Almost 500 workers sign on for clean-up

| 10/07/2019 | 90 Comments
Cayman News Service
Caymanians register for the NiCE two-week summer project at the Lions Centre.

(CNS): An army of 486 local men and women hit the roads and beaches of the Cayman Islands this week as the annual summer clean-up programme, National Community Enhancement (NiCE), got underway. This year the workers will be focusing on the sargassum that is plaguing the region and having a detrimental impact on local beachgoers and visitors alike. Before the clean-up teams listened to a presentation by the Department of Environment (DoE) about the influx of seaweed to ensure the protection of turtles and to limit sand erosion.

Given the added concerns about the gases given off by the sargassum as it decomposes, workers with respiratory issues will be working away from the seaweed.

Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew said the summer programme had been brought forward a month to help deal with the sargassum problem, as he thanked the teams involved for organising the clean-up sooner than expected. 

“Sargassum is a naturally occurring phenomenon across the Caribbean, however the number of blooms we are currently experiencing is unprecedented and is affecting watersports enthusiasts’ and beachgoers’ enjoyment of some stretches of coastline,” he told the workers. “As the DoE considers this is likely to be a long-term issue, posing both environmental and a tourism challenges, government has established a sargassum task-force to tackle the issue.”

Hew said he was confident that NiCE could help with the removal of the  sargassum, which was now a priority requiring a robust, multi-agency approach.

DoE Sustainable Development Officer Nathan Dack explained what was causing the large blooms of sargassum in Cayman waters and why they pose problems for marine life. He explained that raking and removal by hand was preferable to using heavy machinery on beaches, which would also remove sand and might cause coastal erosion during hurricane season.

As turtle hatchlings use sargassum as shelter, Dack asked clean-up crews to avoid sweeping away turtle tracks as DoE use them to identify nesting sites.

In the Q&A session registrants learned how sargassum would be collected, what would be done with it following removal and if it was a health risk. Government workers were told that the seaweed would be gathered at sites throughout the island for possible use as fertiliser or burnt, and that it need not pose a health issue if proper safeguards were taken. But Dack advised that those with respiratory problems should refrain from working with the seaweed.

The NiCE programme provides two weeks full-time paid work for people who are unemployed or engaged only in casual, part time and ad hoc jobs, at $10 per hour. But the project also provides an opportunity for those who take part to secure a reference. Project Manager Lois Kellyman said it was also a chance for them show their ability to work diligently as part of a team.

“Your supervisors will be evaluating you and at the end of the two weeks you will be getting documentation that could be useful as a reference when job seeking,” she added.

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Category: Local News

Comments (90)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Another stupid welfare scam. These projects should be carried out by inmates and court ordered community service. The way things are done here are pretty crazy.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Is the Sargassum clean-up only planned for Grand Cayman or will they also tackle the problem on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Where ever lord Dart doth own land, it shall be cleared, cleaned and sanitized, for the good of his citizens.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    A group of eight of these workers cleaned up the garbage thrown out of cars down the road I live on (where…coincidentally?…many Jamaicans live) and cut the bush. In the five hours I watched them, they did the amount of work my one Jamaican guy (I pay him $10 an hour for this type of work) would have done in three hours. There was a LOT of sitting about in the shade and listening to loud music from a car stereo..Jamaican music by the way. They did a good job cleaning up garbage (that should not be there in the first place of course) and trimming the sort of bush the PWD tractor usually does. And I actually don’t mind them getting some money for this. But these are not, from what I could see, workers who would hold a steady job doing this kind of work. “Sun too hot, man”. I sympathize but on the other hand why are they not driving delivery trucks or pumping gas or working for DEH on garbage pick up or standing outside banks as “guards” or being porters at the hospitals or……..a host of other unskilled but regular paying jobs held by work permit holders.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nice story bro

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    • Anonymous says:

      Like i said earlier they up Birch Tree Hill sitting on the side of the road all day long smoking.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You watch em all day? God bless you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Dear @8:52: yes, i watched them off and on all day…five hours for them was all day. The last time NICE workers were down my road they sat on a garbage container and broke it so, yes, I watch. I am retired, have a big yard and work in it so it is not difficult for me to monitor what is going on with them while i do my work. So…while we are at it, have YOU watched them work? Any comments on whether my original post seemed unfair to you? Or did you just want to make an unpleasant comment?

          • Anonymous says:

            Don’t even live on the island. Just trolling a bit. Original post not particularly unfair, but a little cranky. Don’t let other people ruin your day.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You should go out and talk to them, get to know them. Their country is being taken right from under them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @ 4:38 pm if you have a smartphone, make a video and post on youtube.

  4. anon says:

    I wonder how many of these citizens volunteer for the National Trust clean up?.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The only message this sends is that its OK to litter because the government is going to pay a bunch of people to clear it up twice a year, conveniently just before Christmas and the summer holidays, but apparently its not linked to attempts to persuade people to vote for certain parties. Why don’t we teach them how to fine litterers and teach people not to litter? Could be revenue generating too

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    • Anonymous says:

      yep…classic wonderland stuff.
      no enforcement of littering laws…
      pay the litterer, who won’t do a real job, to pick up their own trash.
      repeat cycle every few months…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  6. Mikey says:

    Don’t clean up the Sargasm seaweed its the only hope that we will still have beach access, and no more big development with signs stating we cant enter the private beach property.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    So where is all the rhetoric now about caymanians being lazy and entitled blah blah blah… 500 people showed up to clean up the islands mess in this hot sun. Sure sounds like an “entitled” bunch to me!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you sure they are not Jamaicans? I mean according to another article on here involving criminals, you have to be dark skinned to be a criminal, and only dark skinned people come from Jamaica. I see a lot of dark skinned people in that photo. So are Jamaicans hard working or criminals, we must be told the truth! Alternately we could just stop the blatant racism and get on with each other.

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    • Anonymous says:

      497 of them called in sick or took vacation from their real jobs.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Smart idea take time off from your regular $6.00 job to earn $10.00 on a government job.

        MLAs stop the Slave Wages $6.00 per hour Minimum Wage rate.

        Increase the Minimum Wage to $10.00 so people can live on their wages.

        MLAs put yourselves in the shoes of a $6.00 worker!!

        MLAs you should all be ashamed of yourselves for not fighting for $10.00 Minimum Wage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      yep…expats do this for free for a community that treats them like second class citizens. welcome to wonderland

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    • Anon says:

      12.43pm They want to get references which they have never had before – (guess why?).

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  8. Anonymous says:

    In the Brac they doing something cleaning the road sides, good thing, because P W. D. does absolutely nothing

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if people stop littering, they wont have anything to do. Then you can sleep at night knowing they wont get paid.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s more than just picking up litter. It’s also trimming/mowing/chopping the bush at the side of the road. I believe it’s an important task. Not Earth-shattering, but important.

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      • Anonymous says:

        so lets do away with pwd then????

      • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

        … and by the look of it all of the trimmings from the bushes etc are going into black bags headed straight for the dump. What is taking so long to start composting at the dump?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I hope they come up with a way to pick up the sea weed without the sand or we won thave any beach left after a few years

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  11. Anonymous says:

    More evidence the unemployment figures we are given are crap!

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    • Jotnar says:

      Are you saying that nearly 500 people seeking employment on NiCE must mean the number of unemployed is higher than the 1500 odd government claims ie over a thousand unemployed can’t be bothered with a greater than minimum wage job, or that if only 486 people signed up the unemployment number must be lower, as surely all unemployed people would seize on the chance to make a few dollars?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am saying that for 500 people to have been fit, and well, and available, and prepared to line up for much of the day, and to have been able to secure transport to the location, and to be able to perform manual tasks, then the total number of people needing steady work in the Cayman Islands is a lot higher than 1,500.

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        • Anonymous says:

          3:20 It is possible that the 500 who showed up are the ones who actually want a job and the rest just want to sit home and complain. It is also possible that they have no skills.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unemployed and quick cash job are two different things.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Part time work at above average pay with no real rules, no interview, no skill set required, no police clearance, and no consequences for bad behaviour. Too bad there aren’t more private sector jobs like that.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    the sargassum needs to be contained from the ocean before it reaches the shore we need to devise a plan to get this done waiting for it to pile up on the beach is just harder and stupid

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they can fix the damn dump!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    They are a road hazard as a whole swarm of them standing on road by the Linford Pierson round a bout. Are all these workers Caymanian; where they verified? Who is supposed to supervising them and making sure that proper works are getting done? Just seems like a whole pile of people dropped into an area to paint a few curbs with yellow paint. Where is Minister Hew?

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    • Anonymous says:

      It wouldn’t be Cayman without armchair experts who complain about anything under the sun like you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He too busy with his golden shovel building white elephants

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    • Anonymous says:

      Swarms of Caymanians. I always wondered what the collective noun was. Seems strange given the propensity for wanting to beat each other to death over how Caymanian they are..you know, paper, johnny come lately, first generation, Jaycan, Hondurcan, 500th generational. Its quite simple really, Brits rule. The rest is complete BS.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage and the resulting cheap labor who then send home 75%of their wages are killing the job prospects of all locals. From dedicated workers to teenaged school leavers are adversely affected.
    The fake “lazy locals” are falsely applied to justify this economic slavery.
    So sad.
    Bad actually. Really bad. Dangerous too.

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    • Anonymous says:

      don’t forget the government gets a nice extra 5% of that from his tax on wire transfers

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you suggesting these people aren’t even really Caymanian and sending the clean up money back home to their real countries?

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    • Anonymous says:

      How many places in the world can you live off 25% of minimum wage pay?

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    • Anon says:

      3.30am How many times do we have to read these ignorant comments from ignorant Caymanians who are upset by hard working, reliable and intelligent immigrant workers, just because they send money home to support their families. This “cheap labour” is employed by cheap Caymanians who well understand that “lazy locals”are a reality not a myth,

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      • Anonymous says:

        strange, how many times do you read comments from people stating Caymanians are writing racist and discriminating comments when the writers are anonymous! Forgot about the tone or content, how do people acquire this special skill set ? Just like not every expatriate partakes in the anti-caymanian xenophobic dialogues, although they are few in numbers.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh please. They up Birch Tree hill sitting on the side of the road smoking all day long.

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