Vets may be getting paid twice

| 23/05/2015 | 25 Comments


Cayman News Service

Osbourne Bodden, Minister of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): The community affairs minister has said that some of the 160 war veterans who are receiving monthly payments of $550 from government each month may be receiving money from the US government as well and the benefits are not means tested. Answering questions in the LA Friday, Osbourne Bodden said he did not know for certain if Korean and Vietnam vets were receiving additional cash from America but he suspected they were, when Ezzard Miller asked why Cayman was paying Vets who were also getting cash from the States.

Bodden said that the number of war veterans was, however, falling as those who had fought in past conflicts while in the British or related forces in certain theatres of war was declining. Unlike benefits given to seamen, the cash they receive does not get passed on to their spouses, he confirmed, though their financial circumstances have not been considered in the criteria to qualify since the benefits began in 1997.

The war veterans bill is just over $1 million for government annually, which pales compared to the seaman payments, which are increasing as former merchant sailors retire and as the benefits are passed on to their spouses when the seamen die and government is struggling to find the cash.

Bodden said 776 seamen were currently receiving CI$550, which equates to some CI$5.1 million per year for the government.

However, according to the budget documents, the number is set to grow this year and government will spend over $6 million on the former mariners.

The payment is given to any Caymanian over 60 years old earning less than $2,000 a month and who went to sea for at least three years. Up until the late 1970s many local men signed up for the merchant navy so there are still many more who are likely to be claiming in the future, and although there is a means test at $2000 a month, many men and their widows will still qualify.

Although successive governments have maintained the benefits, saying the remittances of seamen had kept Cayman afloat in the past and they deserved recognition, others have indicated that it was implemented by the then government leader Truman Bodden as a vote-buyer and now any politicians removing the benefit would find it a vote-loser.

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Category: Local News

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In proper English “vets” treat animals.

  2. Crab Claw says:

    As for the Vets, I don’t care if they get paid by other countries, they deserve that money, especially the WWII ones and those brave souls are all falling in numbers too quickly.
    Concerning the Miskito keys sailors they deserve that money, their wasn’t much of any other way to make a living back then, and of course they worked for the mostly rich Caymanian families back then and they never gave nothing then back to cover their futures just like they try to do now, if it was left to them, if it wasn’t for the pension law, dog would have eaten all our suppers.
    As for the Bulk Seamen era, some study might need to be done into that, how many of them sent back a fair amounts of their earned monies back to the island is to be asked, lots I’m told was spent gambling and womanizing, yes I opened that can of worms, also looking into who is listed as their current wives, as rumors have it those old men have become a prize to be hunted by a particular south east asia island natives for their lifetime after benefits.
    And why weren’t these men’s provided for by the so call god sent National Bulk Carrier that had so many of them hired, was there never any pension plan setup for them, why can’t we sue the heirs of Ludwig’s company for some compensation for these men, maybe we should look into his life online and quoting form wikipedia
    “Beginning in 1971, Ludwig sold off many of his foreign interests, using the funds to endow the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, which he founded in Switzerland. It became his primary interest in his later years. Since his death in 1992, it has distributed over a billion dollars around the world for cancer research.”
    Come on Cayman he got rich off of you all, and haven’t given back much, file a class action is my only suggestion.
    And last but not least why the heck isn’t more Caymanians taking care of their fathers and grandfather’s, like in the older days, if the gov’t can provide 6k a year for them to live on, why can’t they take that out of their pockets and help also, hell some of those twice a year Miami trips cost more, we the people shouldn’t have to be footing such a huge social bill.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Seamen benefit should only apply to Caymanians who went to sea prior to the mid-70’s when there was little employment locally. Anyone after that had a real choice. Likely they also had pension arrangements. Why should a seaman from the 80’s receive a “benefit” when the person who stayed home and worked does not?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Always amusing (and pathetic) when some of the best paid, double pension and salary dipping, politicians on the planet get anxious about other people’s benefits…….

  5. Driftwood says:

    Same old, politicos afraid to do the right things for Cayman as it may end their ride on the gravy train. Whilst this continues Cayman can only be on a slippery slope to bankruptcy, both fiscally and morally.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The seamen grants are a disgrace.

    • Sharkey says:

      I guess none of your fore fathers was seamen that had to leave the Islands for 9 months at a time to provide for their families , these same men also provided commerce for the Islands. How do you feel about the war veterans that went out to risk their lives for you ?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t get the whole “risked their lives for us”. No army was set to invade Cayman, not to be selfish; but the fact is that fighting in Vietnam or Korea is not fighting for Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Vets were brave. Seamen undercut fair local labor rates and failed to make adequate pension provision from their income, probably resulting in the ability to undercut unionised workforces. The two groups cannot be compared.

      • realworldproblems says:

        My grandfathers on both sides went to sea to work, both of them then joined up for the duration of the 2nd world war with the Royal Navy. Both returned to find their houses had been destroyed in bombing raids in different parts of the city. One ended up in the Far East and was still fighting the Japanese whilst Europe was celebrating.
        My father went to the merchant navy and spent years sailing out of Liverpool away from his family.
        None of these jobs commanded any pensions or handouts for either themselves or their spouses.
        I cannot understand why this should happen in the Cayman Islands, what exactly did occur to make this any different?

      • Keith plywood says:

        They did not do it for nothing.

      • Anonymous says:

        I love the Cayman hypocracy, the seaman who left Cayman to find work and sent home money to their families should be revered, but the Filipinos, etc that come to Cayman and sent their money home so their own families can eat are hated by Caymanians and taxed 5% on all money transfers by the government

        so sad

    • Sharkey says:

      Anonymous 2:06 pm, can you explain why the seaman grant is a disgrace ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    So much vote buying! It will never be any different.

  8. Sharkey says:

    Mr Bodden and Mr Miller you should not be wasting your time thinking about if the elder men are over payed for the services they provided in their life time for you two and me and many more people on these Islands and in the world. I am sure that you two are making sure that your little services you provide is well-being payed for . Look into the SEAMEN BENEFIT, and see where and who that money is going to. The benefits that seamen/vets receive from the USA should be none of your business .

  9. aiki14 says:

    “Bodden said 776 seamen were currently receiving CI$550, which equates to some CI$5.1 million per year for the government.” 776 times $550 is $426,800. If that equates to $5.1 million for the Gov’t. something is amiss. Also 160 times $550 is $88k and if that cost the Gov’t $1million something is also amiss.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Request a proof of address cuc or water bill in their name every three months and for those that can’t provide that, make personal visits. Even for the ones that can provide the cuc/water bill, make personal visits minimum twice a year. Verify immigration records that these ppl meet a substantial presence test and check the bank accounts of residents.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the so called ‘wives’ or widows, do the same. There are quite a few that don’t live in cayman anymore and there are even more that are fly by night wives.

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