Ex-board chair claims unfair treatment over ‘PR debacle’

| 10/09/2017 | 71 Comments

(CNS): The outgoing chairman of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, Waide DaCosta, has listed a catalogue of problems surrounding the process of granting permanent residency and claimed he has been “vilified” by the press for issues that were beyond his control. Specifically naming the Cayman Compass, he noted that the paper has six employees with PR applications pending and, suggesting bias in their coverage, he said, “They have a vested interest, some may say a conflict with this issue.”

In a release issued on Friday to explain why he has quit as board chair, DaCosta described the hard work of the board members, all of whom are volunteers, and outlined the problems of understaffing in the immigration secretariat, lack of training for immigration staff who were supposed to take over the work of the board in dealing with PR applications, as well as fundamental issues with the policy itself.

Stressing that he was not responsible for changes to the system in October 2013, DaCosta indicated that he did not approve of them. “For the avoidance of doubt, I was not a proponent of the new PR system and have noted many issues with it,” he stated.

Having first explained that the board he headed had been faced in 2009 with a backlog of more than 4,000 PR applications (all of which he believes have, at this point, been dealt with), he noted that the new policy in 2013 removed the ‘key employee’ component, “which acted as a filter for applicants for PR”, and enabled people to go straight to permanent residency application if they had been here in the Cayman Islands for nine years.

He said, “This opened the category to any and everyone to apply for PR, regardless of contribution to Cayman or ability to provide for themselves whilst residing in Cayman.”

When the PR system was changed, the chief immigration officer (CIO) issued a directive that administrators within the immigration department, rather than the board, would be dealing with PR. “A new Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board was then appointed in or about July 2014 for two years. It was clear that it was intended the board would be phased out by 2016.”

However, he said that neither the CIO nor the administrators were equipped to deal with the PR applications “and in my humble opinion still do not possess the relevant training and are continuing to train on the job”. Immigration staff did not, in fact, even begin to determine PR matters until July 2017.

Meanwhile, the board was encountering the next major stumbling block. DaCosta does not detail it in his statement but it has been previously reported that its members struggled with applying points in some categories, especially the value of jobs. The courts then compounded the problem when the chief justice found the point system arbitrary and unfair, which meant the board could no longer deal with applications.

With the whole system stalled, Premier Alden McLaughlin commissioned local lawyer David Ritch to review it. Although Ritch’s report has never been made public, two years later the government decided to solve the problem by giving everyone the same points for their jobs.

Referring to the “2013 PR debacle”, DaCosta said it was not until March 2017 that he was “provided with the necessary amendment to the immigration law to move forward, only to be placed in a position where the immigration secretariat is dwindling to the point that there is no staff to process PR”.

He said he met with the acting CIO, the chief officer in the ministry and the director of boards to request that “the necessary personnel” were hired “to get this PR debacle dealt with”.  He complained, “I am powerless to hire anyone yet I shoulder the blame. This is totally unfair and unjust.”

Clearly frustrated, DaCosta wrote to the premier and his chief officer earlier this year setting out his concerns and threatening to go to the press “to clear my name” in an attempt to goad them into action. But he said he was giving them a “heads-up” about what he required to get the job done and also insisting that the government issue a press release “to set the record straight”, presumably about his role as board chair.

However, although additional immigration staff were recruited, he said, “A press release was issued but nothing was clarified.” Instead, DaCosta said, he was asked to carry a new burden: not only to learn the new PR system but also train the board and the relevant immigration staff, even though this was time consuming and outside his remit as chairman.

The board members were then told that, “based on the staff available to us and the complex nature of the new PR system, only ten or so PR applications per meeting could be prepared”. He said the CSPR secretariat worked overtime to prepare these for the meetings, and the board dealt with all the ones that could be processed, even though they also had status applications, residency and employment rights of spouses of Caymanian and many other matters in addition to PR applications.

Cayman News Service

John Meghoo, the new chair of the CSPR board

Sometimes the board had as many as 60 to 70 applications to consider “and ten-hour meetings became the norm”, he said. So the board added extra meetings on Tuesdays in the last month to get through the additional workload.

“The board had nothing to do with the backlog,” he stated, noting that its members were volunteers, whereas the “administrators are fully paid immigration staff and have been employed since 2014”.

DaCosta’s last day as chair of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board was 31 August. Government announced the appointment of the new chair, local lawyer John Meghoo, on 7 September.

Read full statement from Waide DaCosta in the CNS Library

See the list of new board members here

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Category: Local News, Policy, Politics

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Franz Manderson still controls Immigration every day and gets involved in business a DG should not. People email him and he entertains it and he needs to step a side and focus on his own job and stop interfering.

    • Anonymous says:

      He interferes when he needs to. We would have lost whole elements of our financial services industry had he not intervened in recent years.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can Franz interfere in something he has over all responsibility for?? Thank God he does.

      Take your meds and go back to sleep 5:28.

    • Anonymous says:

      5 :28 isn’t that good customer service? Clearly you need help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    11:42. What mess? Work permit decisions in 30 days, effective but friendly border control and an aggressive enforcement section. He cared for his staff. Sounds like a proper mess to me.

    Oh I do work at immigration and each day we hope Mr Manderson will return.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Most of these Board members only show up for the $100 payment per meeting and the free lunch. Most of the decisions made by the work permit board is based off of feelings and who is known to the members. I fully support the applications being reviewed by members of the Department because those applications are then vetted by a separate section to ensure decisions are in compliance with the law. Who vets the work permit board’s decisions? Not only that but instead of paying thousands of dollars per month to all Board members (not including their lunch courtesy of the Goverment), you have staff who are already getting paid (probably not to do much, currently) so why not train them and have the applications reviewed in-house?

  4. anonymous says:

    The Caymanian Compass? Give me a break.That American rag is rotten to the core with special interests and the hopelessly liberal rants of their heroes like George F.Willard.For crying out loud, if they were a ship they’d sink immediately after launch. Blimey, they can’t even spell properly!

    • Anonymous says:

      USA over uk

    • Anonymous says:

      George F. Will perhaps, Mr. Twit?

      • Anonymous says:

        George F. Will is conservative to the core: in spite of that, he writes a good column.

        • anonymous says:

          You and 9.27 are a class act, but charmingly naive. Yes, Georgie boy is hopelessly conservative, which is why I described him as hopelessly liberal. Get it?

      • anonymous says:

        Duh, I never realised that, Mr.Obvious! (And there’s no “perhaps”, surely?. He either is Will or he’s Willard, I’ll call George in the morning to clear it up and get back to you. Thanks for your valuable input.)

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s Twitard to you.

        • anonymous says:

          Very imaginative … Captain Obvious? Ever heard of “context” – I was poking fun at the very self-important/self-righteous Compass! Oh, dear, this is what happens when otherwise promising people are deprived of an upbringing (like my own, blessed memory)based on “It’s a Square World”, “The Goons” and Monty Python,. Recommended reading for 9.27am and 1.30pm : Spike Milligan’s “Adolf Hitler :My part in His Downfall” followed by “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin” and the later “Fawlty Towers”, starring …….? Yes, John Cleese! P.S. George told me, with much force of conviction, that his name is indeed Will (not Willard)…. or was it Wills? Blimey.

    • Disappointed says:

      I want to thank Mr. Dacosta, who i have agreed with very few times for bring to the public attention the Cayman Compass biassness. The Compass should have been up front and mentioned that they had six staff members applying for PR or status when they wrote any aadticle about the PR or status system. They were clearly not reporting independently and had a seperate agenda. This is very on professional.

      In addition i want to ask the poliricians what are their intention regarding popularion growth and employment and how it intends to protect Caymanians when anyone who has a work permit can apply for PR.?

  5. anonymous says:

    Mr. Waide DaCosta and the other staff of the PR Board deserve the gratitude of the Cayman Islands for freely giving of their time and expertise.

    I am most grateful for his explanation and for his professionalism in trying to achieve some action from the Premier and the Chief Officer.

    The Cayman Compass has made it their mission to constantly complain about the workings of this Board.

    My recommendation is to revert to the original system for awarding these grants where persons who applied had to have the financial means to remain here as well as proven loyalty to the country and its people.

    I wish Mr Meghoo all the best. He will need all our prayers.

    • Anonymous says:

      “freely giving of their time and expertise” They do to do it for free.
      And even if it was unpaid, if you are going to sign up to do something, you do it!

    • Anonymous says:

      They get PAID, they don’t give their time freely.

  6. Rp says:

    The points system was contentious only for job section. Each application should have been assigned points in other sections to determine:

    1) if the applicant exceeded points regardless of job section
    2) if the applicant would have failed regardless of job section
    3) if the applicant was right at the border where the job section was the determining factor.

    All applications in 1 should have been approved, in 2 declined and only the ones in 3 should have been back logged.

    I have friends who earned 135 points without the job section and others who were hopeless regardless of the points in the job section.

    Why are those still outstanding? If you can deny applications now after giving all people 15 pts for job section, those applications should have been heard a long time ago.

    This is where the incompetence is. Just because your car doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you don’t show up to work until it’s fixed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Mr. Dacosta for the explanation as to why the Compass continues to write many editorials on this subject!

      • Jotnar says:

        When the Board has cleared the backlog that has arisen over the last 4 years they wont have anything to write about, irrespective of what their motivation is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rp nailed it. This backlog was entirely avoidable for many applicants irrespective of the contentious 15 points.

      It’s hardly surprising those on the board preferred the old system. The points take the power off them and give it to our elected government.

  7. Sharkey says:

    I think that when these Boards of GOVERNMENT are formed they need to be done methotically and with less Government interference as possible .
    I have been appointed to Boards in Cayman for 12 years that were made up of Citizens and Civil Servants , but most of the time when the Board agreed on something , when it got to the LA it got shot down by the Politicians that were not in favor of it . And the Board Members was never called to hear our points and views of the subject matter.

  8. Sharkey says:

    I think this is why we are not going to have any part of Government work effectively , because it’s enacted by the Politicians and enforced by the Politicians , so it doesn’t matter who they put on these Boards . Because if you try to do something different than what the smart Politicians Minister put in place you are then considered a traitor and out the door you go . So you have to go to work everyday and work by the book.

    This is why I am very concerned about the future of the Islands, just letting these today Politicians do everything they wants to and no check and balance by the People /Citizens called Caymanians .
    Maybe now we would see more of the incompetence of the Government coming out now that he’s Lawyer and not under the mercy of the Politicians .

  9. Anonymous says:

    How many boards does Mr. Audley Scott sit on as a member?

    He is listed as being on the WP board, Cayman Brac immigration board and the PR Residency board. He must be an expert on immigration matters or a very loyal supporter of a very important politician.

  10. Pi$$ Poor Management says:

    Premier Alden McLaughlin’s political legacy is best illustrated in the failed immigration system that currently exists to which the former chairman Waide DaCosta refers to in his statement with the many amendments ushered in to suit an agenda and the instructions he’s been given by his local handlers and the FCO.

    Additionally the failing and expensive public education system embodied by $110 million monument to his ego the Clifton Hunter High school as minister of education. DaCosta’s statement is merely the tip of the iceberg as the decisions made and reasons for doing so are due to poor leadership, poor political decisions and laws that tie the hands of the PR and Status board members, the failures to protect Caymanians and the Premier’s quest to preserve the seat of power at all costs.

    • Anonymous says:

      The FCO has nothing to do with the McLaughlin agenda. It is his and his alone. If you believe he does anything other than what he wants, the way he wants, you do not know him.

      • Anonymous says:

        The FCO control all things except the Financial Services industry and dart in Cayman.

        They have their boot on Cayman’s throat so Alden follows their instructions in exchange of their support. The problem is he is poor negotiator who looks out for himself as the priority more than he does the country he leads. He’ll do anything for power. His reward for such obedience will be a Knighthood.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Makes for VERY interesting reading in these days of Brexit, AFD, and Trump.

    Caymanians have no issue with foreigners / immigrants (aka “expats”) coming to work alongside us, however, by every comparative statistic the rate of permanence in this respect is ridiculously disproportionate to other countries and simply cannot be maintained.

    To the board members I say; do not be swayed or fooled by these hollow threats of mass exodus and such.
    Where will they go; back to the UK and EU to pay 40% income tax while wearing multi-layers of grey and black winter-wear 6 months of the year rushing around concrete jungles under umbrellas? I think not.
    (Confused? Don’t worry – the intended target of those words know EXACTLY what they mean.)

    Anyway, I am less concerned about their pretend grievances and more with Cayman’s absence of investment in and preparedness of our future generations to take up the positions of local industries.

    (Yes, I know culturally racist attitudes as are resident here on CNS dictate we are inherently incapable of running our own show – however, that internalised brain-washery is fortunately limited to the current leaders of government and does not trickle down to the majority of the grassroots. In any event, we will ignore the usual rhetoric that is sure to follow this post in respect to the above. Some cultures have had hundreds of years of cultural honing – ain’t no changing them anytime soon.)

    Also, we would do ourselves a huge favour by envisioning a future more dependent on Tourism than the fickle, rigged, historically racist, politically-swayed industry of Finance.

    Of the two, one is far more susceptible to the age-old biases upon which this frail, western, house-of-cards society is erected.

    Let us optimise our financial industry, carefully tailor our tourism industry – with a focus on environmentally-friendly and non-disruptive development, educate our people, uplift our fellow Caymanians in the workplace and business sector and move forward with a strategy of putting Caymanians first – each and every time whenever possible.

    For any other country to not do the same for themselves would be asinine.

    We are worth it and my children deserve nothing but the best opportunity possible from the country they call home.

    – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot Ireland and Canada. They seem to be a network amongst networks. Bring back rollover it will lower the cost of living, force lazy banks and firms to identify real talent, prepare succession and give more opportunities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Keep it up guys – almost there!
      Get those negative votes in…3 days after the fact, lol!

      (What a sad bunch.)

      – Who

      • get real! says:

        Trolling your own post for thumbs up reassurance . must be a lonely life . man you are good for a laugh .

        BTW your post as usual is racist and short of constructive thought .

        “Let us optimize our financial industry” the more you optimize as you call it the more you realize how much we need outside influence . You know the type that you so ignorantly dismissed because they come here for warm weather and less clothing layers …oh yeah and to steal the job you are not qualified for … hahaha I mean seriously ..how old are you?

        Good luck with developing this island as a tourist destination – one that will keep this economy going including all the bells and whistles.

        On another note, please take an Intro to Economics class . It will blow your mind to see how the REAL world works.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s a lot of tough talk outta someone from elsewhere but living here.

          That alone renders your entire post worthless.

          Word to the wise; take what you have witnessed, learned, and experienced in the Cayman Islands back to your home country – apply it and try to upgrade it to the superior level that brought you here in the first place.

          Problem solved.

          – Who

  12. Anonymous says:

    it seems bizarre that the system relies on the decisions on civilians rather than trained professionals. This system of Boards in Cayman has got to be seriously questioned.

    • Anonymous says:

      No more grants of PR and Status.
      To do so will result in a caribbean version of Fiji. Cayman cannot and does not need a population of 100,000 persons when Caymanians continue to be discriminated against daily and frustration grows amongst the native people

      • Rp says:

        That’s radical! We need those expats who invest here, make cayman their home and provide opportunities for our people. Ie. Dart for instance (whether you like him or not). Those people will not be a burden on us, they in fact would make us better off without requiring any assistance from govt.

        Radical views such as automatic rollover or granting everyone residence are not the answer.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dart is not a burden on us as long as we do not own a competing cinema, real estate company, liquor company, construction company, jewelry store, hotel, utility company, apartment, interior design company, school, golf course, development company,

          Soon we will not. Then he will not be a burden on us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. DaCosta is a trained professional. He unfortunately is also “the man who knew too much.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Rubbish….what expat you want on the board? So “white” to question and undermine qualification and quality to serve own interest. Go home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmm, “trained professionals”? Where would you find such people one wonders? Who would train them?!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably related to the absence of professionals in the civil service

  13. Truth over Good says:

    Stand up for self old boy dacosta. Wilbur would be so proud of you for being true to your real heritage and not colonial enforcement.

  14. frangipani says:

    why are the same people on these boards year in and year out? there are persons that have been on the work permit board for decades. It is understood that most times they don’t even turn out to the meetings. They collect a stipend don’t they?
    Should civil servants not be exempt from serving on these boards?
    It is understood that often permits are turned down because members of the board feel’ that ‘any Caymanian can do the job’. Matters not whether they are dependable, turn up to work, are on time.

    I hope shuffle of the boards will consist of fair minded people who look at the applications in depth and not refuse permits because ‘any Caymanian can do the job’
    I doubt that anyone would go to the trouble, the cost and the annoyance to apply for a work permit if they were able to procure Caymanians that fit their requirements.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are there no paper Caymanians or expats on these boards?

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously written by a piece of driftwood with no respect for caymanians

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would a sane respectable person show respect to anyone who would refer to him/her as “driftwood”? Ignorance is the reason Caymanians think of others as driftwood. I have been driftwood so to speak here and in many other countries and proud of it. In many other countries there are also many ignorant ones but they don’t rule like they do here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously you haven’t worked in the private sector . I really hope you don’t believe what you have written frangipangi. Sometimes it is very hard to fit the requirements when it is usually a carbon copy of the person whose work permit is being renewed. Everything must remain exactly except the name of that person. Sometimes that is very hard to replicate.

      • frangipani says:

        I am Caymanian to the bone, have worked in the private sector for decades. It was not always easy and there were many times that I (and many other Caymanians) were mistreated It is time to stop making excuses now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Of course he has been treated unfairly. Add him to the list with many others including Linda Evans and Kim Davis (who are both yet to have their day in court, perhaps because it might involve them saying what they know) and many lesser known players. There is something seriously wrong. It seems that every time the finger of blame or responsibility starts to point towards those actually responsible, someone else takes a fall. It is disgusting. Not a word of thanks after 8 years of loyal and dedicated service, compelled to operate a broken system he did not break. Good luck Mr. Meghoo!

    • UnCivil Servant says:

      Ironic how Eric Bush as former Chief Officer for the ministry of Home Affairs and de facto CIO was given a promotion to an ambassadorial role in the London office. He played a key role in making a proper mess of the immigration department and was the face in promoting the new immigration law amendments. XXXX fair treatment and equality are never considerations when decisions are made. It’s all about who you know and who will protect you for keeping secrets.

      • Anonymous says:

        Didn’t get any better after Eric Bush went to London. There is one constant in this debacle, and it ain’t a civil servant.

      • Anonymous says:

        Franz Manderson is at the center of this. He left a mess at immigration and hired his people like eric bush and linda evans to do his bidding. Fish rot from the top

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