Mac vows to fund Meals on Wheels

| 29/04/2016 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush in the LA, 28 April 2016

(CNS): Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush told government that “talk is cheap” after several ministers and backbenchers got up to praise the Meals on Wheel programme during a debate in the Legislative Assembly Thursday. Debating a private member’s motion brought by Bush asking government to plug the funding gap for the charity, which is estimated to be short about $80,000 for next year, he said that if government didn’t, he would find the cash once he was back in office, after he pleaded on behalf of the charity for more money.

Bush pointed to the importance of the charity and the work it has done since it was established by Buelah McField, from feeding just a handful of elderly members of the community a few days a week to delivering almost 200 meals to old folks five days a week, with many more waiting to be added to the charity’s list. Government currently gives MoW about $52,000 per year but the budget for next year is expected to be about $400,000, and while the charity continues to raise money in the community, McField has written to government pointing out that it will be around $80,000 short.

Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden said that the correspondence from McField requesting the cash had “gone missing”, so he did not know MoW was in such need before budget negotiations began. With his ministry already desperately cash-strapped due to immense pressure for funding for social services, he said he was “scrambling to find something extra” for the charity but it would not be the full amount requested.

“I know the benefit,” Bodden said of Meals on Wheels. “Many people would sit hungry were it not for this programme and its volunteers. But it’s budget, budget, budget. Funds are really tight,” he added, noting that his ministry was shifting funds around but something would have to be cut.

With so much public funding as well as charity and church sector cash now going on social assistance programmes, Bodden spoke for the second time this week about people abusing the system and asked for Meals on Wheels to give a list to his ministry of the people it feeds, as he implied that elderly members of the community could be “double dipping”, a term first used in the LA to describe the members who were drawing an MLA’s salary as well as their pension.

The minister appeared to imply, however, that people receiving social assistance from government should not be getting food from Meals on Wheels.

“We need to guard against people seeking to abuse the system,” Bodden said. “I am sure they ensure meals go to worthy people. We would like a list of people receiving MoW to compare with the NAU to see if they are double dipping.”

Winston Connolly, one of several members of the LA that spoke in support of the charity and the need to fund it, asked members of the LA to give money to Meals on Wheels and other similar charities instead of giving cash directly to constituents that come to them for help. He pointed out that members give $15 or $20 to individuals, but if they gave the money to MoW instead, the cash would go much further and help more people.

As several members got up to offer their verbal backing to the charity, Bush told Finance and Economic Development Minister Marco Archer that he just needed to take $20k from four ministries to find the needed $80,000.

The opposition leader said he would find the money once he got back into government, as he warned about the costs government would face if it had to find the money to cover the work dome by charities and churches to help feed and support those in need in the community. With an aging population and things still “not so bright on the horizon”, he said government would need to find a new revenue stream soon to fund social assistance.

He pointed to government money spent on sinking wrecks or charity to other countries, which he accepted needed to be done but said it raised expectations.

“But we better start thinking about how we … address future social needs,” he added, ahead of the vote that saw the government benches agree to try and find some of the funding for Meels on Wheels.

See relevant LA proceedings below (1:44:46).

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Category: Community, Local News, Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mac, (and the rest of you free loading dreamers) why don’t you simply bring in a system of income tax. That way those who take most, pay back most and the huge wealth contained on this island would be more evenly spread amongst those who never see the ‘trickle down’ effect from construction, tourism or financial services.
    Why don’t you implement a tax on those small number of Caymanian family businesses that enrich themselves whilst their own people need welfare and charity.
    With a local population of approximately 25k, there really shouldn’t be any single person without the means to support themselves.
    Yet another shameful issue that blights these islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      we are taxed. We pay large sums in import duty on everything we consume which is a fair tax system. I spent a great deal of time (a few years) trying to get a good education and paying my way through school, having the number of children I can afford and living within my means. I have done pretty well for myself because of this. Tell me why I should support those that haven’t bothered to invest the time that I did and/or had several kids for different fathers who cant be bothered to maintain kids. Since we are talking about a reasonable portion of our populous, can you explain how you would make it a fair system of distribution of wealth? I realise that there are some of us who try and are still not making it, because Cayman is expensive, but aside for those persons, how would you make it fair? And is your view that we should all live the same lifestyle and have the same amount of wealth? Someone is always going to have more than you do. Even in communist countries.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have no idea what you are talking about. The current tax-in-advance duty system requires merchants (Caymanian family or not) to pay far more in taxes than they would have to pay under an income tax system such as in the USA. Consider a grocery store for instance…all duties are paid in advance, even on highly perishable items such as produce, seafood, and meats, which are subject to high rates of spoilage. Under an income tax system…net income is the net of sales less cost of goods and expenses. No tax is ever paid on spoiled produce or any other “shrinkage” which is all “expensed” before calculating net income on which income tax is based. In Cayman…Tax is paid in advance on all items and must be passed on to the consumer. The inability of merchants to “expense” spoilage and recover duty paid is the single biggest factor in the cost of doing business in Cayman vs. the US.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If he gave his pension each month (which he takes from the parliamentary pension fund that has no money) to the MOW and was content to live on his salary of $120,000pa, MOW would be okay.
    “Wha you had to bring dat up now?” he’s probably saying.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Seriously Mac? Will you ever learn? Now you want a “Nation Feeding Fund”?!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do not let this “man” anywhere near money. Maybe one of his slushfingfund churches could throw some money back to help gods children.
    For review; do not let this man anywhere near money!

  5. frangipani says:

    No doubt there are persons (especially older persons) who are in need of care and provision of meals. However, we must consider whether or not the Meals on Wheels business is being abused, How many of the recipients have children (who will stand to inherit their parents very valuable property), who are more than able to help their loved ones now? There should be a means test for all persons receiving hand outs. Government should not have to be involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      And what if these same children refuse or will not or have not ever helped their elderly parent? Then what? Allow the elderly parent to starve and pass on quicker so the selfish children inherit the property faster?

    • Anonymous says:

      If Mac gets his hands on this, guess which district and whose woters will be the main beneficiaries of more Mac freebies.

    • WaYaSay says:

      It is easy for you to check on the affluence of the recipients of these meals.
      Get up off your a@@ one day, give up your lunch hour for a week and volunteer to deliver meals to these people like I do.
      Believe me when you see tje condition of these people and experience their thankfulness you too will wish you could do more.
      At any rate two of these meals cost less than I can buy lunch for each day so who cares if they have their own home or land that they may want to one day hand down to their children? Do you want to make sure that the only thing they can hand down to their next generation is poverty?
      Here is an idea, let out 5 prisoners that are only in Northward for consumption of ganja, each year and there is your funding for MOW each year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey mac, we taut you promised to quit gamblin.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Where are the children of these people?

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really believe that someone should be obligated to take care of a sperm donor who did absolutely nothing for them during their entire life?

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. I know my son is not going to support his sperm donor. Government isn’t making him support his son all the time so they can support the sperm donor when he needs help.

      • Anonymous says:

        I really hope that these sperm donors are reading this and realize that one day they will be in need and the child will turn the blind eye as they have.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mc can fund that out of his gambling winnings any day.

  9. Anonymous says:

    While I agree that MOW helps a lot of the elderly I think that it is essential to make sure people aren’t getting resources from NAU & MOW. also, while I think Ms. Buela does a great job and provides a much needed service maybe the organization could benefit from some professional advice on how to restructure their current operating systems. For the past few years we hear that MOW needs bailing out. Maybe they should produce their operating costs to the public since we are always being asked to step up & support this cause.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I fully agree that our seniors should be assisted in getting nutritious meals but I wonder if some of these people have families who could help out. Also I wonder if any kind of accounts/ audit are being kept to ensure the proper management of these funds, especially the funds given by government.

  10. Sunrise says:

    Politicians at their games again. Please do not take the charitable organizations as a political game anymore!! Leave these things out of your agenda for re-election, now and forever!! A politician quote: You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

  11. Slush Bucket says:

    Always scary to see the other daily newspaper leaping to support anything Mac says. But I guess that’s just gratitude for that Gazette Notice of 31 December 2003.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For the record the Meals on Wheels program was a Rotary program. The Rotary Club approached Buelah McField’s mother who was then the person behind a much smaller initiative funded by Agape Church to feed the poor, to assist it with the Meals on Wheels program. Rotary not only redid the kitchen with new equipment at the Teacher McField building ( another rotary building) to facilitate the launch of its Meals on Wheels program but also set up an account through fosters to create a properly funded and operated program to feed the needy. It also paid for an industrial kitchen in West Bay at the Boys Home (another Rotary building) which cost about $50,000 and provided meals from there for many years. But lets be clear (and I believe Buelah herself will confirm this), meals on wheels did NOT exist before Rotary. Buelah and her mother in particular were instrumental in working with Rotary to start the Meals on Wheels program . But it would not be true to state that Buelah founded MOW. Rotary launched, paid for the meals and the equipment and delivered the meals. Buelah was responsible for ensuring the preparation of the meals etc . From the inception of the Program funding it was therefore Rotary’s responsibility. But for Rotary, managing the accounts from the stores on which the food items were purchased for the meals was always an impossible task. It was therefore the right thing for Rotary to either shut down MOW after all of those years or set it up as its own company. They chose the later but that proved problematic without the full weight of Rotary and Ms McField understanding that this was not really about her but an entire community that made that program work. It comes as no surprise that without Rotary funding it as it had done from its inception, and Ms McField accepting that this was never really about her, it is now unsustainable. Well intentioned as everyone is, that program needs a strong hand to manage the personalities and the money so that it can continue to do the good that it did for all of these many years.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Man a’ll do anyting fa som mo wotes bo bo.

  14. Knot S Smart says:

    God knows I would fund them myself… If only I had not wasted millions of dollars traveling, taking my friends on junket trips to exotic locations, and Oh. I almost forgot – GAMBLING with your money…

  15. Anonymous says:

    There should certainly be some basic scrutiny to prevent unintentional drug addict subsidies, and double-dipping NAU recipients. MOW would not have access to this info. MOW should also disavow any appearance of become a willing instrument for any party’s pre-election “voting” favors. A pity they are already looking more sullied by this entrenched association, even if it may be have seemed innocent enough at their fundraiser.

  16. Nelson says:

    I know one thing; we hear a lot more from the leader of opposition that we do of the actual Premier.

    Alden, speaks to nothing going on in Cayman. Crime is escalating, people are struggling to survive with the ridiculous cost of living (we can’t all be Partners of a big fancy firm – making millions a year).

    All the Premier has ensured is that “One Man, One Vote”, goes through, why????

    Because it ensures him a seat every time at elections. This is the most tailored voting system to ever exist! Talk about “buying” votes; just wait….

    • Anonymous says:

      To Nelson, looks like UDP propaganda wing is busy. Of course you would miss the good ole days of BUSH, even if they were not that good for most of us.I for one , am tired of McKeeva talking like he is some kind of saviour, and looks like he has already decided that our people are going to foolishly put him back in charge of the purse strings.

  17. Anonymous says:

    ahhh – the battle for votes begins!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Another political ploy from Omnibush. Let us first get the creation of MOW straight because not only does Omnibush get it wrong but frequently the press has got it wrong. MOW Cayman was started by Past President of The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Larry Chomyn,after his parents were beneficiaries of a MOW programme in Canada. Hence the initial deliverers of the meals were Rotarians and to this day several members of the club such as the evergreen Past President Derek Haines still are out and about going their way in their modest manner.
      The article in the Compass noted 176 meals per day but there were another 160 candidates coming on line in guess where, yes West Bay and also Northside. This certainly looks odd to moi.
      As a charity raising money from the public and government I do hope that there is a serious review of all applicants, a budget system as well as meaningful accounts, that are sent annually to government, rather similar to the accounts submitted by sporting organizations. As a postscript I do hope they are more accurate than those submitted by CIFA.

      • anonymous says:

        And some lady in a green mini van had tried to run over Derek Haines. What is her name?

      • Anonymous says:

        Chris you are absolutely correct. Although I doubt there is any Rotarian that could give you detailed account of the work or effort it took to establish MOW in GT, WB or NS or how Buelah or more accurately her mother became involved or why the organization then running the boys home at the time volunteered to help prepare meals for MOW (which had nothing to do with Buelah). Nonetheless it is true that it was PP Larry that initiated MOW and it was paid for, organized and meals delivered by Rotarians.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          On the contrary several Rotarians other than Larry can give you complete details on what took place after Larry established MOW. However an earlier blog from anonymous describes quite accurately as to the role of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman in establishing MOW. Unfortunately in Cayman, history tends to get rewritten.

          • Anonymous says:

            Chris I wrote that earlier account. Im sure many can say what happened AFTER MOW was established but not even Larry can tell you how Buelah got involved or how it came together. Larry who is by far a wonderful Rotarian and initiated the MOW as president , cant tell you how Buelah became involved . But that’s not the point. my point was it was a Rotary project that took a lot of effort and it would not have happened without rotary community effort.

            • Chris Johnson says:

              I think we agree. Your point was exactly my point. I have been in the club for 37 years and the memory is firmly in place. My real gripe is that Ombibush is using it for his own devices. Just how many times has he delivered lunches to MOW. Answer. NEVER.

              • Anonymous says:

                Well said Chris. McKeewa just looking for headlines ahead of the upcoming election. Pathetic politician. Please just go away, for the benefit of the country.

  18. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva will not “get back” into anything he wants. The only thing he should get into is his place: the graveyard of public life in this country.

  19. SSM345 says:

    Looking to dip in the Nation Building Fund again I see when he “gets back”……thanks for alerting the AG Mac.

  20. Anonymous says:

    In a country of 56k people with GDP over 3 billion so many depend on donations- Meals on Wheels, Feed our Future, Run for a new ambulance, Hospice.
    What a shame.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I do not think that list should go to the government. It is not their business and if it is the elderly receiving the meals from MOW then that means the amount that they receive from government is not enough. Some get $500 a month, some $1100. Seriously who can pay rent, even if shared, pay light and water and transportation costs plus have a decent meal every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      People/pirates in Cayman love this idea of “justifiable theft”. Stealing, in this context: food from the mouths of seniors, and time and energy from the 100% volunteer staff at MOW. Why don’t you Robin Hoods dip into your paycheck and make a donation, or volunteer your time?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is important that bona fide philanthropic organizations like MoW, heavily reliant upon volunteers and donors, with limited resources, take steps to ensure they are not being taken advantage of. MoW would not currently have access to the master list of NAU recipients, those concurrently supported by churches, MLAs, Veterans & Seamen bursaries, and others to which it could cross-reference and eliminate any abusers. I’ve heard first hand from MoW volunteers that there is almost certainly abuse, though the bulk of their work very worthy. Food banks around the world confront the same issues and its never perfect. Any help to reduce the chance of abuse should be welcome. Similarly, they should avoid the appearance of political favoring in the pre-election campaigns. We wouldn’t want their Opposition champion to appear to have influenced their recipient list in exchange for votes.

      • anonymous says:

        CNS, please keep your attention on this matter.access to the master list of NAU recipients must be given to MOW.

        • Anonymous says:

          To serve what purpose ? To show that the ones receiving the meals and on public assistance need more money than they are getting from the government?

          How about using it this way? If somekn is receiving government assistance and they have rights to reside in another country, they are not allowed to receive government assistance and their rights to reside in the Cayman Islands is reviewed.

  22. anonymous says:

    Meals on Wheels is an excellent cause and appears to be a very well run organisation which all who I know who have assisted with have praised very highly. Certainly this should be supported if possible. It is strange to me that the reaction is to state a need to raise more funds to spend rather than acknowledge that the funds requested are less than what had been spent on paving private and entity properties on the Brac, and a small proportion of the nation building fund’s annual budget to name but two previous uses of the people’s money by our honourable members. One day people will understand that there is only so much money to go around, and if used appropriately and with care the vulnerable in our society can have their needs supported much better than currently the case. The issue is most definately not a lack of cash, but how it is used/abused. People who do not demonstrate care with how resourses are used should not have their fingers on the public purse as there are real costs from wasting or abusing public funds.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ask Beulah for the audited accounts before you spend one penny of my money on this program.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a valid comment as unfortunately in the past few years rumors circulated about the financial governance of this operation. Vindictive or otherwise, MoW should provide some accounting for the funds they use to provide meals

      • anonymous says:

        Read above comments, you appear to have no idea what you are talking about.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are not in the know. There has been serious concern about where the money went. Rather like CIFA. If MOW wants money they need to publish their accounts. Are they hiding something?

    • Anonymous says:

      Even ask her for any accounts. Why do you think Rotary pulled out?

      • Alan Roffey says:

        Rotary did not “Pull-Out” for lack of accounts or for any other reason.

        It is always Rotary’s goal to find and address a community need and then, when an independent organization has been structured and is able to stand on its own, to allow others to take over its operation.

        The current leadership of MoW includes some very talented and experienced people who Rotary has every confidence in.

        Past President Alan Roffey 1999-2000
        Rotary Club of Grand Cayman

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