Gov’t budgets $100M for welfare support

| 16/12/2019 | 111 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin answers questions in Finance Committee on community affairs issues

(CNS): Although government has budgeted around CI$100 million for payments to those in need, it may still not be enough to meet the demands likely to be placed on the Needs Assessment Unit over the next two years. During Finance Committee, MLA Kenneth Bryan (GTC) pressed government over why it was allocating a very similar amount for rent payments as in the last budget when the rates and the numbers in need are growing, as he accused the government of under-funding social welfare.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has community affairs in his ever-growing areas of responsibility, said his government was allocating more money to support those in need in the community then any budget in history. However, much of that money is the increase in the permanent monthly welfare benefits for veterans and seafarers, the elderly, disabled and indigent.

Bryan raised his concerns that at a time when ordinary people, even those in work, are facing a housing crisis, with rents skyrocketing, the government had set aside the same amount of money to help people with rent as they did in 2018 and 2019, when the provision fell short and forced government to return to the parliament to get twice as much money to cover this line item, which he said would again fall short.

He said it was apparent that while government may be spending more than ever before on welfare, it was still under-budgeting when it came to the housing costs for those in need.

“It’s inadequate,” Bryan said, adding that government had dismissed his suggestions to take on the development of low cost apartments and asked what government was going to do about the problem.

McLaughlin said he had addressed the issue in his budget statement and described Bryan as “supremely unqualified” to challenge the government’s budget figures, which were drawn up by technical experts, on basis of “how he feels” about the issue.

As MLAs questioned government about the money allocated for welfare, civil servants from community affairs revealed that, despite the booming economy, the NAU is dealing with over 1,100 people who need permanent assistance and a similar number of families needing some form of temporary help with rent utilities or other support.

Among the many other issues raised, Chris Saunders (BTW) queried what plans government had to meet the growing demand from Caymanians who were retiring from the private sector with, in most cases, far from adequate pensions that would see them seeking support from government in ever greater numbers in the coming years. Saunders said this was a national long term issue, not a political one, given the alarming numbers of retirees who were going to be in need.

McLaughlin agreed that this was a major challenge.

“Without us addressing this issue of pensions for private sector people, the strain on government going forward is going to become unbearable, financially,” McLaughlin said.

The premier pointed to the need for government to work hard to save money so that there is cash available to deal with many things, but largely social issues. He said Cayman had to retain a strong economy to derive the revenue to be able to fund social programmes. Keeping up with full employment was also important, McLaughlin said, so that more people would be able to look after themselves.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (111)

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  1. Tony says:

    100 million for 1,100 people is around 90k per person. Does anyone do math ever here! Insanity.

  2. 345 dreaming says:

    Damn, 100 million on an island of 60k. Did someone say paradise ? Inflation is sucking the sunset out of this dream.

  3. MR says:

    The able-bodied men and women who are using their children as an excuse to receive these welfare benefits should be REQUIRED to perform volunteer work or classes at the UCCI or other learning academy here in Cayman – this should be a REQUIREMENT for accessing the benefits if you are not elderly and/or have a doctor’s certificate confirming inability to work.

    I know of many people in Cayman (mostly women) accessing rental, grocery, utility, school uniform and other NAU benefits on the merits of their children only and yet while their children are at school all day they are at home or on the road chasing dead-beat men.

    Get these women enrolled in to a career program or GED prep or something that can make this entire $100 million investment actually worth it for our country!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to do something about the pensions for retired civil servants, otherwise, in just a few years, government will have to allocate about 50% of its budget to NAU.

    • Anonymous says:

      At what age did those retired civil servants retire? At what age are private sector workers retiring?

      Bear in mind that anything government pays to anyone is coming mostly from the pockets of the private sector.

  5. Catcha Fire says:

    Government is spending more because Alden and his Likle political despots are importing more welfare recipients.Now they are demanding housing too aaaah Cayman this is recipe for serious problems which now appear on our horizon and our doorstep next.Stop importing poverty Cayman.Stop listening to foreign influenced propaganda about diversity and multiculturalism it only leads minorities having control over indigenous people which always leads to ethnic tensions.George Speight Fiji islands 2000 Those who no longer represent our interest need to be voted out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    just another day in wonderland

  7. Anonymous says:

    any comment mr governor???

  8. Anonymous says:

    bring in means testing. end of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have means testing for immigrants and we still give them status and let them feed at the trough, in preference to other Caymanians. There is a lot more to this story.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey Alden! Why no enforcement of the Maintenance Law? Easier to spend our money, is it?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Clearly this number isn’t going down, and it surely ain’t slowing down…so, what does this mean given the current circumstances for Caymanian youth trying to find meaningful employment in years to come??
    ”The Port the man says” Not!

  11. Anonymous says:

    FREE CONDOMS everywhere. A fraction of the cost of welfare.

  12. Eliza says:

    Er, the Needs Assessment Unit says there are 1,100 people in need … and the gov’t is giving them100 million. That’s CI$90,000 per person. Shome mishtake, shurely?

    • Anonymous says:

      As usual, government numbers are crap. No transparency. No accountability. Just a destruction of our economic viability.

    • Anonymous says:

      No mishtake. Just playing with other pershons money.

    • Jotnar says:

      Well they say 1100 needing permanent assistance. And the same number again needing temporary assistance. So $45K a person. Over 2 years. But still a hell of a lot compared to what the average working person makes for working their butt off. No wonder we have 1500 unemployed if you can get that level of support without having to work.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump.

  14. MR says:

    That is a hefty vote-buying budget… it wouldn’t be so sad if it was properly managed.

    • Anonymous says:

      He even seems to admit it – stating it is the largest amount ever budgeted in aid. After all his time in charge he should be whispering it in shame, not declaring it as grounds for adoration.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Nice work if you can get it
    And if you get it, won’t you tell me how?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Mac’s status grants. The gift that keeps on giving…

    • Anonymous says:

      They were almost certainly illegal and there has been NO INVESTIGATION as to why certain persons gained such an important permission despite clear indications that corruption was involved. It undermines every aspect of the contention that Cayman is country where the rule of law prevails and that criminality is not tolerated. Our law enforcers all appear to be a farce. The national outrage should continue, until the truth is determined. The damage caused needs to be minimized.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yayy more of my tax money will go towards the people who chose to have 3 kids under age 23 with a household income of 3k per month. Meanwhile abortion would’ve helped curbed this until they’re ready.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:24 that about sums it up sadly. Kids be expensive. Don’t have them if you cant afford them!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah yes of course only the wealthy should multiply, the poor shouldn’t be allowed to have children….

      How about we work on a balanced society instead, where everyone can thrive not just the wealthy?

      • Anonymous says:

        People who cannot afford to have children should consider that fact before having them. If they nevertheless have children they cannot afford then this society will have to pay for it. Education is critical.

        If foreign nationals choose to have children they cannot afford to maintain here then they (or their children) need to be made to leave before they become a drain on this society. Tough, and sad, but math has no emotion. We cannot afford to operate this society any other way.

        • Anonymous says:

          The immigration regulations already limit the number of dependents based on income, and expats aren’t meant to qualify for NAU. So either an enforcement issue, or a small number of Caymanians doing rather well off the welfare dime.

          • Anonymous says:

            Immigration does not follow the law. It has not for a decade.
            The NAU has a hard time telling who is actually Caymanian, and knowingly gives money to households supporting foreign national spouses and children.

            • Anonymous says:

              8:08 have you got evidence of this? Only Caymanians get on the welfare system. There’s too much paperwork involved for expats to slip through the cracks onto welfare.

              • Anonymous says:

                Ummm, it should not be possible to become Caymanian and then go onto welfare. The PR system says the ability of an applicant to maintain themselves and their dependents is of paramount importance. The Immigration (Transition) Law says that any PR holder (including spouse of a Caymanian) who becomes a burden government can have their PR revoked (s.40 and s.51), no one should be granted status unless it is in the public interest, adequate consideration is given to the number of dependents, and no applicant can have committed an act of insolvency (s.30). Where someone seeks an RERC as the spouse of a Caymanian the authorities must be satisfied as to the financial means of the spouse and the applicant to support themselves and their dependants. (s. 38(3).

                The only mechanism to formally confirm that someone is in fact Caymanian is the acknowledgement process (s.26(2)). That process is free for all persons born Caymanian.

                The NAU does not appear to require acknowledgement by all of its customers and so risks treating persons who are not Caymanian as being Caymanian. Further, if it is satisfied that one member of the household is Caymanian, it will provide assistance to the entire household if needed, even though it knows that some of the persons benefitting may not be Caymanian.

                Where a person who is not a Caymanian or who recently became a Caymanian requires assistance, no report is made to the immigration department despite it being apparent in many instances that the circumstances giving rise to the need existed before the immigration authorities granted the permission.

                These persons need help and we need to support them.

                The problem is, many of them should not be here!

          • Anonymous says:

            How does that limit the number of children of the unemployed lady from Honduras who marries a Caymanian she’s met last month?

            How does that limit the number of children of a foreign national employed by the Government the Cayman Islands and whose multiple children all get to attend government school (and have health insurance) for free?

            How does that limit the ability of a low paid worker who is granted status, to call for all their children to come and live with them?

            Do tell me, because if you looked or thought about these issues you will see the influx of impoverished foreigners is in full flow.

            Those regulations are published to pretend insurmountable barriers are in place.

            There are so many gaps in the wall, they are irrelevant.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s timeto face facts, there are a lot of people earning minimum wage and to expect them all to forgo ever having children is ridiculous and cruel. Having children can be the most rewarding part of someone’s life. Fact is this society here in Cayman is built for the wealthy and is unbalanced. Suggesting abortion and not having children for the poor just fuels an already unbalanced society.

          • Anonymous says:

            These are not children who are planned by parents committed to raise them. They are the issue of a one night grind .

        • Anonymous says:

          Baby mama don’t know “afford”. They just hand the baby to their own mothers and go party. Baby daddy long gone , moved on to the next

      • Anonymous says:

        The poor should be allowed to have children: the same two or three the wealthy have (which, incidentally, is one of the main reasons the wealthy are wealthy – not as many mouths to feed, clothe, shelter and educate). The problem is people on welfare can only increase their incomes by having more children; if they start working, they lose their welfare. This is taken to an extreme in the UK where families will have so many children the authorities can only comply with their obligations by putting them in mansions. We must not allow that to happen in Cayman, so the rise and rise of welfare costs is a major concern.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:23 If you cant pay for them yourself don’t expect others to do so for you. Be a responsible parent. I know I wouldn’t have kids unless I can afford to pay for them. What with a safe home, health care and a good education (to name a few aspects) raising a child is expensive. Why should anyone else have to support you and your progeny? Its not down to being rich or poor its about common sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Common sense should tell you there are a lot of people on minimum wage but it’s clear that minimum wage is not enough to allow a human to live a fulfilled life (including children if they wish) thus assistance is needed. It’s time for a balanced society. Not everyone can be a lawyer.

          • Anonymous says:

            Get a second or third job. That’s what ppl used to do once upon a time. They had children and did what it takes. Not expect someone else to pay for their lifestyle because it’s hard to work and they won’t have luxuries.

            • Anonymous says:

              you can hardly call housing, food and childcare a lifestyle…that’s just a life. Of course government should assist, cause the wealthy are too busy getting a swimming pool, that winter vacation, yet another ballgown etc. etc.

              • Anonymous says:

                8:55 you use the term “rich” and “poor” very lightly. What do you define as rich exactly? I love my job and I worked hard to get it and hard at it but it will never make me “rich”. I will have to save up for years to afford a house just like many people. I know that at this time in my life I cannot afford to properly raise a child so i choose not to have one. Government should not be responsible for paying for anyone’s children. It is up to the parents. Sadly many people on this island want kids but also expect to buy luxuries they were used to without kids. You cant have both. You have to make sacrifices for your children. You cant have it both ways. Also at least lawyers can afford to have children. You shouldn’t turn your nose up at them. You have to work years to become a successful lawyer and many do not. At least if they choose to have kids they pay for it themselves and dont rely on handouts.

            • Anonymous says:

              Raise the minimum wage 8:27. Get a second or third job at slave wages. You must be kiddin?
              I would love to see you live on a minimum wage here on Grand Cayman.

          • Anonymous says:

            The minimum wage in the Cayman Islands is a total joke. Disgraceful. Slave wage. And this country calls itself Christian.

            • Anonymous says:

              The main problem is not the minimum wage. The main problem is that they allow it to be applied to even senior management positions. There is no longer any scope for real salary advancement for many Caymanians just getting on the job ladder. Government’s mismanagement of the whole thing is disgusting.

    • Anonymous says:

      You throw out abortion so lightly – maybe you should have suggested birth control.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The Immigration Law requires that the ability of a PR or Status applicant to support themselves and their dependants is of Paramout Importance to considerations. What happened Alden? Has someone been ignoring the law?

  19. Anonymous says:

    $100 million divided by the 2,200 of permanent and temporary recipients mentioned is $45,000 per recipient. Is that $90K per family of two? Why work?

    • Anonymous says:

      Obama style politics!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure beats the Trump racist, divide all people politics.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ummm have you seen his rallies? Blacks and Hispanics actually love him despite what CNN will have you believe.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Blacks and Hispanics at his rallies love him. Blacks and Hispanics as groups do not. Also, CNN was accepted as the most authoritative news network for decades; Fox News was invented to create a conservative media bubble to normalise and defend Republican policies and politicians. Reality has a liberal bias – as Obama said – so Republicans had to make a bubble where they repeat after each other and the world looks the way they want it. Sounds like that’s where you live too. Happy delusions.

            • Anonymous says:

              Delusions lmao!! Do you sleep with your tinfoil hat on?

              TRUMP 2020 baby! MAGA!!!

            • Anonymous says:

              Morons like you would prefer Obama in power even after he said… Ugland House in the Cayman islands is either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world (or something to that effect). Brain dead the lot of you.

              Trump is the best thing to happen to Cayman in a very long time. Our economy is absolutely booming because of Trump!

            • Anonymous says:

              4:28, Bet you also believe the Russians had nothing to do with the 2016 election too. I know it is difficult for you but try reading the Mueller Report. Russians and Putin love Trump because he is their puppet.

          • Anonymous says:

            You do realise they pay people to stand behind Trump holding signs such as “Women For Trump” “Blacks For Trump” “Mexicans For Trump”? It is all one big reality show for Trump. You don’t get that yet?

            Ask yourself how many blacks, Hispanics and women are in his senior administration? A couple of token people from every group.

            Old white men rule with Trump and his inner circle.

            I long for the days of no drama Obama as the nonsense every single day wears thin after a while. It is no longer interesting. Can’t wait for the reality TV show to end.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have to work so that government can take more of your money to give to people who do not, or to people who do work but have such low salaries they cannot survive.

  20. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Veterans, Seamen and the elderly should be supported if they are unable to do so themselves. This is the very least of which we should do. Also, those that are truly unable to work, or are mentally or physically disabled.

    I would like to see a division of the NAU in which the majority of its clients fell into the categories above. The second section — the able-bodied but currently unwilling — should be required to show that they are seeking work, and have a graduated system that leads them toward being off the dole.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This article effectively is saying that we have major problems and that the government has no clue how any of them are actually going to be resolved.

    • Anonymous says:

      And while looking for answers government continues to add to the same problems. We are continuing to import poverty and create future problems for ourselves without planning for them. At the same time we are destroying the Caymanian middle class by requiring everyone to compete for $6/hour jobs including in skilled roles, and failing to provide adequate education. It is not only a recipe for disaster. It is about to become a disaster.

      • Anonymous says:

        Raise the minimum wage now and give people a livable wage.
        $6 an hour is a disgrace and no one can live decently on Grand Cayman at that wage rate.

        • Anonymous says:

          So we bring people in on work permits who are willing to live indecently. I haven’t met a Jamaican housekeeper yet who doesn’t have a detached house in Jamaica because of their Cayman income, small as it is. The system works for them and for businesses, just not for the unskilled of our own. That’s where families and government are failing.

          • Anonymous says:

            A house can be built in Jamaica, the Philippines, Honduras for a fraction of what it would cost here. The minimum wage should be raised to At least CU$10.00 p.h., followed by disallowing a huge number of work permits in certain categories. That should help with the labour issues.

          • Anonymous says:

            So you saying we should cut the minimum wage because Jamaicans are making too much money? Bet you would have made a great slave owner. Our Caymanian unskilled are due to our disastrous public education and lack of a proper trade school on island.

            We have no one to blame but ourselves not Jamaicans.

            • Anonymous says:

              Nice straw man – I said the Jamaicans make enough money to afford property at home, not that they should make less. And I also said families and government were failing Caymanian unskilled – so how are you correcting me by saying we have unskilled Caymanians because of disastrous public education when it is run by the government I just criticised? I have a Jamaican helper and I pay her 3x the minimum wage for her one day per week and I’m proud of the fact that she is able to afford a good standard of living in Jamaica partly because of me. She doesn’t plan to stay here all her life you know.

              You got the wrong end of my entire post but maybe you will understand better now.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not so easy. In commercial businesses yes, but domestic and entry level internship positions must be kept low to encourage opportunities for local persons. No expat should be allowed to live in Cayman (other than domestics) at less then CI$10/hour.

      • Anonymous says:

        And the poverty we have imported continues to breed producing more poverty.
        Thanks Mac, got enough wotes yet ?

        • Anonymous says:

          Alden is now a full participant in making Cayman economically unsustainable. He has doubled down on the already potentially fatal harm caused by Mac. Our population is now permanently stacked with growing numbers of persons who will be unable to sustain themselves and their children. Drastic steps are required to reverse the trend, but that would involve politicians acknowledging the were wrong. Very few will do that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that is this administration’s motto

  22. Anonymous says:

    can someone explain why the NAU fails to pay the bills of those under their assistance for months on end? Why is it so difficult for them to get a system in place, so that the utility companies send bills directly to them and they pay online… and ON TIME!

    It’s a sad state of affairs when renters have to refuse NAU recipients that are trying to get housing b/c they can’t rely on the NAU to actually PAY the rent! How is this acceptable?

    The way the Premiere chastises Kenneth Bryan is also a flipping disgrace! He’s only trying to HELP the Caymanian people who need NAU in order to survive, and all his points are 100% valid~~ so many gov’t agencies needing an overhaul!


    • Anonymous says:

      How about you get a job to pay your own utility bills. This is the kind of mentality that leads to chronic welfare users. If you worked and had children for responsible men then you wouldn’t have to complain about late payments. Just a thought…

      • Anonymous says:

        excuse me 8:46 pm? I’m asking on behalf of a family member who is dying and can’t work and is a senior citizen, born and bred Caymanian! I do have a job and pay my bills and have a responsible man as a husband to my children, thanks for asking!!! The NAU program is for those Caymanians in NEED, hence my question!

        Why don’t you take a step back with your assumptions, you know what they say about assumptions, right? Just a thought- STFU

        • Anonymous says:

          And how do you feel about the fact that government is spending millions, some of which should be available to your family member, supporting foreign nationals who are being granted status and PR despite their inability to support themselves?

  23. WHY?? says:

    WHAT?? $100 million dollars? Why not put that @#$#$% money into fixing the abysmal public education system in this country, so our citizens can fend for themselves!!!!

    Caymanians, are you blind? Can you not see that these phony baloney politicians have turned our country into a $%^&#ing third world welfare state!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve been saying this for a long time, but was always told I’m too young to know what I’m talking about. They have done this in the space of 10-15 years. God forbid they are in there any longer!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree fix the public education system. Trades school. This is not a fix…….

  24. Anonymous says:

    Auditor general keep an eye on where this $100m is going please…….

  25. Anonymous says:

    Not nearly enough money. Thousands of persons (including spouses and children) are being granted PR or status without proper vetting of their ability to support themselves in the longer term. The fuse to an economic/demographic time bomb has been lit. What does the Premier think persons earning $6.00 an hour are going to do in their retirement? Support themselves without government assistance?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet those well qualified for PR and Status have to wait years then move on ,cos they get fed up , taking their money with them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well the original points system required you to have lots of money and a property to qualify for PR. Then everyone started complaining that their helper or their lover would have to leave, so now there’s a dispensation from the 9 year rollover for helpers ( and once here 10 years not going to be able to shift you because of human rights), and if you have a baby with a Caymanian you are virtual guaranteed the points irrespective of how much you earn.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep. I know a Jamaican who’s had a baby with a couple different women, and never asked to leave even though he’s been to jail, had a few DUIs, even got a little rough with a child of his. Disgusting. And even more disgusting the women who sleep with men like that. If a guy has babies with different baby mamas stop wasting your time have a little bit of self-respect.

  26. GT Voter says:

    Government and the private sector should encourage the employment of retired Caymanians and permanent residents rather than give out more work permits and social security payments.

  27. Anonymous says:

    That’s over $5,000 per Caymanian! Probably about $20k per Caymanian household. WTF? Where does this money go? Who hands it out?

    • Anonymous says:

      Until recently, it seems Politicians. Get Wotes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not necessarily Caymanians get all the handouts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. I know a family that got grants in that fiasco and was on NAU right after. Then the daughter had a baby and guess where she went for help? NAU.

        • Anonymous says:

          And not all of them were Caymanian, were they?

          • Anonymous says:

            Government really need to stop giving PR to paupers.

            • Anonymous says:

              And status. It is almost impossible for a pauper to get PR or status under our immigration laws, but hundreds are getting it. It is one of the ongoing and most damaging aspects of the non application of Cayman’s laws.

              • Anonymous says:

                Impossible? BS. Check out the scoring. Anyone who attends a few social organizations including church’s, has basic education and importantly has a child with a Caymanian gets the score. And we wonder why we have a booming population of single moms and multiple baby daddies.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Inability to sustain yourself or your dependants is phrased as being fatal to any application. That is ignored.
                  Even then, if you get through, becoming a burden on society is grounds for revocation.
                  That is ignored.

                  There is not a single aspect of the law designed to protect the Caymanian people that is consistently followed.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Impossible based on what the law says. I agree that is not what happens. I agree it is very easy for someone with no money or ability to support themselves to get PR or status. All I am saying is the law says it should be next to impossible. They are ignoring the law!

      • Anonymous says:

        Large numbers of non Caymanians are benefitting, as are hundreds of Caymanians who only recently became Caymanian.

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