MLA prioritises energy over taskforce

| 18/01/2016 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

Winston Connolly, George Town MLA (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Winston Connolly said that the premier had asked him on 3 January to consider leading the unemployment taskforce to tackle what has been labelled as the Achilles heel of the current administration but he opted to prioritise the offer to chair the National Energy Policy Review Committee instead. Connolly, who serves as the councillor to Tara Rivers’ employment ministry, said he had already had a number of commitments at that ministry and when he was confirmed as chair on the energy committee, he turned down the premier’s offer.

“I informed the premier on Monday 11 January that I was passionate about my appointment on the NEPRC, having been the sole MLA pushing renewable energy and sustainable development over the last two and a half years, and that I could not do both roles justice, with each having an aggressive time frame,” Connolly told CNS.

He said he was the one who had suggested that Premier Alden McLaughlin, in his role as minister responsible for immigration and as leader of the country, should chair the taskforce because of the importance he had placed on unemployment.

McLaughlin came in for criticism over the handling of the announcement about the taskforce and the proposed Ready2Work apprenticeship initiative but he told CNS that he was comfortable with Connolly’s decision to serve on the energy committee and he was happy to lead the work taskforce.

Connolly said that while he was prioritising the energy committee because of his interest in sustainable development, he supported the goals of the taskforce if it was about placing and supporting hard working and talented Caymanians in sustainable and meaningful jobs with a livable wage.

“I campaigned heavily on employment in 2013 as an independent candidate and have worked with the minister for employment in this coalition government on various successful initiatives, including several with private sector partners,” he said, adding that he would be involved with the Ready2Work initiative.

Connolly also pointed to his private member’s motion for a fund to upskill people, which was accepted by the government in 2014 but six months later has not been implemented.

“We have to continue to grow the economy, create policies which encourage inward investment, expedite and simplify our PR regime for wealthy retirees who wish to reside here, encourage and support entrepreneurial activity and equality of opportunity for all,” Connolly said.

“The motions I have brought and the work I have done with the minister closely reflect our Independents’ National Priorities Plan for the Cayman Islands 2013 document on employment and economic diversification. The goal I started with in 2013 was to ensure government policies provided training and vocational opportunities for all Caymanians and provided an economic environment that encourages entrepreneurship and employment opportunities at livable wages,” the remaining independent backbencher in government stated.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good call Winston.

    Passing this to him is just passing the buck Mr Premier. You HIRED a Jobs Czar at NWDA and we have not heard a peep from this overpaid academic (ahem?) The NWDA still has nothing to offer and absolutely no teeth. This should have been a 90 day done & dusted project, but the management is poor and the leadership even worse.

    Calling it like it is. Don’t pass the buck to a politician, just DO YOUR JOB and perhaps send some enforcement butts to the closed-doors “Business Staffing” meetings and come back and tell us please which expat was approved for the jobs we applied for. (Do ya THINK we are ALL fools?) It is the “Employment Prevention Board” not the Business Staffing board, puh-lease!?!

    Until we actually have visibility and actual ACCOUNTABILITY all we will get is more rhetoric. Open the Work-permit Board meetings, put the minutes online- use technology and finally start to tell us the TRUTH. We work with the expat that just got our promotion and we know when locals are passed over even at the interview stage.

    Just search of the news archives makes our heads spin…..let’s see: Here is the article that says to $20,000 fines imposed if an employer purposely tries to avoid hiring a Caymanian, has anyone EVER been fined? “No.”

    Okay, here is another advert (for a Government job!) there is technical TESTING before applicants go before a panel-interview of their peers. Does the qualified LOCAL get the Govt job? “Nope.” the expat’s contract is renewed even after half a dozen qualified locals tested higher than the pet expat, but again, even in the highest ranks there is no accountability to hire or promote locals?

    WHY did it make news that the YMCA hired a local? Isn’t this SUPPOSE TO BE THE NORM and NOT the EXCEPTION?

    WHY does it make news that only after 20 years and (6) expats ALL getting STATUS in the 911 Department that we finally have a local manager trained?

    We can go on & on with real life examples of white-collar qualified locals being passed over by even their OWN in HR Departments (like crabs in a bucket fa sure….) and until we actually ENFORCE our employment laws and have the guts to make Immigration meetings open to the public (in town hall meetings and PUBLISHED minutes….) we will never stop these back door deals ad we will never force the skill set UP or the education to improve. It is all tied together my friends. Start enforcement of hiring locals and the rest will follow.

    Don’t throw Winston under the unemployment bus Mr Premier, it is your own organization, civil service, and own appointed Immigration and Staffing Boards that are continuing to rubber stamp any darn work permit that any darn businessman asks for.

    Plain and simple: Until Immigration and work permit approvals come into plain site for ALL to see and show, the enforcement will never be realized and the farce will continue.

    Lastly, lets look at the LIVING WAGE Christmas story: Over 700 locals showed up to work at Christmas for $10 per hour, This is the living wage my friends. If the Government would simply pass a minimum wage to match the USA (and they pay taxes on wages!!) we could eliminate this problem overnight. Let’s make this even easier, let’s make it only $8 per hour….What the heck have we got to lose? (except 2,000 low skilled underpaid work permits that really are not a balanced revenue stream against social services pay outs?) Um, win-win mt friends. Offer a living wage like we saw at Christmas and problem solved, we can move onto the dump and education problems.

    Sorry Mr. Big Business corrupt crony,if you don’t stop PRICE GOUGING us with unethical profits by exploiting cheap overseas work permits when we VOTE the minimum wage in, guess what??? We will simply all shop in Miami now that we have a lving wage and can afford to fly to shop. Um, Mr. Politicians, there are more of us middle class voters than your crony club mates. The numbers make sense….just give us the jobs.

    If we paid CI$8 per hour that equates to CI$1,280 per month and a working class home usually has 2 family members earning a wage so this adds up to $2,560 a month and why it is not a luxurious income, any family currently on social services can LIVE on USD $3,122 per month.

    It is time to pass the minimum wage at $8 per hour and let your people earn their own keep. Sorry you lose your handout votes PPM, UDP, and the 2-party keep the people DOWN politricks. Stop the handouts. Stop the crime, pay a fair wage and both will be solved.

    By allowing local businesses to pay as low as $5 per hour- we are keeping our own people from stepping up?

    At $8 per hour a household can make $3,000+ a month and we would have less work permits and less crime.

    Living Wage Calculation for Los Angeles County, California
    Hourly Wages 1 Adult 1 Adult 1 Child
    Living Wage $12.44 $25.72
    Poverty Wage $5.00 $7.00
    Minimum Wage $9.00 $9.00

    Gee, let’s start with a living wage and replace 2,000 work permits? I’ll vote for that.

    Expat with Status

  2. Anonymous says:

    MLA Connolly is an exceptionally bright and gift son of Cayman, and I’m proud he is part of he LA.

    Even as an expat, that will be leaving in a couple of years thorugh the roll over, I can still tell he wants the best for Cayman, rather that himself.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why does the Premier have to take on this task? Tara Rivers is the Minister responsible for this – why is she not heading up this task force. She is being paid to do this, is she incompetent. She has CO Suckoo and two Deputy CO’s what the heck are they being paid to do. Where is Dr. Garcia in all of this she is the Deputy CO for employment. What is the Director of the NWDA who was brought in from foreign doing. We have too many Civil Servants drawing outrageous salaries that are not doing or incapable of doing what they are paid to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear Hear…. NWDA, um….do your JOB!
      (No more rhetoric, just start to post the Immigration work permit approval rubber stamping results in the newspaper right next to the damn job advertisement.)

      Why is this the tail wagging the dog? We know locals are passed over and back room deals are done.

      Step 1 – Place job advert
      Step 2- Publish how many local applicants applied.
      Step 3 -TRAIN any locals that step forward within 24 months. (Done.) Work Permit term limits oh my….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Winston the combination of ambitious targets supported by you and by strong government policies and entrepreneurial acumen may soon allow Cayman’s renewable energy sector to ’leapfrog’ many Caribbean nations.
    Our ingenuity and manufacturing prowess are being harnessed to provide leadership to the world on renewable, Cayman’s position provides a strong example for other Caribbean countries, while helping to drive down renewable energy costs to become competitive with fossil fuels for all countries.
    With our booming economy and rapidly expanding energy consumption particularly its use of oil it is imperative for Cayman to diversify its energy supplies. Our islands has suffered frequent power shortages due to its breakneck economic development.

    Two cents worth

  5. Anonymous says:

    The 2003 status grant is one of primary reasons we are having his unemployment issue today. Not one politician will touch it or admit it because of fear they lose votes. Hopefully someday we will have leaders who care about the country and not self interest.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I can’t say that status grants didn’t have something to do with Caymanian unemployment, the PPM has had plenty of time to fix the PR problem and has not. They could also enforce the existing immigration laws and they have not. They could have tightened up the immigration laws and have not. So stop trying to perpetually blame the UDP. The PPM campaigned on that and made a deal with the devil (UK) to bring down McKeeva. So now the buck stops with the PPM and their goose is cooked! Alden, you are toast! Tara is all mouth and all she does is make excuses! All she and Tasha do is talk your ears of and say nothing of substance. One thing though, I guess they smell a rat and don’t want to take the fall for Alden over this because he will throw them under the bus in a heartbeat! In all fairness though, Tara is the minister for labour so what the heck is she still getting paid? Never again I hope!

  6. Fred the Piemaker says:

    Short hand for, “I want the status and power of being involved in government but want to reserve the right criticise the Premier and his government on unemployment without responsibility for finding a solution or the collective responsibility that goes with it”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    don’t blame him…its a poison chalice trying to solve a myth like caymanian unemploymnet…..

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