November 23, 2020

Views sought on rollover policy

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The committee reviewing Cayman’s rollover policy kicked off public consultations on Friday with a blitz of radio and TV appearances, a general forum and the launch of
two websites.

The day started with the Cayman27 appearance on “Daybreak” by Ken Hydes, head of the 19-member Term Limit Review Committee’s Public Outreach sub-group, followed by Chairman Sherri Bodden-Cowan on Rooster, followed by a 1:00pm appearance by both leaders on Radio Cayman’s “Talk Today”.

The two announced creation of new websites for individuals and for businesses – for registration of opinions and employment experiences regarding the controversial immigration policy that limits foreign workers to a seven-year stay before they are expelled.

Premier McKeeva Bush

“This public opinion exercise today kicks off consultations, while I am already talking to businesses and associations, hoping they can give me an assessment of the impact of the rollover,” Mr Hydes told iNews Cayman on Friday.

He said the websites were to “provide people the opportunity for responding”, while a [email protected] email would come to him, the Immigration Department’s website offered a link, and that anyone without computer access could write to the Cayman Term Limit Review Committee at POBox 391, GT, KY1-1106.

“We’re excited about it and I look forward to the feedback,” Mr Hydes said. “It’s been a very hotly discussed topic for a long time. It affects everybody.”

Friday’s rain limited the numbers at the public gathering at Elgin Avenue’s Glass House, where two volunteers joined Mr Hydes and fellow committee member Irma Arch to gather personal and professional questionnaires from individuals.

The personal document asks about national origins, employment sectors, earnings and the social effects of the policy, while the business form seeks information on employees, work-permit holders, costs, returns and the economic impact of both employing and losing foreigners.

In September, suspending the rollover policy for as long as two years, Premier McKeeva Bush appointed the Term Limit Review Committee to study immigration policies and recommend changes, a process scheduled to end by 31 March. Chairman, Bodden-Cowan, lawyer, co-chair of Mr Bush’s United Democratic Party and head of the previous Immigration Review Team, divided the group into three subcommittees: legal, headed by Ms Bodden-Cowan; statistical, headed by Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans, and public outreach.

“It takes a lot of time, Mr Hydes, town manager for Camana Bay, said. “The review committee meets on Thursdays and the subcommittees on Tuesdays.”

He hoped to ensure between 75% and 80% of Cayman residents knew of the issue, and that he might garner a 10% response.

Asked if he had any sense of public opinion on the rollover, Mr Hydes acknowledged “a lot of feelings about it,” but said “we have no preconceived notions and no predetermined results.

“It’s early days,” he said. “This has just started. We are really trying to get the message out, hoping to get feedback over Christmas, when people have free time.

“During the first week of January,” he said, “we will look at what we have, at our sample size, and decide if it’s enough or we need more. I have thought about going to the supermarkets, for example, but we have only 180 days to complete this. It’s a very tight schedule.”

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