Retirement home denies labour infractions

| 20/10/2015 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service

Pines Retirement Home, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The Pines Retirement Home has denied that it is mistreating staff and has accused former disgruntled employees of stirring up a malicious campaign against the George Town charity. Although the labour department has confirmed that it is in the preliminary stages of an enquiry, it said that no formal complaint has been filed with the department. The current manager, Lynda Mitchell, said the allegations were completely unfounded and had been sent anonymously or under a series of false names aimed at giving the impression of discontent at the home.

In the news over the last few years as a victim of theft, when $300,000 was allegedly stolen by the former manager the home is a not-for-profit entity which depends on private sector support. Controversies mounted when the public prosecutor’s office said it was not in the public interest to pursue the suspect, Sue Nicholson, as she had returned to the UK and her husband had paid back the missing cash.

CNS has over the last year received a variety of correspondence via post and email from several individuals claiming to work at the home and accusing the management of not paying overtime and bullying workers. But Mitchell said this was completely untrue.

“We believe that the principal source of this correspondence is a disgruntled former staff member whose employment we were forced to terminate for performance issues that we believe threatened the safety of our elderly residents,” she told CNS. “I can assure you that we have established procedures whereby current staff members may raise complaint or concerns. If they are uncomfortable doing so directly with me as manager they may raise them confidentially with a board member of their choosing.”

She said that staff contracts and remuneration have been subject to a detailed review by the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) earlier this year as part of the application for registration as a charitable organisation under the current Labour Law.

“In the light of the malicious correspondence that has been circulating we have encouraged any staff member that wishes clarification on how his or her remuneration has been calculated to make an appointment to see our bookkeeper or treasurer for an explanation,” Mitchell told CNS.

The complaints, which have come from a number of sources who have requested anonymity, included allegations that staff would be dismissed if they were to complain to the Labour and Pensions Department. The acting director of the department, Japhia Loval Linwood, said in instances where employees are afraid to come forward to make a complaint, the DLP encourages those people to utilize the DLP’s confidential tip line (945-3073).

“While it is not compulsory for the caller to disclose their identity, it is extremely helpful for the caller to provide as much information as possible to assist the department in making enquiries. Information shared via this avenue is held in strict confidence as we seek to maintain the highest ethical standards,” she stated.

“It is important to note that the DLP, as the department that regulates the Labour Law and National Pensions Law, does not in any circumstance represent either party to a dispute. Rather, as the regulator, the department’s objective is to ensure full compliance with both laws respectively.”

She explained that under the Labour Law the director is charged with ensuring compliance by employers, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed or not.

“Despite the limitations on resources that the department faces, it remains committed to its vision of being a valued and trusted partner in supporting excellence in employee-employer relations and compliance with labour and pensions legislation for the private sector in the Cayman Islands,” Linwood added.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Right ya so says:

    Perhaps it’s time the Board gave credibility to the rumors about the current management; unfortunately I think it chooses to believe what it has been fed by the management they have put in place and not the truth from the mouths of the front line staff who are, from stories on the marl road, bullied, overworked and underpaid.

  2. Sim G aka Sho G says:

    Wow DLP actually doing something even if those reports are true they are ineffective and unprofessional doubt anything will be done.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sue should be brought back to be prosecuted. Cameras should be installed so families can view what is happening at any time. Thus gives the oversight the staff need to ensure proper treatment of themselves and of the residents.

  4. Allar says:

    They all get on these boards to gain residency or status so we don’t owe them jack

    • Anonymous says:

      And what is your reason for volunteering, just plain old good nature?

    • Anonymous says:

      And what about the many who already have status and residency who continue to contribute while you wallow in entitlement.?

      • Anonymous says:

        Erm, 10:11, we don’t mention them because it means we can’t make nasty racist statements if we acknowledge the truth of your statement. Much better to continue this “Cayman is being ruined by non genuine Caymanians” attitude. It covers a multitude of sins and allows us to blame pretty much everything on you outsiders and makes us feel that Cayman would be wonderful if none of you had ever come here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love the headline, but forcing pensioners to work? Shocking

  6. Kodak Moments says:

    Not pointing fingers here, but there is a social clique who like to sit on boards, govt and ngo, for the status and prestige factor. They aren’t much interested in actually managing anything or getting their hands dirty.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless you are already volunteering in some capacity it’s kind of wrong to critique those who do, I don’t give two figs why they start out doing what they do, all I know is I’m not doing it and I am grateful that someone else is. Without these people volunteering everything would be in a worse state than it is now, some are more useful than others, but they are all using up their free time to help other people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pines Board of Directors have zero credibility they protected Sue Nicholson and warned her about the RCIPS investigations and not to return to Cayman. Now this latest scandal requires immediate investigation by the Ministry and a shake up of the entire board.

    • frangipani says:

      Investigations into the Pines needs to also include the manner in which residents are treated, especially those who cannot speak or stand-up for themselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        So true but remember some people beat their children and the elderly because that is how they were raised and believe that’s how it is and it is natural

    • Anonymous says:

      Everybody remember the directors were in favor of bringing Sue back to face the music, also, they are volunteers for this most unglamorous of all positions.

      A little gratitude and understanding for the valuable work these people do would be nice, and a closer look at the source of the recent complaints would be telling.

      • Anonymous says:

        We owe them nothing resign if you cannot handle the pressure. There are no sacred cows somebody will do the work as they did before they became board members.

        • Anonymous says:

          Many of these old and afflicted people in the Pines are there because their nasty money grabbing families left them there, claiming Government needed to look after them-yes the old entitlement thing again. Meanwhile the family members pretend there are no assets and they are smugly waiting for the old person to die so they can grab all their land.

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