CIG missed chance to help jobless, says MLA

| 25/01/2018 | 77 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alva Suckoo, MLA for Newlands

(CNS): Alva Suckoo, the opposition member for Newlands, has said that the government missed the opportunity to help unemployed Caymanians take advantage of the vacancies created at the end of last year and employers have turned to permits to replace lost staff. Suckoo told CNS that recent press coverage claiming the pension exodus never happened was entirely misplaced because none of the recent ‘leavers’ will be making claims on that pension for another two years.  

The independent MLA, who is also deputy leader of the opposition, said that based on his own research, there was a departure at the end of last year of expatriate workers that created a number of vacancies. But he believes that employers, unable to find trained locals and given the time of year, replaced departing staff as quickly as they could with new permit holders.

“We can’t blame businesses who were planning ahead for this if they were forced to find more expat workers because government failed to seize the opportunity to train and prepare unemployed Caymanians,” Suckoo said, as he queried the current administration’s claimed commitment to tackling the issue of human resource development.

“We know from the number of people who turned out for the Christmas clean-up work that the numbers of local jobless people remains significant and I am not seeing the necessary programmes being implemented to help the unemployed with the training they need,” Suckoo added.

He said government had claimed it was going to enforce the placing of all vacancies with the NWDA — a step towards making it the sole government clearing house for all jobs in the Cayman Islands. But he said that there simply has not been enough effort made to match locals with work, especially given the growing permit numbers.

Suckoo said that without a concerted effort by the government, the departure of many expat workers at the end of last year over pension access was always going to result in employers seeking to secure permits as quickly as possible to replace their departing workers, many of whom left in December, the busiest time of year for almost all businesses.

He believes that local supermarkets and tourism-related businesses were some of the worst hit and were not in a position to wait for local replacements, and so had already ensured that new expat workers were lined up.

The Newlands representative said that he was filing an FOI request to compare permit applications in the latter part of 2017 with 2016 to get an estimate of the turnover last year, in an effort to illustrate what he still believes was a “lost opportunity” to secure work for many of the long-term unemployed.

“The pensions office can’t tell us yet what the pension exodus numbers were, as the individuals that left in order to gain access to their pension won’t be able to apply for another two years,” he said. “It will be the number of permit applications that will tell us how many people left and the scale of the opportunity that was missed.”

A recent television report claimed that at the end of 2017 there were only 68 more applications from former workers seeking a pension refund than the end of 2016, and that this lack of applications rubbished the exodus theory.

But Suckoo pointed out that the law prevents people who have left the island from accessing the money until they have been away for two years, so it will be 2019 before the office will see the true impact and, more importantly, the number of vacancies created and the missed opportunity to tackle local unemployment.

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Politics

Comments (77)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Our politicians enhance this unemployment issue by making people believe that Government HAS to assist them in some shape of form to find, be and remain employed.
    Stop making people feel that they can always rely on someone or something else and instead treat people like grown ups and hold them responsible for their own actions/inactions.

    Yes, I get that there are examples where well qualified Caymanians are overlooked but I have also seen many who came to the Island with nothing, took a chances and built a very successful little business for themselves. The problem is that this requires dedication and hard work (often including weekends) and riches don’t come overnight. But if others can do it, why not more Caymanians?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Question: Are there any Trade Programs on the island?? Can you learn to be a plumber, electrician or an HVAC specialist from a school that’s on island? And I’m talking about a full certification and licensed program…the real deal. One that would comply with standards and compliance they use in the USA.
    I’m curious.

  3. R.Smith says:

    Unemployable persons are in every country…accept this.

    It is not the responsibility for our government to find work for everyone…accept this.

    This is not a Cayman Islands problem. This is global…accept this.

    Accept reality and do something positive for the youth and provide a positive role model for our youth of our country. The role model you are creating is not a positive one for our youth and further creating a strong negative environment.

    Create solutions and stop blaming everyone else.

    Create more sports camps.

    Create more after school projects.

    Open up a landscape company, debris removal business, with your excellent wage and employ these people yourself…go ahead and try it. I dare you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am so sick and tired of the crying of the present Government about how jobs “weren’t there for the Caymanians”, open your eyes, there is a NWDA, if you want to work there are jobs. How come the fast food restaurants, hotels, restaurants in general, stores, grocery stores, majority are Work Permit holders? Even the men who pick up our garbage are work permit holders? How about the Police? Caymanians are not smart enough to qualify, this also includes the Prison. So is this our fault as business owners to take Work Permits for workers? Its now 2018, the majority of our lawyers are work permit holders, teachers, doctors, so are we as the people missing something here? The CIG themselves employee people from overseas, Planning to name one.

      So unless the CIG creates jobs and delivers the job at their door step, every unemployed Caymanian who complains will keep complaining and keep being unemployed.

      There was no fore thought of the Pension being changed, didn’t make sense then doesn’t make sense now, but this is what we have running our country!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      if only. I still think the public service for light criminals/certain offenses needs to happen. The garden criminals in prison should make these stupid new license plates and other easy things. Turn wine bottles into glass cups to sell, let them paint things, fix anything small that’s government owned that can be easily transported to and from HMP.

  4. Anon says:

    “But Suckoo pointed out that the law prevents people who have left the island from accessing the money until they have been away for two years, so it will be 2019 before the office will see the true impact and, more importantly, the number of vacancies created and the missed opportunity to tackle local unemployment.”

    This is misleading as you have to apply for the refund, before the refund is approved. Most people make the application as soon as possible and then simply wait for the time to elapse, while off the island.

    The economy has expanded in 2017 so there will be more work permits as the job opportunities have increased. Additionally more people are retiring so we will see a large increase in applications for pensions refunds.

    MLA Suckoo should try to get a program to improve job skills and retrain some of the unemployed people. There are so few Caymanian Barbers, Bartenders, Waiters and Waitresses, Masons and Carpenters. In the 1970,s these were jobs that were staple employment for locals.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He tried getting TVET in place and the govt refused to listen

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    • Anonymous says:

      You cant apply immediately

      (4) Notwithstanding subsection (1),
      where –
      (a) a member’s employment is
      terminated;
      Amendment of section
      52C – withdrawal of
      amount from pension
      account to pay off an
      existing mortgage
      Amendment of section
      52D – additional
      contributions
      Repeal and substitution
      of section 53 – refunds
      The National Pensions (Amendment) Law, 2016
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      (b) that member ceases to reside in
      the Islands; and
      (c) no mandatory contributions
      have been made to a pension
      plan by or on behalf of the
      member for a period of two
      years or more,
      the member may elect, after the expiration of
      two years from the termination of the
      member’s employment, in the case of a defined
      contribution pension plan, to receive a lump
      sum payment of an amount equal to not less
      than the amount of the contributions made by
      or on behalf of the member and the investment
      earnings on the contributions made under the
      pension plan or to have the units allocated to
      the member’s account realised by the approved
      provider and to have the amount transferred to
      another pension plan, and in the case of a
      defined benefit plan, to receive a lump sum
      payment of the commuted value of the
      member’s accrued pension benefits.

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      • Anon says:

        REF: Anonymous says:
        27/01/2018 at 5:17 pm

        You are correct. But you are quoting the amended Pension Law. If a person was leaving the Island for the reasons this news article refers to, then they would be leaving under the 1998 Pension Law, that allows refunds or early retirement at age 55. Is that not what the gist of this story was “hiding”?

        • Anonymous says:

          No the amended law is what cause the issue in the first place. Anyone who left after dec 31st cannot get their pension in a lump sum and those who left can get it after two years. You also cannot apply for it until you meet the conditions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Alva needs to talk to his brother, the Chief Officer, who is getting quite a reputation in his Ministry and the civil service as a whole for NOT employing qualified experienced Caymanians but preferring instead foreigners on contract.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What you might want to do is check his track record for hiring Caymanians, vs the foolishness that’s being spread by a particular MLA who wanted to be Minister of Education.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Even he knows as much as our current Minister of Education.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly, that want to be minister who cannot even come up with his own questions. Ever watch him debate in the LA, he is always reading his questions where it it obvious that someone is emailing him or texting him what to say. Leave Mr. Suckoo, alone. All of you are always bellowing out about education, don’t you realise to get a first class education system they have to hire some first class educators whether they are Caymanian or not. Stop dividing the system with your rubbish.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really qualified Caymanians ?? Check your facts. The Chief Officer has an excellent track record of employing qualified Caymanians.

      The civil service has changed. Gone are the days of getting a promotion based soley on tenure. who you know, political interference, nepotism and cronyism.

      So suck it up unqualified Caymanians go ahead and get qualified.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “he said that there simply has not been enough effort made to match locals with work”

    When I was unemployed, I got on my bike and looked for a job, and I didn’t stop until I found one. I didn’t rely on nanny state to find me one. I didn’t rely on nanny state to pedal that bike for me. I didn’t rely on nanny state to threaten employers to give me a job.

    And to be frank, the seamen, the farmers, the craftsmen the upstanding and hardworking Caymanian men and women who built this country over the past 100 years didn’t rely on nanny state either. Their toil and success was written in the calluses on their hands and in the pride on their faces.

    Yet in Cayman, nanny state is expected by this fat-cat MLA to find jobs for the feckless, for the unemployable, for those too lazy or illiterate to look through the back pages of the Compass at the job ads.

    Seriously – who elects these fools?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well stated 3:57PM. We got way too many of our own Caymanians who are simply too lazy or just want to complain about every expat that is working here.

      The nanny state is growing leaps and bounds year after year. Our own Caymanians have figured out that they can go to NAU/Social Services to get a certain amount of benefits and work every once in awhile doing road side clean up.

      Our own Caymanian business owners will tell you it is much easier for them to get expats to actually work than our own people!!!!!!!!!! Look at all the hotels, restaurants, shoppes, grocery stores, gas stations and on and on – see plenty of expats working, but hardly any locals. How is it that the expats can live here on their salary and still send money back to where they are from for their families???

      Unna, my own people, quit your bitching and complaining, get off your —- and go look work – you can’t expect to just register with NWDA once and that is it.

      Oh and 3:57PM, one of the biggest problems we have in Cayman is the politicians who baby and patronize the segment of society that really aren’t interested in work – they want a job, but don’t want to show up on time, don’t want to stay for their full shift, only want to work when they feel like it, want to use up all there sick days as quickly as possible and on and on and on.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Blame the Government for Caymanians not working in the Hotels, restaurants, because the Govt. make the wages for them to pay only $4.50 P H, plus tips, but plenty places don’t pay their workers tips. The Hotels/ Restaurants etc. should have to pay the $6.00 PH like everyone else plus tips , remember pension, holiday/vacation are not payed any tips. Everyone else has to pay th $ 6.00, so why they only have to pay $4.50, remember they don’t pay tips, the Guests are the ones paying Tips. The poor old people hiring helpers (that are not live in) have to pay $6.00 PH, so why the big money makers to to only pay $4.50.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You have a point, especially when 15% or more is added to each bill. On the other hand, a job is a job, and the people who do it generally do it well here, and earn extra tips. Sometimes you just got to suck it up.

    • Jotnar says:

      Who elects them? Perhaps those that expect a job on a plate? Or only a job they consider consistent with their status or that pays more than they can get off NAU.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow I really hope you are not a Caymanian! The word Uncle Tom comes to mind, amid all the discrimination, lack of training opportunities and lack of empathy for our fellow man, that is the best you could come up with ?

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    • Sinbad says:

      Glad you was successful with your efforts. I’ve known people with degrees apply for jobs but to either be ignored or told that they don’t have experience. Yet you have caymanians without degrees that trains these expats! Yes Alva, government missed an opportunity. Their actions speak volumes. As long as the business extort, discriminate and exploit Caymanians, they don’t give two hoots beacause the Chambers of Commerce and Government are making their Bag of money. Don’t worry poor people have to eat and I can assured you, we will eat one way or the other!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ah the old myths are so much more appealing than the truth.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There are arguments on both sides that are valid. I know we had a Caymanian candidate for a serious role. On paper that person was properly and fully qualified. However when we checked that persons references, the last three employers refused to give any kind of reference, and on the phone ( only way they would say anything) simply said that person was lazy, wrong attitude, wouldn’t take responsibility (needed in that role), and spread poison throughout their organizations. That is only one example and may not be indicative of the general situation, but increasingly I think that those left without work currently are those that think being Caymanian is the only thing they need to qualify for a job. Tell me why employers should have to carry that burden?

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Many of us did what you did. Not everyone today have that opportunaty and not All are lazy. For your comment to have any merrit you should have signed your name. Humility and compassion goes a long way. Specually If it’s for your own people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The myth of Caymanians without degrees, educated in the University of Hard Knocks, training foreigners is a very old boring totally valueless concept. I thought we had got beyond that stupidity.

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    • Anonymous says:

      3:57pm, couldn’t state it any better!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians do!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Take your head out of your rear sucky, they’re unemployed for a reason.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Alva, how many of the “jobless” are actively improving their skills? Try paying the minimum wage for the Christams cleanup and see how many “jobless” turn out. People need to understand that success is up to each person not to some government authority GIVING them a job.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Was it not reported that there were only 68 more pension withdrawal applications last year than the year before? Isn’t that the most relevant number for whether there was a mass exodus?

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    • Anonymous says:

      No you can’t apply for the pension refund for two years! You won’t know the extent of it until then

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      • Anonymous says:

        Plenty Caymanians are hard working, while some are lazy and could only work in government, for they can get away with missing one or two days from work weekly, always coming in to work late, and doing their weekly grocery shopping on Govt./working time ( check the Brac post offices and Public Works Dept.) if you don’t beleive

      • Anonymous says:

        You cant get it for two years. You can apply now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    don’t the hotels have employment drives? Why are they complaining when no one shows up for them? You would figure they would be bursting at the seams, with people wanting to work. Or else, Alvin thinks so.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do the hotels hire Caymanians ? Or do they simply put in these events to impress the work permit board ?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why would the hotels NOT want to employ suitable Caymanians? With no permit application hoops to jump through or fees to pay they are cheaper and easier to employ than foreigners.

        • Anonymous says:

          Cheap labour is good for their bottom line. They pay wages that a Caymanian cannot survive on but when sent to a country like the Phillipines it’s a fortune

          • Anonymous says:

            Do you have any idea what a good, friendly server makes in tips? If that’s still not enough then get off your backside and learn a skill.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jesus. What do you want them to do?!!! Make an effort, or not make an effort??

      • Anonymous says:

        Do (some) Caymanians apply for jobs or turn up for interviews. Or if they do turn up do they wear appropriate attire and act like they want a job? Or do they sit on their asses pointing at the ads saying its already taken and not bother to do anything at all. Please take responsibility for your own actions and APPLY for God’s sake. If you don’t you have no reason to complain. You must keep trying until you succeed, and if your attitude is right, you will.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or when the hotels employ them they complain from day one because they thought job would be easier or that they did not realise that they would have to go in the sun so much with the guests. Some of them would prefer to beg rather than do an honest day’s work.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    From the figures, take out the crack smokers, the drunks, the criminals and the voluntary unemployed that do not want any of the hundreds of jobs that are available. Then it is clear that this is a marginal issue that only concerns the self-seeking rabble-rousing populist.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, in the face of fact the old myth still seems to rear its ugly head. Most of the unemployable are already employed in government jobs. One would never expect to get full employment when there are issues of substance abuse, mental health problems and those who cannot hold a conversation let alone a job. Get real

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t he the same one who predicted the mass exodus of foreign workers in December?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    This guy seems to get it! I think the PPM lost a great member when he walked away. Hopefully one day we will see him in a leadership position on the Government side of the LA. Seems a shame the Government didn’t get him on board when they were forming the Unity Government.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He is holding on to Anthony Eden’s Coattails (or neck folds, whichever you prefer) so that is never going to happen

      Anthony Eden can’t step aside too soon, that will be one fossil that can be put where he belongs in a museum (maybe with a nice white sheet over his exhibit)

      Alva could be a great MLA, if he stood on his own two feet and stopped emulating the dinos in the LA

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      • Anonymous says:

        So … he stood up for preserving our Christian heritage and you say he is clinging to Anthony ? What are the Unity Govt people doing ? Clinging to Alden for their own survival. I’ll take Anthony and Alva any day over that bunch

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry preserving our “Christian heritage” against whom?
          Who in the LA is proposing that we do away with our christian heritage
          What a lackadaisical bullshit response

          Look at the way he campaigned, look at the way he addresses Eden in the LA,
          He knows that the Savannah-Newlands area will vote for Eden so he is sticking close to him to suck up some of his votes it is that simple

          Ohh Ohhh, he is uhmmmmmmm……. defending our christian heritage!
          what a response, what a joke

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        • Diogenes says:

          Christians acting like the victims on Cayman, this is rich
          who is oppressing you and taking away your “christian” heritage
          the christian majority of the electorate?
          or the devout christian MLAs?
          Do you actually think about what you type?

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          • Anonymous says:

            He didn’t think…but neither do you. The MLAs are not devout Christians – I know this because most don’t claim to be Christians at all, regardless of whether or not they’re trying to hold onto this mythical notion of Cayman as a ‘Christian’ country

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            • Anonymous says:

              Really,
              I suggest you look at any of Mckeeva’s posts on FB weekly
              Look at the opening to Finance committee with Mr McTaggert
              Look at Alden’s statements from the past
              Look at how Austin used to start Straight Talk
              I know FOR A FACT that on the night of the election after the votes were announced that some MLAs went to a late night church service
              Anthony Eden literally ran on defending Christianity
              I can go on

              Mythical notion that Cayman is christian
              pull your head out of your ass, a single congregation of one church generally has enough votes to swing an election, they would be fools to not publicly claim Christianity

              They Members currently making up the government are the same ones that wrote the current constitution which places Christianity on a pedestal as the established state religion

              Please check your facts and Remember the words on the Coat of Arms

              “He hath founded it upon the seas” a literal potion of a bible verse

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    • Anonymous says:

      Al is a good politician because he is a good human being. He will be in leadership position again as he was in private sector, but they did not want “his kind “in the boardroom. A new day is coming. Al ignore the negative comments and continue to do what you can for your constituents and Caymanian at large. We appreciate you in Newlands and the wider Bodden Town. Keep up the good work!! I believe that you could have run and won in any of the constituents but we chose you for Newlands.So proud of you.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is precisely what is wrong with Cayman

        These MLAs have their clueless supporters who don’t look at facts or use reason or logic that tell them to “ignore the negative comments”
        he works for ALL of his constituents not just his supporters
        the man won by the slimmest of margins he cannot afford to piss anyone off
        get that through your head

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        • Anonymous says:

          Much afraid, you missed the point. He won by a slim margin against who ? One man against the PPM vote getting machinery!! The man should be proud of his victory. He has “earned” his place in history as the First elected Member for Newlands. Nobody can take that from him.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That is precisely vehat he is doing! By the tone of your email you sound as if you were born pissed off. I think you need more help than an MLA, or any MLA can give. None of them are brain surgeons.

  15. Anonymous says:

    yawn…its like groundhog day when you hear caymanians talk about the myth of ‘caymanian unemployment.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Could the numbers the amount of work permit applications not just be compared to any other month in order to determine if there was a increase in applications at the end of the year to replace exiting workers?

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      No because some businesses are seasonal, especially those that tend to rely on a large number of lower paid expat workers. So you want to compare like to like – say August – December 2017 to the same period last year. Mr Suckoos problem is that even if that shows a surge CIG will simply say the increase is down to economic growth or the boom in tourism due to the hurricane. There is nothing in the raw data that will show why the application is being made – specifically whether it’s a replacement for a pension leaver.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was thinking more of comparing Decembers in recent years simply to see if there is a large noticeable change it wouldn’t be perfect but it could at least indicate to some degree to what extent persons left (or didn’t leave) compared with past numbers

  17. Facto De Matta says:

    The basket of unemployables to which Alva refers will never find work. Nor do they want to.
    The politically expedient myth continues.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And how do you know this? What’s your evidence to support your sweeping generalization?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe because they actually know through the work they do. Unlike most people in Cayman, some people actually work with the unemployed and believe me many ARE unemployable. Feel free though to hire them to clear your yard, to clean your home and cook your dinner and maybe even look after your children. Then see why they are unemployable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow it’s amazing how we allow expats in here and they proceed to spit in our faces

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      • Anonymous says:

        I agree! Fight on Alva the silent majority are behind you – future Premier.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oops there goes that enormous chip!

      • Anonymous says:

        In this particular argument, you should refrain from making any judgemental comments about expats. Remember, they come because of the opportunities. Is it there fault they take the jobs?? Or is it our fault that most hiring managers share a preconceived notion the local workers aren’t up to snub? Look in the mirror and ask the soul…
        An outward pointing finger will fix nothing for YOU

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