WORC agency also seeks to focus on “skills gaps” in the local job market, identifying students who are returning home from university or job vacancies in fields that most Caymanians can fill.
Premier McLaughlin said earlier this year that the WORC agency would be divided into nine separate but interrelated sections. Those would include: a labor market assessment unit, a training and development unit, a matching and placement unit (jobs clearinghouse), a work permit application unit (which considers permanent residence and Caymanian status bids, as well), an appeals unit, an audit unit and a customer service unit.
Investigators working for the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission will be granted the legal right to carry some weapons and protective gear, if a recently proposed bill is approved by local lawmakers.
Amendments sought to the Anti-Corruption Law will let investigating officers carry body armor, batons, Tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs and other restraints in specific situations.
“It is simply about affording investigators the same health and safety protections that their counterparts in other entities such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are afforded, given that they perform similar duties and have the same powers of arrest,” said Deborah Bodden, head of the commission’s secretariat, which manages the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Until 2016, the Anti-Corruption Unit was staffed with seconded RCIPS officers, but has been granted the ability to hire its own investigators in recent years.
The commission secretariat now employs one senior investigator and six investigators including one trainee.
They are not RCIPS officers, but they are given the same powers under the law in the carrying out of various criminal investigations.
The legislature will also consider a bill that would establish the Cayman Islands Red Cross as a corporate body, a change that has been sought by the agency for some years.
The legislation would give the Red Cross the power to sue and be sued in its own name. The amendment bill also seeks to establish a committee to be the governing body of the Cayman Islands Red Cross.
The bill generally seeks to define the purposes of the Cayman Islands Red Cross, which include working for the improvement of health, prevention of disease and for the prevention and alleviation of human suffering in the Cayman Islands.