October 30, 2020

The Editor speaks: A tough job ahead for employment overhaul

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Ellio Solomon has announced he plans a radical overhaul of the employment system, which could lead to “Caymanian only” jobs. A good idea? If executed correctly then it can only be a step in the right direction for the country and its residents.

There is a lot of water to pass under the bridge before we reach that stage plus many “i’s” need to be dotted and “t’s” crossed, but in principle this could mean an industry or particular line of work – whether it is blue or white collar – being staffed entirely by local people. Obvious and justified concerns have been raised in some Caymanian quarters over the scrapping of the rollover policy. Some feel local people could find themselves pushed to the back of the queue for certain jobs if expatriates are allowed to stay in the country longer than they had been previously. Personally I feel there is far too much at stake to let this happen but any concerns about lack of employment opportunities for born and bred Caymanians will be erased if Ellio’s bill is passed.

The mechanics of his proposals are not yet clear, and it does beg the question what exactly are the industries that would benefit from Caymanian-only employees? This is a delicate topic and I don’t envy the powers that be who will be making those tough decisions. We have already seen the benefits of outside influence in professions such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and our education system. Plus, in legal and financial quarters, excluding expatriates from jobs would lead to economic suicide. At the other end of the spectrum would any Caymanian want to be pigeonholed into manual, less prestigious and indeed poorly paid lines of work? I think not.

In theory the ideas being put forward by Ellio make perfect sense, but when it comes to putting them into practice it will be a very tough job for someone, Caymanian or otherwise.

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