Who is and who isn’t a Caymanian can sometimes be a difficult and contentious question to answer.
A person could have a family lineage dating back to the 1600s but not necessarily have the proper credentials to be an official “Caymanian”. One only needs to briefly scan the past few years of local news to see horror stories of people believing they are Caymanian only to have the Cayman Islands Government explain that they do not have the proper documentation or credentials when they apply for services, government aid or seek a new job.
Well that could soon be a thing of the past as proving Caymanian status could be as simple as typing a person’s name into an electronic database. The Cayman Islands Government has a plan in the works to consolidate conflicting and incongruent data across its many governmental departments and informational platforms to make identifying an individual much more seamless. Once this is completed a secure “digital identity” can be created for each Caymanian and electronic ID cards can be disseminated over the years to come. This could alleviate a great deal of stress in voting, social benefit application and distribution and employment scenarios where proving one’s status is necessary. If the system is successfully implemented then proving you’re Caymanian will be a once and done chore as status will be linked to the digital ID forever after it is established.
The digital identification for each individual could be multi-purpose. Not only could it serve as a primary ID for status, it could also be used for things such as a driver’s license or a voter ID card. Ideally it could be the “one stop shop” for all Cayman Islands government/social programs and services. Officials believe that this type of thing is no longer theoretical as the technology and components to implementation are already in existence.
The first step, however, is the consolidation of all of the personal data across several government departments and platforms. Currently the necessary data to integrate is strewn across separate, disconnected databases, systems and governmental department files. Caymanians can expect the IDs to become a reality some time in the next year. It is expected to take in the neighborhood of three years to get the whole system fully off the ground and these efforts are part and parcel to larger electronic initiatives in the business, planning, lands & survey and immigration sectors. Trade and business licenses are also being brought under the “e-umbrella” so to speak. Cayman has already seen the roll out of digital services in the police clearance and car licensing areas and these could possibly all be integrated under this one “e-umbrella”.
Proving ones heritage can be an infuriatingly insulting and arduous process. It can also hinder one’s ability to achieve gainful employment, file for needed government programs and aid and even prolong daily tasks such as renewing a driver’s license or registering to vote in local elections. In the Cayman Islands, through technology and new innovations, these hindrances could very soon be a thing of the past.