Premier to take on immigration challenge

| 07/06/2017 | 29 Comments

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin said he hoped that before the end of this year he will have been able to merge the work permit application process with a human resource agency that will deal with all employment related matters in the Cayman Islands. Fulfilling a campaign promise that he said all of the coalition partners agree with, he outlined his goal to take work permits from the immigration department and combine it with labour to address the long-standing hurdles and problems relating to the department.

Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday to outline the new Cabinet, McLaughlin explained that he will take immigration into his new ministry, which includes community affairs and human resources as well as his job as premier and head of the Cabinet Office, even though it was formerly under the home affairs ministry.

He said that once the work permit process is carved off from the immigration department into the human resources ministry, he will look again about which ministry will deal with the broader immigration remit. But for the time being, given the multitude of challenges with the department, from leadership to the permanent residency issue, he would take on the whole thing.

Stopping short of calling it a mess, the premier said, “There are a whole range of issues… leadership and personnel issues, obviously the issues with permanent residence, issues with the speed and efficiency of which the work permit applications are dealt with. We have got a whole range of issues within immigration. Part of my thinking wasn’t just about carving out the work permit applications, but we have got to sort out immigration generally.”

The department is also facing a corruption scandal in which nine people have been arrested, several of whom are immigration officers. A number of others are also on required leave as a result of unrelated criminal charges.

Pointing out problems with leadership and other personnel, McLaughlin said he was obviously not responsible for civil service issues, even though sometimes wished he was as the department had been without a leader for the large part of his previous term in office. He said that the system takes far too long to resolve these personnel disputes.

Linda Evans, the chief of the department, was suspended from her post in December 2014 over undisclosed allegations of misconduct. No criminal proceedings have ever been brought but the government has not fired Evans and has made no settlement either. CNS contacted the department in March of this year seeking confirmation that she had been retired on medical grounds but officials refused to comment.

McLaughlin said Tuesday that government wasn’t any closer to resolving this situation now than it was a year ago.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Fred says:

    3 months since the announcement that the regulations had been revised to deal with the 15 points issue, and a month since the first 2 awards ( to those who sued) and the Premiers announcement that Immigration would request updated submissions and deal with the backlog. And no requests for updated submissions or any indication that anything is being done. Simple message. If you don’t sue, you get ignored. With 900+ people, a class action is going to be a very painful and expensive process, entirely avoidable if Immigration simply did its job and processed the applications.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Taking it on, eh?

  3. Clive says:

    Well another 1000 status grant on its way or law suits gonna fly left and right – what a joke!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the losers from the election have nothing to do but comment on CNS.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Same Circus, same Clowns, same results.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin cannot be classified as xenophobic. This is ridiculous.
    Alden McLaughlin has a mandate and very soon the infrastructure will be complete. We will have many 4 lane highways and an island wide fibre-optic system. These are not the works of a xenophobe. The correct term for this man is globalist and as such 100,000 is only half the target. Laugh today. Weep tomorrow.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Funny that the Premier is talking as if he took this over from someone who dropped the ball or was asleep at the wheel when it was none other than HE that was responsible for neglecting the mess for the last four years!

    Sorting it out this year?! If you knew how to fix it, what the hell have you been waiting for?!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I trust Cayman is paying close attention.

    Those in the know are very aware of the frantic behind-the-scenes scrambling on the part of the “business community” in the wake of the election and during the “weekend of long knives”.

    It was generally understood that “Admin Alden”* was the preferred choice for Premier, and by extension, the business sector.
    Why is this?

    In light of employment and immigration practices that are hurting Caymanians in the workforce (especially the newest arrivals) being a key factor in our last election, Admin Alden’s positioning in this regard is very curious. Especially as his administration is greatly. if not wholly. responsible for our deplorable state in this regard.

    Personally, I take no comfort in the fact that the Premier of a jurisdiction as unique as the Cayman Islands boasts about never having been away from the country for more than 2 weeks in his ENTIRE LIFE!

    All things considered, that is a scary reality and also music to the ears of those that are approaching from the other side.

    By this I mean, if one has never lived in one or any of the countries from which our PR’s hail for any extended period of time and in various capacities, one is by default grossly ill-equipped to balance the situation and truly value the immeasurable benefits of being a CAYMANIAN or simply hitting the lottery of a work permit.

    Addressing a situation from a distanced and blurry standpoint is in no way comparable to having actually experienced for one’s self.

    *”Admin Alden” is in reference to what he apparently believes to be a positive for the country when he boasted of the attraction of even more firms, foreign investment, inward investment, and population growth will create even more opportunities for Caymanians to become corporate administrators and officers.

    Our Premier’s is NOT the mindset we need running this country. Instead, someone with the self and national respect to demand and expect our people to occupy the top positions in this country would be far more beneficial for the Cayman Islands.

    However, we can rest assured the “business community” is breathing a massive sigh of relief with this development.

    ** Btw, if someone could pass this on to the Premier and ensure he sees and reads it would be very much appreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. Couldn’t agree with you more.

      Just text him so he knows how you feel. ( ask for a copy of “for the record” with oc, June 5th or 7th) Alden was giving out his number freely on the air)

    • Anonymous says:

      Here we go again. Who would you suggest would be the right person or body to make these hiring decisions that fill “the top positions in the country”? You? The unaccountable, unelected, unqualified work permit boards who know nothing about those businesses? The politicians?

      No business decision is more consequential than who runs it and no business owner on the planet would tolerate being told who to hire to run their company by a government bureaucrat.

      Putting someone unqualified at the helm won’t help grow the company and create jobs for Caymanians, it will more likely cause the company to lose jobs and fail and the business owner, if they have any sense, to take their money elsewhere.

      Or would you then pass a law that requires them to keep the business open, not let anyone go and the business owner to keep writing checks to cover the losses? You could pass a law that requires customers to use the company and pay top dollar, even though their product has gone downhill.

      Hell, why not just take every business owners’ money, nationalize their businesses and let the government decide who works where and who buys what at what price? It worked for Cuba!

      Or you could just let business owners decide who would best run THEIR business and let Caymanians EARN the top jobs the old fashioned way: education, initiative and hard work. Plenty already have.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why do you assume mine is a call for undeserved employment and opportunities for Caymanians?

        Yours is a twisted mindset – but far from a rarity.

        Nevertheless, thank you for proving my point in respect to the endorsement of Admin Alden from the other side.

        He too appears to believe that Caymanians are inherently and perpetually incapable of occupying the levels dominated by foreigners.

        (This exchange ends here.)

    • drug test says:

      Drug testing of Immigration management and staff on all three Islands would resolve most personnel issues

  9. Anonymous says:

    Someone still works at Immigration ? Aren’t they all in jail or on bail awaiting criminal charges ? Or, better yet, under a pro-longed investigation for corruption or some other nefarious act, but still getting their salary for years ?? Can’t blame this on expats !!

  10. Anonymous says:

    “There are a whole range of issues”

    Yes, caused by the bunch of incompetents who have been in charge for the last 5 years – i.e. YOU.

    Sheesh, you couldn’t make this sh*t up. Alden, YOU are the problem, by your incompentence, your lack of leadership, your pandering to the worst racist & xenophobic instincts of the people you purport to lead.

  11. Past Caring says:

    talk talk talk talk

    no action no action no action.

    get sued, get sued, get sued,

    do something, do something, do something,

    talk talk talk talk

    no action, no action, no action,

    Get sued again?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Addressing this properly and starting to positively portray Cayman to the outside world ( starting by suing fictional police program producers where the bad guys always have bank accounts in the “Caymans” ) will ultimately be what kills or cures these islands. Those that pray for expats to go home may just get their wish, until they realize the price of that wish.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How can the Premier of the last 4 yrs tell us that civil service issues are not his problem. How disengaged from reality can one get?!? He also made a big fanfare about the infamous Ritch Report and how that expense and hidden content where going to instruct changes, yet nothing happened, even when delivered the advice over a year ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      The civil service is by law the responsibility of the Deputy Governor and should not be interfered with by any elected member.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who was previously in charge of Immigration.

        • Kim says:

          Yes and the department went down hill within a year of his departure.

          Everyday I hear someone say they wish Manderson was back at immigration. Everything was so much better and the deportation team was fully engaged.

      • Anonymous says:

        Deluded. I love the way “by law” is quoted.
        Didn’t you know laws are to be imposed upon the unwashed masses?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Stopping short of calling it a mess? …. it is a total cluster with no accountability by anyone, anywhere.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is there something seriously wrong with your head? Speed of permit approval is not the issue your people care about..it’s the abuses of the process by employers that became common and acceptable practice under your and Marco’s last “permits for everyone” term. Don’t sacrifice your people for another four years.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Four more years waiting for PR.

    • Anonymous says:

      Giving out citizenship is an important thing to every country and especially small successful countries like Cayman…if you can’t appreciate this and if you have been waiting too long then abandon your application…I’m sure government will refund your fee.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Small successful countries like Cayman” AND who is responsible for this success? People who have become citizens to work together for a better future, not people who are held in illegal limbo.

      • rgsager@gmail.com says:

        They will. Believe it or not.
        We pulled our application and got out of Dodge!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear Anonymous,
        I am happy you have nothing to do with the process. Put yourself in the applicant’s shoe:approaching 4 years now since application for PR, new law put in place almost 4 years now and no one in the department can apply the new law to process the applications. New law makes it a requirement to pay up front, fees for a grant before a grant is even approved. $1000 application fee to process an application and no processing for more than 3 years now? You spend thousands of dollars to evaluate a system which was just changed, not executed and almost a year after the report is completed, no one wants to reveal what the report says and nothing is being done to move the processing forward. A few persons threaten to sue and as a result, some of them had their applications processed and PR granted while the other 900 plus is still waiting. Just before the elections, it was said that they will now be implementing some of the recommendations of the Ritch report and the processing will start in a few weeks. But today, nothing, absolutely nothing. You call the immigration department and ask what is happening and they say, look our for a news release outlining how the processing is going to take place; over three weeks now.

        So what did you say? “If we can’t appreciate this and have been waiting too long, then abandon your application?”. Refund fee? I am sure the government would be in a serious bind if all 900 or more applicants sue them for damages caused by such inefficiency and scant disregard for people’s future.

        If you don’t understand what is happening and how it is affecting those involved, then it may be helpful for you not to comment.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yeh yeh .. we watching bobo

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