NAU dealing with 2,500 families

| 14/03/2016 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ezzard Miller, Chair of Public Accounts Committee

(CNS): The director of the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) revealed that her department deals with 2,500 families in the Cayman Islands annually and the unit is chronically underfunded. Tamara Hurlston said appointments for assessments are backed up for months and she is not expecting any additional funding in the forthcoming budget unless the minister responsible for community affairs can beg some more from his Cabinet colleagues from their ministries.

The growing annual welfare bill for the Cayman government is reaching around $50 million but Hurlston told the Public Accounts Committee on Friday, as they reviewed a report from the Office of the Auditor General on welfare programmes, that the NAU has only 24 staff members when it really should have 40. That was why people are queuing from very early in the morning for the ten or so walk-in assessments and why appointments for assessments are being set more than two months ahead.

The unit does its best to deal with emergency assessments as soon as possible but the diversity of needs in the community that it is dealing with is growing, she said, telling the committee that there are still no programmes in place to get people who are in need of temporary help back on their feet.

The NAU has almost 900 people on permanent financial assistance, in addition to the veterans and seamen, and around 1,600 families receiving some kind of temporary support. Hurlston explained that there are no reviews being conducted of those on permanent assistance as the unit does not have the resources. Families receiving temporary assistance only receive help for three months and are reassessed after that to see if they still need help.

She admitted that the NAU does not have any programmes or initiatives in place to transition people from welfare to work because there are still many more families in need of help that they have to assess and there is simply no time to do anything to get people back on their feet.

Almost none of the recommendations from the auditor’s report, Government programmes supporting those in need, have been implemented and government still appears not to have formed any real policies regarding welfare.

As the PAC members questioned the head of the NAU, backbench MLA Winston Connolly described what was happening as “applying a band aid to a gaping wound” and raised his concerns that people were receiving welfare but were not receiving any help to get them back into the workplace.

With around ten per cent of government’s core expenditure going on unmanaged welfare programmes that still do not have strict criteria, Connolly said there needed to be proper structure to the programmes and the necessary resources because the current situation was “rife for losing money”. Government, he added, was just “throwing cash out of the door as there was no bridge from welfare to work” to help those who found themselves in temporary struggles prevent them from becoming permanent ones.

“We can’t just give cash indefinitely,” he said. “It’s continuing to grow … so we have not accomplished anything.”

Hurlston agreed that the department was just fighting fires and was in desperate need of proper funding. “We need to offer some support to help people come of welfare,” she said, as she admitted the department could do no more than hand out services where clients meet the criteria.

PAC asked for details of the criteria but the NAU chief was unable to supply the document at the time the committee met.

Check back to CNS later today for more from PAC and revelations that it is the community affairs minister alone who signs off on all indigent medical cover.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Rp says:

    Assuming only 1 child, that’s 7,500 people! That’s a welfare rate of 25%! 1 in 4 need welfare support?

    Alden, this is a big issue! Add excess 1500 people employed in govt as charity (i.e. Brac) and another 600 receiving unemployment and we have almost half of the population on social assistance in one way or another! As a Caymanian this is embarrassing. We are importing labor to support our welfare state meantime we blame everything on the expat.

    We failed our people by not training them and now we spend more on social assistance than education! Shift resources ASAP to education and let’s force our welfare people to take up mandatory training. Anyone of our people should be able to hold a broom and sweep a floor or drive a car rather than collect welfare.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Government is failing this country left right and center, and so has the previous Government and the Government before that.

    When are people going to wake up and understand that they may have a new fridge today but their kids won’t be able to have a job or raise a family in their own country?

    It is time to say good bye to the “good ole boys” who have attempted to run this country for the last two decades and embrace some younger folks with new ideas and a set of balls!

    I sure hope that Cayman also will have someone stepping forward to take the helm who doesn’t give a shit who he offends but is sick and tired of pussy-footing around and wants to put the Island back on the right track. Right now I don’t know half the time whether I am in Jamaica, the Philippines, somewhere in India or in Cayman!




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    • SocialiteCommenta says:

      You don’t know where you are if you are in Jam Manila or Wherever because people are marrying other nationalities and not their cousins and brothers. How did you find a way to wield in expats or Jamaicans as a matter of fact when this is a Born in Cayman issue? It’s amazing how you people can point fingers at everybody but yourselves and then you wonder how your entitlements, husbands , wives and everything you Caymanians “stand up for” by being silent and grumbling among yourselves getting snatched??
      This prosperity that is being enjoyed was created and sustained by expats. Unfortunately taking handouts has become the norm as is driving a new car but can’t find formula for the kids your omen here keep having so they don’t go to jail for stealing phones and lipstick . No backbone is the issue and greedy penny wise pound foolish natives.
      Just hand over the country to people who know. Oh you did that too with the One man One Vote




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      • Anonymous says:

        No reference in the original comment that this is 100% caused by expats..;

        The reality is that by failing to enforce existing labor and immigration laws, more and more people who are unable to fend for themselves will end up living in the Cayman Islands and be looking towards Government for support. And that is in ADDITION to the homegrown problem. So why make matters even worse by adopting such problems from abroad?

        The comparison to other third world countries is that this is where Cayman is heading faster than what people can seem to see or admit. Everything goes in the name of pleasing voters and people are blinded with quick-fix patches and band aides but don’t realize that future generations will be failed miserably by the actions/inactions taken today.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Why does no one enforce the maintenance law? It would cut the NAU’s burden in half.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Because maintenance policies are usually extremely prejudicial and discriminatory. Doing this, and sending more Fathers to prison, would be a further burden on the prison system and cost more to keep them incarcerated.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    So the government department for giving people hand outs (the NAU) has 24 staff and the department for giving people a hand up (the NWDA) has what…10?

    Hmmmmmm. Why not put all 34 of them in the NWDA and make people look for work in return for their handouts? That how most other countries do it!




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that some families that get the check drive and own many autos including a newer Mercedes go over seas about 4 times per year and always have the finest of everything including land and a 4500 sqft home
    Am I upset I sure am




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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Name and shame then




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    • Anonymous says:

      Think how I feel. I’m an expat shoveling in money for them and will never see any of it again. We is in the same boat bra.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You mean the same ones who are dropping their kids to the bus stop in a spanking new SUV while Government pays for their kids to be bussed from and to school? Or the ones who pull up in a new car at a certain daycare where they claimed they needed assistance and couldn’t pay the full day care fee? Those?




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  6. Anonymous says:

    The danger here is the development of inter-generational dependency upon governmental handouts. It will do nothing but grow. A program to help those who really need it has and will expand to those who simply want it.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    What a DEAL we’re getting from Cayman’s politicians!!

    We can build our hotel(s), relocate their roads, build a bridge over the canal where we connect the North Sound to Seven Mile Beach, remove that unpleasant coral in front of OUR beach, STOP them from coming to OUR beach anymore because its now OUR BEACH, and all the while those idiots are giving us millions and millions of dollars in duty concessions and hotel tax rebates!!! It’s such a SWEET DEAL!! I cant believe we didnt try it with these idiots sooner! Hahahaha.

    Then, imagine this, it gets funnier, when their poor and needy ask them to help them out with paying some of their bills, those idiots turn around and say they aint got it!!! Or dont know when or where they can get it from!! Aaaahahahahahahaha. (Wiping tears from laughing so hard) Man, you talk about a bunch of Bozos, woooo (still laughing). I cant wait to see who the next bunch will be, they’ll prob be even more ‘accommodating’ than the others.

    Now lets see.., where else on Grand Cayman Island can we build our exclusive resorts?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Who are “we” and who are “they, them”? What did you do in the equation? Talk is so cheap.




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    • Jotnar says:

      Yep, and all it cost Dart was over $100m in road and infrastructure improvements and a multi million dollar cheque to the “nation building fund”. Still, lets not let facts get in the away of your personal animosity, eh?

      PS Anyone who owns beachfront land “owns” the beach as far as the high water mark, be they born Caymanian, naturalised Caymanian like Dart, or a Martian. Its not YOUR beach, its the landowners, and if you don’t like that a landowner may want to keep you off his land – here’s an idea. Don’t sell it to them then whine about it afterwards.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Ownership may well be private. The right to enjoyment of it is public.




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        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          OK, I will come around and have a BBQ in your yard then. Since when is the right to enjoy anyone’s private property a public right?




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          • Anonymous says:

            Read the Prescription Law before commenting further.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Do you walk on Seven Mile Beach? Do You enjoy it? Do you understand that most of it is private property?




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            • Anonymous says:

              Do any of you understand that the beach below high water is crown estate and not ‘owned’ by any personal or business interest?
              Walk below high water people, it’s your right as a private citizen.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I believe you are incorrect – if any piece of foreshore can be accessed “dry shod” between high and low water marks, then it is common land.Even if someone can prove ownership, then there is a general public right of free access. Eliminating a historic right of way is usually a little more difficult than saying “x sold it to me”




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    • Anonymous says:

      They suffer least who suffer what they choose.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Mac!




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  9. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of how many of those who are supported had ancestry on Island, and how many become Caymanians through the permanent residency/status route.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You are being politically correct, but what you and all of us are asking, how many of Mac’s Jamaican status holders and their multiplying imported families are we supporting..?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Mac did what he did. It was likely wrong, but why the hell do we keep compounding it by embracing all their kin and granting them rights here without regard to their skills, education or ability to support themselves?




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        • Anonymous says:

          1. If correct, the issue with Jamaicans. Set up a fund just for Jamaicans funded by Jamaicans themselves living here and no assistance from government as we know the CIG is Jamaican’s main employer and this fund could also contribute to the NAU for all monies paid to Jamaicans (salary, business opportunities, education, remittances) who are the only nationals enjoying such improved standard of living.

          2. Then stop assisting young healthy Caymanians who have already received assistance for one child and limit assistance based on strict criteria.

          3. Take politicians out of it and have CAYMANIANS monitor the NAU.

          Sounds fair? what a mess!!!




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          • Anonymous says:

            Nah. Foreign nationals unable to support themselves and their dependent so should not be here at all. That is what the law requires. I do not give a damn whether they are Jamaican or otherwise. There should be one rule for all.




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            • SocialiteCommenta says:

              If you have status you are Caymanian. Caymanian is not considered a nationality to start – it is just and only a immigration status. Most of the Jamaicans who got status were people who had been here for years 10-15 give and take the few who knew people. These people would have been naturalised in any other country. If the status grant was illegal obviously there is a cause of action simply bring an action.
              Next thing people here are such hypocrites, willing to sell the “tiny melting pot” when it suits on the international market but then gripe about it here on island. It is typical these people are such hypocrites the more they laugh with you
              The more you hVe to worry.
              Handouts are given to mainly Cayman born and bred females ages 16- 35 Cayman man breed dem and left dem or dem using the money that they should use to support their family to buy man car. Simple




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              • Anonymous says:

                Bullshit. Most of the Jamaicans who have become Caymanian as a result of the handouts were here for much less than 10 years, many for as little as 1 year.




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                • Anonymous says:

                  “Most of etc etc..” That’s a lie,12:05, but I know you and people like you cannot handle the truth.




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                  • Anonymous says:

                    When a person is granted status because they have been in Cayman for 15 years, and then three of their children move here, all three children become Caymanian 1 year later. That equals 4 new Caymanians, most of whom have only been here a year.




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                • Anonymous says:

                  Hmm, actually the term ‘Caymanian’ is a descriptive term for someone who comes from the Cayman Islands, as the term Scottish or Scots is for the people of Scotland. However, both are not immigration status’s, that comes with the national passport which in both cases is British.
                  Also Cayman cannot breach the ECHR by denying the right to a family life, but they cynically abuse this law when dealing with those who do not have the means to fight this human rights abuse in court.
                  And, most civilised countries are bound by the UN mandate that requires a ‘foreign’ settled and contributing resident to be offered the chance of citizenship after 5 years, no not PR, full blown naturalisation!
                  The problem here is many fold.
                  Firstly you want and need cheap labour, if only to wipe your lazy asses, clean up your crap or raise your children, oh yes, and raise millions in charitable donations for ‘local’ people because your economy is a basket case.
                  You definitely need external experience, expertise and skills.
                  And if Cayman isn’t to become another island bastion of the interbred, new and virile blood, (although looking around, that might be too late).
                  But most of all you need to get real and understand that basically all these foreigners keep you in the comfort you have become accustomed to since the 1960’s.
                  Being a dyed in the wool bigot and nationalist racist isn’t going to bring the money that you so desperately need to support your dependency culture.
                  Over to you.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I doubt anyone who doesn’t have a vote to buy is receiving anything at all.




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        • Anonymous says:

          The sad fact is they will support the import of 10 impoverished kin and provide them with financial support and free education and medication, all in the hope of a single vote.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    And the PPM government is extremely successful…..




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  11. Anonymous says:

    And now with the ongoing importation of poverty despite clear mechanisms designed to prevent it, it looks to get a whole lot worse.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    Our Immigration regime has very strict criteria for ensuring that persons coming here and non-Caymanians living here are able to sustain themselves and their dependents. Nevertheless, large numbers of non-Caymanians are understood to be receiving direct financial and other assistance. Could the NAU please explain why and how this is the case?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Understood to be receiving or receiving?




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      • Anonymous says:

        OK – receiving. Our entire social services apparatus and education system has been overwhelmed by foreign nationals and it is a significant factor bankrupting our country.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I doubt the NAU knows who is Caymanian from who is not. The education department and hsa seem not to know who is from who is not, so why should the NAU be any different?.




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        • P&L says:

          Please… Very few within the Immigration department itself even understand the history of law changes enough to be certain of who is who… and that right there is a fact… I’ve seen the internal confusion first-hand and it ain’t pretty.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    I suggest that the novels in Dickens should be seen as a good money saving template. Workhouses and gruel for all those on handouts. Bet that would shake up the numbers quickly and effectively.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    So I have a friend who is a professional in New York. While she was working she had to pay unemployment. Recently, due to job cuts she has been unemployed. As she has bills to meet she has applied for unemployment. Each week prior to getting her cheque, she has to provide to the official cutting her a cheque evidence that she has been trying to obtain employment, whether that is job interviews that she has done or evidence that she has arranged job interviews. This is a professional person.

    I can understand that the welfare officers don’t really have the resources to help persons obtain employment, but if someone is young, strong and able bodied and they have been receiving public assistance for going on 2-3 years, then the time has come to say to them, unfortunately, you will not be getting any further assistance until you can show us that you have made attempts to obtain employment. The onus will then be on the recipient to prove to the Government that they have taken steps to help themselves.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    2,500 families times 4 (ppl) equals 10,000 people. The entire native population of the Cayman Islands is about 25,000 people. Something is wrong with this number (2,500)




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    • Anonymous says:

      Who told you all of the recipients are part of the native population?




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      • Anonymous says:

        And you should know that those particular economically dependent imports multiply at a greater rate than other voters.




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    • Jotnar says:

      And it bears no resemblance to the unemployed numbers either. Support of employed people is conceivable given costs of living – we would all rather that people were not dissuaded from taking low paid work because they may lose NAU assistance, far better than the alternative of permanent NAU assistance – but the numbers apparently being helped exceed the official number of unemployed by a large margin. Are NAU assisting non Caymanians, or are they double counting – the permanent assistance individuals overlapping with the families assisted on a temporary basis, for example? In any event poster is absolutely right – something looks far from right.




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