Cayman needs accurate homeless numbers

| 02/10/2015 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Homeless people in George Town

(CNS): The Human Rights Committee has urged the government to address the lack of accurate statistics on homelessness in the Cayman Islands. Following the recent headlines concerning what many believe are growing and worrying numbers of people without secure accommodation, the HRC said governments have a duty to try to ensure that there is adequate housing for all individuals and to do that it needs to get to grips with the scale of the problem.

While there is no specific human right in the Cayman Islands’ Bill of Rights to a home, the HRC pointed out that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, an international treaty that has been extended to Cayman, requires countries to “recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions [and to] … take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.”

Homelessness neglected by government

Commending the efforts of local businessman Matthew Leslie in raising the issue, the HRC said the lack of safe and secure housing presents serious risks for those affected and homelessness is a serious issue, which has far reaching implications for the islands as a whole.

The HRC said the lack of accurate statistics was another cause for concern because the collection of such data was vital so government could assess the scope of the problem and begin to develop a strategic plan to tackle it.

“The Commission encourages the government to take steps to remedy this situation as a matter of priority,” the HRC said in a statement Thursday. “As the Commission stated during the debate surrounding a minimum wage in the Cayman Islands, whilst these goals are not straightforward to achieve, the government must strive to find effective remedies to safeguard the rights of those persons identified as vulnerable, whether as a result of their financial situation or otherwise.”

The issue of homelessness has hit the headlines frequently over the last few months as those without a home become more visible, an issue compounded by the lack of a residential facility for those with mental health problems.

But government has no proper definition of homelessness and although the numbers of people sleeping outside on benches in doorways or on the beach is not large, there are many more people, including families, living in cars, abandoned, inadequate or insecure properties without access to utilities.

It is not unusual in some of Cayman’s poor communities to see plyboard partitions used to create extra sleeping areas between existing properties. The risk of fire at some makeshift dwellings without planning permission is also very evident as extension cables are used to connect to power supplies at neighbouring houses.

In a recent statement Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden acknowledged that the number of people in need was pushing the Needs Assessment Unit to breaking point and said his ministry was working on a more structured approach to social support

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Category: Community, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And some is homeless // helpless // laziness of the great political handout handout system that is so rampant in you know what district…The more you handout the less they want to go work..Count how many of the homeless that got cell phones that work…I got a suggestion all them jobless / homeless / helpless people who always show up for the great island wide clean up campaign in December why you not down by the beach cleaning up the seaweed show some care for the country that you want its people to feel sorry for you..

  2. Anonymous says:

    The number is ZERO. Junkies and drunks don’t count and the mentally ill should be looked after but not categorised as homeless.

  3. George Ebanks says:

    Homelessness and social decay always and inevitable leads to entrenched crime and drug abuse and other social ills.
    This issue must be a national priority!
    Once crime becomes entrenched in any society; society overall is the ultimate loser.

  4. Anonymous says:

    By my count there are 26 homeless. 4 are crazy and the other 22 are on drugs and are also crazy. Whatever you do for them is going to amount to force feeding.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Instead of spending MONEY on TOURIST cruise ship passengers!!!! Why don’t they build a place for these people!! The tourist is gonna see this people when they get off our new FANCY DOCK!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yawn…… there is no homeless problem in cayman……,
    Real question .,.,,, why are kirky and alice able to roam smb everyday.? ?…, where is social services then..?

    • da-wa-u-get says:

      With all due respect, I would say that while it is obviously uncomfortable to see Kirky and Alice along the road every day (and night) I think they would be very unhappy being caged or forced to stay in some type of home, the best I can tell, they have never hurt anyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well Kirky has been sober 8 months and has a job at the gas station past Hurleys called “Peanuts”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Only the Jordanian man Amjed knows that info as he always calls in about how many is homeless and how many is with out electricity where he gets his stats from only Christ knows as the stats don’t match the island…Some are homeless because they choose to be homeless…

    • Anonymous says:

      No one CHOOSES to be homeless…. it’s not like someone wakes up one day and says, “Gee, I don’t feel like coming home tonight. Think I’d rather sleep on a park bench instead!”

      • Judge Watchya says:

        So George you did not mention denial of opportunity to live and work in ones own country is the major contributing factor vauing drug bbc use and insanity as one is banished from the society of his birth while government bend over bavkwards to make life as sweet for the expats as can be.l cant understand why there are no riots and civil war there it must be on its way and this Comm police maybe making sure expats are . well armed while locals are hounded for a hunting ifle and then otally disarmed.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Jordanian is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the failed Mac.

  8. Number 1 says:

    THE SOLUTION TO A HOMELESS STATE: Well that’s simple – Tax the HELL out of rich people 🙂 I know it sounds cruel, but look, yes, they may have worked hard for what they got, and I congratulate them. But I can 100% assure you they wouldn’t had reach the top without using people for their scaffolds. They need people as much as people need them!

    Sorry but we don’t live on an island by ourselves. 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      What a waste of time printing your post! Makes no sense whatsoever!!

    • Anonymous says:

      How about we tax the lower income earners to encourage them to work harder and properly and learn how to become rich? Same logic. Your principle is de facto in play now. The amount of tax on imports and so on means those that can afford to buy more, go out more etc already pay more tax than those that don’t.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is an even dumber remark. You mean we are all going to be lawyers ?
        Don’t you understand that houses need to be cleaned, shelves need to be restocked, yards need to be maintained.
        Your dream to one day be rich is the problem. You have probably a simple job, hoping one day you will be like the top 1%. You will never be . . . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Wealth is a result of poverty.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You people can keep joking but what is joke to u is death to us of course there is poverty and homeless people here in small cayman lslands and its because of our government leaders selling everything out for the love of money to the rich n the elite who attracts more money n more greediness consuming so much of our little resources that there is none left for the poor sufferer to gain take a look at most of them stomachs hanging over their belts their third chin hanging over their shirt collar they just don’t stop eating plus they spend thousands of dollars on surgery to get rid of the excessive fat I mean come on now how disgusting can a human be an these are the people that we chose to lead us, anyways Pirates week is coming up a lot of festivities and fun for all, wait until the day comes when the tables have turned n the true Pirates comes to life, wouldn’t be much fun for you all huh

  10. Anonymous says:

    Through the rose-coloured glasses of our leaders there is no homelessness, no poverty, no gangs, no discontent. They focus only on irrational development, greed and enriching themselves and their buddies!

  11. Sharon says:

    hmm…where is John Public?!?!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Where are the churches? What would Jesus do about the homeless?

    • Jesus Jones says:

      Feed them shellfish? The more pertinent question is; what would Jesus do about the gay homeless?

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen, Brother!

    • Cho King Often says:

      My church is currently housing and feeding a recent prison leaver who cannot find sufficient employment to pay for food, rent & utilities. This is an ongoing problem where a person is released from prison, cannot find a job or housing and has to resort to criminal methods to survive! Until this aspect of societal failure is addressed and mitigated, the “revolving door” of Northward will continue to rotate endlessly.

      When will we learn that criminalising a young person (for life!) for a spliff is not the way to encourage a productive society? Legalise and SIN TAX these commodities (same as tobacco & liquor) and treat the issue as what it is – clearly an education, mental health and/or medical issue!

      The definition of INSANITY is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! When will our insane law makers wake up to reality??

      • Anonymous says:

        To 4:03pm, you are correct, I will not hire an “ex con”, but why doesn’t Government hire them???? There are work permit holders picking up our trash, why can’t an ex con get the job??? There are clerk jobs in Government, why can’t they train the “ex con” and hire them? Why is it the general public’s responsibility???

    • Haley Luyah says:

      Churches have better things to do than deal with riff-raff like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good Questions. But re #1 – at least providing (a) community pantries giving food and toiletries daily, (b) heavily subsidised after-school care so parents who cannot afford ‘commercial’ care rates can work with peace of mind, (c) lobbying for Living Wages and residential mental health facilities (and (d) pledged funds to help make that a reality), (e) etc. So at least something! Would be able to do more if more people participated sacrificially instead of spending all their time down-crying them. Re #2 Jesus would no doubt have a better, more long term, answer to the problem, but then did He not describe Himself as homeless (on this Earth) too?

    • Number 1 says:

      Actually nothing. I think he would say and I quote, “the poor he have with you always.”

      It is for us and not Jesus to make a difference.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just like there are no gangs in Cayman, there is no hardship or poverty either. Those things are just myths. I say the snow is purple, so purple it is!

    • Just Sayin' says:

      I’d advise you against eating it but given the landfill toxins slowly killing hs all already you may as well go ahead.

  14. Selena says:

    And this is happening in a country of just 30,00 people. What a shame.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This will be interesting. The US, UK, Western Europe etc are all part of these same treaties or programmed, yet the numbers of homeless there are huge.

  16. G. Etajob says:

    These people have places to go, they just don’t want to. Homeless they are not. As big of a myth as Caymanian unemployment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mental illness, domestic abuse, and drug and alcohol addiction must also be myths. Good to know there are expert opinions out there.

    • Anonymous says:

      typical CaymanKind

    • Number 1 says:

      What an ignorant baboon! As if all people are born with houses, lands, properties, and silver spoon in their mouth like yourself. I hope you have serious financial problems and walk the street homeless. And then some other ignoramus come to you, bump you out of the way, and say “go find your place!”

  17. Anonymous says:

    There are many worse places to be homeless……. So they should count their blessings.

  18. Unison says:

    Many are homeless because they don’t want a bank loan. The home is not yours until you pay it off. So you have to answer to the bank. And seeing how hard life is in Cayman, who is to say what the bank penalty is when you fail to pay them? The cost of living and to do business here are extremely high. And we have more fines, fees, and laws here to penalize the small man and businesses, more than anything else.

    Most salaries are way below the 2500 mark. I’m sorry but in Cayman even a single person has it hard whilst making this mark. If you’re a foreignor perhaps your low salary can be converted into big money when you send it through money gram or western union, and perhaps your easily hired because some devious employers here see you can be easily used or exploited. But to live here or worse have a family here, it is really hard. The MLA making their big salaries seem to be indifferent by the low- wagers conditions. The fact that there is no census as to the number of homeless people here proves my point. How are they going to represent the people and have no figures regarding the helpless or unfortunate. I think they are caught up with politics.

    And here’s another issue, if your young and stupid Caymanian, can’t find a decent wage, and then you do something wrong to make ends meet or get in trouble with the courts – we penalize you hard and don’t provide for you an easy rehabilitatory path for you to blend back into society. Rather for years you are ostracized, looked upon a way, told its better to leave the island for the UK. And for years on your own homeland, you have a police record over their head preventing you from finding a decent job. Some nod their heads at you and say if you had only stayed out of trouble, this would have never happen to you. But they like the politicians didn’t see the trouble you were in before you had to take the serious actions for your survival. A hypocritical society of righteous versus those who feel more than the pinch.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Could the Government please explain why the planning laws (like every other law) are either not enforced or only enforced against certain people?

    • Cheese Face says:

      You mean A.L. Thompsons Planning Depot?

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess because the laws only apply to the common man. Certainly not to the rich self serving Caymanians who have a strangle hold on this country and have no regard for the poor and growing disenfranchised underclass.

    • Number 1 says:

      Money my friend money! They hear only when money talk. CUC, Water, all of them! And unfortunately in this world if you want some of it to put a smile on your face, you have to do something really really REALLY bad! It has to smell alot! Forget about conscience and loving your fellowman. 😉

  20. Anonymous says:

    Never in my life, have I seen such poverty and disregard for human life. We were poor but never this poor. We always had compassion, everyone always had a place to sleep and eat. People who had mental problems still had food and comfort . There is nothing here except animal rights , how sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are very wrong. We are just now seeing the social issues in the public where as before they were hidden away. People used to hide their mentally ill family members from the public eye. Some being chained and fed like dogs, others being raped and forced to have children that they have no comprehension of. Cayman has some deep rooted social problems that we are just now seeing. We need to open our eyes and see what we can do to teach people to help themselves not just give them handouts.

      • Anonymous says:

        How are you going to “teach” middle class Caymanians to stop taking hand outs for their childrens education when they can afford to pay, or stop running their own businesses on government time?

        • Anonymous says:

          If middle class Caymanians were getting scholarships for their children, then there would be no room for the rich and high earning status holders to have their children to receive the same handout from that source.

          Many have educated their children off of taxpayers and used it to the locals disadvantage. Listen to their chat, while they brag about how, what, and through the source that they got it. Who should be more deserving than Caymanians?

      • Number 1 says:

        I hate to say this, but unfortunately we have to give out handouts until society and government fix this problem! And that won’t be anytime soon. You are free to always join the ignorant well-off folk that like parrots repeat that these homeless people ought to find work. They walk by them, full stomachs, and say its none of their business and continue with life.

        It takes big people with a big heart to always give and have compassion.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:42. Too many drug users. Was hard drugs always flowing like a river? No, but if a check was done, you would be very surprised to know how many are drug addicts and users.
      Those people terrorize families that’s why most of them are on the streets.

  21. Needs Blind says:

    It is ironic, but most of them are living in the immediate vicinity of the Legislative Assembly.

    • Anonymous says:

      They can all sleep under the new dock when it’s built.

      • Number 1 says:

        Yes … we soon get 19 MLAs. It would be a wonderful gesture to the world if each one cut 10% off their salaries for aiding social programs. You know, lead by example. 😉

        • Anonymous says:

          Social problems are caused, because of lazy people, drug users, children having children, family break down, and the majority of those people believing that government is the spermicide donor.
          Homelessness is a more recent occurrence. Some are drug users who are not allowed to remain in family homes, some have lost jobs and are destitute. I see no reason why government should be taking care of teenagers, who have children, never held a job, not interested in finding one, but continue to have more children for taxpayers to provide for. The courts are there, for those fathers to provide for the children. Deal with them according to the law – family court.
          Some of the mental illness is caused by the misuse of drugs, which lowers esteem, and perpetuates into laziness. Stem the follow of drugs.

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