Opposition calls for school over port

| 04/01/2018 | 65 Comments

(CNS): The opposition leader has made it clear that education will continue to be the priority for his team this year and they will be holding government to account, not just over teachers’ pay and more local autonomy for schools but also the completion of the John Gray campus. Speaking to CNS about the year ahead, Ezzard Miller said this project should take priority over the controversial cruise port, as students and teachers are under duress and government should target resources to finish the project this year, not in 2020.

He said the attention government is giving to the unjustified and costly cruise port should be diverted to the high school so that it can be completed sooner not later, paving the way for improved outcomes for current students.

Miller said he also believed that to improve the overall management at all local schools they need to be more autonomous and, as provided for in the new education law, he wanted to see the development of school boards. He said changes in the management of schools would not happen without effort and government’s education department should manage the process of devolving some of the central authority to school leaders and boards.

The opposition leader said he would be seeking a meeting with the chair of the new Education Council, Dan Scott, as soon as possible to get an idea of what that body plans to prioritize and raise with him the need to act on improving how schools are run. Miller said he believes that the education department should be focused on standards, inspections, monitoring and the broader regulation of schools, not decisions over which schools can buy which note books.

Miller, who represents North Side, said that schools should not be run from offices in George Town but rather by the parents and community members in their neighborhood. He said that engaging the communities around the schools would help them raise their own resources and tap into local expertise. “We want to see schools have more freedom,” he said.

Concerned that the education system is still too top heavy, Miller believes that too much money was going to administrators and ministry officials rather than on schools. He said that the changes he and the wider public want to see will not happen overnight and will require a coordinated and concerted effort, as he expected there would be pushback from bureaucrats in the department and the ministry. As schools seek to manage their own affairs more, the opposition leader said, the change would need to be properly organised and directed.

Although government made announcements in the budget that education was getting more money, the operation costs are largely the same and Miller said the equity investments appear inadequate to cover the commitments being made. He said the budget allocations fall far short of what is really needed.

During his policy statement when the budget was delivered in November, the premier said that government had provided an additional $9.6 million over the next two years to cover a long list of needs in schools, including more teachers, investment in special education, enhanced science, literacy and math programmes, skills upgrading for 400 teachers and assistants, as well as scholarships and youth programmes.

An investment of $36 million over the two-year budget is also being stretched to cover computer software and equipment, infrastructure improvements at three primary schools, UCCI, as well as the planning work for new primary school in West Bay and the work to complete John Gray.

But the opposition leader has said that this is far short of what government needs to invest in education if it is to create the change the community wants to see and Cayman needs. Given the limited investment, he said, government’s claim that it is prioritising education remains to be seen but the opposition would ensure the administration was held to account.

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Category: Education, Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (65)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please allow me my two cents here on this crucial matter. Everyone should agree that a country’s most important resource happens to be its people. Therefore, it should be vital that all of its people be given the opportunity to enhance themselves.

    If “the children are our future” then the time is now for the following things to happen if we are to see a better Cayman for all of its people – NOT JUST FOR A FEW.

    1. BUILD A VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL – there is no shame in our students who are less academically inclined to be given the opportunity to develop a particular talent/trade they may well be interested in;
    2. Return to a separation of the middle and high school students in Grand Cayman. (Believe me, this move would be welcomed by most teachers, parents and students if the government was serious about improving education in our public schools in Grand Cayman);
    3. More autonomy given to school administrators so that individual schools can be fixed from the inside out rather than outside in;
    4. Less money being poured into useless programmes, policies, and schemes that are very obvious not fitted for our schools and the types of students that have to be catered for;
    5. More money being used instead to develop the Sports and Arts Programmes (including Drama and Music) in our schools;
    6. Additional pay for teachers to offer more tutorial classes after school, weekends and Summer holidays;
    7. The development of a point system for our students to meet in order to be promoted from years 9 through 12;
    8. Government should develop a comprehensive policy that specifically caters for retaining good teachers (both Caymanian and Expatriate) in our public schools;
    9. LESS OF THE IDEA THAT WE MUST ADOPT EVERY SINGLE NEW IDEA THAT IS COMING OUT OF THE UK/USA AND ELSEWHERE regarding best educational trends. Instead, make it an effort to adapt rather than adopt and take what parts will enhance our system and leave the rest. (Look at the big mess that has been made when the government of the past took it on board to build these expensive new high schools that are more fitted for University level than high school).




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  2. K Perkins says:

    Yes 1:25 you still here at least they didn’t destroy or pollute the place. That is more than i can say for many just like you star! Goweh!!!




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  3. Sucka Free Cayman says:

    No dock stop this foolishness building to oblivion Stop damaging our environment to please others.Take our island back from the brink of destruction then cut our resident population to a sustainable level.stop selling our huge tracts of land to Mr big and shut down these big real estate scum bag companies too.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeh Sucka, and bring back those dinosaur things too, and the alligators and mosquitoes. Damn it, just bring the volcano back whilst we at it.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    The schools illegally exclude expat children and thereby stop the change of more, educated, middle class parents getting actively involved in the local school system. Breaching the human rights of kids is disgusting.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    The division of expat and not as fortunate local kids is becoming obvious. Should have never let that happen and then maybe the public schools would have money in the first place.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    placing schools first is a great first step, but if that’s the direction then please stay the course…there’s a lot of rough terrain to cover. on the other hand, a stable and proactive school system amounts to very little if the parents and home environment are pointed in a separate direction.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Why isn’t Julie talking about this?




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  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but I would not sink/waste any more money on the schools until it is decided exactly how to spend it. It is time to separate the children/ students. Some want to learn and most do not. Please start a new school and send the resources where they are needed. Place the children who actually want to learn and care into one system and spend there. There are far to many delinquent students who have no interest. Sorry to be so negative but have you seen the future of Cayman??? Not so promising. The parents don’t care, the students don’t care, the teachers that due care are ridiculed and sent packing. Place is a disgrace and the leaders of the country don’t care. What are you to do.
    One school for those who want to learn. The rest can sort Themselves out…..or not. No one seems to care anyway. They can join the gangs and ride their illegal motorbikes. That’s what they will end up doing anyway. Oh….and getting pregnant. Let’s not leave that one out.

    Truth hurts eh.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What I’ve notice over the years is that the schools have gotten worst since they merge the middle and high school together,these little eleven year olds should most definately not be mixed together.finish the new school ,let the middle school be at the present john gray,and turn the cifec into a trade school. My goodness it is worth the try. And for the love of our kids please parents lets play our part.




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    • Hypatia says:

      What an ignorant statement. Just because there are certain children who are ‘delinquents’ does that really justify throwing them to the waste side? To be forgotten about? These children are already neglected at home; forgotten about and already thought of as failures. These children are the FUTURE. Wow.

      Do yourself a favour and learn about empathy and compassion.




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      • Anonymous says:

        My statement in not mixing the eleven year olds with the fourteen,fifteen sixteen year olds is far from your understanding. Either you don’t have a child there and if you do then you don’t know what goes on around there when the new year sevens come in and is taken advantage of by the older ones, these younger ones are even forced drugs on .and the gov needs to deal with the dress code a.s.a.p.when children can dress like they are off to party ,then they will behave that way .




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      • Anonymous says:

        Worthy sentiments cashed at the expense of the good kids education.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Have a strategic meeting with set goals, if they are not met, then those in charge need to be terminated and others given a shot at solving the problem. What you have now is the same people who have been Department Heads for decades, are doing the same as they have for decades while stealing the style or ideas or complaints of their faculty so they dont appear as redundant as they really are….keep doing the same thing or throw a small variation of a bone to the even stupider admin every now and then to pretend you are contributing…clean the swamp now or continue to enjoy the degenerate leadership we have now as they suck us all into pretending like progress is being made.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t know the truth. Eh.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    One has nothing to do with the other. We as a Country have ongoing infrastructural needs that have to be met. We pay some of the highest tax rates (aka Duties) in the world and should be able to afford to build schools, docks, highways, etc.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Laughable assertion. Our duty rates are not much different to VAT rates paid elsewhere and make up just 14% of CIG income. Despite this we can afford good schools due to the income from the financial services sector. We spend over $20k per kid on education…




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      • Anonymous says:

        Ignorant comment. Big difference in VAT taxes which are collected from the consumer at the point of sale and our tax-in-advance system that requires tax payment at import. The importer has to find the capital to fund the taxation in advance and there is no guarantee of a sale, much less a profit. There is no relief for spoiled, outdated, damaged, or unsold merchandise, not to mention capital outlay. Taxes are accessed and collected at the full rate in advance whether or not the items are eventually sold for profit. Absolutely no expenses can be “written off” as is done in net income based tax systems. Our duty system is a tremendous burden on entrepreneurs and the effective tax rate as a percentage of net income for any given business is much higher than the original duty rate.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Irrelevant comment. Duty makes just 14% of CIG revenue compared to VAT that makes up 18% of UK revenue. Both are ultimately paid by the end consumer. Neither are particularly egregious compared to the scourge of income taxes. God forbid we actually pay for any of the services we use.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Because we have to assume every kid is going to be a university grad. So why build a dock and create jobs.? That’s crazy talk!
    Lets just bank on every kid becoming scholastically inclined. Ya, that’s a smart move.
    The dock will bring low level and mid tier level jobs. As well as management and upper education positions and jobs. Obviously more blue collar than white collar. But it will create jobs.
    Investing in education is not going to create jobs. All it’s going to do, is widen the disparity gap between rich and poor. With the poor not having jobs, and the rich, fighting over those white collar jobs.
    The dock is by far needed more than a new school.
    Ask these politicians whats the plan for those kids that just aren’t up to par. Not everyone is created equal. So what happens to those people? They have not once came up with a plan to create jobs for those people. They just repeat “we will educate and train them”. That doesn’t work. Make jobs for everyone. And the dock will assist with that. A new school will not.




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    • Hypatia says:

      What’s wrong with the idea of every one of our Caymanian public school students becoming university graduates..?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Because expecting every kid to be a university graduate is fantasy land. First off, not every kid is going to be intelligent. Infact, if you go by statistics. at least half aren’t going to be scholastically inclined. If everyone was an engineer. Who actually builds your house?! There are gods and clods. And everyone is important in society. But If you build info structures for the gods *education, what do the clods have.Nothing, they get whatever is a bi product or the left overs. And that causes more unemployment. Really people…do i need to explain this?




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        • Anonymous says:

          Nunsense. Every son or daughter of the soil can be whatever their mother believes they are entitled to be regardless of minor things like intelligence and qualifications. If a furrener has the job their baby can do it.




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          • Anonymous says:

            So, i take it you have a university degree then. Never mind, you do not have to answer that. We already know.

            My point in case.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    AMEN……about time an uneducated Caymanian realized the value of educated the future of the country! ALL Caymanians should have it a mandatory schedule to go through 15 years of education and then off to GOV Subsidized Uni!




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  12. Anonymous says:

    simplistic populist nonsense as usual…..




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  13. Young Caymanian from Cayman says:

    You have my support Mr. Ezzard. Someone needs to stand up for what is right.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I think I should register in North Side to vote for Ezzard. I swear he’s the only one of the bunch that makes any sense.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Tell me this….. Has the New, Big and Beautiful Clifton hunter school produced any architects, engineers, scientist or the like? What is the number of competent graduates from this facility? Have they learned anything while walking the expansive and exspensive to maintain grounds and buildings we had to build?

    The maintenance contractors make more on this new school than the teachers. So how much do the students learn….

    Don’t spend any more on buildings until the education levels of the graduates increase. It’s not the best use of facilities if we are producing meadeoker results.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous you are so out of touch with what has been happening at Clifton Hunter over the last five years, But I guess with a name like Anonymous your mother saw your absence of potential




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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow!, mediocre. You have a right to speak out, but if you are going to speak on education please learn how to spell first




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      • Anonymous says:

        Then perhaps this person is eminently more qualified to speak of the need to improve education standards than you. Despite any spelling errors the message conveyed is crystal clear to most of us.

        You on the other hand clearly need education to deal with your sarky, patronising arrogant attitude. Please try to stay on topic and contribute to the discussion rather than criticising those who do. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. It’s just an adult equivalent of schoolyard bullying and it makes you look childish, petty and stupid.




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    • Anonymous says:

      mediocre




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    • Anonymous says:

      So lets punish our kids for Aldens mistake ? Wow !!!!




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  15. Anonymous says:

    The cost of providing an education for children in the Cayman Islands should be covered by the parents of those children. The government needs to move quickly to implement the appropriate fees that are needed to cover the cost of providing educational services.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I still don’t understand why the minimal “book fee” was removed years ago.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Alden took it away when he was Education Minister, probably as some sort of vote-buying scheme. Mac didn’t bother to reinstate it because I guess it would have had some negative effects. Basically, everyone too damn fraid to bring it back. Since there are about 3,000 primary school kids, and about 2,000 secondary school students, the book fee payments would equate to $70,000 if they paid $100 and $200 per year respectively.




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        • Anonymous says:

          So a pittance, really. Compared to the headache of trying to collect it from people who didn’t want to pay. (Not couldn’t, in a properly means-tested meaning, but felt they couldn’t/shouldn’t.)




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        • Anonymous says:

          There are no books to pay for!!!




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      • Anonymous says:

        Same reason the garbage fee was removed. The entitled refused to pay.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    It would be most interesting to compare the education cost per student in Cayman to another comparably sized jurisdiction.




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    • Jotnar says:

      You can start by comparing the cost per student at the private schools to the CIG ones. Apparently it is cheaper to employ first world teachers in first class classrooms with all the computers and gym facilities you could possibly want than run the public school system. How on earth is that possible -because the private schools don’t have to pay for the army of bureaucrats and seat warmers that don’t actually have anything to do with day to day education.




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  17. West bay Premier says:

    I think that Miller is trying to mean well in his Educational efforts . But he still has a lot more to learn about how a good Education and Schools system are run effectively and professionally .
    I believe that Miller and the Education system would benefit if Miller went and learned how good School system are set up and operating .

    Miller keep that cruise ship dock out of your motion / disgussions because Alden would want to have 75% of the Education budget to go for the cruise ship studies and Education would be a failure again.




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    • Anon says:

      A cruise ship port will not necessarily will bring more visitors. Just provide more secure accommodation allow those visitors that arrive, to stay ~2 hours longer and take more tours spend more money and be of more benefit to the economy.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone know what the business case says about increased spend per cruise visitor ? I don’t see this dock being financially viable




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        • Anonymous says:

          I couldn’t find the bussiness case, much less spend per visitor, but “As per OBC (PwC, 2013), net benefits are estimated to be CI $245M (net present value)” over 20 years. But that is based on their assumption of a 1% increase in tourists every year (over 20 years). – The EIA is on the DoE website (the above is from page 46 of the non-technical summary) but where the OBC is is anyone’s guess. (I’d say its been hidden since the benefit does not justify the expense, but that might not be fair to say.)

          Think it will be worth it. The same report (p.47) says “Estimated economic loss in the order of CI$6.5‐9M/year (based on current spend rates) related to direct and indirect impacts on marine ecosystem goods and services within GTH caused by the project, in particular due to the loss of coral reefs and associated business for local watersports operators, plus indirect impacts to employees’ incomes and purchasing power.” So it will barely turn a profit (and to do so they had to compare a 1% annually increasing profit to a flat revenue loss) before taking in to account how much it will cost to build it in the first place.

          Yes, I know there area lot more details on the profit/loss analysis of this project that I’m skipping over. Go read the reports for yourself if you want. Long and short is that the dock will not be financially viable for the Cayman Islands.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    Build our dock!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed we need more cruise customers!




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      • Charles Darwin says:

        Says all the jewel store owners in Town.




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      • West bay Premier says:

        Why do you need more cruise ship visitors? Do you even have a job in tourism, or even a job sweeping Kirk side walk ?




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        • Anonymous says:

          Its so sad when people have no idea what there talking about. The ships are only getting bigger, and they prefer a dock. Its not about bringing more, its about staying current. What will happen when the older line if ships are sent back to the scrap to build bigger ones. Duh




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  19. Anonymous says:

    While I admit throwing money at the schools will not have a 1 to 1 effect on education it should also be said that our schools are lacking resources and that finishing projects in progress should take priority over starting new projects, especially seeing as the project is not entirely necessary




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    • Anonymous says:

      If by finishing you mean terminating projects based upon feather nesting for family or relatives, then you have everybody’s support except those how have been snorting at the trough at bit longer than most from making or supporting bad projects or . Some of the new projects are trying to find out why members of failed projects are still in positions to do it all again. Hiring child perverts anyone?




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