Clean-up shows locals are willing and able

| 08/01/2016 | 73 Comments
Cayman News Service

Christmas clean-up workers gather in the Lions Centre, December 2015

(CNS): The number of people who responded to government’s seasonal clean-up programme demonstrates that there are many willing and able local people who are not only prepared to work for relatively low pay but are also willing to do menial jobs to get it, Ezzard Miller told CNS this week, as he suggested permits must now be cancelled in favour of Caymanians. Government now knows that at least 700 people are prepared to do manual and tough work for $10 an hour and therefore should not accept the excuses from employers that Caymanians are not willing to take these types of jobs, the North Side MLA said. 

The hundreds of locals who turned up just before Christmas to join the roadside clean-up crew, collecting rubbish and doing repairs, should be matched to jobs currently held by permit holders and those permits should be cancelled, Miller said. This would be less than 5% of the current permit numbers and all of them at the lower end of the permit fee scale, so it would not hurt government revenue or upset the entire system, he added.

“We need to call in the membership of the Work Permit Board and point out that there are 700 people who can do the jobs currently held by low paid workers,” Miller said, maintaining that government needed to issue a directive to the boards, a facility that already exists in the law.

He said the business community had done an excellent job of convincing the government that replacing foreign workers on permits with Caymanians was both unfriendly towards business and detrimental to the public purse.

“But I don’t subscribe to that. I believe that any losses in permit revenue will be balanced out by having our own people spending money in economy again instead of remitting cash overseas,” the MLA stated, adding that locals would spend “every dime here”.

Miller said he did not believe that the government’s efforts to persuade businesses to voluntarily take on Caymanians was going to work because they have an obligation to shareholders to keep costs as low as possible. If they are allowed to continue getting away with employing people on exceptionally low pay, they will, and without some form of compulsion, such as the introduction of affirmative action and quotas or a directive cancelling certain permits, employers are unlikely to act, Miller said.

“Telling them they are not helping isn’t working as it doesn’t fit with their agenda,” the North Side member claimed but said there was no point in blaming business because government had to govern. “Government has control of the permit system and that is where the solution lies.”

Miller said that since taking office, the government has said it wants to help local workers but has consistently amended legislation to make it harder for them. The PPM seemed unwilling to govern and had a “propensity to do things that seem to make it harder, not easier, for locals and perception in the end is reality,” he warned.

He said one of the first moves government made was to allow those holding the temporary limited extension permits (TLEPs), which were issued by the UDP, to stay instead of letting them leave and give locals at least a chance at some of those vacancies. He said not all the jobs would have gone to Caymanians but left without any hands on deck, at least some could have benefitted from the opportunity.

Pointing to the planned amendments to pension legislation, he said that instead of introducing a backdated system regarding the nine month grace period for permit holders compared to none for local workers, employers could have been required to backdate the pension contributions for overseas workers that stay. But instead, everyone will now have to wait six months before paying pensions, cutting payments to locals.

He said that most of the past immigration amendments have facilitated the employment of permit holders but have not sought to enforce the law regarding the employment of Caymanians.

This was because the business owners could bargain with government from a position of strength, unlike local workers. Pointing to the numerous business associations and the Chamber, which can put pressure on government, the individual unemployed person doesn’t have that power. Miller said he now regretted that when he had been in government and had fought for labour laws that he had not fought for unions as well.

Concerned that the business community is doing all it can to retain its access to cheaper labour, he said that time and time again when Caymanians workers are hired, they are deliberately set up to fail to make accessing permits easier.

“Government is allowing corporate Cayman to over-complicate the employment of locals and create excuses. We all have strengths and weakness, and the duty of bosses is to better manage Caymanian workers and help in the development of workforce. Some need more management than others,” he conceded, “but when they appear willing to do it for work permit holders because they have made an investment in that person, they should be willing to do it for locals.”

However, there is no incentive because there is no monetary investment in a Caymanian employee, he said, noting, “If they don’t fit the exact mould it is easier to let them go.”

Accusing government of sitting back and not addressing the issue through the permit system, he said he did not think the business community would respond without being forced to, and he urged government to take action and govern.

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Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i been saying all along that the minimum wage needs to be $10/hr, then the locals who have no college degrees will be willing to work as cashiers, gardeners, watersports, security, cleaning ladies, janitors, front desk, etc etc, any jobs that do not need college degrees that don’t get tips or gratuities. For those jobs with steady tips and gratuities, then their minimum wage could be $6 per hour. Locals live in the most expensive place in the world, the Cayman Islands, they need a proper minimum wage to make it feasable for them to work. And the $10 per hour is starting pay, that gets raises as time goes by for good work, to give them hope for good future. With the minimum wage at $5-6 per hour, it’s the third world country foreigners that are taking all the non college degree jobs away from the locals. Most people do NOT go to college and get a degree, in any population or country. Without them a country would suffer, they are very important to a country. If everyone had a college degree the country would never have enough jobs for them. Alot of jobs are non-college degree jobs. This is the problem with the work force in Cayman, is the non-college degree jobs.

    Government should issue the statistics of how many of the unemployed locals have college degrees and how many do NOT. It makes a huge difference in assessing the work force situation in the island with permit holders verses locals.

    But the again, they don’t want a solution, because the greedy rich want to be slave masters, abolish the middle class, and just have slaves working for them. They don’t want the middle class.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what hoops my no name Caymanian ass would have to jump through if I was to take on a bunch of expats, pass them off as Caymanians and rent out their services to CIG for this cleanup. Then again I wouldn’t be doing anything that isn’t already being done on a daily basis currently for a four letter word top employer in Cayman would I?

  3. north side says:

    I was surprised to hear Ezzard call in to the talk show saying that he agrees with the clean up and he is a supporter of it this time. Ummm!!! all the other times it was a waste of money . oh wait he got done what he wanted done this time in north side.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One thing that is becoming very clear indeed is that we have an astonishingly crude bunch of expats to deal with in our beloved country.

  5. Lucky Lemmrick says:

    500k to the Brac for 3 weeks clean up now that needs some very serious explaining???? either the Brac is dirtiest place on this planet or we been robbed bro????

    • Sharkey says:

      CNS , can you verify that the Government spent $500k on the Christmas clean up? If they did that’s enough money to give everyone a Christmas gift, , and vote buying with taxpayers money.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see some analysis published as to the distribution of work permits across various occupations.This should then be compared against those unemployed that signed up. Only then can we begin to understand the issue. Without data there is only conjecture and speculation. The Work Permit Board should have this data in hand updated every time they meet to make decisions.

  7. anonymous says:

    This is not a demonstration that they are willing to hold a steady job and be punctual, effective and productive.

    • Anonymous says:

      What will it ever take for humanity to cease judging humanity negatively in their own self interests?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or deal effectively with customers, or steal…

    • Anonymous says:

      Did anyone actually see much “work” being done? All I saw was a bunch of folks swigging Red Bull and Vita Malt & sitting in the shade while one or two of the group actually looked busy! I have the video evidence if anyone doubts…

      Christmas money for the kiddies’ new bikes & a few “wotes” is all this amounted to.

  8. Sharkey says:

    It seems like there’s a lot of mistrust and dislike between Caymanians and Expats, I hope that you remember that the Government is run by Caymanians , and Cayman Islands is not your Country you only have a work permit to work and live for 1 year at a time .

    • Anonymous says:

      You better not worry about expats and take a good look at the sell-out Caymanians that run government. How do you think there are so many work-permits issued in the first place!

      Open your eyes. Caymanians, are Caymanians own worst enemies.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is exactly what sores so many of their backsides my friend.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry about the expats, they can take of themselves. I suggest you look inward at what Caymanians are doing to each other, their own country and sort more pressing problems out for themselves.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr Miller should start with the Government building gardeners and set the example if this is what he believes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Government building gardeners? How about government building security? There is an army of work permit holders (guess which company it is?) and quite a few can’t even speak English. So Izzard what do you have to say about that???

  10. Rp says:


    The problem is that the fees for work permits are set to milk the financial industry rather than facilitate employment of Caymanians. They are set to collect as much revenue without any analysis. The increases to the fin industry has caused most of the fund admin businesses to move off island resulting in more Caymanian unemployment and loss of revenue to govt from those expat positions no longer available.

    If the majority of those unemployed can handle low qualification jobs such as cashiers, drivers, cleaners etc the set the work permit fees for those jobs higher and reduce the fees for those jobs where no Caymanians are available to fill them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No they are not! They are willing to pretend that they are working to collect a quick buck. Not a career and longevity.

  12. People For An Ezzard Free L.A. says:

    Free money! Gimee gimme!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Like Bob Marley says. Who feels it knows it. Of course Caymanians are willing and able to work. Just not for the pitiful pittance that most expats come here and pile up ten and twelve in a room to work for. Caymanians have been disgraced and treated like dogs in their own country very simply and plainly in the name of one single word. Greed. The love of money. The root of all evil. It must come to an end. Hopefully it won’t come to an end as a result of mass bloodshed in this country.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the tune of an alarming number of the comments here it is very clear that the majority of our genius expat slave monger population has either been thoroughly versed in the supposed ineptitude of their Caymanian counterparts or they are supporting this as a way of justifying their pathetic, dream-come-true existence in these islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Past time to show who has cotton or who has balls. Let the chips fall, where ever or when ever. Then, and only then, they may understand that we mean business.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are safe. Nobody has ever worked that hard here.

    • Anonymous says:

      An elected member encouraging the government to circumvent immigration law and breach multiple, existing contracts opening themselves up to litigation?
      To add insult to injury, a specific group is being targeted leaving an unequal and unfair precedent.
      Does anyone actually think about anything before opening their mouths here?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, most of these people will work one week but not all year. In Cayman Brac, where they could work three weeks, I noticed quite a few who only worked for the first pay check and that was it. And they didn’t even really work the whole week. I saw about 5 or 6 sitting down on a wall while the rest worked.

    • Anonymous says:

      Human nature has a tendency to see things the way it wants to see them, even if those things exist no further than their own imagination. The whole world will eventually have to come to accept that Caymanians will not be made into slaves in their own country. By anyone. No matter how greedy they may be. Not being allowed to sit on a wall as long as you are being clocked is precisely my definition of slavery. Go back to your own country, whoever you may be, and live the rest of your stupid life in blissful slavery there if that is what you wish for yourself. You will most definitely not succeed in bringing it here.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m a Caymanian born and bred. Sorry you can’t deport me since my family is one of the original settlers in the Cayman Islands. You’re probably a more Johnny Come Lately than me. Heck, some of the wall keepers were more Johnny Come Lately than me. I know some of those workers that sit on the wall. They just work long enough to buy the liquor and smokes. Yes, there were some that actually want to work but since I know them, I can say that most will only work for a short time and won’t be able to hold down a full time job.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not being allowed to sit on a wall as long as you are being clocked is precisely my definition of slavery.

    • Da bracker says:

      Yes but Uncle Moses still got the 500K needed for the clean up???? at the rate of CI$50,000 per person Moolah well spent!! AAAAAh boy this little place and its Nepotism !!!!!

  15. Fred the Piemaker says:

    Where is the provision in the law that allows Immigration to cancel an existing permit because Ezzard thinks they should? One thing not to renew it, another to cancel it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard knows it would never happen. He just says it to play to voters because he is a shameless pedagogue.

  16. Anonymous says:

    There is an enormous difference between an ability to grasp a broom and the willingness to push it. That difference accounts for those permit holders (that show up on time, sober, and without criminal records, or face being sent home).

    • Anonymous says:

      At least we know that the Caymanian has a criminal record ! Do you think the Immigration Department does a back ground check before issuing a W/P for the imported labourer ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Police clearance certificate is one of many permit application requirements, so yes, we know they do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians are hopelessly stuck between a rock and a hard place: The businessman’s love of cheap labor, and our own government’s love of work permit revenue.

  17. Anonymous says:

    so why are they not willing and able to other jobs for the rest of the year????

  18. Sharkey says:

    9:35am why don’t you try and employe some of the unemployed caymanian full time and prove your point , instead of trying to prove it in a comment. .

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is election year coming again already, this talk always comes up around this time..

  20. Joe B says:

    Ready willing and able to show up once a year to pick up rubbish on the side of the road for $10.00 an hour is a far cry from being able to hold a REAL job. Can’t some one get the Premier to understand that? Cayman Private section get ready for going back to the days of having to hire and pay for at least one “Uncle Joey” to please the Honorable for life Premier who is doing it to please the suitably qualified for life voters. These guys are going to do great in the financial section.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:27 Could you tell us, how the graveytrain started in the Cayman Islands, and who were the people who worked in it, before the Johnny come latelies came and devoured it up? Hard working, indigenous people kept this ship afloat, for all the likes of you to be able to come and live the life of Riley. I am one of those hard working Caymanians, do I have any rights, or you have all?

  21. Sharkey says:

    I find it applauding that the politicians is seeing now the year before the next election that Caymanians can and want to work , and need a job ,but could not see that for all these years that Caymanians have been unemployed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely applauding. I have never been so applauded in my life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Buzzardnomics and histrionics. To even try to compare-and the minimum wage is? Not CI$10 per hour. This programme may have made things worse. If reports are true that many turned up and did nothing for $10 per hour, they will now think that is the norm. CIG creates and perpetuates the problem, does not solve it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Izzard get your head out of the sand “it shows Caymanians will do menial jobs”, if this is the case then how come housekeepers, cashiers at supermarkets and fast food restaurants are majority work permit holders. How come Sanitation drivers and the ones who pick up the garbage are majority work permit holders. Sorry I myself witnessed a few of the so called clean up crew, where alot did pull their weight you had quite a few that were just sitting around under the trees talking. You keep saying Caymanians should be given jobs, answer this question, how come the head of the Fire Department is a work permit holder, there were quite a few qualified Caymanians that could have been put in that position. So, clean up your own back yard and hire Caymanians don’t put this on the private sector. And to all the “young caymanians of East End” who are complaining of not finding a job to feed their growing family. You need to have some common sense, you don’t go and have three or four children from different men, no job, no education other then High School then complain about the system. Having three children by the time you are 25 with different fathers shows either your character or no common sense!!! So don’t cry about how you can’t take care of your children or pay your bills, no one told you to have so many children. This seems to be the norm!

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen, amen, amen 9: 37.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respond to this Ezzard Miller, as this is the most accurate commentary on the subject ever!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Am I missing a point. EVERY WORK PERMIT application is reviewed as to whether there are Caymanians who could do the job. EVERY ONE. If a Caymanian applied, and could be trained or were qualified, they get the job. So why is it still a problem, because they don’t apply for most of the jobs they could do.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because that rule is only on paper. Reality is quite different.

        • Anonymous says:

          And this is the work permit holder’s fault??

          Who writes the laws? Elects the government? Approves the permits? Owns majority shares of the companies?

    • Anonymous says:

      Young people, who look for children before they look for a job,mshould have their heads checked. Who looks for burden if you don’t have a back to carry the heavy load?

    • Anonymous says:

      Quit your current job and You go work at the Supermarkets, fastfood joints or better yet become a bar maid and tell us how that works out for you. For $3.50 hour you like the bar maids will selling body parts to get ahead on this expensive Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Want to have fun ,go and try to get an application at Dept of Environmental Health. First thing they will ask is how did you know there was an opening, second thing ,they will say, you can’t apply for that job unless it comes in the newspaper. They have to check with everyone who works in Gov’t to find out if they want to drive a garbage truck first. Then they will put and ad in the paper.You can apply then.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “willing and able” To work for 2 weeks for some Christmas cash does not necessarily translate to being willing and able to show up to work 5-6 days a week at the proper time with a good attitude, day in and day out. The pay rate ($10/hr?) for this group was also out of whack for the required skill set and therefore indicates nothing really.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Willing and able to get paid is one thing. Willing and able to do manual labour is another. I did not see a single person working under the program. I asked my co-workers and the most anyone saw was 5 or 6. Where were the rest?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if Buzzard ever stopped to think that these people only want the work temporarily to get cash for the holidays. It’s not the kind of work they are willing to take on permanently. Not saying this is the case for everyone, but likely most of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your post became redundant after “stopped to think”. He does not think. He opens his mouth and lets his belly rumble.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Maybe he’s right. But if they replace current work permit laborers with some of these people, I hope they do a FAR better job of working than they did of the cleanup in my area. Over a period of two days, about two hours’ real work was done and the rest of the time was spent sitting under one of my trees. There was a “supervisor” who seemed to have no problem with that. If I hire someone to do a job, I do not want to have to constantly check up on them to see if they are actually working. One of the Caymanians who runs a lawning service told me last year that’s why he has given up hiring Caymanians because he had so many complaints from his customers about the workers sitting down smoking and when he himself came to check the yards he couldn’t find his own employees.

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