I am aware that the passing of the Customs and Border Control (Amendment) Bill and the Immigration (Transition) (Amendment) Bill is an emotive issue for some in our community. My office has received correspondence from a number of people about it. This statement is a response to those letters
As Governor, I support the Bills passed in Parliament. We are currently dealing with a public health emergency and the Government is doing everything it can to protect the community of Cayman, ensuring it can manage any pressures on our health services. Pushing vaccination rates even higher is an important tool in our armoury.
As the Honourable Attorney-General said, the Bills passed by Parliament this week are in line with our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They are reasonable, rational and proportionate. If individuals wish to enjoy privileges under the Immigration law and apply for a work permit, or renewal of a work permit, one of the conditions they have to meet is to demonstrate that they are vaccinated or can’t take the vaccine due to medical reasons or another exemption permitted under the law. There is no right under the law to a work permit and there is no legitimate expectation for renewal. Government’s policy is that if you wish to be employed in the Cayman Islands, and you require a work permit, then you are obliged to demonstrate a number of things. This will now include that you are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Cayman Islands benefits from an independent judicial system that allows members of the public to air their grievances in court. The ability to challenge compatibility of legislation through the courts exists for all. This is how our democracy works. If there is a legal challenge, the Government will have to justify the legislation and the judiciary will determine its compatibility with our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Government’s concern, which I share, is to do everything to support the health and well-being of everyone on Island so we can safely re-open the border. We all have to live with Covid in the future. These Bills will support that outcome and my hope is that the community can come together to help achieve it.