Excerpts from the Legislative Assembly Hansard

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Immigration and IFCs

Immigration has long been a contentious issue in the Cayman Islands. Here we present some excerpts from the Legislative Assembly Hansard from earlier debates.

27 September 1971 – debate over passage of the Caymanian Protection Law, 1971

Benson Ebanks: “[W]e in the Cayman Islands are in need of capital from outside. We are also aware that for many years to come we will continue to be in need of persons of non-Caymanian birth or status who possess special skills, knowledge or talent, and maybe even to ordinary labour, to come into these Islands to work and live amongst us. This capital which we need, the people whom we need, must also be made to feel secure and welcome here once they’re allowed to come in.

There will also be those who once having seen what we have to offer will want to make the Cayman Islands their permanent home, we also owe it to these persons to make them feel welcome and to ensure that once they are afforded this privilege they are entitled to a full life within our community. But, Mr. President as proud and independent and friendly as we are and with all of the good will in the world we’re still few in numbers, and it is physically and humanly impossible for us to absorb all the capital, and all of the people who would desire to settle here all at once.”

John D. Jefferson: “I believe that in some instances we are being a little bit too gracious. It seems like while we are trying to accommodate the people that are within the shores of these Islands, and we sincerely want them to feel warm and welcomed, but yet it somewhat in one way reminds me of a father who comes back from a hard day’s work and comes home and finds his kids and says, ‘Well, look we’re going to take you out for dinner tonight’ but then there are three neighbors’ kids there too and you say, ‘well even though I can’t afford to, I guess I will be forced to take them along’.”

Wednesday, 4 April 1979 – debate over amending the Caymanian Protection Law

Craddock Ebanks: “In my opinion in the next 15 to 25 years if enough people get Cayman status it is going to be the downfall of this country.”

Annie H. Bodden: “[W]hile I agree that we need good people to come here and live amongst us and be a part of us, I do not feel that every simple flimsy thing should give anyone the right to gain Caymanian status… I cannot and I will not agree that every human being who comes here and stays five or six years, whether they are rich, poor, white, black, red, pink, green or purple, from any country should have that privilege… I say some are coming for good, and I appreciate and welcome those who come here to share with us and to help us build our island, but I cannot and I will not countenance people who are coming here to drag us down [from] where we were before. Now we were poor, but we had very high good standards and morals….”