(CMR) After several days of debating, the PACT government passed the Customs and Border Control (Amendment) Bill and the Immigration (Transition) (Amendment) Bill which will mandate COVID-19 vaccination for ex-pats in the Cayman Islands 11:7. The bill makes it mandatory for several groups of non-Caymanians to get vaccinated with an approved course of vaccination including:
- work permit holders,
- dependants of work permit holders
- Persons legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for at least eight years
- Persons holding residency certificates for individuals of independent means and their spouses or civil partners and dependents
- Permanent Residence holders of independent means as well their spouses or civil partners and dependents
- Direct Investment Certificate holders
- and Substantial Business Presence Residency Certificate holders
The bill went through several phases and amendments before finalizing the terms and categories of persons to be included. One notable amendment at the committee stage was the removal of Residency and Employment Certificate holders – which are persons married to or civil partners of Caymanians and their dependents. Deputy Premier and Minister of Border Control and Labour Chris Saunders tabled both bills and indicated these amendments reflected feedback after consultation from the general public.
The Customs and Border Control (Amendment) Bill makes it mandatory for persons on student visas and individuals whose entry permits are granted by Cabinet.
The first contentious sitting of Parliament since the election and formation of the PACT government was not without fireworks on both sides of the floor. The opposition claimed that they were fearful of the legislation would face judicial review. Despite that position, the Attorney General said that the government who had sought legal advice was on solid legal footing.
The debate followed several days of protest by anti-vaxxers who have named themselves “pro-choice” advocates with one of them posting on social media that she wanted someone with COVID to cough in the premier's face.
The Premier stood fast and said that he was certain that vaccinations work and his government was doing what they believed, based on the science was in the best interest of the people in the Cayman Islands.