A Jamaican woman who has lived and worked as a domestic helper in the Cayman Islands for almost 20 years, has been given a reprieve, in her fight to remain in the tiny Caribbean territory.
The woman, Birdy Morrison was ordered to leave Cayman within 90 days earlier this year.
Mrs. Morrison had applied for permanent status in 2006, but was rejected in 2009.
She appealed that decision in 2013, only to have the ruling upheld in October last year.
Mrs. Morrison’s case is being handled by prominent Cayman immigration attorney, Sherri Bodden-Cowan, who’s also her employer.
Birdy Morrison is being allowed to remain and continue working for her current employer in the Cayman Islands, until the outcome of a judicial review hearing concerning her case.
In an application to the court, her attorney and employer Sherri Bodden-Cowan, argued that Mrs. Morrison be given at least a year to get her affairs in order.
This after Morrison was ordered to leave Cayman within 90 days earlier this year, when an appeal seeking to grant her permanent resident status failed.
Under Cayman’s old Immigration Law, a person who was unsuccessful in seeking permanent resident status was automatically given a final, one-year work permit after which they were required to leave Cayman.
But that law was replaced by new legislation which gave a maximum of 90 days for a failed permanent residency seeker to leave the country.
Mrs. Morrison’s argument is not that she should be allowed to remain in Cayman as a permanent resident.
Rather, her judicial review application sets out that her application and denial of permanent resident status, including the appeals process, was carried out entirely under Cayman’s old Immigration Law.
Therefore, she’s arguing that she be given more time to set her affairs in order.
In his judgment on the issue, Cayman Grand Court Justice Richard Williams, agreed that Mrs. Morrison has an arguable case and ordered the matter to proceed to a full hearing.
The Judge said there was a question for the court to consider as to whether the tenets of the old Immigration Law, or the new, should be considered in this case.
He says its only fair that Mrs. Morrison be allowed to work until the judicial review is heard, given that she has lived in the Cayman Islands under a work permit for almost 20 years.
According to the Judge, Mrs. Morrison’s right to work must not be removed, as both she and her son depend on the income derived from her labour.
One of the questions raised by the case is how Mrs. Morrison, a work permit holder, was allowed to stay in Cayman legally for nearly 20 years.
Dennis Brooks for Nationwide News.