The Caymanian employment problem

| 30/10/2013

In October 2006 I wrote an email to friends entitled "I am a frightened Caymanian". This was in regards to what I saw to be a major problem with the infamous 'rollover policy', and since then I have seen the effects of that policy play out. I have since sold all my investments and have left the island, living in Dubai, UAE and now experiencing Saudi Arabia with my family.

It is both fascinating and extremely rewarding on so many levels living as a expat in really foreign lands (i.e. non-western countries), but for the past four years I have kept a close watch on the island taking an economic beating, which was not unlike the rest of the world, including Dubai. However, Dubai has made a remarkable recovery, due partly to the unrest in neighboring Arabic countries and open immigration and economic policies.  By the way, Dubai is a tax haven with an incredible tourist market and a population of which only 11% are local. Sound familiar?

The reality is there is no quick fix for Cayman, so we have to get used to it. Second reality, no elected member has the guts to do what it takes to fix the problem because it will seem that it is getting worse before it gets better. So here a few solutions I think will work, based partly on some of Dubai's model.

Give foreigners full rein to come in and start companies. Yes, I said it. But here are the conditions that are paramount: each company must have a Caymanian "sponsor". This is not an investor; a sponsor is a Caymanian that gets a fee or percentage of profits to hold the license for the particular company. Encourage 'free zones' and offer fast track 2-day business license setups. The second major rule is that  a minimum 20% of that company's employees must be qualified locals.

This model accomplishes a number of  things:

  1. Reverses a stagnant/declining  population — more people onthe island, more money gets spent so everyone benefits.
  2. Increases foreign investments and competition, so prices will fall for goods and services.
  3. It keeps money in the local sponsor's pocket and in the country.
  4. Increases local employment.
  5. It will stop "fronting" by making it legal for a Caymanians to benefit legally and directly from a foreigner opening a business locally.

Caymanians need to get over the bizarre idea that "they" (the foreigners) are taking over "our" island. Yes, we have one example of a very large investor (Dart) who has taken a major economic foot hold in our Island. However, I can assure you that if it was not for the presence of Dart and Caymana Bay pumping money into the economy, we would be in a much deeper economic hole than we are in right now.

So, let's look at the facts. Most "Caymanians" were expats at one point. The large majority of current Caymanians are marrying expatriates, author included. In other words, the so-called "real Caymanian" is a myth. Ask yourself, what is a real American? A culture is only held by what a group of people who chose to practice from their past. I have no idea how to dance a quadrille. I challenge any  reader to ask any Caymanian under age 30 to dance it or make a piece of rope or hat from silver thatch. If you find three of your friends, there is still hope and call me wrong. I know this sound harsh but it is the cold reality of the world we now live in.

All countries are becoming globalized. I am now working/investing in one of the only countries in the world (Saudi Arabia) that did not tolerate mixing of the cultures and they are now paying the price of this extreme segregation. They are now encouraging foreigners to come in to invest and work to train the population to an international level because they have realized that much of the population needs to change if they are to compete globally — and this despite the country's enormous oil wealth.

I respect  everyone's view and passion on this subject, but we as a country have it wrong and you are sadly mistaken if you think the answer is stopping people from making  this country that they love part of their home.  The past seven years have shown us this reality. I said it seven years ago and I will say it again: no one wants to invest in a country in which  they don't see a future. There is no confidence in the island; there are no new investments; there are no jobs being created; people are leaving to find opportunities elsewhere; less people are spending; government costs have increased; with less money for the people, crime is increasing. Welcome to the new Cayman Islands!

The rollover policy does not make companies employ more Caymanians. Why do I say this? Because a company that has an employee rolled over does one of two things. If they are able, they continue to employ that same person but from outside the country for one year. Many jobs can be done remotely these days, thanks to technology. The other option is to replace that ex-pat with another ex-pat and maybe at a cheaper cost due to the highly qualified yet cheaper workforce possible from many Asian countries. This will not change.

The cold reality is that if a company has to pay a Caymanian twice the amount for every job, plus the outrageous operating cost, they will just go somewhere else. Trust me, we are not that special as a nation. White sandy beaches are all over the world and those countries are opening their arms for new businesses to come.

I know I am mixing an employment and an immigration issue but I suggest to you that they are one in the same and cannot be viewed separately. Ask yourself, would the rollover policy be this big of an issue if every Caymanian had a job and was prosperous? 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Here's another detailing the abuse of maids.  And people say that Cayman doesn't have Human Rights…check this:


    I would rather be in the Cayman Islands than in any of those countries.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the point in this article has blown over the head of many.Wedo not have to turn Cayman into a country of the middle east but look beyond the traditional way of thinking and adpot methods of economic growth that are working outside of our normal Western economic models as they are failing. There are many ways in which our Immigration issues are there to control tje economy and not in a way that is beneficial to our Island. We havea closed door policy in regards to immigration. We only want the filthy rich here. What the articles intention is to provoke thinking beyond a text book and rry to develop a plan to grow the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, the point of the article did not escape us. However the actual words of the article seem to have slid beneath your radar. While thinking outside the box is good the proposed solutions are bad. Hence the scorn heaped upon the OpEd.

      For example, it would be interesting, with the constant stream of people who have become Caymanian over the last two decades – even ignoring the mass status grant – to hear the explanation for your claim of Cayman having a closed door immigration policy.

      Further, I think you would be hard-pressed to shoa any evidence that " We [the majority] only want the filthy rich". But perhaps you can prove me wrong? What people do not want is the working poor who, by nature, become a ward of whatever state they retire in. We can all see that Cayman's social services system (such as it is) will have a hard enough time meeting the needs of our current Caymanian (born & paper) working poor, including those of us in the formerly middle class who will find our pensions unequal to the increasing cost of living.


      • Anonymous says:

        So the answer is to limit possibility and make it hard to stay here? There cannot be an issue if someone wants to stay puy for 30 Years and never get citizenship as this is now the rules thay our GOVERNMENT plays by. They can have employees stay without leaving andonly being able to apply for PR every 9 years. How do they avoid the right to citizenship issue? How do you except companies to grow when your work force is in jepordy every few years? Then the new fees and hoops to keep staff? Allow a market to grow by filling it with people. Do not mirco manage everything. Allow people to do business without loads of contstrictions and this will be contagious. A quality and qualified employee is valueable. Our local population will not have employment problems if they are such in a thriving economy.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is very simple, if you cannot plan, you should not be in business. How can you really justify that a term limit of 9 years equates to people " leaving every few years" as you say>? If you were in the USA you would only have 5 years maximum that is it.

        • Anonymous says:

          A) The government has very few long-term non-Caymanian employees. At some point in time they decide they want PR / status / etc. It is experiences like this,the lead up to the mass status grant, and similar examples around the world, that showthat if you give people unrestricted stay in a country they will eventually want to stay for life. This has nothing to do with your inability to adapt your business to a changing workforce and everything to do with controlling immigration, which people such as yourself and the OP always ignore as an unimportant issue.

          B) No one is saying the government's short-sighted approach to not rolling over their employes is right, are they? You have nothing good to say about any other aspect of government social mangement, but you want to repeat their mistakes in the rest of the country? You undermine your own argument as fast as you make it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The article isn't over the head of most posters. It's not particularly clever. The problem is that it reflects patronising but muddled thinking with some soundbites thrown in for good measure. Is legalising fronting really the best it could do in suggesting ways to drive the economy forward?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I didn't know there was one.l

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly, you are not Caymanian then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why because you need to be to see imaginary unemployed people?  Is this like the Sixth Sense?

        • Anonymous says:

          Very stupid comment.

        • Anonymous says:

          To the unemployed Caymanians, and there are many, unemployment is very real. To expats who live in ivory towers it is not.

          BTW the people in The Sixth Sense were not imaginary. It seems you missed the point of the movie. 

          • Anonymous says:

            The people in the Sixth Sense were ghosts.  Are you saying ghosts are real?

            • Anonymous says:

              Ghosts are more real than Caymanian unemployment.

            • Anonymous says:

              The spirits of the departed are of course real. You do understand that the vast majority of the world's population believes in an after-life, don't you? You seem to be equating real with physical.

              • Anonymous says:

                I like the "of course" in the first sentence.  You seem to be equating "belief" with "evidence for existence". 

                • Anonymous says:

                  Not at all. Equating experience with knowledge. And you are missing the point. These were not presented as figments of the imaginations of the characters in the film but as real encounters with disembodied spirits. To say that unemployed Caymanians are imaginary as in The Six Sense shows that the poster did not understand the film.   

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Only on CNS would someone try to establish credibility for arguments on the basis that they have conclusive experience of the existence of ghosts.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Do you reckon that there is an unemployment problem among Caymanian ghosts?  Do foreign ghosts come over a take their jobs? 

          • Anonymous says:

            Not being able to get the job you want and refusing to accept the many jobs that are available is not unemployment.

            • Anonymous says:

              Being denied jobs on the basis that you are "overqualified" is unemployment.

    • Anonymous says:

      There isn't one.  There is a an "I smoke crack/drink too much/am a criminal problem" and a "There is not a job which I want out f the many that are available" problem.  These are not unemployment problems.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Paul you should read the following report and so should our elected representatives to earn their keep:

    It exposes the fallacy that the previous Labour government's immigration policy, ie allowing a massive influx of immigrants – (more than 500,000 legal incomers a year) would make every one better off.

    Yes, mass immigration increases GDP, but not GDP per head, because the expanded cake has to be shared amongst many more people.

    For the employers, it provides a ready supply of child-minders, cleaners and plumbers who are grateful for a job and prepared to work for the minimum wage. Life for the rich improves.

    But, as Cambridge University economist Professor Robert Rowthorn points out: "It does not benefit indigenous, unskilled workers who have to compete with immigrants willing to work hard for very low wages in unpleasant conditions.

    Cayman would be far better off running a strict immigration policy so our precious natural environment is protected otherwise future generations will inherit a place spoilt by the masses.

    • HI_LIGHTER says:

      Seeing that Paul did not compare the UK model of immigration and used the UAE model shows your argument holds no water and you do not understand his article. I would suggest reading the article again. Embrace a free market and not the Oliogoly and Cartels of the few familys that hold the economic power in Cayman.

      The Colition for Cayman was a great hope but has become a pertectionist onclave for a few powerful business people. Like most movements it has be hijacked by the most fearful of our society.

      All of their bullet points are of a protectionist angle which will ultimatley keep the power with them. These types of policys hold down Caymanians and will keep a sub class of workers who will never be owners.

      This is how I know the Colition for Cayman has be taken over by people with no understanding of economics.

      " This is achieved by working with true business partners to ensure the effective creation of direct employment and business ownership opportunities that benefit Caymanians. This is quite different than looking at economic growth simply to increase the country's GDP and economic activity."

      The most telling of the utter ignorance of economics in the whole article. We need more companies, more investors, and more jobs for the future of these islands. Not protectionist theories from those wealthy few.

    • Anonymous says:

      Plumbers don't work for minimum wage. They are pretty expensive.

      • Anonymous says:

        No sorry the people who actually do the job get maybe $10-15 per hour . While the invoice says $80-100 per hour and includes travelling time. So again having more poor people to come or the reason for them coming is so they can build houses or retire with no problem while local people can't pay cost of living . We shouldn't have to live together in treasure island to be able to just survive. Remember that US 10 per hour is starvation wages in the the USA. So how can a person live here where the prices are 30-40% higher? By letting in more poor people? XXXX. Go with Paul, Dubai is great . I hope you go there and spend a million dollars and they tell you to leave and don't give you a reason. Trust me he'll wish he was back in Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          starvation wages???,…whats your source on that?

          • Anonymous says:

            A very comfortable apt could be had for US$ 600 per month plus $60-100 utilities , food US$200 per month. Here only since the recession and people have been sent back has rent drop. $600 per month $250 for water and elect. This is a small apt 1 bedroom maybe windsor park or west bay. Then food one person about $100 per week. $200 per month for medical insurance. Then pension CI 80 per month. Car anyone? small car CI$50 per week gas hopfully car was bought  in cash. Phone so that boss can call you CI$ 40 per month. TV? Internet?

            So far we have US $ 900 per month and we're not talking transportation, clothing, recreation(movies the bar night out with girlfriend to rest. it better be burger king) phone,medical ins., penion, then taxes. Still better off inFla. 

            Cayman we got: CI $1870 and we aren't going anywhere to buy clothes, beer rest., nothing. So the best person for Cayman is the couple. Two people is the only way we move forward. 

            But the employers are only seeing profit their bottom line at the price of society. They are not paying CI$ 10 per hour They are paying $ 5 per hour each to work permit holder now not before. So this is the real reason that no one is buying. No circulation of funds. There is no interest in the banks. 

            So if each member of the chamber of commerce hires one unemployable staff member we would be going forward. Gov't would save 10's of millions of dollars.

            If they would raise salaries by $2 per hour across the board we wouldn't need more people to come to Cayman to become Caymanian and add to the list of unemployable.

            At this point in our history stores and bars rest, and many more commercial ventures will have to close and go fishing or move. Crime not hit here yet.

          • Anonymous says:

            Only once you have deducted the costs of the crack.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you will find that a minimum wage would be far below CI$10 (US$12.50) an hour. No one could afford domestic helpers or car wash staff or fast food restaurant staff at that rate.

          FYI, the U.S. federal minimum wage level is US$7.25 per hour.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I've read these posts with interest.  A few people say that Caymanians have no issue with expats, they just don't want them to stay.  I first came to the Island in 2007 and in my first weekthe headline was "Caymanians hate Expats".  Wow, what a warm welcome to the Cayman Islands.  

    I have lived and worked in a lot of countries around the world and the biggest draw card to Cayman is the lifestyle and the tax free money.  However, as Paul correctly states, there are a lot of places that have the lifestyle and tax free (or low tax), but come without the drama and hatred that comes with living in Cayman (and yes I do pronounce it CAYMAN).  

    I have obviously worked with many Caymanians and have in fact trained a lot of them as well.  Now everyone says Caymanians are lazy, yes, some are, however, there are some that aren't so to taint everyone with the same brush is a bit extreme.  Unfortunately the majority of the younger generation are not going to go anywhere fast.  The literacy on this Island is atrocious and it would seem that the level of education in the public schools is on a far lower level than that of private schools.  So let's just get to the basics here?  Who goes to private schools?  That would be expats.  So the expats are getting a good education whereas the 'local' kids are being taught little to nothing.  If you are not educating your children then how do you expect them to get decent jobs when they do finally "complete" their education?  

    The other problem, which in my opinion is the biggest problem of them all, is the whole 'entitlement' attitude on this Island.  I'm 'Caymanian' so I'm 'entitled' to get whatever job I want even if I am not qualified for the position.  Let's get realistic here.  No company is going to hire a person who is (a) unqualified for the job (b) and who can't be bothered to turn up on time let alone dress properly.

    This is not the children of Cayman's fault.  This is their parents' faults.  When I was a teenager I did waitressing so I could earn some money.  This taught me responsibility, both for work and money.  It also provided me with financial independence.  Where are the Caymanian students working for money?  Dive masters, waitresses, bar staff, etc.  Where do the kids get the money to have i-phones, suped up cars, gas money, etc.?  They definitely aren't working for it which means that they're being handed everything to them when they are young.  It doesn't make for a responsibleand mature adult.  Life is hard and unfortunately no one can expect anything from anyone without putting some sort of investment or education into it.  

    The sad thing is:  someone forgot to tell Caymanians that.

    I will be heading out of here in a few months time.  I've done what I came to do: earn some tax free money, give little back to the community and head off to far less racist pastures.  Why would you want to get rid of people who do contribute to society and have someone like me instead?  I'm not contributing much to the community, that would be the people that have been here for 8 years or longer.  

    Just my two cents worth.


    • Caymanite to the core says:

      “whole ‘entitlement’ attitude on this Island.” Gosh, I hope you don’t paint All Caymanians with the same brush by saying that?! Thank you for giving a “little” back. What was the percentage compared to your tax free earnings? Hmmm? Like locusts some of you are. Best wishes on your next harvest.

      • Anonymous says:

        From my post you would have seen that I try not to taint Caymanians with the same brush, however, you just have to read the posts on this website to see the 'entitlement' cries over and over again.  We don't want expats as they're taking our jobs but we don't have the qualifications to do the job.  We deserve the job over an expat because we're Caymanian.  If that's not an "entitled" attitude then I'm not sure what is.

        So here's another question:  What high-end jobs are Caymanians going to get if the only people you give PR to are lawyers, accountants and other high-end positions?  Just a thought.

        And thanks for the best wishes, I will.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear "I will be heading out of here in a few months time.  Good bye and good luck, I hope that your next sojourn will be in Dubai as it has much more expats than in Cayman and you will feel very much at home.  Dubai loves expats and I hope that you will read this article and give a copy to each and everyone of your expat friends in Cayman.    Please look up Mr. Aiken in Dubai and tell him that he made an excellent choice  when and if he does decided to return home one day I hope that he will run for elected office as he will be able to implement some of the excellent policies that they have in Dubai regarding their natives.  I too would love to see Cayman adopt some of the great benefits for its natives.  Caymanians would be better educated and prepared for the work force if our government will provide free education for the natives from  Preschool to PhD level free, what a dream it would be for all Caymanians to be provided with free medical care.

  6. Paul Aiken says:

    Thanks for your responses, I wish I had the time and more space in my letter to address this concern of the size of our Island vs other countries. It has been mentioned by many readers over the years when others came up with suggestions or possible solutions. Well if we keep kicking that can down the road we will never solve the problem. 

    Hell, I can find an excuse to never start running a marathon however if the goal is to run the race, one of the excuses I can not use is "my competitors legs are longer than mine".
    At this time Cayman does not have a population problem.  We have a lack of people contributing to the economy plus stupid government spending but are we different from any other country? But let's stay focus and solve one problem at a time. 
    Dubai and even more extreme Saudi,  does not have a democratic government and human rights are very different, but I can strongly assure you that this is not a system you or most westerners would appreciate. My rights and the locals are extremely limited based on western democratic standards. 
    However, There are thousands of expats living in Dubai for well over 2 decades who have everything  invested in the country including homes and businesses, but despite the lack of rights no one is told to leave the country. Yes, they will never be a Emirati (title of the locals) but they have the right to enjoy and be accepted in the society. If Cayman wants to tell Our expats they can invest their entire live here but you will never be a voting citizen including their Caymanian born kids then, good luck with that in an international court of human rights. 
    Yes, there are some locals in Dubai that don't like the crazy influx of expats, there will always be some that hate change in every country. But Dubai's leader understands that they have very limited natural resources so they have  built an outstanding tourism and financial infrustructureby encouraging expats to come in and build it. 
    The reality is that if a county is not growing and moving it is dying and that takes people and investments, let's solve that problem first. When we foreseean over population problem occurring then we reign it in but at this time we have to look solving the immediate problem. 
    Running a country is dynamic and it takes good proactive leaders.  lt seems like we are always plugging the holes in the boat even though we see them occurring.
    I know that you or I can not solve the countries problems in an article on CNS.  Every suggestion made will effect another social or ecomical issue, and this is why we have such heated discussion.   The task of balancing emotions and business which are two opposites is a difficult one.  I hope to at least, start enough people thinking outside the box because what we are currently doing is clearly not working. 
    • Anonymous says:

      "…but despite the lack of rights no one is told to leave the country. Yes, they will never be a Emirati (title of the locals) but they have the right to enjoy and be accepted in the society. If Cayman wants to tell Our expats they can invest their entire live here but you will never be a voting citizen including their Caymanian born kids then, good luck with that in an international court of human rights".

      That passage reflects muddled thinking. It is precisely because there is no recognition of international human rights in Saudi that no one is told to leave the country. There will be no claims for permanent rights after residence of 10 years. You will not have the right to vote. You are there at their pleasure. There is nothing for them to lose and a great deal to gain. 

      In Cayman no one is telling expats any such thing. The point of a 7 (now 9) year term limit (which you rejected) was so that people did not "invest their entire lives here and never be a voting citizen" – something which you seem to think is a good thing in Saudi. I know you have been gone for a while but in that time we introduced a new Constitution in 2009 which provides that every Caymanian (which includes status holders) have the right to vote. There is a pathway to Caymanian status, long though it is: (1) 8 years residency; (2) permanent resident status; (3) BOT citizenship; and (4) Caymanian status.

      The comparison with Saudi and Dubaiis, frankly, absurd.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who is this Paul Aiken anyway?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Paul. I did wonder why I did not see you around recently. However, you have started my fire on leaving this little Island as well. I am a Caymanian, but I operate a business that I am forced to hire persons that should not be employed. Everyday on the talk show and around the islands we hear all the fake talking going on. Politicians will tell you straight in your face if no one is around that they are sick and tired of getting jobs for people and being let down and embarrassed. It’s always late to work with every excuse, or no show, or a number of other reasons.

    Now that alone is not the problem, the fact that no one that gets a job lately has any qualifications is a reality in doing business in Cayman Islands. The "married to Caymanian" is abused and is a joke. I would gladly pay an extra fee on any permit if government will create the facilities for me to assist, weather by equipment or time or financially to improve the education standards in the Cayman Islands. When will we ever get a trade school? Why is it being shied away from? Why on Gods great Earth do we keep lower the standards for education and employees to where being "Caymanian" is the qualification.

    Ask Mr. Miller Edzar why XXX does he go to Cuba so much? Could it be that he gets better treatment and service than from a Caymanian restaurant or bar. Would he tolerate the kind of low class service in Cuba that is allowed here? Would he even get low class service at all in Cuba, I can tell you that would be impossible, because only the best can attend to guest. So my points being, they can pretend all they want that they care, but could be they also want to force the good companies to have to close by force them to hire Caymanians that do not meet certain standards.

    Do not even try to tell me that companies do not like Caymanians. A good example is the dish washer at a local Pizza joint. Never late and will curse you blind in a second, crazy as a bat, but one of the hardest workers you can find. Take the hotels, the older persons that do the room service, do you think that you can train that kind of service to a "Caymanian"? Impossible. Do you think employers would go through so much problems and pay so much for permits if they could hire caymanians? That myth has got to be proven. We should call in the myth busters. Now that would be an episode to watch. (Can title it  "is it possible to hire a canidate sent from NDWF qualified, and show up on time for at least 30 days").

    A lot of persons have the mindset that they should be lawyers and managers and everything on the roof. They look at the “Caymanians" that seem to be making it and have a resentful to the owners. Now back to the point, Government should not force any company to hire anyone for anything that they do not have training facilities in place for. Over and Over I keep saying that companies can and would be willing to pay for training once the facilities are in place. Why do we have to be turned into a Nanny State or a "used to work in a bar" country?  We have educated and willing persons that want to invest and will hire Caymanians, but we have to face the reality that until we force the "Caymanian" employees to be in the real world and to train and educate themselves, we will always be going down the drain.

    If the standard is set. Here are the requirements of the Job. Do you have it yes or no? If you have it then lets move forward. If you don’t have it, here is how to get it. The people will adapt and evolve real fast if they know that no longer can they walk into companies and intimidate people about jobs. But remember the biggest offenders of this intimidation are the same persons that are supposed to enforce the laws about people being here. If an investor want to come in to do business, then let them know the expectations, don’t wait until they set up and then tell them they can’t bring the same persons that they need to make it work, that they have to hire a local.If that is the case, let them pay the extra fee, or just require them to have a ratio in order to keep or get permits.

    Cayman lets lift the standards, now that the law is passed, can we move on to the next stage. Turn to our children and make sure that they have the education and qualify for the various jobs that could be possible. Do not let the culture of entitlement set in. Stop going to the schools and cursing the teachers, and when the teachers run away from Cayman, blaming the education minister of not having qualified teachers in place to step up. Being Caymanian does not mean you have to try to imitate how the older generation talks, learn to speak proper, do not confuse Jamaican Patoi with Caymanian or think that that is local. It’s ok to use the slang with your friends and in certain places, but out of context, it does sound very ignorant. So use the Cayman accent with consideration.

    Could you think how wonderful it would be if Expat vs. Caymanian was not happening, where getting an education and pride was the building blocks of the employment foundation. Where efficiencies were something that we wanted to achieve for employer and employees alike? Until I can move away from these Islands I will have to keep the names aside. Good luck Paul.  I hope to see you soon. If not in Cayman, then might have to be Dubai. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Dubai is a wonderful place to live and do business. The best alternative to Cayman, if you leave today to move there many will welcome you and few will miss you.  Good luck in your endeavours and good bye.  Next!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is not expat vs Emmarati in Dubai because there is no need for that, the natives of Dubai are well taken care of by their leaders and their futures are secure.  More power to Dubai and I wish that they would give our leaders a lesson on how to run a successful financial and tourism destination.  Please read this and I hope that you love it in Dubai as many people seem to.  It is an excellent article (Please pass it on to everyone you know).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why do you have to pay a Caymanian twice for a job ?

    Is that because the person on workpermit has no rights and therefor will be underpaid ?

    Minimum wage should be introduced . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      minimum wage means cost to businesses go UP which means cost of living goes UP WITH A MARK UP which means your additional wage is ERASED….simple maths. Wealthy people do not notice increase in cost of living…quess who does?…yep, the ones making MINIMUM WAGE. 


  9. Kato says:

    Mr. Aiken with all due respect, we don't even have sea urchins left and you wish to grow our population bigger than 60,000? Wow!


  10. Soldier Crab says:

    Paul I would have to disagree with your comments regarding relaxing our immigration policies to allow more people in to make more money and everyone prosper philosophy.  Couple of questions and I am requesting your response on: 

    what about  the environment?

    what about  conservation? 

    What about the infrastructure to accommodate the flood of people? Who will pay for this?

    what about employment/training for the 500 students that are graduating each year?

    What about our culture?

    It seems to me your  view point is primarily based on $$ signs . Have you read the news lately as to what is happening to our little islands? People are scared to go out and eat a dinner without the fear of  being robbed or murdered. Btw the helicopter is actually flying over as I type my view points, reminds me of dessert storm! I am pretty certain you don't have the dubai's army flying over residential homes or tourists areas looking for criminals?

    i actually envy you because at least if I'm robbed, burglarized, raped, or killed, dubai's justice system is less tolerate of repeat offenders and me being a victim would not be in vain.


  11. Anonymouse says:

    So let me interpret your post.

    1)      Legalise Fronting – because it’s better to be given cash than given a job (part owner, manager, etc., in the business).

    a.       20% Caymanian employment requirement for fronts. Because all the new business we’re supposed to achieve will somehow find Caymanians to fill the substantive posts, given the high (~50%) foreign labour rate. – Though I suppose 80% foreign employees is easier to achieve if you look at it from that perspective.

    2)      Bless Dart – Even though I’ve not lived in Cayman for four years I am an expert on the country’s micro-economics. Trust me. (Yes, Dart is a big part of the economy. The ‘most important’ part?)

    3)      I can’t tell the difference between history (what people used to do) and culture (evolving; what people do informed by what they did, i.e., who they are).

    4)      “The rollover policydoes not make companies employ more Caymanians.” – Obviously. It was never meant to. It’s an IMIGRATION control. But you don’t want to try and argue that controlled immigration is not better than uncontrolled immigration. Especially for a country with limited resources (pretty beaches, tax free, etc.) and limited economic ones ($) to provide the services (roads, schools, etc.) for a population growing more rapidly than the infrastructure (both built and social). So you try to bait-and-switch jobs for immigration in order to achieve your desire of rampant immigration.

    a.       Wait, the roll-over will make the companies’ cost of employment go down and they’ll pass the saving on to their customers? Is that what you’re saying? <sarcasm intended>

    5)      They have to pay Caymanians twice as much as a foreigner? For whom they have to pay work permit fees. (And relocation costs sometimes.) Which industry is that because I’m retraining tomorrow!

    6)      Yes, you did mix employment and immigration. No, they aren’t one and the same. Its thinking like that that has gotten Cayman where it is now. And that is Cayman’s true employment problem. Not any of the smoke you’ve just blown our way from Dubai.


  12. Anonymous says:

    You wrote Paul," They are now encouraging foreigners to come in to invest and work to train the population to an international level". I agree with that statement completely and If they did that we would not have been in this trouble with immigration. But they didn't Paul, they got greedy and of course no enforcement.

    Can you imagine these people still believe they are entitled to keep their staff who haven't train anybody solely because its more money in their pocket?

    If the enforcement of the law is enacted we will be on top the way we were before.Yeah maybe will get some people who think they are going to show ussomething by leaving,good go. But that is power for the course. We don't need 60beauty parlors, 300 resturants etc. So let them go , those that stay and keep to the law will be making a lot more money with them gone. Supply and demand Paul. I believe that is what happened its called the law of diminishing return, Gov't kept on collecting fees and fees without thinking that maybe we don't need all these businesses which are offering the same thing. Its time to straighten out this island and if it don't work change it.

    Right now its not working . Real estate has been in the dumps because we have the wrong people here. We need labour to get proper wages then they will be able to afford houses and condos. Simple 

  13. Anonymous says:

    paul's situation is also typical of another problem in cayman….'the brain drain'……

    i.e.   one of many skilled, educated, intellegent, entrepreneurs who will undoubtly leave cayman in the near future….

    • Just Another Entrepreneur says:

      Entrepreneurs are not a good fit for Cayman culture.  Drug money, fraudsters and tax evaders used to be (though they probably wouldn't be that interested now), but not entrepreneurs.  Cayman makes it plain that we're not welcome.  I for one think Paul is an excellent example of what people with skills and means should do – head out into the world and enjoy how big it is.  If you ever find yourself somewhere where you aren't welcome, jump on a plane and rock on somewhere else.  It's a huge planet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would anyone want to give a "sponsor" a fee or a percentage of profits to hold a license for them? Who gets to calculate the percentage of profit that is given to someone for doing absolutely nothing.

      Does Paul really see a difference between this harebrained idea of his and the current 60/40 rule where there is always some crooked numbskull willing to say that they legitimately own 60% of a company?

      • Anonymous says:

        It seems to me that they are both "crooked numbskulls" to have agreed to an illegal fronting arrangement where the Caymanian could say that. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes I really missed those donuts. Such a shame they closed. Well maybe you can open some in Dubai I'm coming for a visit.

  14. Anonymous says:

    its all common sense stuff….but there is no such thing as common sense in the caymankind wonderland of the caymanislands…..

    just listen to rooster any morning!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Paul – with you the whole way, right up until the point you forgot to mention that Saudi (and Dubai) will deport you and all your kids whether you have been there for 5 years or 45, whenever they feel like it and without Human Rights considerations. They also do not bestow citizenship on anyone, and in fact, if an Emerati woman marries a foreigner SHE becomes a foreigner.

    It is easy to build ski slopes in the desert on the back of imported labour when you are not constrained by the principles we have. Our laws require us to ultimately allow everyone to remain forever if we do not operate a rollover policy. That is our problem. The Dubai Model, as much as I would like it to be, cannot therefore be our solution.   

    • HI-LIGHTER says:

      So in your logic if we open up the economy we will revert to Saudi level of human rights. Man that is stretch. Or are you equating economic freedom to the level of human rights? I think you should rethink your position. Clearly you have not thought this out.

    • Anonymous says:

      To clarify, if an Emirati woman marries a foreigne,r she does not lose her citizenship and become a foreigner.  Their laws however do  prevent the women from passing citizenship to their husband or children.

    • Enter Sandman says:

      Well said. And I’ll add, if only we were the size of Dubai (1,588 sq miles) I’d say the more the merrier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really, Human Rights considerations exist in the Cayman Islands?  What sweet herb have you been smoking? 

    • Anonymous says:

      and, a lot of the expat cheap laborers working in Dubai have their passports taken away by their employers upon arrivial. They have no way to get back home unless the employer hands back their passport. If you think that indentured slavery is common in Cayman, your head would spin if you could see what is going on in Dubai and how such "imports" are treated!

  16. Anonymous says:

    You hit the nail right on the head when it comes to who is Caymanian now a days. There are many many Caymanians marrying expats over the past 50+ years, and the product of those marriages are CAYMANIAN children.

    You know what I cant stand regarding the Caymanian vs ex-pat issue? When people call themselves BORN AND BRED Caymanian. I am an expat married to a Caymanian. My children are Caymanian. Are they BORN AND BRED? You bet they are!. Are you going to tell me my children are not Caymanian because one parent is from the US? They have lived their entire lives here. They speak with a Caymanian accent, they say mines and mummeh and daddeh, they love conch and whelks, they hate meatloaf and spaghetti and meatballs (what I ate alot of growing up in the US), they attend government school and participate in the NCFA, (my daughter has won gold 3 years in a rowfor singing), my son plays football in the Maples grassroots program. Ask them where they are from and they say CAYMAN! Ask them to sing their national anthem and they will. My kids can both plait thatch and dance quadrille because they love going to the CNCF summer camp, and I, the expat, want to help them to keep their Caymanian heritage alive.

    We all should just endeavour for the best for our tiny island nation that we call the Cayman islands. This ex pat vs Cayman issue needs to take a back burner to the major issues that need to be addressed in our country.

    • 'levenSeventeen says:

      Yes, yes. But can your kids walk on ironshore barefoot? Do they know the legend and person of Una? How ’bout rolling calf? Drink any Cerasee (sir-see) lately? What about Gunta aka Red shirt man? Lil Axe/Shaft/Algar/12″? Remember them Black Spot signs and how most of us drivers slowed down when we saw them?! Or how we all ran out to the roadside and looked for the ambulance/police/fire vehicle when we heard the sirens because it was so, so rare to hear that noise…you see, there’s more to it and that’s why some say born and bred Caymanian. Cha.

      • Anonymous says:

        I thought this might be satirical, but by the end it clearly, and tragically, was clear that it was not.

        • Anonymous says:

          It clearly was clear? LOL.

        • 'levenSeventeen says:

          That would be the born and bred part, and of course the interaction with the Real locals. Those folks would understand my comments, we’re old. Satire was lost on you I’m afraid. But…the issue really is, we’re living in this generation while being from another. Always is, always will be. I have no issues with that, however, I take issue with changes to the island that some see as not fitting to their way, from how it’s done back in their homeland, etc. Slowly change happens, but slow it should be, giving time for the older generation to adjust and come to terms. Jack won’t stop me bathing on the beach still.

      • Anonymous says:

        I'm a born and bred Caymanian and I'm not drinking any Cerasee. What is Gunta aka Red shirt man? Lil Axe/Shaft/Algar/12" ?  Sounds like a rappers.  Never heard of whatever that is.  In Cayman Brac, they call each other now to find out where the police and ambulance is and in Grand Cayman, they bbm or Facebook.  If that makes a Caymanian, everyone is a Caymanian.

        • 'levenSeventeen says:

          Different island, different local legends perhaps? And 12″ plus a hole in a block…I could go on. Gimmy a $25 laugh nah? 😉

          • Anonymous says:

            Maybe you're right 'levenSeventeen because my father has told me a lot of tales but I haven't heard of the ones that you are mentioning.  I still go barefoot though and my children love walking on the ironshore.  Unfortunately, you must admit our Caymanian children are not doing the same things that we did.  They prefer the latest gadgets and I doubt they know all the legends that you speak of.

      • Cowitch says:

        As a teenager, I could walk bare foot on the ironshore, and I wasn't born and bred here. I just went bare foot all the time. My proof? Well, only someone who has such thick skin on their foot-bottom could appreciate the agony of having an itch that was impossible to scratch!

        Rolling Calf is a Jamaican duppy, try May Cow.

        Cerasee grows and is drunk in Jamaica – Don't like it, but love those orange fruit

        Black Spots are/were found on the roadside in the UK

        Most "born and bred" Caymanian kids wouldn't know what you are talking about. Her kids are Caymanian, time and traditions move on.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, they sure can walk iron shore barefoot. They go fishing with hand lines off the iron shore with their father. They collect whelks to cook and eat. Their father has told them about May cow. They know about cerasee and have drank it before. (hate it!) Their ganny will make it when she hears someone is sick….

        They still run out by the road when they hear the fire truck or ambuilance because they dont hear it all the time.

        And all the other things you mention…"What about Gunta aka Red shirt man? Lil Axe/Shaft/Algar/12"? Remember them Black Spot signs and how most of us drivers slowed down when we saw them?!" …  Let me take a survey in my kids year 5 and year 1 classes to see how many of their peers also know about them….

        YOUR POINT?

        My kids listen to stories all the time from their ganny and their great aunts/uncles telling them about the good ole days. I personally love going to an event in the family and sit with the elders and let them tell me about their childhood because i LOVE hearing about Cayman way back when….and I am an expat. But I am also a mother of Caymanian children and it is my duty, or so I feel, to teach them their heritage and their culture.

        Yep, there sure is a lot more about being BORN AND BRED Caymanian but YOUR POST has not one damn thing of relevance to it. Cha yuhself…..

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't know who you are, I wish I did so I could call you every morning to wish you a good morning. Please please spread your message.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Ask them to sing their national anthem and they will" You would, of course, be referring to God Save The Queen?

      • Anonymous says:

        Nope.  Because he/she is from the US of A!  The only queen they have is the dairy kind.


        • Anonymous says:

          Stupid and having unsupervised access to a computer – a dangerous combination.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, whatever the national anthem and national song is here in Cayman. And since Cayman is an overseas terrority, the God Save the Queen it is.

         My point is my children are Caymanian, They grew up here, they only know here. Maybe one of their parents is an expat, but they themselves are Caymanian whether BORN AND BRED or whether born of a Caymanian and an expat union. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    I guess if we keep saying all countries were developed/populated by immigrants we can all head back to Mother Africa, but the point is in every generation there should be some measurement of what is considered native to a particular country or region.

    DO you think Jamaicans will accept that their island was inhabited by immigrants from Africa and Europe and should rightfully have an open door policy and not try to claim that 'Jamaicans' are not native to Jamaica but really African-Jamaicans, German-Jamaicans, Syrian-Jamaicans because of the original birth of their ancestors?

    Maybe good idea to start using nation of birth and nation of opportunity, so that people will understand the history of the Caribbean better and not always state that Cayman was setled by 'Jamaicans' when in fact settlers were African slaves, Europeans who simply came by way of Jamaica and shipwrecks. Generally you will find that today the natives are now the people who built a nation and others, new immigrants 'benefit' from the nation building by the original settlers.

    So Paul just remember your're comparing two areas, our islands are 100 sq miles, 60,000 people and Dubai over 1000 sq miles, with over 1 million people so the first point to consider when you recommened unbridled, uncontrolled population growth.

    The rollover policy has as its main goal to assist with population growth and not to simply provide jobs but at least if persons are expected to leave will be easier to plan for the Caymanians, mixed nationals or native who are raised here and yes would like to exercise their birthright to make a living in their country.

    Do you think the natives there who are now a minority are truly pleased? but are the majority there allowed to live there forever?

    Suppose your children or grandchildren wish one day to return to Cayman you country of citizenship (birth too I believe) for opportunities, don't you think they should have that choice?

    If yes, that alone is the one good reason for controlling the population growth and hence future economic opportunities, otherwise we have simply built this country for others to benefit in the short term right?

    It is not about anti-expat for me at all, as I have many family members of mixed nationalities and I think they deserve to have a future here in the event they decide Canada, UK, Belize, Jamaica or USA is not their first/only preference.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hear, hear Paul.  Well put.

    Anyone who missed it should read this excellent piece on the same topic:

  19. Anonymous says:

    a real American is a NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN now go & tell the 11% as you call them "local" dubians that they are just a myth & because you have a romantic notion in regards to their "culture" u are just as much if not more "Native" then they are = you can claim all (if not more) rights then they can in Dubai

    Just a thought from a Mythical Caymanian (by my Father)  & non Native American USA Born Citizen

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank you – a very well written and thought out article by someone who can see the big picture. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The Cayman Islands have been globalised for many decades now. Have you forgotten that we were the 5th largest financial center in the world- there are way over 100 different natinallities living and working here- if that is'nt globalisation then I don't know what is. We have always embraced outsiders and I hope that we continue to do but it has to be managed. Any Caymanian who really wants and can doa particular job should be given the opportunity to do, and if it means declining a work permit I don't really see anything wrong with that.

      I do realise that we have no oil, no industries to speak of and we are mainly a service-based island. We will always need people who are experts in their field to work here but we must balance this with hiring our people too. Immigration and Labour now has the capabilities to do just that. We cannot all go to Dubai, some of us don't really want to, we want to stay here on the Ship Cayman, work here, raise our families here and every effort to allow us that should be made.

      The immigration reform underway goes a long way in giving us that opportunity. People can still come here, we are not chasing all guest workers out of town. The new law will allow our government to decide who stays and who unfortunately will have to move on. For the past 7 or so years this was decided by the employers through the Key Employee provision. That should not have happen.

      I realise that we are a small territory out here in the northwest caribbean and we will always need outsiders but the fact that we have over 20,000 on work permits and 2000-3000 unemployed Caymanians is blaringly clear that something is wrong with this picture. The Government is attempting to fix this. I am not blaming the guest workers for this- they were offered a job and a permit was granted but the time has come to sort this mess out. Caymanians who are qualified for the job, whether low end or high end, willing to work, comes with good recommendations and references must be given an opportunity.

      The new law will allow the right kind of people to move up from being a work permit holder to a Permanent Resident- they will bepeople who can afford to live in Cayman, pay school fees, build houses, develop businesses etc. We should not have to see them in the welfare line at social services.

      There is definately not enough available Caymanians with all the expertise that the island demands so we will continually have to bring in guest workers, but no they should not all be granted Permanent Residence. They should come for 9 years and unless they can qualify for the Grant of Pemanent Residency they will have to leave and either a Caymanian or another guest worker will be hired. Permanent Residency is not an entitlement. This new system is fair and quite workable and for the life of me I cannot understand what all the clamour is about.

      • Anonymous says:

        "but the fact that we have over 20,000 on work permits and 2000-3000".

        Get your facts straight buddy. There are no facts to prove your facts that you claim. How can a ten year old statistics with children age 16 and retired persons still be counted as valid. Give me abreak. Stop all this crap about 2000 to 3000 persons out of work in Cayman. Especially when you are trying to say that those are caymanians.

        Every law is being made to prosecute the employers for every little ignorance of the labor law. What about the employees that lie and steal amd make all this false resumes and try to intimidate and acusing employers just because they are resentful of being told to stop showing up late or to actualy work while on the job. If this is the statistics that "qualified caymanians" are able to produce, then we are in some serious problems. 2000 to 3000 is a serious gap. I dare anyone with an ounce of what was common sense to get the real facts. In the mean time shut up with all this stupidness and get the facts straight.

        Imported unemployment should not even be considered. And yes that includes all those young never worked a day in  there lives women married to all this old men, or for a fact the old ladies with the young boys that have families back where they come from. Walking around the place boasting about "that one of mine" stupidness. Cha man, get me so high blood with all the ignorance.