CIG prioritises education and jobs

| 27/10/2017 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin delivers the Budget Policy Statement to the LA, 27 October 2017

(CNS): The premier revealed an increase in spending for education and an enhanced focus on ensuring Caymanians benefit from the growing locally economy as he delivered the Budget Policy Statement underpinning the first budget of the Government of National Unity. Outlining what the government is planning for a broad range of areas of the economy and society, from development to improved crime fighting, Alden McLaughlin focused on education and jobs for locals. He said that the last government had given this one “an excellent platform” with economic growth and fiscal stability.

“We will use that platform to tackle the significant issues facing this country,” he told his legislative colleagues as he opened his policy statement ahead of the budget address. But he also indicated that the budget incorporated new ideas, reflecting the new coalition.

Following a very short Throne Speech from Governor Helen Kirkpatrick, the premier said it was a responsible but ambitious budget that met the requirements of the Public Management and Finance Law and advances the government’s agenda. Pointing to the need to prioritise education, he said the budget directed resources to “significantly raise our game on technical and vocational education and training”  and that government would ensure that Caymanians benefit from the economic growth.

“This budget reflects our commitment to full employment through the expansion of the Ready2Work.Ky programme and to long-term opportunities created through better education and skills among the Caymanian workforce,” he said. Government would give Caymanians the opportunities they need but not by “needlessly penalising those from overseas who want to come to work here”, he said, as he outlined goals to reform the work permit systems.

Over this budget, he said, the  jobs programme, which was an important initiative, would be expanded from the annual Christmas clean-up to provide seasonal work for the unemployed. But, he said, while work programmes are a necessity in the short to medium term, they are not long-term solutions.

“In the longer view, we must do a better job of ensuring that Caymanians enter the workforce with the necessary level of education and skills needed in an increasingly globally competitive marketplace. And by ‘we’ I refer to the collective we — government, businesses and citizens,” he said.

McLaughlin indicated that the budget would provide a comprehensive platform to drive improvement in the school system, with an additional $9.6 million to cover special education, the enhancement of science, literacy and math, as well as skills upgrading for 400 teachers and assistants, and for scholarships and youth programmes and additional teachers.

“Several new education posts have been added in the 2018-2019 budget, including special needs specialists, teaching support staff, leadership positions, reception, primary and high school teachers as well as for science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he said, adding that some $36 million had been allocated over the next two years for computer software and equipment and needed improvements at several primary schools and the University College of the Cayman Islands. This cash, however, includes funding to start the initial planning work for a new West Bay Primary School and the John Gray High School.

As he focused on education and employment, he spoke directly to parents and young people when he said there were many good, well-paying jobs available in the vocational trade. He said that at the end of  June this year there were about 2,800 work permits held by people in vocational trades, another 3,400 in fields like auto mechanics, electricians, carpenters and plumbers, alongside many jobs in hospitality and health.

“We will improve the opportunities for youngsters to be exposed to trade and vocational education training and, where appropriate, encourage them to consider further TVET training locally or overseas,” he said. But in a direct message to parents he added, “This encouragement should come from home as well as from school.”

He pointed to a number of existing TVET courses and apprenticeships, noting that the public works construction pilot programme would be expanded and by September 2018 there would be 30 places available for young Caymanians.

“It is intended that PWD become an accredited training centre for …construction vocational training,” McLaughlin told the LA. “This will not only allow PWD to ensure that it has trained individuals available to work for government, but facilities will also be used to train, qualify and give experience to youngsters so that they can find employment in the private sector.”

He said government was committed to a target of at least 75% of high school graduates to move on to post-secondary education or training by the end of this administration, adding, “This is a challenge we are doggedly determined to meet.”

The premier said the government wanted to ensure that Caymanians who are already skilled, qualified and want to work are not consistently disadvantaged in the labour market. Hope for that lies with the new National Human Resources Department, which, he said, would encompass the administrative functions related to immigration and be responsible for monitoring the labour market to give government the strategic oversight it needed.

“This will build capacity and capability among Caymanians seeking to more ably compete for employment opportunities,” McLaughlin said, noting that this was not going to be a merger exercise.

“It is clear that a radical shift is necessary in order to modernise the strategies, services and processes if we are to build effective workforce readiness skills in conjunction with an efficient, fair, and transparent work permit and permanent residency regime,” he said. “Over the next two years, the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration will roll out a programme of modernisation that will lead to legislative reform, introduction of technology to automate business processes, workforce development programmes, and put in place an employer accreditation programme.”

All jobs will be cleared by the new agency and it will improve the transparency of the work permits process, making things easier for business and job-seekers, he stated.

The premier also revealed a new policy to include extra points in bids for public contracts for the employment of locals. “Government must get value for money, but government should also seek as much as possible that companies bidding to provide services to government employ Caymanians wherever possible,” McLaughlin added.

In his long policy address the premier made a great deal of promises to improve government services and help people in need, from fighting crime to exploring the possibility of Cayman becoming a transhipment location for South America.

However, but not all departments in government were winners and some, including the environment, are on the losing side of this new administration.

As he wrapped up his policy statement, he told the LA that the government “has not been sitting by idly since the May elections”, and that all views were valued and respected in the Government of National Unity.

“Just as this government’s Strategic Policy programme was a result of our collaboration and hard work, so is the budget,” he added.

Following the budget presentation from Finance Minister Roy McTaggart, the premier confirmed that the debate on the policy address, Throne Speech and the budget would commence on Wednesday of next week.

Check back to CNS for more from the government’s budget day.

See the short Throne Speech from the governor on CIGTV below:

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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (45)

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  1. Totally Exhausted of PPM disingenuousness says:

    BULLSH*T!!

    When the following actions are successfully done, i.e. Immigration Laws, re-implement the Caymanian Protection Board, put Board Members under a contract with contractual terms under the PCL, Anti-Corruption and Money Laundering, and empower the Immigration Boards to interview Caymanians to ensure they are being trained and/or treated fairly, and empower the Immigration Board to investigation human resources abuses…….ONLY THEN will Caymanians believe you!!

    STOP blowing smoke up our a&&es. 20 years is a hell of a long time. We are very intelligent – STOP taking us for fools.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you @ 9:27 am.

      This mouth vomit coming from Alden who was once himself a Minister of Education 2005-09.

      Please do not think WE the people have forgotten “bro”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The John Gray open classroom design shows that this government does not get it regarding education. These politicians talk the talk but do not have a clue as to solving the backward educational system in Cayman.

    • MM says:

      Everyone knows it is cheaper to build half a wall than an entire wall – the open-concept design is an inching-and-pinching tactic… nothing to do with enhancing the learning of the children.

    • Anonymous says:

      No darlin’, they “get it”.

      It’s the general native populous who does not!

      They are not educated in understanding that million $$$ buildings do not mean 1st class education…..this is measured by curriculum I.E what your kids actually study during school hours.

      Put it this way, if your 12 year old goes to school and is studying the curriculum standard of say a 5 year old, comes home with all A’s and you are one happy parent; then one day your kid graduates from high school and can’t even get a minimum wage job….why you wonder?

      You thought all along, he/she was doing GREAT…..that is the injustice I speak of!
      An injustice that can only be caused by YOUR education ministry, YOUR education department, YOUR elected leaders ladies and gentleman. Hold them ALL accountable, especially the ones who have left these islands to do their damage elsewhere; God help those poor folks out there!

      Signed: 7th generation Native.

      #Stop-Promoting-Illiteracy

  3. Anonymous says:

    We do not need to spend more money, we need to cauterize beauracracy. There are many fine teachers at JGHS, most only last a year or two , due to the F’d up system.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The schools are a joke, nothing will help until we educate our children.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jobs for who? You have destroyed any real prospect of large numbers of your own people succeeding in education or their careers for the next decade. You have closed them off from entry level positions and subjected them to education and work ethic standards so far below the people who you invite in to compete against them that your words are now meaningless.

    What happened to on the job training, a mainstay of Cayman of 20 years ago, when the community and the economy actually worked and were sustainable? You remember? It was before you and your ilk came into power and when Caymanians actually successfully operated and worked in hotels and restaurants, banks, construction companies, and could aspire to move up in large numbers if they worked hard enough…

  6. Anonymous says:

    ppm= poor people money!?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Education & Jobs…..AGAIN! Sounds like the people gave the same people the same job to come next year and say the same thing!

  8. West bay Premier says:

    I think that Alden is just talking like how he’s doing just to promote Roy big Education budget. Now that the population has gotten so big , and it all help the PPM Party to stay in power . Mr Premier be careful how you educate the voters they might get smarter than you and see what you’re doing to them .
    But I agree that the Children need to be educated .

    • Anonymous says:

      Big? Still less than a small town in most places with a budget bigger than many countries, so yes, there is something wrong and I think 12.13 above is right, and i am an expat..proper education, vocational training are a must..thinking that keeping people dumb is the best way to get elected soon ends up with no gravy train to benefit from.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We just need more christians in education and to teach our kids that they can just lay back and enjoy what God has given us and that you do not need a degree to get into heaven.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please say you are being sarcastic

      • Anonymous says:

        Have you checked who is the current minister of education? Let the fake persecution of Christians following unearned promotions and salaries and positions begin as they shout out at meeting their virtue signaling.

  10. Unison says:

    What “kind” of education?

    Waste of time, brain busting books upon books knowledge, OR practical hands-on knowledge that fits key job descriptions in the Cayman Islands? ?

    • Anonymous says:

      How about both for your students who want to excel in academics and will be representing Cayman abroad with world class skills that could some day be used in Cayman in the future AND for those seeking skills that are only Island specific currently.

      The old caricatures of practical vs theoritical is a bit dusty when you understand historically that much theoritical work has huge effects upon the future. Best to keep an open mind and invest in future and current plans.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what are the key job descriptions in the Cayman Islands? Do you have them and will you share?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ideally they could ditch the religious fantasy stuff and leave it to the weekened pedallers of myths and legends.

      • Anonymous says:

        Without a wink wink from my christian teachers, we would not have been able to get into administrative positions and control who we hire, so just remember who is really in charge of education in case you do not know.

    • Anon says:

      What about Social Welfare , Crime, ?

  11. Anonymous says:

    It sounds ok but the concern still lies what is happenning inside of the public schools. There are children who are being moved up through the grades when they are not ready to be noved up because they don’t understand what has been taught.

    You have parents who think it isn’t their responsibilty to ensure that their children is getting what they need from the school.

    You then have the ongoing argument abiut school supplies. Teachers asking for additional resources. Where is the budget for the text books, work books, lesson plans etc?

    To ensure that our kids are able to marketable once they hit the workforce when they are adults, we need to focus on these things not building a fancy school and neglecting the basics…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac say he look good in a Tux.
    But boy that hair on my Premier is Straight and nice.
    Getting a little thin on the top there Sir.
    That’s my Premier.

  13. Anonymous says:

    In the past employers knew what was required and the immigration department enforced the laws. Alden’s dictated a lenient permit policy to the immigration department and the employers returned to the slimy machinations circumventing the laws and regulations. We don’t need a new department…we need enforcement and a stronger leader.

    • Unison says:

      True … but heres a reality check – we have about 300 to 500 graduates every year! Where do they go??? Whether shady employers get their way or not, Cayman will never have enough vacant job positions for our young.

      So what option do we have, but to educate them TO PUSH and survive OFF the island?! Its a big world out there and our lil nest will one day not be ours. Look at the math. Its not possible ?

      • Anonymous says:

        There are over 21,000 work permits approved here. Jobs are not the problem in the Cayman Islands. Opportunities for locals is part of the problem.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are correct, and that stems ultimately from bad education and a “silver spoon” in our mouths attitude which is fed by CIG…

      • Anonymous says:

        Unison – While I agree that Caymanians need to be ‘educated’ to a level where they can compete ‘anywhere’ in the world (including competing globally in Cayman) number of jobs in Cayman is generally not the problem. But half of getting a job is confidence, confidence that you are actually good enough, and projecting that, and knowing that you could get/do the job whether its in Cayman or Calcutta allows you to project that confidence.

        * ‘educated’ = education, training, work ethic, honesty, etc. You have to present the whole package, whether in Cayman or Calcutta.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jobs, jobs, jobs…. Creation would help, stimulating some growth would help. Being a little bit more friendly to the job creators would help.

    Here is a no pain idea… I recall law and accounting firms have certain fees based on the number of professionals. 1-10, 25-50, I don’t know the numbers exactly.

    Raise the limit by 20% without raising the fee. 1- 10, becomes 1-12, up to 50 becomes up to 60.

    BUT…. Half of that 20% has to be Caymanian.

    BUT…. The other half, someone likely requiring a work permit, the company does not have to pay that work permit fee for the first 3 years the positions are filled.

    The financial industry can look at increasing the number of professionals they employ by 20% with no increase in government fees.

    The professionals would need support staff,

    The increase in business would result in an increase in fees in other areas payed by clients.

    The increase in population would be at the top earner level, these are the people that buy houses, boats, cars, gym memberships, eat in restaurants.

    In three years the increase to a firms business could easily cover the cost of the work permits…

    And it costs government nothing.

    • Jotnar says:

      You understand that increasing the number of staff you have does not increase your revenue by itself,right? It does increase your payroll bill and work permit fees though. Of course, if you increase the number limit for each band what you may do is bring employers in a higher and into a cheaper one. That of course does cost government.

  15. Very concerned says:

    Was hoping for a moratorium on work permits and a halt in grants of Permanent Residence so that Caymanians could dominate the workforce and stop becoming 2nd. Class Citizens in their country, Nothing mentioned about the upsurge in crime and how the CIG plans to tackle same. Its seems deploying officers from the RCIP to British Oversees Territories will be more highlighted than for the CIG to find ways to combat crimes which is giving the a bad reputation. Everyday you read about issues with Hospital/ other Gov’t Depts yet not one of these so called politcians dont mentioned anything about our failing nationl security / border patrol. No one is addressing crimes! Grill the Commissioner of Police as the Premier tends to inject a lot of money into the RCIP, CRIME needs to be focussed.

    • Diogenes says:

      At least for the part about the WP and PR you are deluded if you ever thought that was even on the table, also does a couple guys in some boats and trucks count as national security cause I fee that’s about as far as it goes unless you are in ORIA

      Diogenes

      • Diogenes says:

        Correction:

        not fee – “feel”
        not deluded – “you are not deluded”
        not guys – “gays in some boats and trucks”

        Diogenes

  16. Anonymous says:

    This government with Alden McLoughlin at the helm can’t be trusted. He is a master flip flopper

  17. West bay Premier says:

    Mr Premier your headline is wrong , CIG priority is politics and money , not education and jobs .

  18. Anonymous says:

    How can the premier say this will enhance Caymanians when you have educated and degreed Caymanians in the civil service who make less than others who have been grandfathered into positions. Come on Alden let’s do some house cleaning. Many Caymanians are being held down within the civil service.

    • West bay Premier says:

      7:47pm , you should have said come on people let’s do some house cleaning , not Aden he wants to keep them all in his party .

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier

    We do not believe you.

    The education system is incapable of producing anything like what is needed despite enormous expenditures per student.

    Your mass importation of poverty and refusal to enforce laws is making too many people dependent on government for support.

    Your deals with foreign investors are cutting locals out of competition for opportunity.

    You cannot even open illegal gates to allow your people to access the beach.

    You hoodwinked your electorate. Your thirst is for power, not to help your people.

  20. Anonymous says:

    All complete BS. They say this for years and nothing will change.
    I understand the politicians. I don’t understand the foolish population of voters.

    • Smartup says:

      Dont be fooled!!!!!!!’mm

    • Bill Gaites says:

      Unfortunately, you are correct, 6:25. But not all of us voters are foolish….. We just don’t have good candidates most of the time!

      • West bay Premier says:

        Bill Gaites . That is still foolish and stupid to be putting back those same politicians that you already knows everything about . Sometimes people can surprise you when you put them to do a job . That’s why everyone deserves a chance .

        • Anonymous says:

          No, not everyone deserves a chance at every job. When choosing (hiring/voting) between two people with broadly similar credentials ( then yes you can take a chance on someone. When choosing between two people with broadly different credentials then you take the best choice and no one will feel bad for you if you didn’t and then get ‘surprised’ when your ‘chance’ doesn’t work out as was plain to see before you took the chance.

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