Ozzie blames work permit system for poverty

| 23/10/2015 | 106 Comments
Cayman News Service

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

(CNS): The community affairs minister took aim at the government’s own work permit system and the discrimination against Caymanians in the workplace Thursday as he pointed to the “overwhelming” situation faced by the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) of local people in real financial difficulty. Osbourne Bodden said the unit, which deals with welfare support, is helping 6,000 people because of the difficult economic times and the problems local people now have finding jobs.

Speaking during the debate on the opposition leader’s private member’s motion asking government to set up an emergency fund to help the worst cases of social deprivation, and in particular saving people’s homes, the minister responsible for social services acknowledged that things were bad and the NAU was under-resourced.

During what became an impassion debate in the Legislative Assembly, Bodden told the opposition leader that government was not in a position to set up the fund as he requested because it couldn’t “just grab the millions of dollars” it would need, but he said it would deal with the problems within the budget, which was set to increase significantly next year.

The minister said, however, that he was sympathetic to the motion and the concerns of McKeeva Bush regarding the dire circumstances many local families were in, which was illustrated by the sheer volume of people coming to the NAU for help.  The minister said seeds of the increased levels of poverty were sewn in the past, as the development of the local workforce had not been in tandem with the development of the country. Now with hard economic times, government must invest more in re-tooling local people, training and education.

Bodden took aim at employers and the system that allowed them easy access to work permits without holding them accountable to their business staffing plan. But, he said, whenever politicians raised this problem, the business community “squealed and we all back off” because they threaten to leave. He warned that the problems of social deprivation being caused by the discrimination against Caymanian workers would impact the business community, as he called on his own government to look again at splitting the labour function from immigration and border control.

Bodden described the work permit system as “confusion alley”, preventing locals who were able and willing from getting work.

“Jobs must be made available for locals,” he said, as he queried how some 1,500 unemployed people could not be absorbed into a system with 22,000 permits. “The corporate community must wake up and step up,” he said, warning that once the social deprivation was chronic, then they will run.

“We have to strike a balance with recruitment of overseas talent and able Caymanians being employed,” Bodden said. “We can’t and mustn’t balance the budget on the backs of our children and future generations,” he added, implying that government was too dependent on permit revenue. Despite the controversies his views may cause, he said, he would “quit the job before he changed that view”.

The corporate community has a moral obligation to support and help the community it was vested in, the minister said, because social ills were fuelled by low wages and unemployment and in the long-run the business sector would suffer too.  Bodden said there was a bias against employing locals, worsened by the availability of work permits and the attraction of cheap labour, as he pointed to the need for the minimum wage.

The minister said the country had made many people who came to do business in Cayman into millionaires, and as a result, the corporate community needed to put more back. With government investing so much in education of local people, it was not right that employers then turned their backs on Caymanians. People were “hungry and homeless”,  he said, as he described the number of families in need as “depressing and overwhelming”. Admitting that there may be some less than genuine cases, he said many were very real and things were worse than ever.

“I want all of the businesses who are listening … to step up,” he said, maintaining that the mounting social decay would destroy not just the families in need but the entire society.

Bodden said his ministry was “working with all and sundry to reverse the trends”, including other government agencies and corporate partners, but government could not tackle the problems alone.

Tags: , ,

Category: Economy, Politics

Comments (106)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is certainly time for the unappreciative driftwood to go home. Those that accept and love our simple way of life are most welcome to stay.
    The rest can go and bleat to their heart’s content in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa and anywhere else that you are afraid to walk around with your BIG opinions. You are nothing more than bullies and quite frankly, if the Caymanian people got tired of you, I would understand why.

    How dare you walk into another man’s (small) country and lay down your law?

    No, I am not Caymanian, but one fine day, I aspire to be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Aha 6.05! So a copy of this posting will go on your PR application to show what a good Caymanian racist bigot you are? You are even saying “our” and you ain’t there yet! As for simple, sounds like you will be asking for financial assistance before the ink is dry on your PR approval so you can sit under your tree and smoke ganja all day! Anyone doing a proper days work here or trying to live normally (Caymanian or expat, excluding the rich) will tell you it’s nothing like a simple life here!! Cayman, throw this one out, he’s a complete idiot!

    • Union Jack says:

      See that little top corner of the flag. The Union Jack that is. And that is because it is British territory and don’t forget that buster.

    • Anonymous says:

      we will always question stupidity….get used to it……
      remember we are from the first world with first class education….

  2. Anonymous says:

    I lived in Cayman between 2004 and 2010 with my wife and two kids. At the end of 2010 I made a decision to take my kids back home because I did not like the education system. Many of the kids had little respect for authority and for the most part did not appreciate the education they were getting. I had an obligation to my children because they needed skills and an attitude that would allow them to function in the real world.

  3. Why so sad? says:

    They always quote 22,000+ WP holders and 1,500+ unemployed and think the two are related, that is not always the case. You can’t just a take a job from one and give it to another, the 1,500+ need to be willing and able to do the job which they are saying they deserve. Too many thinking that the jobs work permit holders are doing are theirs by their birth (Or paper application) right.

  4. Digi Bird says:

    100% behind u Bro, Some of these foreign devils must go home they are smothering this place! and decent people can’t get PR where I live on Sea Fan drive is full of such idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is your point Digi??

    • Florence Goring-Nozza says:

      Android is too much for my fingers.Apologise. excuse errors in first message please.
      Ozzie 100percent behind you!

      As lawmakers put a stop to the work permit madness Enforce current Labor laws.

      Convert the board membership into electable positions not for yhe elite but ordinary candidates who we have proven to be Cayman loving, caring people who can be trusted to make. the kind pf decisions that make Cayman a better place the decisions being made
      are terrorizing the citizens.they need to take a social psychology test to prove they love their country and its people.

      A 2year term is long enough for them to prove their skill .4years is too long for this kind of torture.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Taking a complex subject like poverty and trying to correlate it to one thing, work permits, shows just how completely ignorant this man is. More grand standing politics usually reserved for Ezzard.

    So Ozzie, you have identified a problem. Now act like a true leader and come up with practical and realistic solutions. And if you think for one second cutting work permits is the solution look what happened to the local unemployment rate in 2008 when the number of permits fell dramatically.

    We Caymanians await your solution.

  6. Anonymous says:

    When Ossie’s businesses are 100% staffed by Caymanians then he can start talking about what other people do. Until then he is a hypocrite riding xenophobia out of political expediency.

    • Anonymous says:

      In a normal democracy, politicians are not allowed to own businesses for very obvious reasons. Fuel price could be an example, if some MLA owned a fuel station they wouldn’t care how inflated fuel prices are, in fact the higher the better. Some of these MLA’s have had their snouts in the trough so long that shortly we will need widescreen iPads to see the pictures of their fat faces.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a ridiculous suggestion. He is operating at a reported 75% Caymanians. If everyone met his performance on recruitment, there would be no issue and every employable Caymanian would be employed. Work permits are and will be a necessary element of our labour pool – but with many businesses here operating unnecessarily with 90% + expats in their workforce the pressure should be on them. To any business in Cayman with a 75% workforce I say congratulations. You are the model for what we should aspire to.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Your not helping 6,000 people by paying them to stay home instead of getting any job they can and start learning how to work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So your fix is to make the business owners hire what they themselves consider “unemployables” over skill and make them deal with it? Why were you hired again? I don’t think your department is getting value for its money.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The jobs are there but keeping it is a different story. I have had excuses for not showing up ranging from eating too much fish to their dog being sick. Then there are the ones that on the 90th day of employment (end of probation) ask for a job letter to get a loan to buy a car! Having took 15 days out sick in 3 month expect a contract. As the old saying goes, ” a new broom sweeps well”

  10. Rp says:

    Our work permit system encourages our Caymanians to be suitably qualified or just adequate instead of best qualified or best suited for the job.

    We try to protect our own but we do them a disservice. A business must hire the best candidate for the job, especially when we expect our financial industry to compete on an international level. The competition hires the best they can. In the long term our financial service businesses would close down, relocate since financial services are highly mobile and put more Caymanians in the unemployment cue.

    Let’s develop policies that help our own be the best they can be. They will then be hired for the job.

  11. Anonymous says:

    YES, the public (and private) schools produce too many kids who lack ambition or are functionally illiterate.
    YES, the permit system ferments the same problems it is fighting now to correct..
    YET, that does not explain why the MANY locals who are education, ambitious and hard working do not receive the rewards and benefits they rightly deserve. The cheap reverse-psychology, greedy newcomers, and blame-shifting to all locals is the most perverse way that this is occurring.
    THIS is why the middle class is collapsing, in both the public and private sectors, but those at the top will suffer most when the foundation crumbles… even tho their assets are probably squirreled away some in other country anyways.

  12. George Ebanks says:

    We badly need to close down the NWDA and create, as a matter of urgency, an “Employment & Labour Authority”. Then place work permits issuance under that authority.
    Immigration must concentrate on border control and should be renamed as
    “Homeland Border Security”.
    Currently there is no connect whatsoever between Immigration, NWDA and the Labour Dept.
    Stream line this monster and let’s get Caymanians BACK TO WORK!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Glad someone finally read the Minimum Wage report. Do we just pay these people to repeatedly state the obvious and then do nothing about it?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Captain Cowcod strikes again. How can this man sit there and say this about the very system he himself perpetuates? Take a trip to Bodden Town Gas Station and see for yourself.

  15. Deluded of Sevenoaks says:

    I must have missed some change in the law, I have been under illusion that work-permits are applied for by Caymanians and then approved or denied by Caymanians. I didn’t realise it was the ex-pats running the whole process….

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember, a lot of work permits are also applied for by MacManians to assist their kin to come and live here.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Driftwoodgate showed Ossie to be an ignorant, angry, xenophobic bigot.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ozzie – you are of course right on much of what you say, but since your boss is in charge of immigration, shouldn’t you be demanding that he fix it?

  18. Anonymous says:

    NAU increase? direct results from the status grants we made poor people Caymanians now we have to do everything for them. it was 3000 then must be at least 12000 by now as they have adopted had children and so forth.

    • Anonymous says:

      To those thumbing down the above comment you should check the facts. The above is perfectly accurate. The arrival of thousands of un-vetted relatives of many of those granted status without regard to usual considerations as to their skills (including competence in the English language) or ability to support themselves is the single largest factor in the poverty crisis we are now experiencing. It contributed to the collapse of the education system, and has produced a significant number of young Caymanians who, in addition to a significant number of existing Caymanians, are without the skills required of our economy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly, I know a whole family that was on welfare after they got status. Daughter just had a baby so the welfare continues. What’s the sense in giving status to people who can’t support themselves? Also, stop marrying these foreign men/women to our local drug users/alcoholics/mentally incompetent that don’t know what they are doing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bingo! And for this situation continuing we get to blame none other than the minister responsible for immigration. Who is that?

  19. Anonymous says:

    One of the things that MUST stop is the uncontrolled dealings of Temp Agencies.

    Temp Agencies get all their permits on a “temporary” basis (so quick/easy foot in the door) and too often completely overqualified “Temps” will take on jobs just to get then a 2 year permit through an agency while looking around for a job. School leavers have no opportunity to get their foot in the door at banks/law firms/financial service companies and many other places as those positions are taken up by “Temps” (who often remain “Temps” for years at the same assignment).

    Companies do this to get around the overhead of having employee on their books and they can rotate someone they like/dislike in and out without having any labor law issues.

    Government must implement controls that Temps can be no longer than 3 months assigned to a specific post AND that any company can only have a certain amount of Temps employed.

    • Rp says:

      Why don’t more of our own register as temps to get a foot in the door? I deal with temping agencies and most are expats. There are some Caymanians too and I have been impressed with their calibre! We hired a couple over the years. We need more to sign up.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because if you hire someone on a contract with a Temp Agency, you then have to pay 10% or more of their annual salary to the Temp Agency if you want to take them over. Why should a business have to pay a 10% recruitment fee to a agency to hire someone who does not even need a permit?

        Some even restrict you from re-hiring that same person within a year unless you hire them through that same Temp Agency.

        AND, in my experience with Temp Agencies, they don’t even send you resume for candidates with suitable experience so they don’t even bother to have a look but just send you a stack of resumes from everyone they have on book and expect the business to weed through them.

        Temp Agencies are making a KILLING of the fact that immigration is asleep!

  20. Unison says:

    I agree with the issue, not with Ozzie 🙂

    If nothing is done and more local people are without jobs, business owners will end up spending a lot of money for securities, because crime will increase.

    I too lament the fact that you have over 20,000 work permit holders and near 2000 locals that can’t find work. That to me is too much for this small island. Burglaries, robberies, thefts, corruptions, and drug activities will increase if nothing is done about it.

    I think its either we create a place where its easy to do business in Cayman for locals and they could find well paying jobs, or, we will have to implement a tax to maintain the Needs Assessment Unit, because where is the money coming from when it runs dry???

  21. Knot S Smart says:

    Just For Men Hair Coloring…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yes, some people genuinely don’t get a chance, but Government has coddled the people in Cayman for decades and we all are now reaping what they sowed!

    Let me give you a little example. When I grew up (in another country), I had to catch the bus to school. My parents had to pay for this service. Every month it was my responsibility to go to the school office to pay for my bus card. It was my responsibility to have that card on me to get on the bus. If I forgot the card at home, I was left out in the heat, snow, rain. No favors, not a cousin or friend who was driving the bus! So I learned from age 6 to have this responsibility, I learned that there was cost involved for me to get the school and I learned the consequence of being “forgetful”.

    In Cayman, children have come to assume that they are entitled to be picked up if not directly at their house, then in very close proximity all free of cost to their parents. God forbid they would be expected to walk half a mile to a bus stop. I see the parents driving BMWs and Mercedes but yet, their kids catch the Gov bus to school at no cost to the parents.

    Why am I giving you this example? Because many of those 6,000 people who are now looking for help are the ones who have exactly this attitude. It is always someone else’s fault, it is always someone else’s responsibility.

    Until those people who genuinely do not have funds to feed and care for themselves have been stripped of their big screen TVs, SUVs, cigarettes and acrylic nails and stop having baby after baby, I don’t believe this number to be a true reflection of the state of poverty.

    And until Government is prepared to take a hard stance and put responsibility back to where it belongs (ie with every individual person), so that they can help the ones who REALLY need it, nothing will change……….but then, who ever in Cayman took the chance to offend potential voters?!

    • Unison says:

      You said you need proof that these locals “have been stripped of their big screen TVs, SUVs, cigarettes and acrylic nails and stop having baby after baby” … apparently you have something against people with lots of possessions.

      Has it not happen to you that you could have a house big like a mansion and due to dire circumstances, you have no food in your fridge. Nobody is buying. The market is bad. Yet you shouldn’t people. Those in the NAU know people circumstances better than you.

      Its easy for you to sit behind your computer and post drivel about who is deserving and who isn’t. 🙁

      • OneLove says:

        When I was young (decades ago) I left school no qualifications, no money. Parents tried I didn’t listen. They had no money to buy me cars or nice clothes. Left home before 18 drifted about smoking pot partying and dossing down at friends places. Ended up no place to stay living on an old bus often in freezing temperatures. I was even hungry enough on a few occasions to eat food thrown by local supermarkets (past use by dates). As I had no fixed abode I couldn’t get handouts from government had to do what I could to get by.

        But it was my fault. I realised only I could do anything about it. My parents scraped the fees together for me to go to the local community college (equivalent to UCCI) for one year. I lived in a town with a population similar to that of Cayman now. However the post graduate courses we had on offer even back then were far superior to those on offer at UCCI now. They were all aimed at basic skills required in the various industries in the town, and gave us qualifications recognised elsewhere in the world so we weren’t chained to our home town. They taught us not only the core skills but the surrounding needs of the relevant business too such as customer care, basic accounting, work attitude, etc. We were churned out one year later fit for entry level jobs in the industries we chose. Most of us, even those with University qualifications never landed the jobs we wanted or trained for because we had no experience. The secretary or receptionist would start in the post and or copying room; accountants and solicitors would be given all the crappy work, often by people less qualified (but nevertheless with industry experience); mechanics and carpenters would sweep the workshop, most of us would make a lot of coffees and do a lot of sandwich runs and menial jobs. But that’s how you got your experience. You start below where you aimed for. You don’t complain. If you really want to do it, you get on with it.You take abuse, you are often treated like shit, but you rise above it. You humble yourself, and you wear a plastic smile. You are pleasant and well spoken to your colleagues. You don’t rise to the bait when someone is goading you. You carry out even the most menial tasks with utter pride and professionalism. YOU make yourself stand out by excelling in all YOU do. You WILL get noticed.

        I took the view life is what I made of it. Nobody else could help me. No handouts. I lived in debt and on very little food for a very long time but bit by bit eased ahead over the years. Only now can I afford to think about getting a house and having nice possessions. I am now a professional in senior management. Had I not spent that one year at college God knows where I would be today. It was always hard but mere grit and determination got me noticed. I worked my way up the ladder rung by rung from the bottom to the top. I found that as I progressed and continued to show the same work ethic, my employer would support me by sponsoring me through more studies to get the further qualifications I have today. But that’s the way the world worked then, and indeed still today.

        Have we forgotten this basic concept? Its like everyone just wants to be spoon-fed these days and everyone thinks employers owe them a job because they have a piece of paper that proves they learnt something at school or Uni? But instead of addressing this by attending to basic educational and vocational needs of the unemployed and youths at school, successive governments delegate this duty to employers who are business people not educators. The various divisive immigration strategies just enable them to continue to point the finger of blame to employers (and thus all the hate to expats) for their own failings to their own people. Priorities completely messed up.

        You call yourself Unison but my friend, you and others like you are not unified for the right reasons. Surely Caymanians deserve better? Surely the government should be investing more in education for its people before it lavishly spends on turtle farms and cruise ship ports. Surely your children’s education is more important than, for instance, the right to eat and farm turtle? I just don’t get the logic. I would gladly give up all I have for my children to stand a better chance in the world. Even a quarter of a century ago the town I came from did a better job of truly investing in its people than Cayman does now. Education first, the rest will follow.

        I am not in government. It’s not my job to know what to do or have the resources to deal with it. But I do know that there is a boys club of senior Caymanians who don’t want to see certain opportunities opened up to those in the community of less fortunate backgrounds. They want to keep those privileged positions for the upper echelons of society. They think they know better than all of us and in doing so they obstruct progress and Caymanians can’t get ahead. It sickens me to see how the situation has rotted over decades despite the answer constantly slapping people in the face.

      • OneLove says:

        I can back this up.

      • Anonymous says:

        You just completely explained why I was correct with my original post! If you have a house big as a mansion, you should have also some cash to put aside for dire circumstances, but the problem is that people get mortgages and loans without considering what will happen if their circumstances changes. Just because you can get a mortgage for $500K doesn’t mean that you can AFFORD to maintain that house, including its utility bills etc.

        We are not living the life you see on TV! You are not entitled to have whatever you want just because you want it. If your circumstances changes, I expect YOU to be the one to make sacrifices in the first instance.

        I would assume that any sane person would rather give up their “luxury items” to be able to buy some food for the family?!?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you are jealous of what Caymanians have been used to for years and we have a higher standard of living and yes expectations too.

      We are not used to sharing a communal bathroom….as other places do.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that you have many Caymanian Business owners who love to import cheap labor while treating their employees like slaves. Remember the issue with the non-payment of pension and health insurance? As long as those employees get away with a slap on their wrist for such offenses, nothing will change.

    • Anonymous says:

      So if I can hire someone from a third world country for much cheaper than a “local” why the hell would I hire a “local”. When CAYMANIANS stop hiring foreigners, like me (I make CI$5 per hour, which is 8 times higher than the minimum wage in my country – the Phillipines). I live comfortably here and can still send home money to my family back home.

      The local people all want new cars, boats, big TV’s, fancy clothes and a couple vacations every year – that is why they “NEED” higher wages.

      I gave you the solution – CAYMANIANS stop hiring Foreigners!!!!!

  24. Bonnie Anglin says:

    I commend Minister Bodden for addressing the issue of poverty and unemployment. Far too long, we have swept these two topics under the rug and “kicked the can” down the road. Despite what we feel or believe, research shows a correlation between poverty, unemployment and unemployabilty to crime. If we do not concentrate on vocational training and re-training those who used to work but are now deemed unemployable, the Country will be destroyed by crime. If we believe we are broke or stretched for resources now, wait until we have to build more Prisons, Court Houses, hire Police and Prison Officers, Prosecutors, etc. to keep up with increased crime. BTW – all these jobs will be held by foreign workers. That is what will happen if we do not stop spending money on concrete and start invest in our people through in crime prevention and intervention and vocational training. Look around the world at Countries like Canada and Norway that are implementing programs and reforming their criminal justice system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bonnie, you miss the point entirely.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you want to pay the same income taxes of Norway or Canada and have a mature and forward thinking government, these programs may be considered.
      Until then, it is easier to try and push the problem onto large businesses, offering a little unaudited “hep” here and there whilst spinning the old “wote” winner that furriners came and got it all.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “With government investing so much in education of local people, it was not right that employers then turned their backs on Caymanians.”

    Not really, considering you allow people to graduate from local public high schools when they cannot even read or write properly. How can you then expect a business to hire them, especially in the corporate world where you have to be able to read and write even if you work in the mailroom as the most Jr. staff?

    Business owners do not want mediocre or basic level employees to do jobs that require skill sets if they want to be successful, you go for the best out there. Business is competitive, if you are not, you fail.

    • Anonymous says:

      Think about the amount of money that was put into a school on Walkers Road which has been left not even half built as Government ran out of money. That’s a double whammy right there cause 1) all the money squandered could have done good elsewhere, 2) the lack of funding for proper schools/teachers/equipment just shows where the priorities are.

    • Anonymous says:

      I completly agree……the school and government do not have high enough expectations and the types of “workers” that finally make it out into the system do not hold up in the real world. Overall when looking at the big picture you need more than education to obtain a job. You need manners, class and will. You need to not play the victim if you show up late and are wearing sneakers to an interview. Parents for sake help your children be presentable in this world. Just because you are Caymanian does not mean you deserve a job. These comments have nothing to do with the employers that import cheap labor and don’t give people a chance.

      • Anonymous says:

        I know of expats here that can hardly read but they have jobs.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree with you but you can blame CIG again. It is the Immigration department’s duty to check understanding of English as part of the work permit application process. It would appear they are not too bothered about making these checks any more – either that or the tests can be easily faked by the applicants?

    • Anonymous says:

      You nailed it my friend.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Be careful or you may end up killing the golden goose in the financial services sector. Private companies in that sector will move to Bermuda, BVI, Jersey, if they are pushed too hard. They are not going to be continually dictated to in terms of who they should hire particularly at senior management levels, especially when they have to pay large amounts of money for work permits every year. Companies in this sector have options. Never forget Bahamas in the seventies, where they lost all of their financial services sector in two years and the sector has never really recovered to pre seventies levels.

    Caymanians need to start taking jobs in the Caymanian tourism sector and there are many jobs they could take in that sector but they must be prepared to take the initiative. How many jobs are filled by work permit holders at the Ritz Carlton?

    • Anonymous says:

      You should ask how many work permit holders were employed at the Holiday Inn that was replaced by the Ritz Carlton.

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny that Caymanians used to thrive in roles and all of a sudden were incapable of doing anything. What was allowed to happen is disgusting, and is now becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians who are qualified or capable of holding any job should be hired. Not just in tourism. When the Ritz Carlton was being built the chater was Caymanians would be employed whenever it opened. Did it happen? No, it was only hot air spued by Mr Big Stuff.

    • Rp says:

      You can’t be more right. High work permit fees killed the fund admin businesses. Many left like Goldman, Citco. The rest went up for sale. Fortis, admiral, Butterfield, UBS.

      These businesses provided a lot of employment. We cannot afford to lose the ones remaining.

  27. Anonymous says:

    No one is ever saying that there are not people in this country who are living below the poverty line. As someone whose church has various outreach projects, the requests for assistance is at times overwhelming even to the church community and the requests for assistance are many and varied. That being said, as the Minister pointed out, many of these requests are being made by persons who for one reason or another are just not in a position to help themselves, whether through poor life planning, or they just don’t have the family resources who can provide assistance.

    For me that is the biggest issue that I see affecting those who are unable to help themselves in this country. How can it be that you have persons who are no longer in a position to work who now have to depend on the kindness of strangers for a meal when they have family, sons and daughters who are gainfully employed who don’t turn their eyes to their parents. How can we live in a country where children are going to school each day with no breakfast and who can’t afford lunch and who go home to empty houses where parents are non-existent?

    While Mr. Osbourne blames the work permit system for the lack of employment situation, I want to raise an issue that does not get much spotlight and that is the situation where you have numerous women who have had children for expatriate men, who are no longer resident on the Island and so these women are now struggling with 3 or 4 children for whom they have to be providing and they just can’t. The men are either incarcerated, or they have left the Islands due to some ridiculous Immigration requirement. Frankly, my view is that if someone has a Caymanian child on this Island, whether you are Caymanian or not, if you are in possession of a work permit, then the Court should impose a mandatory deduction from your salary to pay child support. Too many of these women seem to be afraid of dragging these men before the Courts for maintenance for their children.

    In addition, if the men are no longer in the Cayman Islands, then the women should find a way to get a Court order here in the Cayman Islands that is enforceable in the country of residence. I know for Jamaica this is an option. Either the government of the Cayman Islands starts making these men stand up to their responsibilities or the country continues to be the surrogate baby father.

    As for those men who are incarcerated, as long as they have not been locked up for any violent crime, they should be paroled and a condition of their parole is that they have a job. Once they are employed, a mandatory deduction should be made from their wages for child support.

    As for the elderly, perhaps it is time that the law as it relates to providing for your parents needs to be looked at. If the government can locate the children of parents and grandparents, they should be able to file some type of proceedings in Court compelling these people to assist with caring for their elderly parents.

    • Unison says:

      Easier said than done; especially those living in Jamaica and other countries with weak judicial systems 🙂 …

      Also what is an injustice, are women abusing maintenance allowances ordered by the Court. Many times I heard of women taking men to court out of pure greed, and the children are neglected. The seek some justice from our courts, but because they are men, they are wrongfully considered here to be the “stronger party” and the woman the weak victim. You have judges here that miscarriage justice by not being fair.

    • Anonymous says:

      The reality is that people in Cayman constantly live beyond their means! And as harsh at it sounds, that includes having children. Too many people have children and can’t afford to maintain them and expect everyone else to chip in and help out.

      There are more than enough ways to prevent this from happening, hell too many are not really even interested in their children once they have them!

      I waited to have children until I was at a certain point in my life where I found to be in a solid relationship (marriage) with a steady income. I don’t expect anything more than that from anyone else, but I certainly won’t accept less!

      You make a choice, you deal with it.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is true 2.38pm, and not only that – too many children having children without partners to support them. The ‘new’ parents are often unequipped to afford them or even teach them the life skills required to be responsible citizens ( because many are in that ‘rebellious’ stage that most teenagers go through themselves – often the reason for their getting pregnant in the first place) so they pass that on to their Kids – who in turn grow up with an attitude – hence the birth of mischief and wrongdoing.
        Yes, some of them grow up to be decent and industrious citizens who turn out fine but I wonder what Percentage?

    • Wide Receiver says:

      One interesting point is that you never hear of gays couples churning out kids they can’t afford to support. It is only the irresponsible straight ones.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ozzie all good but why can’t the government demand the change start with the hiring practice in the civil service, including the blatant hiring of a security officers even if via contracted security company, set an example before you demand who the private sector should be hiring.

    Put a moratorium on foreigners in the civil service and oh, that includes the Jamaican contracted workers especially those in HR looking out for their own, where are you Mr manderson?

    • Anonymous says:

      The civil service is the worst when it comes to that. Expats get raises at the end of each contract while Caymanians endure pay stagnation for up to 10 years. When cost of living is awarded, the expats benefit more because their percentage increase is on the inflated base that they’ve managed to negotiate up over the years.

      The Government needs to look inward before they look outward because there are some serious injustices happening in the civil service right now.

      You won’t hear from Manderson or Kilpatrick on this, they are too busy trying to sort out Legge’s advertising business so he can get his profit margins back up, it’s just the way things are.

  29. Anonymous says:

    The Minister for Race Hatred has this horrible habit of blaming expats for everything, including CIG policy on work permits, when the real issues that would solve this important issue are nothing to do with the expats at all. The issues come down to education, education and education, combined with an attitude of its easier to keep giving handouts than fix the problem. Of course its easier to give hand outs, as long as there is money to give, what happens when that stops? People need to be educated to perform in the professions that are needed here, and in the proper way to work in an office or other environment. Failure to do so frankly means that they do not care about Caymanian progression, they do not care for the future, but just putting their heads in the trough now to suit their own needs. That failure means that even though most businesses would prefer to employ Caymanians as work permits would not be needed, there are not enough qualified or more importantly willing workers to be employed. I have personally seen some well qualified people come for interview, but when you check in to it, you find they were fired from the last place for not turning up, taking long breaks they were not entitled too, causing divisions by racist slurs against non-Caymanians (or so called paper Caymanians) and simply not doing what they were paid to do.
    If Ozzie or CIG believes that the above is not the truth, or that they cannot publicly admit that it is the truth, then Cayman is heading for meltdown. Fix the problem, and stop trying to patch it up all the time. In the end, your voters will thank you, even if in the short term some painful truths will have to be heard.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:31 seems like you are one of those who has your head up someone’s xxx. As long as someone speaks out the injustice that is always netted it against the locals, xxs lickers like you come out storming. If you don’t like it, lump it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Like I said 2.57, the truth hurts. Blaming me or anyone else won’t help. Man up and help yourself.

        • hafoo says:

          listen people you know that its caymanians not hiring caymanians,check out most caymanian own businesses,then you reply to my comments,one love

  30. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr Bodden,
    These problems were not created overnight. The first error was creating a substandard education system so that your children are not equipped to handle the real world. Secondly excluding expatriates from the local education system did nothing but exacerbate the problem. Now you have a work force that is unemployable, I have worked on the Island since the early 80’s. The previous generation for the most were hard working and contentious. Time after time after time I now hire young Caymanians, pay them exactly what I pay expats and after a week or a month they simply do not show up for work and do not let us know they will not be returning. How can you run a business when that happens. In the real world your words do not ring true.

  31. Caymanian donkey says:

    Looks like driftwood is sleeping…. LOL

  32. Anonymous says:

    What an idiot!

    The increasing volume to the NAU is a direct result of the entitlement mentality inculcated and manipulated over the years by successive Governments, including the present regime. They are encouraged to go to Government for a handout so that their votes can be influenced in an election.

    In any society there will be a need for help to certain individuals. But one cannot just apply this across the board and where there are healthy and able individuals to work, let them go out and work.

    Everyone cannot be a banker, lawyer or airline pilot. But I am sure that if they are willing and able to give an honest days work for an honest days pay, then there will be work available. But in the main the majority will give a good week’s work until the first paycheck and the following week you will hear the excuses starting – their mother’s uncle’s step sister’s child had a cold and they could not come to work!

    And the beat and bleat goes on…….

  33. G. says:

    One serious flaw: A minimum wage will put pressure on businesses to cut back on their workforce or raise prices. Neither is desirable. They have to make a profit to stay in business! It’s easy for politicians to enact such laws…… it gets votes and costs them nothing.

  34. Anonymous says:

    this is what you get when you have system where the most educated and successful in society cannot be elected or even vote in most cases…

    • WERUNDIS says:

      Cayman for Caymanians.

      We cannot give foreigners political control they already have economic control. If you don’t like it there’s several flights out chose one.

      • Anonymous says:

        More or less what Michael Manley told people in Jamaica in the early seventies (“seven flights a day to Miami”), 2:05, and they took his advice leading to Jamaica being the economic basket case it is today. When he took over, the Jamaican dollar was worth slightly more than the US dollar. How many people remember that?

      • Anonymous says:

        Haha 2.05, too much weed methinks, paranoia at its best. On the other hand ar$ehole comments like that will make us take our economic power elsewhere and you can have all the politcal control of the dead zone you want. Or the lazy could learn how to do a decent days work and you could take back economic control. Unless you have economic control, you will never have political control

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean incompetent for Caymanians. This explains why everything is so screwed up here. The reason you need Caymanian control is that they will give you your share of the payoff.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bigotry at its best. I guess they don’t give jobs to natives in countries like USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, Jersey, Guersey you hopefully get my point. It’s people like you that should never get PR and Caymanian Status.

    • Anonymous says:

      Xenophobic response at it finest. When comments like these continue to surface it further perpetuates the arguments of Caymanian residents vs expats.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Let me reword this coz its just yet another case of the government pointing fingers at someone, anybody else, for their own failures:

    “The CIG must wake up and step up,”

    Until you improve the shambolic education and further education facilities here in Cayman to offer similar qualifications to those being recruited from abroad, you will always have a large percentage of people out of work who simply cannot write an application letter let alone a CV or attend and conduct interviews in the correct manner. Until you start turning out our children from their schools ready for the work environment, with a full understanding of work ethics and etiquette, YOU the CIG can take sole responsibility for this. Its time you stopped passing the buck to employers and started looking at your own failures CIG.

    STOP wasting money on the turtle farm and start investing money in your youth.

  36. Anonymous says:

    How many Caymanians and how many non Caymanians does Mr Bodden employ at Ms Lorna’s gas station?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Bodden has six (6) Caymanians hired out of a total of eight (8) staff members. That’s a high 75% compared to many local businesses throughout these islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, that’s an improvement since I last went there, though it needs to be aid we are talking about a gas pumping station/store and not an accounting firm so 100% would have been preferable. I boycotted the place after his racist driftwood attack and will never go back. When I used to go there regularly, Spanish accents were very common and one girl told me she had to go back home soon. But for the two non Caymanian positions, he could go to Coe Wood beach and hire a couple of the sons of the soil there.

      • P45 says:

        Presumably as a business owner he will step up, do his bit and fire the 2 foreigners and replace them with 2 unemployed locals? Looking forward to hearing news of this.

      • Anonymous says:

        A man in his position is required to lead by example and he should employ an ALL CAYMANIAN STAFF.

  37. JTB says:

    Only one comment on this.

    Driftwood….

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. WAY too much driftwood piling up on our shores.

      • SSM345 says:

        All that driftwood keeps us afloat, wait till it stops coming and see where we find ourselves. You think its bad now? Its going to get worse and Cayman soon return to the country that the world forgot if we do not change how everything is done here.

        • Anonymous says:

          There were no hungry bellies or crime here when Cayman was the country the world forgot.

          • Anonymous says:

            There was hungar and crime, not to mention in the earlier 20th C. 17-50% of the population suffered from hookworm, depending on where they lived. Good times.

            • Anonymous says:

              You wouldn’t happen to be suggesting that hookworm is crime or hunger related, or that importing too much driftwood cured the hookworm, would you?

          • Anonymous says:

            Ask the elders about hungar and crime. Also, in the first half of the 20thC. 17-50% of the population suffered from hookworm, depending on where they lived. Typhoid fever was about, but the major cause of death was upper respiratory disease. It is supected it was caused by the practise of burning black mangrove in the smokepots. Think of that when you’re in your time-travel reveries…

            • Anonymous says:

              I AM an elder…

            • Anonymous says:

              I dont need to ask anyone anything. I am a 50 year old born Caymanian who has lived here all my life. Even in my days as a young man here our marine life was totally abundant and well beyond depletion by the local population. If people were hungry it most certainly was not because of a shortage of food. The front door to the family home i grew up in was never, ever locked as there was no need to. I KNOW, and no one on the face of this earth can un-know me with any form of rhetoric whatsoever that that has changed in the past 30 years in the name of “progress”. Yes we most certainly have more of the material things of this world than the country that time forgot had, but i guarantee you we’ve paid heavily for that.

You can comment anonymously. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cayman News Service