Public Accounts Committee chairman Ezzard Miller said Cayman needs to return to the days of recruiting Caymanians straight out of school for careers within the uniformed arms of government, such as Immigration and Customs and Border Control.
Miller made the point as he addressed Tuesday’s PAC hearing in the Legislative Assembly. Prospect MLA Austin Harris recused himself from the hearing as he is the councillor for Immigration and Human Resources. Ministry chief officer Wesley Howell was testifying before the committee at the time.
During his testimony, Howell called on members to do what they can to encourage young Caymanians to get involved in law enforcement careers. He was responding to committee member Chris Saunders, who asked what the PAC could do to help him make the agencies under his watch more efficient.
Howell said having the support of the entire House and Public Accounts Committee when the ministry seeks funding for recruitment was welcomed, but he wanted them to take it a step further.
“If you can continue your efforts to guide Caymanians into the law enforcement arm of our uniformed division of our government, that would be extremely helpful,” Howell said.
Miller said encouraging them was one thing but “they seem to have a lot of difficulty getting in”.
“The red tape just slows them down, and we always seem to be having Caymanians jump the 13th hurdle and we give foreigners jobs in the subjective interview,” he argued.
West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush agreed.
He pointed to an example of a young Caymanian who earned a degree in criminology and a masters in counter-terrorism and was unsuccessful in getting a job with the police service. Instead, a foreign officer was sent to England for two to three weeks for a counter-terrorism course.
“These are the things that all young people are having to fight through, so when you say send them, I do better than that; I’ll bring them to your office,” Bush told Howell.
Miller said Clifton Hunter’s recent graduation produced students with “high qualifications”.