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'Bush is always standing up for us' - Local connections made Cayman premier fond of Jamaicans

Published:Wednesday | December 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Many Jamaicans who reside and work in the Cayman Islands have a special affection reserved for its premier, McKeeva Bush.  The 57-year-old Bush, in 2010, initiated policies to make the process easier for Jamaicans to visit that country once they are already holders of a United States visa.

It was then that the premier divulged his Jamaican ancestry. He revealed that his great-great-grandfather had lived in the parish of Westmoreland back in the early 1800s, before migrating to Cuba and then to Cayman.

"The Cayman Islands has had tremendous and historical connections and relations with Jamaica for many years. I have always had a tremendous connection with Jamaica and its people," Bush said at the time.

Bush praised the work ethic of Jamaican immigrants, who play a major role in the Cayman economy, particularly as tradesmen, health-care staff, and domestic assistants.

"Some of the best workers the Cayman Islands has seen come from Jamaica. I have no problem hiring Jamaicans," he said.

No wonder that Dorothy Stewart, who has lived in the Cayman Islands for the past seven years, was in deep anguish on hearing news of his arrest.

"I feel sad as well," she told The Gleaner. "We like him. He is a very likeable man. In the treatment of Jamaicans, he is just the best.

"He is always standing for Jamaicans when it comes to work permits and always just standing up for Jamaicans," she added.