East End MLA Arden McLean told Cayman 27 a consultant’s review of our Immigration system, if made public, could be used against the country.
It’s estimated that some 800 permanent residency applications have piled up at Immigration. Mr. McLean said without a fix, Cayman is heading towards a repeat of the some 3,000 status grants of 2003.
“You understand, we have somewhat messed up on our immigration laws over the years,” said Mr. McLean.
He told Cayman 27 the so-called ‘Ritch report,’ an attorney’s consultative review of the country’s current PR system, gives him ample cause for concern.
“I’m extremely concerned as to what the contents are, and I’m concerned that if it is released it could very well be used against the country, and that’s where my concerns lie,” said Mr. McLean.
In August 2014, the Immigration Department gave our cameras access to the 200 or so PR applications that were still held over from the old immigration law.
Now, under the new law, that mountain of paperwork is likely to be four times larger. It’s estimated that there could be from 800 to 950 PR applications gathering dust on shelves.
“We have done nothing to regularise that process and now we’re at a point where we could very well be in problems with a couple thousand people once again, like in 2003, and I am extremely concerned about that,” said Mr. McLean.
He said to avoid another blanket status grant, tough decisions on PR need to be made.
“The path to Cayman status, to full citizenship, needs to be a little more picky, a little less in gross or mass grants,” said Mr. McLean.
Mr. Mclean told Cayman 27 he believes it’s only fair there should be a means to provide security of tenure, with some limits.
“Is it worth us going down the track to the point where everybody becomes Caymanian? I don’t think that’s fair either,” he said.
He admitted finding the right balance could be a tall order, but said it’s an issue that must be tackled for the good of the country,” said Mr. McLean.
“We need to have dialogue on that because you can’t expect people to come to your country and stay here forever and then they’re in limbo so to speak,” said Mr. McLean.
We reached out to the Governor’s office, the Premier’s office, and the Immigration department, and as of air-time, only the Governor’s office has sent a response.
“The Governor is aware of the situation with the backlog of applications for permanent residency but we do not comment on conversations between the Premier and the Governor.
Immigration is the responsibility of the Cayman Islands Government, so it would be for them to comment further on this issue.”