Change of plan sees Alden lead work task force

| 13/01/2016 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alden McLaughlin, Cayman Islands Premier

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said that he will be taking the lead himself of a task force t0 spearhead a new government work-placement programme to tackle the conundrum of high local unemployment in the face of increasing work permits. The premier told CNS that there had been a change of plan and Winston Connolly, named last week as the chair, would now head up the newly formed energy committee. So, although he will be involved in the ‘Ready2WorkKY’ project, he will not lead the taskforce.

Given the need to address the issue now, McLaughlin made it clear he intended to ensure this new project worked. Akin to a government-funded apprentice programme, local workers will be placed in jobs with the private sector but government will pick up the tab for paychecks for a limited period while employers fund the training costs, leading to secure job placements, he explained.

With $1.7 million of public funding being used, the premier said the aim was to eliminate the early financial risk for employers who take on Caymanians that may not be an exact fit but train them to do the job instead of taking on permit holders. McLaughlin said that as well as eliminating risk, he hoped to eliminate the “excuses as well” that employers put forward for why they will not take on local workers.

He said that so far, members of the business community who are going to be asked to take on workers under the scheme have been enthusiastic and recognise it as a preferred alternative to a moratorium on permits that members of the opposition are calling for.

The premier said he was not prepared to suspend permits and force employers to take on local people, as has been suggested by independent MLAs Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean, because their call for cancelling permits was an “over simplistic” approach to a complicated problem.

“Employers have to want an individual and be satisfied that they can do or can learn to do the job,” he said.

But he was confident that by working directly with employers in the private sector, the task force can make it work and get local people who are willing and able to work in jobs.

“This problem is not insurmountable,” he told CNS. “We must be able to accommodate what amounts to around the five to six hundred people that really want to work.”

Acknowledging that there is a certain level of structural unemployment that will not be eliminated, he said that at present the number of Caymanians out of work that want to work was too high, and while it was gradually coming down, it was not coming down quickly enough.

The premier explained that the programme will be rolled out next month and that more details would be revealed though the press next week.

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Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you think some of these issues could be fixed by actually applying the labor law and ensure companies adhere to it?!?! Why are there hundreds of employers on Island who have stolen pension funds from their employees, who do not provide health insurance or who treat their employees like slaves, yet nothing is done?!?!?!

    All this Government and any previous Government has ever done is lip service! Nobody wants to actually “lead” the country because god forbid we would have to step on the toes of some drinking buddies……….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fix the education system first, until you do that all you’re doing is putting a band-aid over a machete wound.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Every country has unemployed and unemployable. Accept it and provide for the basic needs. Everyone who wants to work is working. End of the story.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I need a good man right now. I like this risk free deal. This will work.
    Caymanian Employer.


    What about those Caymanians who employers view as at-risk, such as an ex-offender, recovering substance abuser (alcohol or drugs), welfare recipient, economically disadvantaged youth and adults who lack a work history, and other such people who routinely are denied employment opportunities?

    Has Government considered offering employers a $5,000 business/tax credit for employing each at-risk job seeker? This is similar to the federal bonding programme in the States that was specifically designed to address the lack of employment opportunities for newly released ex-offenders.

    This incentive could be in place for the first 6 months of employment, thereby allowing the ex-offender to build their skillset, where typically the employer would not want to take a chance on hiring them because of their at-risk situation.

    As a result, this could then lead to more permanent types of employment for these individuals who are very seldom given a chance to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey 5:01 you are out of place! quaring those offenders and drugs and alchol but for you to defy a neefdy person’s right to welfare asistance where needed shows what poor character you are. John public is never cnn privy to who receives piublic assstance its not your business Mr or Mrs.Elite!

      • Anonymous says:

        First off, whether someone is a recently convicted criminal is a matter of public record. Second, the suggestion was intended to help find employment for such people by reducing the risks to employers. It is a sensible idea. Sadly, I think the problem in Cayman would be that the Government would be paying out on many of the bonds. But thank you for your post, it helps support certain comments made about the quality of the education system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lets get real here. There is not one politician in Cayman that I can name who has the interest of Caymanians at heart. Spouting about Caymanian unemployment when you hire expats yourself proves my point.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Alden can you lead in renewable energy and jobs for caymanians.

    Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor-intensive. This means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels.

    Renewable energy already supports thousands of jobs in the United States. For example, in 2014, the wind energy industry directly employed 175,000 full-time-equivalent employees in a variety of capacities, including manufacturing, project development, construction and turbine installation, operations and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and financial, legal, and consulting services. More than 500 factories in the United States manufacture parts for wind turbines, and the amount of domestically manufactured equipment used in wind turbines has grown dramatically in recent years: from 65 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2015. Other renewable energy technologies employ even more workers. In 2015, the solar industry employed approximately 250,000 people on a part-time or full-time basis, including jobs in solar installation, manufacturing, and sales.
    Increasing renewable energy has the potential to create still more jobs. In 2016, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the economic benefits of a 55 percent renewable energy standard by 2025; it found that such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels—resulting in a benefit of 202,000 new jobs in 2025.
    In addition to the jobs directly created in the renewable energy industry, growth in renewable energy industry creates positive economic “ripple” effects. For example, industries in the renewable energy supply chain will benefit, and unrelated local businesses will benefit from increased household and business incomes.

    In addition to creating new jobs, increasing our use of renewable energy offers other important economic development benefits. Local governments collect property and income taxes and other payments from renewable energy project owners. These revenues can help support vital public services, especially in rural communities where projects are often located. Owners of the land on which wind projects are built also often receive lease payments ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per megawatt of installed capacity, as well as payments for power line easements and road rights-of-way. Or they may earn royalties based on the project’s annual revenues. Similarly, farmers and rural landowners can generate new sources of supplemental income by producing feedstocks for biomass power facilities.

    UCS analysis found that a 25 by 2025 national renewable electricity standard would stimulate $463.4 billion in new capital investment for renewable energy technologies, $33.5 billion in new landowner income biomass production and/or wind land lease payments, and $21.5 billion in new property tax revenue for local communities.
    Renewable energy projects therefore keep money circulating within the local economy, and in most states renewable electricity production would reduce the need to spend money on importing coal and natural gas from other places.

    Cayman Islands can become a Caribbean Leader in renewable energy only if Mr Alden would lead.

    Two cents worth

    • Keeping it here. says:

      The most important point: generating electricity by diesel sends most of that money outside Cayman. Investment and generation of electricity with renewables keeps the money inside Cayman. That in itself cannot be anything other than good for all caymanians and residents.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What about persons who are already qualified and still can’t find work? All the Caymanians looking for articles perhaps?

    • Anonymous says:

      The old fallacy that merely having a law degree makes one suitable for a job as a lawyer, especially if it is a second or third rate degree from a second or third rate institutions. Law degrees are easy to get, it does not mean one has the skills or personality traits to work in a professional environment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Read the post again smarty!! No one said hired as a lawyer … ARTICLES!!! That’s it. That’s the only way to get called to the bar. Afterwards there are lots of other options other than getting hired as a lawyer. 🙂

        • Anonymous says:

          Read the post again, there was no reference to hiring as a lawyer, just a reference to the difference between getting a law degree and being suited to work as a lawyer. Firms give contracts for articles with a view to hiring those people; law firms should not be obliged to take on charity cases which is what your post really implies.

    • Fred the piemaker says:

      Raises an interesting question as to what qualifications means. Perhaps, just perhaps, the qualifications issued by the Law School have a slight credibility problem?

      • Anonymous says:

        Fred – Or that the articles system is broken. Better to move to a managed articles system where it is part of the degree, as some other Law fraternities do it, so you are sure that the student receives proper, broad and complete training. Some law firms do a good job, some students don’t learn enough on their articles, the blame lies somewhere in the middle but by making it a managed part of the degree you remove some of the inconsistency and uncertainty.

        • Anonymous says:

          The idea of attorneys qualifying with purely academic training and no practical experience is an awful concept.

    • Rp says:

      I have three friends who graduated from law schools and searched for more than 3 years to get the opportunity to article. Not every graduate gets that opportunity in the real world. It’s. A competitive world out there! You really need to sell yourself and stand out to the competition rather than to ask government to hand it to you.

      Have a read:

    • Rhett says:

      How about the Caymanians who have been unfairly fired, to carry that on their records whilst seeking gainful employment? Foreign businesses rule. Why?

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        What do you suggest the solution is? Alden passes a law saying you cannot ask a Caymanian about his previous employment?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Poor ole Alden, by the time elections come around he is going to be one stressed out, run down and sick individual, aged overnight like poor Obama……. The big difference here is that the U. S. president got things going from day one while Al waited till the last minute.

    • Anonymous says:

      He was too busy making changes to immigration laws for expats and sidelining the indigenous people.
      He is hunting down votes now, so he is appearing to spread his wings to cover the locals.

      • Jotnar says:

        Indigenous people – who are they?

        • Anonymous says:

          The Iguana People and the Turtle People.

          • Fred the Piemaker says:

            There were also the Caiman People, but they were rendered extinct by immigrants, who have nearly eliminated the indigenous Iguana People by developing their habitat, and ate most of the Turtle People, or sold them to passing ships. The Iguana People faced further challenges from expatriate iguanas, who were far more successful in living off the local environment, driving the original Iguana People to the fringes of the island, and horror of horrors, allegedly interbreeding with the Iguana People. As time passed, the immigrants decided to call themselves after the Caiman People they had driven to extinction, but changed the “i” to a “y” to avoid any confusion. Ironically the Cayman People are themselves now facing extinction through further immigration, interbreeding and loss of habitat to the Driftwood People. Nature is truly a cruel mistress.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who will be responsible for health insurance, pension and other benefits i.e. Sick leave and vacation. If you are employed it is MANDATORY to have these benefits. I am sure his has not been thought out properly

    • Anonymous says:

      10.11-your statement, especially concerning sick leave, is one of the problems of employment here. In other places, if you get sick you take sick leave. Here I have seen and even heard colleagues talking about having to use up their “sick leave”. Essentially it is regarded as holiday. It is not, and that view has lead to sick days here being restricted, so as usual the people who do get sick and need more than the limit (generally 10 days) to recover, get punished for the ones who view sick leave as paid vacation. I have never worked anywhere else that had a restriction on sick leave days. OK, there are people who abuse the system everywhere, however in most places its the minority, as you know you will get fired if you get caught. Sometimes Caymanians are there own worst enemy.

  10. Catcha Fire says:

    You have better get your priorities right dear leader Alden or come next election you will simply have none to worry about???? ya feel me?

  11. Anthony says:

    It is too late now Alden, should have been done 3 years ago. Your time is over. A drowning man will hold on to a straw!

  12. Anonymous says:

    We all know that if we want to get the last 1500 or so to work, eliminate the ghetto-like poverty and thefts, we need to raise the minimum wage to a minimum living wage, ie. from KYD$6/hr to at least USA’s KYD$7.25/hr with guaranteed full-time worker hours. The resistance is that Caymanian owned businesses do not want to pay this rate or adhere to these terms. They don’t want to pay pension, or even provide health plans. They will say we won’t get hotels, airports, roads, and ports built for $7.25 when there are eager workers at $6/hr. The irony is that the owners bill at $20/hr and keep the spread in their greedy pockets, from which they donate a portion to election campaigns. Alden is always free to prove otherwise.

  13. Sharkey says:

    He has taken over the George town dump, what has been solved there ? Now the unemployment of Caymanian , but is not going to do what Mr Miller is suggested to fix the unemployment, more George town dump talk.

  14. Knot S Smart says:

    The bad news for me this morning is that I did not win the 1.5 billion PowerBall Lotto last night…
    But the good news is that I did not spend any money buying tickets…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Alden, who fails to rely on the published ESO unemployment figure of 5.6% (all time low was 3.4% in 2003), is conflating two topics as if they were the same interchangeable idea:

    There is the business of currently employed Caymanians that aspire to get a crack at permit jobs slightly out of their reach; and there are the 1500-odd unemployed Caymanians, that include all ages from 15-65, wanted senior-punching thieves, purse-snatchers, burglars, ex-cons, current drug and transshipment personnel, and their incapacitated customers.

    Hopefully the cleanest of these folks can be hired, but they will not come close to replacing all the temp or full permit workers, and unemployment will never go to zero – if that’s the objective. We need to ask which of these categories will the latest pre-election $1.7mln “nation building” effort be blown on specifically?

    Alden will have to be very careful with this one. With the Canadian dollar below USD$0.70 and headed for $0.65, it is already tempting for many admin and reinsurance businesses to relocate and shutter their Cayman operations forever. An irrational or uncompetitive knee-jerk pre-election affirmative action plan could turn the current 1500 into 3000+ very quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 14/1 9:40am Caymanians have NEVER said we can have zero unemployment! What you and your ilk fail to understand is that this is OUR home and if anyone is supposed to work and prosper then the first in line is the CAYMANIAN…..Period…..So can we have a job to get the basics all humans need? After all 137 other nationalities are here building homes or paying mortgages miles away; sending children fed, clothed and suited for school, paying utilities and buying food whilst Caymanians are losing homes, children hungry, and they can’t work because employers are bringing in slaves for $4 or $3.50per hour!! So let’s keep on track…..Caymanians MUST have jobs in their islands! Other countries take care of their own and it is about high-time we get our fair share in our islands!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Are you talking about pairing the relatively few viable unemployed people into full time jobs – OR – are you talking about something completely different, which is the day dream of upgrading your existing full time job into a better paying one, and hopefully displacing a foreigner in the process, stealing his hot wife, driving his car, and soaking in his pool? These are two different concepts. Unfortunately, we recognize that a lot of the support comes from people in the second camp. Far too many. It has nothing to do with the fiction of starvation. If you check with your pastor, this deep-seated and pervasive coveting is not coming from a place of moral high-ground at all. Rest assured that any ill-conceived affirmative action plan in that regard will precipitate an apocalyptic flood of unemployment and a rapid relocation of the territory’s financial sector.

      • Anonymous says:

        oh dear, 5.03. You just don’t get it. Admirable sentiment, but that’s not how it works. People are in business to make a profit. To do that they have to have costs less than income. That means all workers have to be efficient, do the job on time and in budget and so on. Now if the currently unemployed are willing to do a full and proper days work, not take sick leave because they feel like it, and show willing, then Cayman has a bright future. If they all want to be the MD on $200,000 a year with no qualifications except a chip on their shoulder, they are buggered. Business is not charity.

    • Anonymous says:

      If CIG was to set up a proper compliance agency to examine in microscopic detail the qualifications of work permit holders, they would find many of them to be a farce and their veracity untraceable.
      There is flagrant abuse of work permits because of this and there are Caymanians whose qualifications which can be verified easily (because our small community), who are out of work!

  16. Lukey Spence says:

    Small island with limited infrastructure just how much more foreigners are we going allow into our islands??? More cars more pollution more destruction to our environment more demand on our limited services more marginalization of the Cayman people Time has come to stop this influx of foreign nationals we simply cannot sustain or afford to take in everybody who wants to come here to work and live. These are the facts we need to here our dear leader utter out of his mouth. The government needs to cut its dependency on revenue generate from work permits and the more this continues the worse its going to get.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is just the kind of economically illiterate thinking that got us into this mess.

      You need PEOPLE to drive the economy. PEOPLE are the staff required for half the businesses and the customers required for the other half. No more people = no more business being done = no more economic growth.

      Population growth and economic growth go hand in hand.

      What needs to happen is that some of the benefits from the growth need to be reinvested in the right things: infrastructure, unemployment and education.

      Instead, those benefits have historically been welcomed with open arms and then promptly spent on other things. Case in point, 80m from Immigration alone which is more than the whole education budget. But does any Caymanian think to themselves, thank God for all these expats, without them we’d have no money to spend on education?

      Ditto unemployment. A paltry 1m for NWDA. If the fee from every new permit had to go to unemployment assistance maybe Caymanians would stop seeing immigration as the problem and start seeing it as the cure (1,000 new permits = 1,000 more jobs available to Caymanians + $10m more for unemployment assistance).

      If the duty raised from the spending by those expats had to go to infrastructure improvement, again, maybe Caymanians would lighten up about the increased population and the supposed “costs” of that.

      Yes population growth brings issues but on balance with the benefits it is a net positive. If you don’t believe that simply consider – was the quality of life in Cayman better or worse when the population was half the size?

      Is life better or worse for Caymanians on the Brac with a fraction of the population of Grand?

      As population has grown so has GDP per capita, so has government revenue, so has standard of living, so has the number of employment/entrepreneurial opportunities for Caymanians. Those that would go back to a population of 20,000 are looking at the nostalgic upsides of that without looking at the attendant downsides. You can’t have one without the other.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly Lukey!! What did the expats and financial services ever do for us? Cayman Finance says that only 2500 Caymanians are employed in financial services!! That’s a disgrace!! Not to mention all the housekeeper, gardening, supermarket, housing market jobs those damn expats provide!!Send all the expats home in protest!! Then we will have at least another 2500 unemployed Caymanians (probably nearer 3500)! Now that would be something to complain about. Great idea!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I feel another waste of money….the person has got to want to be trained and show the right attitude to want to work. OK, it might work for a few and that is great, but the real and continued issue is education-get that right and Cayman and Caymanians have got half a chance.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Lodge orders?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Alden, no matter what you do or don´t do at this point, you have no hope of re-election. I wouldn´t vote for you even if you paid me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats fine. You can wote for who will definitely pay you. Alden will get plenty of his own.

  20. Cocomojoe says:

    That’s what I like … well, thought-out, decisive plans.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Fix the immigration system Alden! Everything else is window dressing, and largely pointless. What we have now is importing poverty, depriving Caymanians of appropriate opportunity, depriving businesses of needed talent, rewarding the unscrupulous, making many worthy and deserving expatriates feel shunned, putting undue pressure on social services and the department of education, creating unnecessary divides, raising the cost of doing business, and holding back Cayman’s potential.

    Everyone knows this. We have known it for some time. It can be fixed, and preserve our borders and opportunities for Caymanians. Why no attention?

  22. Fred the piemaker says:

    Picking up the initial wages is one thing. Is CIG going to ensure that if the employee does not work out you can get rid of them? Or are you going to have to either keep the anyway or take t next one on the list? T initial wages ar not a big a concern for employers as not being able to get the work done o the management time in supervising unsuitable or difficult staff.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could the Labour Ministry take out a performance bond on the unproven new employees to guarantee their quality of attendance and work?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Well we know for sure nothing is going to get done if he taking the lead. What a mess these regressives are.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Unlike at least one of his Cabinet colleagues, it appears that the Premier reads CNS!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Flip, flop, flam!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to see that Alden is becoming more like McKeeva everyday

  27. Anonymous says:

    Is Tara Rivers alive and still the Minister of Education and Labor? Her silence and lack of involvement seems to suggest that the Premier has lost all confidence in her. Will there be another cabinet reshuffle as a result?

    • Anonymous says:

      Both unemployment and school overcrowding are substantially immigration issues. She can do nothing unless the premier is willing to work to fix the immigration problems that are overwhelming everything.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the mess she has made in .education with her thoeoughly demoralised staff, so be honest would you want her near anything.

  28. Anonymous says:

    well, so much for the previous plan. These people are jokers, a bunch of career politicians that are only in it for a fat paycheck to do absolutely nothing but talk shit and sell out their own people. Honourable my ass.

    • Localish says:

      Desperate times call for desperate measures Alden Mclaughlin thinks he can fix this with another report but has failed to address labor issues over the course of his sixteen years as a MLA and four as a former Labor Minister (2005-09). Expect more political slight of hand and rhetoric because if the ppm had any solutions it would not have taken nearly three years to start addressing Caymanian unemployment.

    • Anonymous says:

      You and the other lunatic below you need to wake up. If mckeewa had made this much effort to help Caymanians he might still be premier today. Compare this to mckeewa’s idea of nation building and you might just start to get the picture.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who said anything about Mckeeva? Get your head out of your ass… Mckeeva, Alden… two sides of the same coin. Every last one of these joker career politicians need to go NOW!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          If you care to get your head out of your ass long enough to look you will find that two sides of the same coin are always very different indeed. It is my sincerest hope that when every last one of these joker career politicians are gone they will not be replaced by esteemed idiots like yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      I sincerely hope yours is not honorable like mckeewa’s

    • John says:

      Winston said; just give us the tools and we will finish the job. Churchill that was of course!.

    • John says:

      The premiere should have the authority to assign tasks, reason we have a leader.. How those tasks are completed wither by further delegating is a matter of leadership. Way to go though Premiere, a true leader is never afraid to be in front of the charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:38. When the predecessors made the deals, were you talking then or you sat on your mouth?

  29. Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      See why Caymanians can’t get ahead, folks???

      • Anonymous says:

        Said the Caymanian returning home from a nightclub at 4:00am on a Thursday.

        • Anonymous says:

          Said the yawwwnnninnng Caymanian getting out of bed at 9.45 am.

          • Anonymous says:

            Anon 12:31pm obviously you thought your comment is cute however it isn’t! It is that labeling along with several other that continue to disenfranchise us the locals. I don’t appreciate your post as I’ve had 43yrs working and carried much extra weight cause of over-sleeping co-workers who then showed up reeking of alcohol……So don’t try painting us as all bad cause it wouldn’t be anything here if we, Caymanians, hadn’t toiled and suffered in these “Islands time forgot” You may not know our history but coming fr 7 generations I sure as hell do! What a pity we couldn’t return to so much mosquitoes that it suffocates cows cause I know a whole pile of 137 nationalities will be gone!

            • Anonymous says:

              I am also a born Caymanian who has worked 50 years of my life to earn an honest living in my country without missing as much as 1 week from work unless I was too sick to get out of bed. This is the very reason that it truly bothers me to see “Yaawwnnn!” coming as a response apparently from one of the very same Caymanians that is finally getting some form of support and recognition from our elected government. GRATITUDE, not indifference and ridicule towards those who care about us is what will move us through this life. I am the first to agree that Caymanians have generally been grossly mistreated and neglected in our own country not only by greedy, couldn’t care less business owners, but by ignorant past governments intent on serving no one’s interests but their own. Indifference, however, and again, is never going to serve us or move us forward in this life. Let us be thankful that Alden did not see fit to use his time and our money to buy wotes to keep himself elected and keep his Caymanian people in the ruts forever as previous governments have most certainly and blatantly done.

              • Anonymous says:

                You elected all of them! You would think after 7 generations you might have learned something. Let’s be clear, expats have no control over your politicians! We feel abused too.

                • Anonymous says:

                  In Cayman we have a saying: “Cockroach have no place in chicken fight”. Go home if you feel abused. Simple.

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