Premier Defends Need for Immigration

CNS): The premier has made it very clear that he believes immigration in Cayman has been an important and positive factor that has contributed to the growth of the islands. As he closed the budget debate Monday, Alden McLaughlin took aim at the sentiments expressed by the opposition benches in their contributions about refusing work permits and stopping the grant of status. He said the jurisdiction was the envy of the region because it had not been a victim of “insular thinking and prejudice” and that Cayman owed its success to immigration.

“I know it’s a bad word in some quarters …but it is immigration that has allowed these islands and all of us to develop the way we have,” he told his parliamentary colleagues. While he agreed that the situation had to be properly managed, he said “cussing the foreigners” and saying that nobody should be granted status was the kind of thinking that had set other places in the region, such as the Bahamas, far behind.

“Properly managed, immigration provides opportunities for our people,” the premier stated, adding that this belief was the major difference between his administration and the policy position of the opposition. The premier said he believed that immigration has provided the current economic foundation that Cayman now enjoys.

He said he had the very best interests of young people and their futures at heart and ensuring there would be opportunities for them. But he said there was no future in isolationist policies and over-protectionism or in “constantly hammering the source of Cayman’s prosperity”.

He said he had the very best interests of young people and their futures at heart and ensuring there would be opportunities for them. But he said there was no future in isolationist policies and over-protectionism or in “constantly hammering the source of Cayman’s prosperity”.

McLaughlin pointed out that people go into business to make a profit, not to help people. Government has to have the necessary legislation and the ability to enforce it while creating a culture where businesses understand that when locals do well, they also will do well. But they are not charities, he warned.

He spoke about the problem of entitlement and accused the opposition and local talk-shows of promoting the idea that people are automatically entitled to something just by being Caymanian, calling this a “disservice”.

“That is an incredibly dangerous mindset,” he said. “It is going to undermine the ability of Caymanians to truly aspire and truly achieve in their own country.”

However, McLaughlin stressed the fact that there are challenges to Caymanians getting opportunities and not all employers are prepared to give locals opportunities, saying this was “the other side of the coin”.

Government was therefore striving to make the work permit system more transparent and would penalize abuses, he said, but emphasized the need for balance and “not killing the incentives for business”. His government, he said, would foster an environment where businesses want to operate.

By CAYMAN NEWS
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