Premier: 1,500 jobless can’t all be unemployable

| 03/11/2015 | 117 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The premier has stated that his government does not blame the business community for unemployment but he does not believe that the more than 1,500 Caymanians officially registered as jobless are all unemployable. Alden McLaughlin revealed that how government deals with local unemployment will be part of the current shake-up of the public sector under the Project Future banner. He was not specific about medium to long-term plans, but said it was a challenge that his government needed to deal with immediately.

The subject of unemployment among Caymanians in the face of 22,000 work permits and the improving economic situation was at the forefront of many debates in the Legislative Assembly during the last meeting. The premier said that he did not believe that every work permit represented a job lost for a Caymanian but the numbers were such that no Caymanian who wants to work should be facing such difficulty finding a job.

Talking at a press briefing on Monday, where plans for public sector reform were unveiled, McLaughlin also spoke about the need for government to address the way it was dealing with the challenge presented by the unemployment figures, which the most recent data shows is “heading in the wrong direction”.

The issue is scheduled to be addressed in Phase 2 of Project Future. In the newly published programme brief (on page 11) it states that government plans to “develop an overarching policy framework on employment” where future skill requirements, training for local workers and the interventions needed will be assessed.

“This project will refocus government’s efforts into activities that make a positive difference in supporting Caymanians into employment and it will provide a more effective framework for working with business to enable them to do more,” he said. “Our economy is large, successful and growing.  In those circumstances, we should be able to say that any Caymanian who wants work should be able to find suitable employment in a reasonable period of time. Government and business need to work together to make that a reality. This project will get that done.”

While not blaming work permits or business, McLaughlin said businesses and government could do and there was a need to identify the barriers that stood in the way of the jobless local people securing work.

It was clear, he added, that the government system regarding employment was “not terribly effective”, and for some reason, when it was created the National Workforce Development Agency was not designed to be an employment agency. With a rebounded economy and a growth in permits, the challenge was to find out why the unemployment figures were going up.

“We all know it’s a complex issue and that a whole range of things are impacting the Caymanian unemployment rate but we need to do more as it is unacceptable that we have 22,000 work permits,” he said, noting “a huge demand for labour” but “significant local unemployment”.

McLaughlin said government must do a better job of identifying who the unemployed are and identify the deficiencies that are keeping them from being employed. He said that the government had held meetings with the Chamber of Commerce but it wasn’t acceptable to say people are unemployable.

“No one can convince me that the 1,500 unemployed people can’t be employed,” he said, adding that the government must find out why they can’t get work and address it.

The long-term question of whether or not the work permit system should be moved from immigration would form part of the considerations in the second phase of Project Future. In the meantime, the challenge of unemployment was immediate, he said.

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Category: Jobs, Local News

Comments (117)

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  1. Da-wa-u-get says:

    I strongly believe an assessment and categorization needs to be carried out to determine what makes these 1500 people unemployable (in the employers eyes) in order to address the problem properly.
    We cannot expect employers to use wood to build a steel building, on the other hand we cannot allow the importation of cut to measure Lumber and leave the native Tree’s that have been harvested to rot for the want of being shaped and cut to size!

  2. Kevin says:

    Simple put there is a breakdown between the following groups:

    1) Immigration namely Work Permit section
    2) Labor department
    3) NWDA

    If these 3 can ever get on the same page we would resolve many of our issues.

    1) They need to have a common database where they share info on. This needs to be managed by Labor as they have the unemployed staff. It could be piggybacked onto the NWDA website rather than separate.
    2) The data from this site needs to popup on the NWDA portal. Example: Company A files a job on the portal for a cashier. The site looks into the database for any people who have filed resumes who have cashier experience. It should also collate any new applicants who have not filed with labor (which it currently does) and present this information to an Immigration officer reviewing a permit. It should show: a) The company offering the post, b) Data from the labor database showing unemployed candidates c) Applicants who apply online at NWDA site. d) Information on the company if available showing any other permits held and a profile if possible.
    3) The Immigration Officer should have to print out the information from the system and attach to the application before it goes before the board for approval.
    4) If there are suitable candidates then the permit needs to be deferred initially and information sent to labor so they can reach out to the company with candidates. The company should also be informed that labor department has x amount of candidates for this post.

    It could be defined better and more red tape but that’s the essence of what needs to be done.

  3. Uncivil Servant says:

    As soon as my Gardening Leave approval comes through they are welcome to my job.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I find it shocking how people generalize the unemployed as lazy, stupid, etc. Every country has a section of its population who just don’t want to work and prefer to live off the system, however if parents make many sacrifices to send their children overseas for a university education and those then can’t find any entry level positions it is a sad reflection of the state the country is in.

    I have been in Cayman for almost 20 years and for the first 10 years the excuse was that Caymanians do not have enough education. Now more and more kids going off to university and when they come back looking for jobs every positions requires x amount of years of experience. WTH?

    • Anonymous says:

      Universities in Florida don’t count.

    • anonymous sports newlands worried mother. says:

      You are so correct, they tell you that your child needs to go to university because without an education your child will not be able to get a good job in this country call the Cayman Islands.

      you send your child away to university gets two degrees comes back to her country send in hundreds of applications only to hear after every interview that you are very intelligent and well polish and you’re what we are looking for only to get a call or a email after two weeks saying we went with the older person (expat) who has 20 years experience.

      So I want to know why bother to interview the caymanian young people when you know that you are not going to even consider training them or hiring them. You only do this because of immigration just to say yes we did interview caymanians. Not all caymanians are lazy. We are hard working people it’s just that we are kept down in our own country.

      Mr. Premier you need to get on your knees and ask forgiveness for all the caymanian young lives that you are ruining.

      Cayman Islands this little country used to be an awesome place to live is now a living HELL for caymanians to live in. Guess what my child and I will not leave or run away from the Cayman Islands this is our country. My child will get a good job. So expats move over. Have a happy Friday everyone!!!!.

      • Anonymous says:

        so no problem then. Your child will get a good job so what is your beef?

      • Anonymous says:

        i can sympathize – I am a qualified Caymanian Banker and for many months went through this type of scenario – even after I had experience – One Canadian Bank interviewer was even barefaced enough to tell me as I walked through the door to Interview, that they had already selected their Canadian candidate but Immigration had told them they must interview more Caymanians….he went on to tell me that I was really there to ‘make up the numbers’ for the Caymanian interviewee quota….

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanian parents do NOT make many sacrifices to send their children to university overseas, at least not in monetary terms since their children get scholarships. I might also add those scholarships are not means tested and are very generous. Also, getting a degree does not quality anyone for a job. If its experience that is needed then stay and get your experience in the country where you have got your degree, then come back with something to offer. When I first qualified I spend two years looking for a suitable job could not find one, so then changed my expectations. Its life so get over it!

  5. Anonymous says:

    As asked a few weeks ago during “Anti-Gays-Gate”; Where are today all the bigotry-fighting superheroes that crawled out of the woodwork to “defend” our local LGBT community?

    There is no denying – Caymanians as a collective are hated and disrespected by many of whom we have invited and welcomed in our community.

    Nevertheless, the voices of protest, righteousness and defence are eerily silent.


    – Whodatis

    P.S. Wake up my fellow Caymanians. Understand that many of the “friends” and organisations with which you are now affiliated are nothing but masquerading frauds that will selfishly place any and everything as a priority EXCEPT the basic dignity and self-respect of a born Caymanian.

    • Tony Blair Is My Hero says:

      You are constructing a straw man argument to suit your own prejudice against the foreigners.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and you are simply proving my point.
        Thank you.

        By the way, I trust you are looking forward to hearing the findings of the now concluded investigation into your war criminal hero.

        Not that anyone should expect anything to be done about it – it’s the UK after all.

        – Whodatis

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am experienced and qualified piece of driftwood….I did not get the notorious grant but spent 15 years as a professional here trying to live by the rules..realizing any year I could be forced to leave the island…was thankful to finally receive status….and it is all for nothing we have an immigration board/department and premier who only care about money from permits. In a few cases where a relative or friend is involved they care about the law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, how about expanding the legislature to 1519?

    Problem solved.

    Of course, a quorum is 9 on sunny days and 3 on rainy days.

  8. Anonymous says:


    I agree with everything in your comments 100%. Just remember that election time is just around the corner.

    We do not have any rulers!!!!!!! All we have is a bunch of “YESMEN” and consequently a bunch of followers all looking out for themselves and to hell with the PEOPLE!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    These 1500 people are not just unemployed, they are living, breathing proof of the abject failure of Caymanian politicians for the past 40-50 years.

    Why don’t we just abolish the useless and expensive charade that is the Legislative Assembly, then use all the money currently squandered on overpaid, overfed MLAs to pay these 1500 a living wage. We honestly would be way better off without the political goons.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ask how many of the brain surgerons sitting under the tree beside the west bay dock or sitting around the bathroom by the public beach want to work…… I bet not a one gets up…. they don’t want to work. They wait for Mac and his udp buddies to come around and buy their votes!

    • Anonymous says:

      Those folks are legitimate Bums!!!! They are not the 1500+ unemployed Caymanians, registered with the NWDA, who are desperately and/or tirelessly seeking employment.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many locals called in sick today cause it’s raining……

    • Anonymous says:

      3 out of 7 in my department

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if knowing that is going to get you more than three dollars an hour.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow is there a gene that allow so many of you to hate. I mean it is one generation after the next. By the way I went to work today. Sad very sad.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s the very sad results of slavery

      • Anonymous says:

        Good for you, here’s a shiny medal for your achievement of going to work when it rains.

        • Anonymous says:

          And here’s a not so shiny finger for your glaring stupidity.

        • Anonymous says:

          I sincerely hope your boss made you pay your work permit fee and plane ticket. it is a sad reflection on our government and Immigration Department that ungrateful loonies like you are allowed the privilege to work in this country at the expense of the local workforce and in the name of cheap a** labor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Most of those 1500 do not want work, they want money and they are getting it, so everybody is happy so, proceed.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It makes me laugh when all the politicians and racists out there go on about Cayman unemployment. The majority of them have helpers that are “foreign”, have nannies that are “foreign”, have gardeners that are “foreign”, hire foreigners in their own business. So lets start with you Alden, making a statement in the House requesting that all MLA’s commit to hiring from the list of 1,500 unemployed. Problem solved overnight. Hyprocrites the lot of them.

    • SSM345 says:

      Its hilarious, remember when he announced at the Ritz the other day that he had trouble paying his 4 employees in US as there was a shortage of available cash on Island? There’s 4 jobs right there from the Premier himself.

      • Anonymous says:

        So true, between those hired by MLAs in their homes, businesses and political offices all those who want to work could probably be employed by January but they the need the Jacan voters, who don’t care about good practice just money to send home.

  14. Anonymous says:

    1500 are not unemploayable, eh?

    Take away the criminals who cannot be trusted, the drunks, the junkies and those that can’t turn up on time five days in a row. Probably left now with less than 1/3rd of that figure. Many of the rest can find work in a week, just not work they want or of which they consider themselves worthy. That sub-category is not really unemployed. After these deductions there is probably a handful of unemployed people.

    But every economy needs some unemployment as 100% employment is very inflationary. For those moaning about the cost of living and unemployment bear that in mind.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Of course they are all employable, CIG just needs some imagination. For example:
    1. Coconut tree watchers. Tough job in hurricane season!
    2. Seaweed cleaners- need to be on standby for that one in 5 year event
    3. Tourist counters- walking up and down SMB all day counting tourists on the beach. May require on the job training in how to count to more than 3….

    Yes I am flippant, with apologies to the few who could really work but can’t find it. The rest….I blame them for not helping themselves, for we are all architects of our own futures, but I blame continued bad education and CIG mollycoddling for the rest. Look at Guernsey, Gibraltar, Malta… All thriving offshore economies with great education and pretty much full local employment. Something is seriously wrong here.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Regulate the Temp Agencies! They push temporary permits through the system like crazy and make it impossible for school leavers to get entry level positions.

    Regulate businesses to allow only x amount of Temps at a given time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds a great way to end up with departments outsourced off island.

    • Anonymous says:

      The temp agencies welcome and are actively seeking Caymanians to fill the positions that their clients have. If school leavers feel that temps are taking their jobs, I cannot understand why they do not use their initiative and enroll as temps themselves?

      • SSM345 says:

        Good Ole Caymanian Common Sense from the Sacred Wessell as Stevie would say.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because a school leaver with no experience doesn’t have a chance against someone who has years of working experience. Like I said many Temps coming from off Island are in their late 20s early 30s while they accompany a significant other who got a job on Island. They use the Temp Agencies to get on Island while then comfortably looking elsewhere for a full time position.

        Why should a business pay 10percent of an annual salary to a temp agency to place a Caymanian? Makes no sense.

  17. Anonymous says:

    God bless America, they could show us how to do it right, like their American first policy. Never mind the great equalizer for Cayman is here. FACTA is here and many of those in the financial industry who look down on natives without jobs will soon join the unemployed.

    • SSM345 says:

      Last time I checked business was booming in Cayman with regards to FATCA, not sure what your smoking there buddy.

      FATCA Responsible Officer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would the implementation of FATCA (which was over a year ago) cause us to become unemployed? We’re still here buddy and we’re not going anywhere. Contrary to you ignorant assumptions not many of us really are tax dodgers, we and our clients comply with our FATCA obligations and aren’t going anywhere soon buddy.

      And you have just demonstrated how you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. What a foolish comment. Have you applied for a job in financial services lately?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep you are so bright and right. American citizens are flocking to Cayman to do business. International banks are rushing to open subsidiaries, mutual funds companies are rushing to open offices in Cayman. Workers are in short supply to work in the financial industry it’s the 80s again and FACTA is like a lion without teeth and claws; useless. You are so, so, smart. Jobs within the financial industry is booming so come on Cayman the decedent era of the 80s and 90s are back again lets eat, drink and be merry.

  18. Anonymous says:

    For the last 20 years I have heard people talk about starting a trade school on the island for young people to learn a trade.
    What is the hold up?
    I already know the current tradespeople don’t want the competition.

    • Anonymous says:

      The hold up is the usual reason. No one prepared to stick their neck out, others not knowing how to move a policy into action, lack of organization skills, vested interests and the list goes on. Sigh!

  19. Back in my days as a newspaper columnist, I wrote column after column on the connectivity of local educational standards, employment capabilities and the entitlement culture. Strangers (Caymanians and expats alike) would come up to me in the street and congratulate me on hitting the nail on the head – time and time again.

    But for all the notice the politicians took, I might as well have been writing in the sand. As an expat, my opinion and advice were worth a big fat zero. Apparently, it was of more value to Cayman to do *nothing* than to consult with an expat that wasn’t a pet stooge. How incredibly silly that was – and is.

    Now, today, after forty years of affirmative action that has failed miserably, the best idea our MLAs and Education Department administrators can come up with is forty *more* years of it. Forty *more* years of glass ceilings and cheating by both the Work Permit crony-bureaucracy and employers trying to make an honest buck… forty *more* years of our dysfunctional employment-system. Seriously – what is *wrong* with our rulers? Do they really believe their own propaganda? Sigh. Maybe they do, at that.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Alden – I will tell you some reasons

    1. The third world nightmare you call an education system is inadequate to the needs of our economy.

    2. Everyone with a pending PR application gets to remain employed even if they are displacing Caymanians from employment and even if they have no hope of getting PR. It has been two years already! Get on with it.

    3. Half the systems are so corrupt that the active abuse of expatriate labor by unscrupulous employers is openly tolerated.

    4. Advertising is not required for many entry level jobs. Caymanians never get an opportunity to get on the ladder.

    5. You make it too hard to fire Caymanians who deserve to be fired. Employers understandably are not willing to give people a chance.

    6. Caymanians are no longer in control of many businesses. Employers prefer to hire their own.

    7. Hundreds of foreign nationals are working illegally.

    8. Immigration succeeds in chasing away businesses that would otherwise provide employment.

    9. We are the only country on earth where petty criminals are treated by employers as unqualified to act as even a common labourer.

    10. Minimum wage?

    11. Social services is too generous to many capable of working.

    12. Government (so far) has its head in the sand.

    There are many more, I am sure. Good luck!

    • Rhett says:

      Look into the reasons or non-reasons why Caymanians are being fired, terminated (redundant) only to be replaced by a Work Permit holder or someone with PR….?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes – in those cases (and I know here are many) it is an abuse – but it is Immigration (for whom the Premier is directly responsible) that allows the abuse to happen.

    • Anonymous says:


      13. Single mothers and absent (non-contributing) fathers.

      14. Teenage pregnancy and the unavailability of abortion to lower economic classes (the wealthier just get on a plane if they choose).

      15. Artificial praise of our little angels when the reality is that some of them are total shits and no-one has the balls to say so. Watch a high school graduation some time. Caps and Gowns and celebration are totally inappropriate for a good 25% of those who have accomplished nothing and swagger across the podium flashing gang signs while role models stand and applaud. We (and they) should be hanging our heads in shame.

      16. Forcing the kids who want to learn to sit side by side with the losers and catering to the lowest common denominator.

      17. Drugs.

      18. Blind faith in God to fix problems and come to the rescue without acknowledgment that God often prefers to help those who help themselves.

      19. A view that employment is a right – it is not. It is a privilege which carries heavy obligations.

    • M Ployer says:

      Point 5 is really important. Bad experiences of how hard it is to remove poor quality local staff has a very chilling effect on willingness to recruit locally.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “Not specific about plans”? Are there any specific plans on anything? Economy growing? That is despite CIG and CIMA efforts, not because of them. If they got off their high horses and listened sensibly to industry bodies who really want what is best for Caymans future, this place would have a sustainable and even better future. As it stands a lot of people in finance believe that the death knell is sounding and looking for opportunities elsewhere. It would seem that certain leaders who have no experience in such matters believe they know better than those that are in it. That never ends well.

  22. Driftwood with moss growing says:

    It’s really sad when the natives cannot obtain employment and the seniors are placed in pastures with no income than a couple of dollars from pension to cover for gas and bread. Forget paying house insurance, car insurance and medical. Sad, sad, sad….

  23. Knot S Smart says:

    Just the other morning I took a drive in Georgetown and along Eastern Avenue alone I counted 1500 freshly imported construction workers…
    I wonder which government is handing out work permits right, left, and center?…

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you would be best placed to keep your eyes on the road and how your are driving, than counting 1,500 expat workers. Where do I start to put in context your idiotic statement?

      • Knot S Smart says:

        ‘how your are driving”? – You are not from this neck of the woods, are you?
        By the way I have been driving for 97 years with no accidents…

    • Anonymous says:

      the same elected by people who doesn’t want to work a 45 hours week full on, that take one hour break, that stops every 5 mins for a cigarette, that says no to anything, including working weekends and run complaining everytime something don’t go his way…

  24. Natchenko says:

    Time for foreign debble go home!!!! Jobs for Caymanians only needs to be the policy

  25. Anonymous says:


    Cayman Business:

    Option 1: Hire an inexperienced 18 year old high school graduate, train and develop him / her to perform a function in the company or

    Option 2: Hire a 30+ year old, experienced, possibly degree-holding Filipino, Indian, Australian, Jamaican work permit holder that is over-qualified for said function

    (Both options carry the same expenditure to the company.)
    The environment is that of “runaway capitalism” ( – C. Saunders).

    What option do you choose and why?

    – Who

    (Btw, not sure if the guest on the radio this morning was trying to expose my identity – but let the record show – he would have been incorrect. Love listening to the gentleman talk though.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Option 1 if you are thinking long term

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually hire Two. Even in the best of circumstances not every trainee will work out. There is something seriously wrong if you can bring in an experienced degree holder from the Philippines at the same cost. If the job requires a degree then the work permit alone should be make difference if you are honest about the true job description.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed, poster.

        Unfortunately, like the gentleman said on the radio show yesterday, Cayman is now a prime example of “runaway capitalism”.

        Long term thinking and strategies do not apply.
        Evidence: Western outsourcing of manufacturing. Cayman insourcing of cheap labour.

        Cayman’s biggest problem is the basic, standard capitalistic approach we take to pretty much everything.

        – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the 30 year old expat is cheaper. You do not have to give them pension for the first 9 months, and Government agencies do not seem to care if you do not pay them overtime or give them health insurance. God help them if they complain. Immigration ensures they are gone before anyone in power will effectively listen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly, this is true.

        Cayman’s first step toward sorting out its local unemployment issues should be an enforcement of worker’s rights – for ALL employees, Caymanians and work permit holders alike.

        Thereafter a minimum wage should be implemented alongside the lowering of the cost of living – primarily by way of addressing the cost of energy.

        – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      Option 2 all the way.

  26. For What it's worth says:

    The NWDA is clueless, helpless, powerless and unable to assist. They must have been trained by their next door neighbors the DLP? Both of these departments need a shake up as nothing successful comes from them. I have tried for 2 years now to get the NWDA a to assist my nephew with work, and I would have been better off talking to a light pole than trying to get help from them. My other issue is the DLP as to what purpose they serve. I am aware of at least 2 instances where terminated employees have sought help only to be told that they (the DLP) could not assist so the employee would have to take the matter to small claims court. Both the NWDA a and the DLP need to understand that these are perilous times and to treat people in such a manner will only lead to further hopelessness. What the staff in these offices need to do is to get up off their backsides, get some work done and stop taking up space. Maybe what we the public need to be doing is calling them out when they are on their happy hour tirades every Friday afternoon. Alden, the 1500 is an easy fix my friend, you just need to have the staff to do the job.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem here is in the beginning of your paragraph. I am a small business owner and TO many times the person requesting the position is not the one asking for the job. Its a parents, a grand parents, and aunt, an uncle… you get the picture. When telling these people we have positions available, to get your son, daughter, nephew, niece to call me, they never do. If the person looking for the job is not the one asking, chances are it wont work out.

      • For What it's Worth says:

        I agree with your comments my friend but the reason I stated what I did was to show the incompetence of the NWDA, as my nephew had become disheartened and lost focus. I must say that thankfully he recently secured employment ON HIS OWN, no help from me and DEFINATELY no help from the NWDA. Again I appreciate your constructive insight and all I can say is thank you for trying to assist ALL Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree. I have seen many young people make the effort find work without response from employers, and as soon as the youngsters senior affiliate makes contact the response is received swiftly. I just saw an example of as such, earlier this week, provided that the youngsters affiliated was well-known people and reached out to the Employer out of concern about the Employer’s non-responsiveness. Employers often ignore persons whom they don’t know and “cherry pick” suitable candidates of a their friend’s choosen, or person’s for which they are well connected with.

          This was a clear instance of “inverted networking” that works like a charm in the Cayman Islands!

      • Anonymous says:

        Very true, if they cannot even be bothered to apply for the job themselves they should not be hired. Simple.

  27. Fred the Piemaker says:

    If the Premier does not believe the business community is to blame for unemployment in a growing economy, who does he blame? Surely not the unemployed for not taking any job available (blaming voters never a good move for a politician), or his government’s own policies? Who else could be to blame?

  28. Diogenes says:

    “No one can convince me that the 1,500 unemployed people can’t be employed,” Of course they can be employed – that 22,000 covers a hell of a lot of jobs, some of which have minimal requirements for prior skill and experience. But if unemployed want to pick and choose jobs that they feel are acceptable to them, it is inevitably going to be tougher to get the unemployed into jobs.

    First you have to deal with whether the qualifications are adequate for the jobs they aspire to. I am not going to make generic comments here, but there does seem to be a recurring theme of employers complaining about job applicants who do not have necessary qualifications. However, for those Caymanians that are qualified one wonders why the employer does not hire them rather than a foreigner, who by definition requires the expense of a work permit and all the management time in dealing with Immigration.

    The reason for that is the second problem – the structural issues created by the labour market regulation. Whether the employer is prepared to settle for the Caymanian candidate who is capable of doing the job when he has an expatriate applicant who is better qualified or experienced at the same or lesser price. Whether the unemployed Caymanian is prepared to accept the wages offered by the employer, when the difference between the market rate established by an international labour pool and the rate acceptable to a Caymanian is greater than the cost of a work permit. Whether the employer is prepared to get rid of an established expatriate worker who he knows in exchange for an unknown quantity, when replacing the Caymanian if he turns out not to be suitable (or decides to walk off the job) is going to result in further costs of advertisement, relocation etc, whereas there are no penalties at all for the employee who walks away. And of course, the fact that, thanks to the Immigration Law, employers are given god like powers over expatriate workers – who they can fire without fear of a tribunal, short change on their health cover, and generally breach the labour law, all without fear of consequences because the employee, if he dares speak out, is promptly deported as soon as his work permit is revoked.

    There is of course the third alleged issue – that foreign employers deliberately select their own countrymen out of clannishness or deliberate prejudice against Caymanians. That may or may not be a factor, but if it is, it means the employer is prepared to pay more (due to the work permit) to satisfy their bias – economically irrational.

    The qualification issue is a mix of the realities of a limited population and a natural distribution of talent when competing with an international market, and a long term failure in education to equip Caymanians to meet the labour market requirements and nurture a culture in which any employment is seen as preferable to unemployment. The Caymanians that risked their lives sailing to the keys for turtle or signed up for merchant shipping jobs would not understand a modern ethic in which working is only acceptable if it fulfils a certain status or position – they had pride in putting food on the table and would doubtless be horrified to see modern youth turning down certain jobs as too hard.

    The structural problems are an unintended consequence of attempts to create positive discrimination in favour of Caymanians, but they are the consequence of measures and regulations entirely in the hands of government.Whilst some employers are unscrupulously exploiting an opportunity given to them on a plate, many are simply reacting to commercial realities imposed by an artificial labour market.

    In either event the primary remedy lies in governments hands. Don’t blame the private sector for governments distortion of the labour market and educational failings. And don’t think that the solution is further regulation – it hasn’t worked so far, and trying to force employers to hire those they do not want or cannot afford is not a sustainable solution. In the short term it simply leads to evasion of the regulations, and in the long term loss of employment opportunities.

  29. Anonymous says:

    One possibility that skews the figures is the ass dragging going on with PR applications. There must be plenty who are deserving of PR and who are frustratingly, not getting through.

    Clear the backlog and the number of WP holders will naturally reduce, and government gets to receive the exorbitant annual fees for a guaranteed 6 more years.

    Something to think about.

  30. Anonymous says:

    PPM have no solutions to help Caymanians get employed or acquire work place ready skills. They have a mandate to do that but are failing miserably.

  31. Driftwood Voter says:

    Take a look at how many “seniors” that are out of work – want to work, need to work! So many have excellent work records, are reliable and honest, great job skills and desperate to secure employment that will enable them to keep the wolf from the door. Because they are 60 and over, they have been forced into mandatory “retirement”. The banks, trust companies, grocery stores are just some who will not hire after age 60 – but happy to apply for that permit and government is lovin’ the $$$$$ they get for issuing it. They are the new low rung on the social/economic ladder. Government was supposed to be looking at moving the “retirement” age to 65. How’s about abolishing a retirement age all together? Worried about there not being enough in the kitty when it comes to printing that retirement cheque????? Well – here’s one solution. Employ your “seniors”. They have a lot to offer.

    • Conscience says:

      Agree with your comments fully. It does not make sense this retirement age nonsense. If an individual is physically and mentally capable they should not be put out to pasture. Remember this Mr. Premiere pensions only became mandatory in the late nineties, therefore the accumulation of pension funds for those who were subscribed into plans could not significantly accumulate particularly when you consider the markets down turn where stocks and companies in many instances went to the toilet. Also, why would you not want your citizens at all ages to be productive. The answer really is to create a better and user friendly NWDA platform for registering of unemployed. Start reading CIG on what other countries like our Mother country is doing in terms of retirement age ( we want to emulate them in every other aspect), provide free training in those cases where skill sets need upgrading, it’s got to be free cause unemployed ain’t got no money huh. Create technology awareness at all ages use your community centers for night tutoring on computers or other skills, I am sure. Many in the community would volunteer a couple hours a week.

      Talk to your people CiG talk to your people you ain’t doing all that can be done for your people to be the best that they can be, you ain’t. So get with the program for goodness sake no more consultancy reports do something or resign.

      Go ahead button pushers, the truth hurts.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only seniors that can work way way past their retirement age seem to be employed by the Deputy Governor but they are not Caymanians! Why are Caymanians pushed out the minute they turn 60? Why has the change in retirement to 65 taken so long? All just words!

      • Anonymous says:

        In many cases government has used the humane retirement age to get rid of those who are incompetent. Now that does not sit easily with someone who believes you should be allowed to work for as long as you are able. However, its a truth that we must face up to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point driftwood voter. The only issue I see is that you will then bring the “retired” back in to the work space and have even more unemployed and CIG ain’t gonna do that anytime soon. The problem you describe is real. We have one lady who has to retire, but she can’t afford too, she is healthy and willing. Seems kind of screwed up to me.

  32. Rp says:

    If an unemployed receives more money in social assistance compared to what he or she can earn on his her own merit, then they are better off not working.

    I am not advocating for high minimum wages but rather for an analysis of what is being paid to the unemployed vs what they can reasonably earn given their qualifications.

    They also need to be held accoutable to be given unemployed status. They must be required to register with nwda, they must prove to nwda that they are making efforts on a daily basis to obtain employment commensurate with qualifications. They must attend mandatory courses prescribed by NWDA. They cannot be on unemployment status forever, their benefits should be cut at some point and classified as welfare recipients to motivate them to seek employment.

    They are not held accountable and as such many take the system to the cleaners.

  33. Anonymous says:

    yawn….the mythology of caymanian unemployment continues……zzzzzz
    when can we have an honest discussion about caymanian workers?…..
    just ask any of the major employers on island………

    • Anonymous says:

      The anti-Caymanian prejudice that your post reflects is a big part of the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can dismiss the poster as “anti Caymanian” but it is unhelpful. Employers have had bad experience of employing locals that does definitely prejudice how they recruit but who can blame them. If the local workers are so great, why is it that your own people hire foreigners to look after their children, to clean their houses, to tidy their yards, to do administrative work in their businesses, to work in their nurseries etc? Answer me that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get a new story! Tired of hearing the same old thing. Let me tell you about the expats that are employed and know no more than the Cayman counter part. Save your breath on the repeated non sense. Every country have the same problem…all your comments do is destroy the self esteem and self image of my young people of Cayman. I work with them everyday and know for sure the promise that they have. Intelligent and willing to work for what they want. They are being torn down mentally before they even get started in life. BACK OFF!

    • Anonymous says:

      So all Caymanian workers are terrible? Wow, what a ignorant statement. But I’m sure you have your reasons for falling into that usual trap.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I’ve hired a lot of Caymanians over the years. The few good ones really stand out as impressive people because they have to overcome poor local education standards and a culture that wants to drag them back down to mediocrity. They are exceptional. The bad ones I don’t have to remember because they are still here (other than on their statutory maximum of sick days) waddling in at ten past nine, taking morning tea and afternoon tea and a 90 minute lunch in between and spending the rest of the time on Facebook then making a swift exit about 4:55. I can’t fire them and I can’t risk hiring any more. I know they are constantly applying for more high paying or prestigious jobs but despite my glowing references nobody ever hires them. I am sure I’m not the only one in this position.

  35. Anonymous says:

    “No one can convince me that the 1,500 unemployed people can’t be employed,” he said, adding that the government must find out why they can’t get work and address it.”

    Pick me, pick me, pick me – let me answer that question: THEY CAN’T GET WORK because they are either unreliable or blinking useless. Not all… but a vast percentage of them. Furthermore, I wish the NWDA would stop sending me candidates that list on their resumes that they used to work for my company. There’s a damn good reason why they don’t work for me anymore so stop sending me their applications! GEEZE

  36. Uncivil Servant says:

    Were we not absorbing the other 1500 the number of unemployable would be double that.

  37. Anonymous says:

    How many permits does Government hold? Here’s a suggestion, start a temp agency for these people, some work’s better than none, plus employers get a chance to try them out first. 1500 people isn’t that many to handle or figure out how many want to work, how many can work and how many have no interest in work.

    • Rp says:

      No temping agency required. This analisys should be done by NWDA.


      1) unemployed are held accountable
      2) nwda is held accountable
      3) employers are held accountable

      Nothing will change! But instead we blame all of the above depending on which side of the fence we are and nothing gets accomplished.

      The premier has no clue how many are unemployable by his remarks. Let’s start figuring that out first by mandating all unemployed to register with nwda and provide CVs. Let’s define unemployment criteria as willing to work, able to work, and actively seeking work and let’s see how many fit this criteria!

      If you don’t meet the criteria you should not be considered unemployed.

    • Anonymous says:

      1,500 people isn’t that much? You’ve obviously never worked in a temp agency!

  38. Just Sayin' says:

    Probably not but 1497 of them think they deserve to be attorneys when in reality they should be bagging groceries or collecting trash. The other three are on crack.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just Sayin’

      Or architects. I remember a project back in 2007 when all the ‘unemployed’ teenagers interviewed chose that option – didn’t matter that none of them could add 2+2 and get 4.

      Alden – just because you think the system screwed you when you went looking for a job with your shiny new law degree (and I remember that too!) don’t go down this road because it doesn’t benefit anyone.

      • Anonymous says:

        A lot of so called lawyers only made it big because they were the token Caymanians who were willing to keep their own down! We all know who they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only 3 on crack Just Sayin’? Things are looking up!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Check the hiring practices in your own organisation……. the civil service! Jamaicans and Filipinos all standing around ‘guarding what’? You mean you can’t find two Caymanian buddies who want to dress in uniform, look tough and chat all day in same place? hmmm

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, we could but they won’t stay because of the pay and we get to treat the expat worker like shit. How great is that!

  40. Anonymous says:

    To even hint that Work Permits may be part of the problem IS the problem. As long as Cayman keeps pointing the finger at “others” instead of looking in the mirro, unemployment will continue to be an issue.

    • SSM345 says:

      “no Caymanian who wants to work should be facing such difficulty finding a job.”

      Their difficulty lies in whether they want to accept available employment opportunities, most don’t because the wages are low and they are embarrassed that a friend might see them flipping a burger at Wendy’s.

      Others have very poor employment records so employers assume their trend will continue.

      Others don’t even turn up to interviews.

      Others have police records.

      Others have ludicrous crap all over their Facebook, Instagram etc accounts which is one of the first things HR look at when preparing for an interview.

      The list goes on, its no one fault but their own.

      If you are going to a lot of interviews and getting nowhere, you are doing something wrong, but that would be an expats or employers fault of course.

      Sometimes its not others that have to change and adapt, its you that needs to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Another problem is the crazy expectations of what someone can do as “suitable employment”. If you are unemployed you should take one of the many jobs that are available not hold out for something you like the sound of.

  41. Anonymous says:

    It would be good to be able to review a list of these people.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.

      Why don’t they publish it? Be transparent!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is exactly the point.

      The list does not need to be made public but in order to address this issue Government should know exactly who is unemployed and why.

      We have the luxury of having a small population. While 1,500 people is not insignificant in terms of the overall population it is a small enough number that it should be possible for all of these people to be registered with Government. Government would then understand exactly what issues they are facing and what efforts they have undertaken to obtain employment.

      Its time to stop guessing and actually address the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        In fact he could lower the unemployment figure overnight by two if they were to hire two of the unemployed to collect and collate the data on the true scale of unemployment in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        We prefer to hide behind rhetoric thank you very much. It allows us politicians to stir up unrest and gain votes that we richly have worked at getting.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I agree, it’s only 1,499.

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