• Programming note

    Watch LIVE coverage of the Commonwealth Games on Island 24. Some 26 athletes will be representing Cayman in athletics, boxing, cycling, swimming, shooting, squash, and gymnastics to the Commonwealth Games, which is from 23 July to 3 August in Glasgow, Scotland.

Caymanians being forced out?

Caymanians are being forced out of jobs and the Director of Labour and Pensions says his office is seeing signs of it. Mario Ebanks and his team are looking into the cases as part of their mission to make sure Caymanians work.

“We are seeing troubling signs of Caymanians being moved out,” Mr. Ebanks says.

He says there are nearly 2,000 Caymanians registered as unemployed and his team has gotten several reports of employers forcing Caymanians out of jobs. His department and the National Workforce Development Agency are now investigating

“To look at those organisations, those employers and see if there are any impediments in their system in terms of hiring Caymanians. Is there stereotyping? Are workplace conditions as such where Caymanians feel like total strangers and are ostracised?”

Government is now looking at making modifications to the Immigration Law, and part of that plan is to set up a committee to see how the immigration policy is working while at the same time taking into consideration the number of people currently without a job.

The latest data shows at least 1 out of 10 Caymanians is out of work.

  • Embrace101

    How long have we debated this issue over and over again with no avail? The Department of Labor (DER) is ineffective without certain laws being enforced. When an employer comes with work permit applications for expats, we are told that before approval, DER looks on their listing of Caymanians that are available and qualified. The employer has to justify why the qualified Caymanians over the expats couldn’t be hired. The excuses are like “Caymanians are lazy.” I know employers that would rather hire expats because they know with an expat they could get away with a lot of abuses (cheap labor, sexual harassment, pension theft) that a Caymanian lady or elder would not tolerate… There is also, I understand, the National Development Workforce Agency (NDWA) that sits on the Immigration Board and advises them on work permits. But they have no powers over the Immigration Board’s decision. There is also the question of work permits being directly connected to labor and not immigration matters. Should work permit issues be separated from immigration issues? And then we have through the Education Department new graduates every year, many of them not getting jobs because they are told that they are inexperienced. The DER Director is right: We all need to partake in ensuring Caymanians get jobs and not contribute to crime or become a tax on our social services. The Education and Immigration departments are key departments to this national endeavor. It could that the Premier Alden McLaughlin and the other MLAs need to review some of the labor, education, and immigration laws to ENFORCE laws that are reasonable and fair to the private sector and the native people of these islands. Let us not forget that the expats always have a second home to go to; they can save their money and convert big in their own country, and I am sure they support their entitlement programs where they came from. But we as Caymanians… this is our home and no place else, and if we just fling the door open to everyone on this very small island, we will become swamp and others will reap what we and the generations before us have sown. Even expats must agree that they would not want their own country’s labor taken over by foreigners.

  • Kerry Horek

    We have to separate Work Permits from Immigration, if we keep it there then Caymanians will continue to climb in numbers of unemployment. These two must not be as one. Labour and Immigration Work Permits must go hand in hand that way we can truly say that every effort to find a Caymanian has been carried out. The other issue is that there is no enforcement for work permit applications. Anything can be put on these applications, and they are taken at face value. Dig deeper into that application, because by not doing so and claiming the business community needs faster processing that is disenfranchising the Caymanian who applied and genuinely could have been chosen. If the Business Community wants support then they should also support the hiring of Caymanians. When was the last time you were checked out by a Native, or served by one in a Restaurant, or got your questions answered correctly at the Hotel’s Information Desk? I have boycotted many businesses, from retail, to gas stations to Camana Bay entirely for that reason. If you don’t hire local, then you don’t deserve my patronage! I am appealing to more Caymanians to take this stand. Send a message to the Business Community loud enough that they feel it in their bottom lines!!

    • Caymanresident

      As an expat myself I have raised this issue again and again.
      Why are there so few Caymanians working in restaurants and hotels.

      A friend who is a 5th generation Caymanian told me this: “Caymanians do not want to work as maids, yard workers or food servers.”

      There is only one way to find out Kerry. Put an ad yourself in a local publication for a restaurant server or hotel maid and make it very clear you will only hire Caymanians.
      See how many responses you get and give them to the work permit board.

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