CITA job drive manipulated, says MLA

| 12/02/2015 | 56 Comments

(CNS): A recent job drive by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) appeared to be a “deliberate attempt to discredit Caymanians and justify using cheap labour”, a government MLA has told CNS. Alva Suckoo, who followed up on the drive, discovered a catalogue of issues and a lack of transparency and believes it was manipulated to secure permits for employers. Suckoo said he was unable to find the list of jobs reportedly behind the drive, and despite being a partner, the National Workforce Development Agency was not given the list either.

The PPM Bodden Town representative told CNS that he had very grave concerns about how this second drive, which was supposedly conducted in partnership with the NWDA, had been managed and said he believes the exercise had much more to do with clearing the way for permits than being about recruiting local workers.

Having followed up with the NWDA and participants, Suckoo said a catalogue of issues had been raised. He contacted CITA about the 50 jobs which were allegedly available and was directed to the CITA website where he said just six vacancies were posted.

The list of jobs available was never given to the NWDA or posted on the site, he said, nor does the NWDA know how many were related to permit applications as it was never told which employers were looking for staff. Aside from the jobs and employers remaining a mystery, he said, the Caymanians selected to take part were not screened and work-ready candidates from the NWDA.

Concerned that employers were using “dirty tactics” to bypass Caymanians, Suckoo told CNS that he is convinced that some bosses are justifying their work permit applications by capitalizing on the alleged failure of the job drive.

Despite common negative generalizations, based on his own experiences assisting local people to find work in his constituency, many unemployed locals are not the irresponsible, unemployable, uneducated individuals depicted by some and the majority are definitely fit for work, Suckoo said.

“It goes without saying that we could all benefit from further education and training. This is not unique to Caymanians,” Suckoo added. “But I am very disappointed that many tourism businesses continue to ignore the available labour pool of capable Caymanians and continue to bypass them in favour of persons from jurisdictions who have created economies based on remittances from abroad and whose academic standards are lower than ours. It is a disservice to our people for CITA to declare that they could only find six Caymanians out of 102 potential employees when they cannot now provide a report on the persons they attempted to hire.”

He asked if the participants in the drive were doomed to fail from the very start and the alleged negative results have paved the way for more work permits. Concerned that permit holders already fill most of the jobs, he questioned the validity of the job drive results. Reviewing the figures himself on which CITA had claimed the drive had failed, Suckoo said that, according to his research, 50 of the 78 candidates who turned up were unaccounted for in the association’s dismissal of the local workers who took part.

“Declaring it a failure without providing evidence that the claims being made are real is a slap in the face to the many Caymanians who are now at the end of their rope with trying to get employment in their own country,” Suckoo said. “It is my belief that there are genuine members of CITA who are wholeheartedly trying to provide employment and training opportunities for Caymanians, but what is needed is for the association to adopt this as a policy for all members. It is also high-time that companies who are only interested in boosting their profit margins by investing in cheap labour declare that fact, rather than participating in exercises such as this, which do not produce jobs for Caymanians, do nothing to improve our employment chances, and only serve to waste our time.”

Suckoo, who has committed to helping jobless Caymanians in the increasingly competitive environment, said he contacted several candidates who took part in the drive, some of whom are still waiting to hear back on whether they were successful, despite jumping through more application hoops since the drive.

“I plan to discuss this very frustrating situation with the minister and ministry to ensure that in the future job programmes are conducted using more transparent and realistic methods and that the government does not become an unwitting participant in an exercise to discredit and discourage unemployed Caymanians,” he stated.

Accepting that not every Caymanian is completely prepared to fill all available posts and that more needs to be done to address education, training and even attitudes, he was concerned about the growing blatant disregard for labour and immigration laws.

“I plan to address this matter, as it is time to make changes that will stamp out the discrimination and disrespect that our unemployed Caymanians are being forced to accept,” he said. “Being unemployed is a significant enough worry for our people to shoulder without having to be further saddled with being made a scapegoat and an excuse by those who wish to circumvent and ignore our laws and policies and effectively make it harder for our people to find work,” he added.

CNS has contacted CITA for commenting regarding their latest job drive and is awaiting a response.

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Comments (56)

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  1. stanley hill says:

    Which department of Government isn’t into some type of corruption and conspiracy? Damn!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is time to stop going around in circles. If the NWDA has been assigned to do the job they are accountable. I know of Caymanian who have gone there and the NWDA gave them approximately 6 sheets of paper with questions that are irrelevant and when they submitted it the NWDA asked them to fill more paper. Who is putting these processes in place ? Who has come up with all these questions to be filled out and placed in a data base? Someone is fooling the government and those in NWDA to make local employment difficult. The NWDA needs to be audited to see if any of the programs are relevant to the needs of Cayman or are they pasting this process from anther culture that has no relevance to the needs of the ordinary man on the streets. More questions and little answers I guess.

  3. Rick says:

    What we need is a list of employer who are graded on objective criteria, published on the web and in other media, graded on their employment performance data which is available from public records (courts, police, labour department, immigration, etc.) or affidavits of applicants.

    If you do not name and shame them, then this will never stop.

    Kudos to Mr. Suckoo!!!

  4. For people with no good intention for Caymanians, many of you surely spend a LOT of time and effort finding every possible opportunity to tear them down.

    I sincerely hope you guys are being very well paid for your services – otherwise, you are a bunch of sad and pathetic individuals. Not all of you now … only the butt-hurt ones at this very moment. (Yeah, we see you.)

  5. Itsme says:

    So what about the recent ad in the paper where XXXXX was looking for someone with a bachelor degree, being available, evenings, weekends and public holiday for $1,500/month??? Which Caymanian is expected to support a family on this salary on Island? I paid my helper more than that and she didn’t have a bachelor degree, nor did she have to work weekends and public holidays! It is a shame that there is no stop put to this type of nonsense and exploitation!

    • Anonymous says:

      Since 60 percent of any company must be Caymanian owned and since most low paid workers are in the service industry like childcare, domestic helpers, security and shop assistants, could I ask Caymanian employers to lead the way in providing a living wage to ALL its employees and to NEVER hire anyone but a Caymanian? By the way $1,500 a month would for the poorest families be a God send!

  6. Rule Bitania! says:

    Boy the Home Office posters are in de house with this one. Do your job n discredit n rile up Caymanians yes. hope this comment doesn’t get moderated so much that it won’t get posted.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unemployment figures are always vastly exaggerated and inaccurate… not just in Cayman but all over the world! There are always going to be people who simply just don’t want to work, have never worked, will not work, who are not qualified for work or will not take any job opportunity offered to them because they feel that they are above it and deserve more for some reason. Sadly they then just like to complain about how hard done by they are because they are not in their ideal job and are having to be on benefits.
    There are (always) lots of jobs out there, and no they might not be your ideal or dream job, and yes you might be actually be qualified for another job but the reality is until that job opportunity comes up and you to have to build up a track record of reliability, hard work and have successful, proven work based skills and experience and yes you might just have to initially take a job that is not ideal! Get out there and prove to everyone that you are the best, hardest working, most qualified and most reliable person for any job and no employer in their right mind would not employ you if they had a vacancy!
    To all the highly qualified and experienced professionals out there, as Caymanians, remember that you do not have to pay work any permit fees etc so why don’t you set up your own companies/businesses in your specialist fields? All over the world there are small, but successful law firms, accountancy firms, IT firms that are have more than a few employees. Yes, it might mean some hard work and some initial investment and guts (but I am sure that Govt could assist with initial start up costs and the banks would offer low interest loans) but keep in mind that you will have already saved a fortune compared to other companies on legal/permit fees, and you then get to prove that your skills, work ethic, track record and qualifications that are apparently being ignored and overlooked (intentionally or unintentionally) by other employers and they will see your business thrive and then there is a chance of you being head-hunted by the same firms that rejected you initially (not that you will be interested as you now have your own company! Have faith and some conviction in your experience, skills and qualifications and get out there and build things for yourself!
    Life, success and fortune can only be made, created, grafted for it is not given to anyone (apart from a very very small minority of people such as royalty, the super rich/connected etc) , regardless of who you are, who you know, where you are from..this is just a simple fact of life! Make things happen for yourself! Go create! Use your skills! I wish you good luck and success!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Talk talk and more talk yet he brings no real solution or action.

  9. Caymans List says:

    All he has to do is produce some off the people that were rejected and investigate their individual situation. An find someone who was actually showed up, was qualified and willing to work hard but rejected for no reason.

  10. Colonial Mischief says:

    Poor Suckoo the parties stallwart has awaken to the reality of his parties mantra Cant do Squat and follow the leader follow the leader leader and when it gets too difficult which is most times. Consult and take orders from the UK. What time is peoples??? PPM TImE!

  11. Anonymous says:

    A craven, baseless attack on a project carried out by well meaning volunteers in their own time. No evidence of a conspiracy presented whatsoever. Al’s comments on the other hand provide all the evidence one needs that no amount of effort will ever satisfy a paranoid cynical zealot like Suckoo.

    Shame on you.

    • Alden's fuss Cousin says:

      Come i let you in on a little secret anon 10:32 Da PPM dont give a rat$@$$ bout wha u think or your little babbling on here, ya feel me !!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The new standard requirements for an Operational Manager for a Large hotel as established by the Business Staffing board is no academic qualifications and no experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ditto ….
      the job that I had required two trade qualifications and a minimum of 10 years experience. As time went on while fulfilling the requirements of my work permit in training my local replacement, Those qualifications seemed to disappear……kowinkidit?

  13. Diogenes says:

    So rather than just keep to a quiet policy of discriminating against Caymanians under the radar, he believes CITA members actively spent their time in going through the motions of a recruitment drive with the intention of deliberately ignoring qualified Caymanians or lying about the qualities of their candidates, even though that would be inviting a rejected candidate to complain, because they either hate Caymanians or love discriminating against them? Cause that makes so much sense, right. Oh, and the NWDA are in on the conspiracy as well, because ..well, not sure why , but there must be a hidden motive, because otherwise why do they agree with CITA – cannot possibly be because the results are accurate. And the statistics about the numbers of people who didn’t even bother turning up for their interview have to be fabricated, right?

    I appreciate you may think that this kind of complete illogical bollocks, without a scrap of evidence I might add, may appeal to a certain voter group, but you are in danger of making yourself appear either incredibly dumb or a rabble rouser.

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to go back where you came from if you think that it’s a pile of bollocks!

    • Had Enough! says:

      I realize your usual motive is to find a way to twist the words of and/or insult the messenger, in this case an elected Caymanian official, in the hopes that we pay little attention to them. However, it is pie in your face. I suppose “schemes” and half*ss approaches, intentional or not, has never happened in your world before. Real deep-rooted and yes subtle “under the radar” corruption has never seen the light of day before either too, right? Sometimes the truth, as clearly evidenced by his superficial research, is impervious to facts. The stinking dirty tricks and schemes that paint the Caymanian people in a negative light is being exposed. Rover dead Bo Bo. As for dumb, what’s dumb is that we continue to embrace the likes of you and your kind in this country! Yuup. It’s on…come on say something back….yes!!! “WE” as in collective…more than one are ready to take “unna” (I know that word sets your bullocks flaming mad) on!

    • Anonymous says:

      I really can’t understand how government can complain that the CITA didn’t go accordingly to the job hunt. Many government departments as stated through the FOI have more work permits then any other entity.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, and the fact that less than 10% of ” the unemployed” attended speaks for itself.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian and very pro Caymanian but until you have to sit across from your fellow Caymanian and be totally embarrassed by their appearance, speech and general demeanor you cannot blame people for not hiring them. Many Caymanians are simply unemployable. Granted the Premiers speech that we are only fit for administrative and support roles is also incorrect and wrong because if that was the case he shouldn’t be the premiere.

    My question to Mr Suckoo is why are you so upset at the business owners. Business is business and people will always look out for themselves. He should be furious and the stupid people at the NWDA why are they hosting a job fair without any of the information they need in hand, do they have that kind of many to waste. Just like he smelt the BS the should have way before hosting the fair. They are to blame.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Premier did not say that Caymanians are only fit for support roles. He said that permits for proffessionals can create additional jobs. I say, then it is then up to theose hired in these roles to improve themselves and show their capabilites so that they can advance and maybe one day take over from the permit holder. I think we have too many persons who seem to feel that where they start is where they will finish.
      Many persons have started out flipping burgers and then go on to own/operate a nice restuarant, for example. I know persons who started as a CSR in a Bank and ended up as a Head of Department and higher.

      • Sandboy says:

        Yes, we can all identify many Caymanians who have been employed or promoted way beyond their experience or capability. Just because you might know someone who has apparently made it to the top doesn’t mean they are the best person for the job. Anyone who enters a government building, bank or a local utility provider will tell you just how inept those who are employed because of their nationality status can be.
        Employ those who are the best for the job, regardless of nationality.

        • Anonymous says:

          I did not say “made it to the top”. I was simply saying that they finished higher than they started. BTW, those that I know were well deserving and very competent. While there are some persons who may be inept, as there are in any country, it is the generalisation of your comments that reduces their effectiveness.

      • Anonymous says:

        New jobs are needed. New jobs in senior roles create new jobs in junior roles. There is no reason for a company to hire a new senior person and create new jobs except:
        a/ They are busy enough to justify new hires.
        b/ New hires will not substantially increase operating costs.
        The government can do something about a/ by reducing some of the fees and allowing law firms and accounting firms to attract new business from overseas.
        The government can also do something about b/ by changing the business licence structure.
        No small firm of 5 professional is in a rush to hire new people, local or ex-pat due to the big jump in company fees, $20,000 for that one extra person. Change the structure from 16-20, to 16-22 or 23 professionals and small firms will create new jobs. Currently that additional accountant moving fro 20 and hiring number 21 costs $140,000 more a year in trade and business licence fees.

    • Anonymous says:

      The NWDA people can’t even get their website to work! Why do they hire people to work there who care more about their personal businesses than trying to do their job!

  15. Anonymous says:

    We should have him provide the comparisons of countries with the poor academic standards than that of Cayman. I guarantee it would take him a long time to come up with such a report. Just looking around the Caribbean, I don’t know which island he can compare Cayman to – certainly not the usual scapegoat Jamaica.

    • hellooo says:

      Philippines!!!!! where have you been ?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think academic standards is the issue, but more so the poor utilization rate of those academic “standards” by the citizens. Which, I’m afraid, includes Cayman, Jamaica and many more.

      There any many higher-education institutions in many countries, they aren’t accessible to all, or simply not all are interested in going to them.

  16. Plantocracy Identity says:

    You finished Man dingo Suckooo and the sad part its going to be done by Massa Al cause we all know who he working for da man dressed in White on this ya plantation!

  17. Wow says:

    Al Suckoo for Premier!!!

  18. Sandboy says:

    The point being that Caymanians are happy to employ foreigners on criminally low pay and rent them sub standard housing, but they’re not prepared to do the same work for the same wages. Whilst many of those workers are in the hospitality industry and rely on the disgusting practice of gratuity income, many are not. ‘Disgusting’ I hear you gasp, well yes, if individuals were paid a fair wage for a fair days work then a reliance on grats wouldn’t be necessary. Local employers shouldn’t be allowed to charge top level prices for goods and services and pass on their responsibility for employee wages onto the paying customer by way of gratuity payments. Employers should be forced, as they do in most countries outside of the USA, to apportion wages from their gross profits and not from imposed service ‘taxes’. Local employers should be shamed into paying a minimum liveable wage at their own expense and not as an addition to already high prices. After all they don’t have the burden of national taxation that burdens most other leading nations.
    Without a fundamental change in local employment practices, a legally enforceable minimum wage and a willingness by Caymanians to accept that the financial industry won’t support the economy for ever, then the hospitality and service industries will always appear as an unattractive alternative.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The right honorable gentleman is smoking something. Where exactly is this vast pool of qualified individuals?

    • perhaps says:

      Perhaps if you take your head out of the trough long enough you will see them

      • Anonymous says:

        interviewed 30 people this year for 2 well advertised positions, had around 15 expats and 15 caymanians, no unemployed, and all working in the field they were qualified for. So not one unemployed Caymanian applied and job was in finance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Already employed.

    • Had Enough says:

      Bend down and take a sniff…perhaps you can see them now….how’s that view?

  20. Anonymous says:

    This was always the Plan?? Hello. I am not a Caymanian but am telling you from good source the Hospitality Giants know what they are doing CITA is of no use in this case. There is a big STORM coming and I can’t wrong the local/residents.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “….and whose academic standards are lower than ours”. Seriously, Al? Which countries would those be?

    • ummm says:

      Philippines if not there try “your mammas house”

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you, ummm, for your no doubt reflective, considered observation. Just by the way (or do you prefer BTW?), may I suggest that “mammas” would be more accurately written as “mama’s’ or “Mama’s”? There are other severe deficiencies of punctuation in your post but, regrettably, I doubt you would understand or, if you did, care. But then, perhaps you were educated in the Philippines?

    • Anonymous says:

      The supposedly poor quality of our Cayman education system is used by people trying to justify discrimination against Caymanians in the workforce. Looks at the actual numbers people. Our exam passes have improved every year. Of course there are problems in the Education system that must be addressed but I am SICK and TIRED of people implying that our graduates are little more than apes in terms of academic achievement and standards. It is an EXCUSE to discriminate. No one can tell me that a Caymanian high school graduate is fully capable of an entry level hospitality job. A lot of the people that are currently filling these posts cannot even speak or write proper English – because no, Jamaican patois is NOT proper English.
      I am a Caymanian college graduate, who went to university on an academic scholarship and I was educated in Cayman’s public schools. I graduated with honours – both high school and college. There are many more like me. But now, we have college graduates who cannot find work in their own country. And then to insult us that we have a low education standard? Again – check the facts. Look at the LITERACY figures for places like Jamaica and the Philippines versus Cayman. Stop using the excuses to keep our people (especially young people) out of the work force. Instead – offer ways to make our Education system BETTER – such as offering technical and vocational training and scholarships.

      • Sandboy says:

        Part of your problem is thinking that the mere process of being a school or college leaver qualifies you as a ‘graduate’ and that getting past a baseline of average bestows ‘honours’.
        When you actually earn a real graduation with honours at a respected university, get some real world experience outside of Caymania and then learn some humility and respect for cultures less fortunate than your own, then you’ll be taken seriously by employers.
        Until then you’ll remain the sulky, under qualified, less experienced bigot that believes the world owes them a living because of their nationality.

      • Had Enough says:

        That’s right my Caymanian brudda or sista. Let’s be about destroy the insulting transients on here, whose primary purpose is to retain their job. Something they could do in their own country.

        • Sandboy says:

          For ‘transient’ read ‘driftwood’. You see, you really are the bigoted whiners we thought you were. By every cast of your hand you reveal the nasty underbelly of the real problem here on Cayman, YOU!

    • Anonymous says:

      Most other Caribbean countries I wager.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure that’s it. The private sector (largely owned by Caymanian business owners / partners) discriminate against Caymanians, and as such prefer to increase their operational costs significantly via work permits, to insure Caymanians are not hired and foreigners have the upper hand in job placement… Perhaps something else should be considered to aid in the effort: Immigration laws should be amended to enforce so that only foreigners which cannot exceed a certain competency level are granted work permits thereby making the local workforce much more appealing, and that companies have no realistic choice but to hire locally. Immigration should send auditors to all companies and conduct a survey, all foreign workers with excellent track records should have their work permits revoked, and the company should be barred from hiring new foreigners.

    That should solve the issue.

    • Sandboy says:

      And send the company bankrupt…………….good talk!

    • Well says:

      Ever considered how cheap labour works? You pay slave wages and even force the employee to pay for their own work permit. You get the basic Health plan for insurance and now tell me is it not cheaper ?

    • Anonymous says:

      I really hope everyone can see your excellent use of sarcasm here, or this could become the way forward 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      When you speak of “Caymanian business owners” you mean ALL Caymanians? Or you mean born ones only.

      Just asking.

      A Driftwood Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      In effect you are describing the rollover policy. Everyone is required to leave, the good ones settle in new communities, the lousy ones return. Another 10-20 years should eliminate all the competent expats.

    • Had Enough says:

      Great idea! I love it! You must be a business owner…oh and an employer with a good track record of hiring locally…right!? Yeah ya foot in ya mouth eh. Try so hire caymanians and help move our people forward and stop destroying our country with your greedy self.

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