Dear PAC: more on the Needs Assessment Unit

| 11/09/2017 | 14 Comments

Cayman News ServiceA former NAU employee writes: What! The ministry is responsible for NAU? This is news? Mr Miller, you should not be surprised about the NAU director calling out the ministry. I guess we can expect a new NAU director soon. As I have repeatedly and consistently said via this forum, the main problems with social services assistance is the lack of leadership from the chief officer and political interference that regularly occurs.

NAU has some truly dedicated staff working under extremely stressful conditions all around. I do not questions any former co-workers dedication to their job, but I would question the ministry’s “leadership” or what should be stated the “lack of leadership”.

The NAU director has correctly pointed out the following:

1. Lack of supporting legislation — very weak Poor Persons Relief Law that has not been updated in over 20 years. Guidance for officers is exceptionally poor, mainly a short Cabinet level directive.

2. Landlords are hesitant about renting to NAU clients. NAU does not provide landlords with any sort of security deposit and when I worked there NAU had an awful record of late payments. I will note that NAU has now changed its tone about late payments.

3. NAU does not answer the phone, hence prospective clients show up in person. People are extremely desperate in Cayman. I have NAU clients who come look for me at my new workplace — looking for help. Knowing that I once worked there, some think I may be able to refer them to someone to expedite their situation.

My answer to them is very simple: Be persistent! Contact your MLA, a Cabinet member or the minister responsible. If they are doing their job representing you/your interest, they will contact the ministry chief officer and/or NAU director.

The leadership at NAU is too consumed with dealing with political directives, policies that need to be revised.

4. Housing Repairs. Yes, resources were diverted towards this programme. Not sure why this would fall under NAU — do they have employees with relevant experience to know how to assess the estimates/bids regarding home repairs?

In closing, Mr Miller, I would like to note one huge area that the NAU director seems not to have explicitly stated at the PAC hearing, that being CINICO.

When I worked there, NAU had a small team of officers that worked on the CINICO team. This team was not properly staffed to handle the exceptionally high volume of prospective CINICO clients. CINICO clients are classified into specific categories and the time-sensitive nature of their situations leads to the most urgent ones being dealt with on short notice, hence causing a backlog for other CINICO categories.

As you are a former minister of health, can you explain why NAU would be the main point of contact for certain CINICO applicants? Why is this not part of CINICO itself? Why not some part of the ministry of health?

I would be glad to enlighten Mr Miller more on this subject if it would in the long run assist the NAU director and the hard-working staff at NAU.


This comment was made in response to NAU challenged by ministry action and client numbers

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Category: Government oversight, Local News, Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    WHAT is This Cayman culture?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good for you to get a quick response from NAU. first I must say that they do not answer the phone. there are some genuine problems out there and the ones that have a need and not greed seems to get all the attention. I must say that the person responsible for NAU will certainly get unpopular because that’s who the people gives the blame to. If after calling the office for almost a day and you get an answer you are told that the person you want to speak with is not there,but hold on and after some time that person will get on the line. Don’t go there with a real need and be polite or you wont get any attention. Its usually those who are rough and will threathen and use vulgar language that get attention. I hate to complain but this Department really need a change of staff.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What purpose does the deputy governor serve? Isn’t he in charge of the civil service? Isn’t he the only one who can do the firing? What does he do all day? The government is in desperate need of proper HR and performance reviews of the COs especially to ensure accountability and value for money.

    Ineffective leadership seems to be the norm in government and why has no one been called to task for doing a shit job?

    • Anonymous says:

      According to the law, every Civil Servant can be transferred at the discretion of the DG in the interest of the Service.

      My suggestion is for Ms. Dorine Whittaker to be transferred to the DG’s office to assist him with his work and put someone else in charge of Comm Affairs

  4. Anonymous says:

    @ 10:02 All I can add is a big AMEN!!!!!

  5. BELONGER says:

    New leadership is seriously needed at the Ministry (fire them or retire them) and the NAU Director and her staff needs to be strongly supported and given additional staff to cope.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So we continue to dig the hole deeper for the Caymanian people that continue to struggle and live in poverty. And what makes it worse is that the Premier is now the minister responsible for NAU! Can someone remind me during the last 4 years, what did the Premier do as minister of health?! That is another system thats a complete mess and people either don’t have insurance, get denied care, or simply suffer. The Web that the PPM-led government continues to weave is one of expensive consultants that create reports, that often aren’t revealed to the public, but also never fully get reviewed or implemented… and then eventually they are shelved. Things won’t change until we elect people that are willing to actually make change, not for themselves but for those that really need it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Premier now has responsibility for this department. Please forgive me but Mr McLaughlin is not known for having empathy towards anyone regardless their circumstances. The previous Minister Bodden was approachable and very understanding to the circumstances of persons seeking assistance from the Department. Unless steps are taken in the immediate future to correct and address some of the problems of this Department I can say you will surely see crime increase. People need food, shelter and be able to to live and take care of their families too regardless of their circumstances, so this is a matter that requires action. Please fulfill some of those campaign promises to help Caymanians who are struggling.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why no enforcement of the Maintenance Law?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I had to do business with the NAU director on behalf of a relative and the service was quick and professional but I do realise that other’s experiences have not been so pleasant. It is high time these directors and managers who can defend their work and integrity to stand up for themselves, however there are some who sit around year after year and practice their glib lies and innuendos for the most convenient time and can spout them out without battening an eye and nothing is done about them. The public is then left with the question ” who is being honest and hard working here” Some of the ministers does absolutely nothing to assist their chief officers/ managers to function properly especially if that person is not “a yes ma’am or yes sir” dimwit. ” how dare you come up with anything constructive” In fact the Minister can be considered a proper hindrance to the progress of the country. Nothing will change until they are confronted, called out and made accountable? After all no one is infallible nor are they God’s gift to creation. It takes more than walking around shaking hands and cheesing for the camera.

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