Housing trouble rolls on for NAU

| 20/12/2019 | 112 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is responsible for community affairs and the social welfare provision for those in need, has said that the ongoing refusal by many landlords to work with the Needs Assessment Unit is compounding the problems it faces. In a press release from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) about the relocation of tenants from an apartment block in George Town, the premier urged landlords to contact and work with the NAU.

The current housing crisis in Cayman is beginning to bite across the community. Many landlords are now renting to visitors via Airbnb and other online accommodation platforms, while work permit numbers have reached record highs, resulting in a very serious shortage of affordable rental units.

Meanwhile, developers remain focused on the luxury end of the market, compounding the problem. But on top of that, the NAU is battling a reputation for not paying on time, which has further deterred landlords from partnering with the government agency.

Speaking in Finance Committee earlier this month, the chief officer from the community affairs ministry said the unit has now introduced a direct payment system through the banks and landlords who have signed up are now getting paid on time.

“We continue to urge landlords with available rental properties to contact the NAU soon as possible,” the premier said in a release about the long-standing and planned relocation of the occupants of Lyndhurst Apartments in George Town.

The effort to move the tenants from the condemned building has added to an already difficult situation, with many tenants not wanting to leave since they were given notice back in 2016.

“DCFS, the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) and the Ministry of Community Affairs (MoCA) continue to offer support and assistance in finding clients alternative accommodation, despite resistance to the relocation by several of the remaining occupants,” officials said in a release.

“Throughout this necessarily sensitive and protracted process, consultation with clients has been ongoing and open, in keeping with the department’s duty of care. In doing so, continuous and concerted attempts have been made to find and secure suitable accommodation for authorised occupants.”

The ministry officials said they remained committed to resolving the urgent housing needs of the remaining occupants, including supporting them in the relocation by seeking accommodation and paying the rent. On Friday, 13 December, DCFS undertook relocated two more tenants with medical problems to a residential facility more tailored to their needs.

“The lack of available properties and landlords who are willing to accept payments from the NAU is problematic,” the premier stated in the release about the issues surrounding the on-going relocation of the residents.

“With the remaining clients, we are happily nearing completion of our shared goal to have them all comfortably housed,” he added as he thanked the teams at the DCFS and NAU. “The departments remain committed to putting the welfare of their clients first. To this end we must respect client privacy at all times to ensure that their confidentiality, enshrined by best practice and the law, is protected,” the premier stated.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Compass had some good comments on “ Hundreds live in unfit housing”, then, suddenly, they disappeared. Looks like someone has pulled the strings. 😢🤔

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Large employers would have no choice as to build their own condos or apartment buildings to house its employees.

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  3. MERVYN CUMBER says:

    Do we want Capitalism or socialism/communism? I empathise with persons who are struggling, but Government should not be their saviour. Perhaps, all the wealthy churches on Island should be involved?

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    • Anonymous says:

      All 3 “isms” require some grey matter.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Government should only serve themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t know which church you attend, but mine is certainly involved. I don’t know why churches here are always described as “wealthy”. Churches depend on the generosity and commitment of their members.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What you have is baffoonism, not in an amusing sense

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    • Anonymous says:

      CORPORATE WELFARE is the main reason gore these housing problems.

      BILLIONAIRES are subsidisedthey are not psying their way and importing cheap labour depresses Csymanian ability to earn a living wage.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like a meltdown in progress. The fact is that you can’t run a country on the basis of employing thousands of low income ex-pats if there’s nowhere for them to live. The worrying thing is this is nothing new. Over a decade ago there were areas where 10-12 people lived in properties intended for 3-4 on the basis of what is effectively ‘hot bunking’ and immigration were turning (or being paid to turn?) a blind eye eye to it. Seems like nothing has changed, it’s just getting worse.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All those accommodation forms employers are required to sign are a joke. They are supposed to help enforce standards in housing and prevent slums, but NO-ONE checks. It is a possible form of corruption, or at the very least, the civil service failing or refusing to do their jobs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      My 23andme just sent me another list of distant relatives. Some reside in Cayman. How much Cayman blood should run in my veins and how to measure it?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of those on assistance are status holders and when they got it? The immigration law needs to include that you can not go on welfare or your status will be revoked and you can’t reapply. They also need to do a financial assessment to determine what investments you have to care for you when you retire to avoid the NAU numbers increasing due to aging status holders whom have the benefit of having assets (mainly a house) in the country they were born. However they also get to claim benefits in Cayman while Caymanians in the same wage bracket can’t even afford to build. I do believe the whole country is probably 25% born Caymanians 35% status holders and 40% work permit holders and dependents of status holders. Most of the persons in charge of HR in government and private sector are status holders or foreigner and therefore they are hiring their own. Even some Caymanians are hiring foreigners due to cheap labor. Request an FOI with government on how many departments and statutory authorities have heads that are foreigners or status holders and what is the make up of their staff (born Caymanians, status holders and foreigners). Also ask how many got their status while working for the government because their “pals” kept renewing their contracts. Matter of fact ask for that makeup for the whole government and then confirm the status of each position.

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    • Anonymous says:

      None

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    • Anonymous says:

      BINGO!

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are no such things as born Caymanians and status holders, 9:37, just Caymanians. That’s the law so get used to it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not quite. Most persons who were granted status can have their status revoked including if they become a burden on the community. Persons who are born Caymanian cannot.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So true. 4:00. Since the influx of low paid workers, mostly in the early days Jamaican male labourers, there have been huge increases in the number of “born Caymanians” being born to the foreigner and the local. Nowadays, pretty Filipino women are popping them out for our Caymanian men. Very very few births in the last 30 years are of children who match what certain posters on CNS describe as born Caymanians, ie children born to two “generational Caymanians”.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That separation of definition WILL BE A TOPIC IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so full of hate.

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    • Dan says:

      Stop saying that Caymanians are hiring cheap labour….there is NOT enough of caymanian people to fill all job positions on island….

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      • Anonymous says:

        Just check the staff at HSA, that’s the worst. As good as those ole time Caymanian women would clean that hospital I am certain that you could not find three Caymanians now in that department much less in other departments. I recently saw three Caymanian girls at the hospital looking for jobs in that Department and they did not stand a chance in hell. What a shame. I have to give credit to the fire Service and to Mr Joel Walton for their mostly Caymanian staffed and so efficiently run. I don’t know where Mr Walton got his training for running his department but he could certainly share his knowledge with lot of heads. I am hoping that his efforts are not being ignored. They are the Caymanian workers that we are proud of. Takes a Bracer after all.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      SOME Caymanians are hiring foreigners?? How about MOST of them? Other than government, all WP holders are required to be hired by Caymanians.

      I realise it is the popular narrative that we are importing poverty, but how about some unpopular truth? Most of our poverty is home grown.

      I believe the root cause of the housing problem is two-fold; one, the minimum wage is not a living wage for Caymanians, just for some hard-working expats who sacrifice while they are here, and then return home to build their houses and lives. This causes crowding and less landlords willing to work with the NAU.

      Two, I believe we are in process of creating a far more striking class difference than ever before in our history; we have the wealthy buying up properties, revamping them for upper class short-terms. That is their right, however I don’t think the wealthy should be given concessions that allow them to unfairly compete with Caymanian businesses. Those that require assistance from the NAU appear to be growing, and that is not a good trend.

      Okay……… threefold. 😉 We have already too many people for our infrastructure. Yes, if outlying areas were developed, more people could be housed there, but at what cost to the already overloaded streets and services? How much population is enough? I think we are well past that point.

      It is the human way, I guess, to grow and grow and grow until everything is full. I wish we could be wiser than that.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “…that the ongoing refusal by many landlords to work with the Needs Assessment Unit is compounding the problems it faces…”

    How many units has DART made available to the NAU?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    How about taking $200m and using it to build 1,000+ affordable homes. Country gains an asset, Caymanians get construction jobs and Government pays for loan with rents.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The problem Alden and Mckeeva can’t see is that the middle class is slowly slipping away. I know people who had nice homes, respectable jobs and because of age, health issues or forced early retirement find they can no longer afford to live at the same standard and have resorted to either taking in boarders or having to sell their property and live in substandard housing assisted by the government..

    On the other side, we are giving PR and status to people that couldn’t afford to take care of themselves before and now seize on the opportunity to be subsidized by the Government..

    It’s a $hit show Alden but you and Mckeeva are only about building piers which will do nothing for our people but will serve as legacy monuments to you two who will most likely be mothballed in 2021.

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  9. Julie says:

    Change the planning laws. So many rules and regulations choking the poor. Seek alternatives and expedite plans.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Look at recent for sale advts. Nothing out there for less than $350K.

    A landlord who purchased a 350K unit needs at least 3.5K rent per month – since a rough rule of thumb for return on investment is 1% of purchase price.

    Housing crisis is upon us!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Could the housing crisis have been avoided?

    How did we get to this point?

    Cayman is in the world’s top 10 of nations ranked by per capita income. Then why Luisa Bodden family (and hundreds of others) was living in such deplorable conditions?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Capitalism….creates runaway rich and poor divide…not enough social intervention because capitalists dont believe in it

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is the word I was looking for.

      • Cayman in the world’s top 10 of nations ranked by per capita income says:

        This tiny territory with 30K “real” caymanians can’t feed each other, provide basic housing and decent education.

        Yet, your Premier had said:

        ” …..those two data points put Cayman in the world’s top 10 of nations ranked by per capita income. Our economic miracle may have had divine assistance, …” Cayman Alternative Investment Summit 2019

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  12. Anonymous says:

    So, we have a growing housing crisis and government is choosing now to evict people because their housing is substandard? Where are they going?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Time to build a tower block

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    • Anonymous says:

      Or stop importing poverty…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Better public transport (with WORC Subsidies) would allow subsidized/social housing where property prices are lower allowing for ‘better than tower block’ housing. (Note: Apartments are great. Tower block social housing become ‘projects’. Hence my preference for a different solution to what we both agree is a problem CIG / Civil Society has to solve.)

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  14. Crab Claw says:

    If NAU was to offer financing to help remodel and rehab buildings I’m sure lots of those older inherited buildings sitting vacant in the outer districts would easily be able to go back into the rental pool market, just request the landowners sign a contract to repay the rehab cost in rental offset fees..

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Here is an idea – have the Community Affairs Minister make a housing deal for NAU clients with the Styrofoam cup guy.

    Whatever the Styrofoam cup guy does he does it first class. The Styrofoam cup guy has all the in house resources that would make it a win-win situation in a public/private partnership to assist NAU clients.

    And you are welcome most Honourable Minister for my common sense suggestion via this forum.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ironic proposal since the “styrofoam cup guy” is one of the main developers that gets concessions (does not pay) the low cost housing fund every time he develops anything, thanks to our very own generous government!!!

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    • David. S says:

      6:17, nice try.
      Let’s don’t transfer America’s social ills.
      Bill Clinton owns prisons, yes he’s a prison landlord, that’s why the system is so corrupt with Obama signing exec orders to extend prison time for black minorities to keep black men enslaved and performing slave duties for the rich elites in prison.lnstead of paid overtime, prisoners get extension on prison sentences to keep Bill Clinton’s pocket lined and the corrupt gravy train on track.
      Thanks to Abomination and Obama, Mr Leftist.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry buddy Cayman doing same thing. Pay 27. 5 per cent tax and get no health care in retirement no death benefit to wife or children… can no longer take pension. Must borrow money from bank to use pension for land. Looks like a bunch of thieves to me but hey Americas ills. Looks pretty sick over here too!

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s not only that NAU pays late, it’s also not getting a deposit and the three month review. If they don’t get get anything, then you have to tell them to leave and you’re the horrible landlord.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Whilst quite a few of our people are in poor financial shape how many really try to be industrious? Most of them cannot even prepare a decent meal for their family. Then you can give them nice stuff for their little homes if they have one and when you go back there in a few weeks the stuff is destroyed. They get good hand me down clothing and also new but when the clothes get dirty they are burnt, and please don’t tell me that its not true. It seems like those that get the less assistance do much better with what they get. It really dosent cost anything for some of them to rake their surroundings whether rented or owned. Just look at how clean the West bay folks kept their yards even though time were hard. Every yard was neatly swept by either woman man girl or boy and full of beautiful white sand especially this time of the year. It is all called ambition.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    3:16 Too many have sold or given away their inheritance or failed to pay their mortgage, and are now taxpayers liability. Certain individuals, who were allowed to stay here are now our liability. Stop giving status to people who are going to be our future liability. Their are too many who have never owned a home and will never own one, therefore they will be future liability.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Time to tank these fools.
    Everyone, take your money out of the banks. Use cash wherever possible. Live frugally.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Instead of building multi million dollar developments, the government should be encouraging developers to build affordable/reasonable priced homes. Most of us cannot afford to buy homed anymore. The land, the developments are all being sold to the millionaires who don’t even live here but then put it up for rent at luxurious amounts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No, government could have taken some of the hundreds of millions of dollars in stamp duty it has received from sales to millionaires and invested it in solutions for its people, instead of squandering it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And all these high end developments require the infrastructure to be increased/expanded – sewer lines, city water lines, CUC power generation – all at a cost which is handed down to the rest of us to pay monthly while these “laundered” units sit empty!

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      • Ol says:

        It’s called infrastructure fees which are paid to government every time anything is built. What does the government do with the infrastructure fees it receives…?

  21. Anonymous says:

    it will never end…as hesus said…we will have poor with us always….

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    • Anonymous says:

      No need. We keep importing it. Easy to minimize and protect and provide opportunity for the poor, if we can keep their number proportionately small.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    cayman has reached a rent/housing crisis…..do-nothing-ppm are incapable of doing anything to resolve this issue…..an issue that is plagueing many first world cities.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    as a landlord who has done it once… i will never work with nau/cig again. incompetence beyond belief.

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  24. Boil to head says:

    Some of the issues with landlords here on this Island is that there is not guidelines, policies, regulations regarding the rental of the properties to tenants.

    Quite often these landlords abruptly raise the rental fees at their whim. This then leaves someone on a fixed income to either pay up or look else where.

    The issue is now like a boil, it’s coming to head.

    Another issue is that some of these slum lords have built rental units out of the crappiest substandard materials and lax construction practices. These units fall apart during a heavy rain squall and these slum lords blame the tenants.

    Two things to do.

    A: Ensure sufficient regulations and/or laws are in place to control these land lords and their dubious practices.

    B: Ensure these rental units meet code by proper inspections on a regular basis. Any new or refurbishments are inspected properly. And any infractions are dealt with swiftly and fully with consequential punishments that will ensure compliance and curb any future violations.

    I have been a victim of a “slum lord” myself, but I challenged the person and won in court, they lost the property and had to pay up or do jail time. This was back in the late 90’s.

    I have seen a rental unit behind a house in the center of town that was a 10X12 plywood shack, one bed and a five gallon pail toilet. Shower was outside behind a plywood screen. The respectable community member was charging 650ci for this then a couple of months later they charged 700ci.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A. NO
      B. NO

      Punishing landlords while CIG keeps flopping its ears is not going to help.

      A. When demand increases and supply remains the same, the higher demand leads to a higher equilibrium price and vice versa
      B. Wealth inequality is taking place in the CI

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      • POP that boil says:

        You sure do sound like one of those cheap “slum lords” who does not want anyone to stop the crookedness of the “slum lords”.

        Your tenants probably live right behind your house too.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You’re barking on the wrong tree. Before you assume, try asking. Don’t judge others by your own standards.

          – I am not a landlord.
          – Prohibition never works.

          Your myopic government is to blame for the shortage of affordable housing. If it can afford to lose a billion, it could make sure each and every Caymanian family is living in a modern basic dwelling. Before issuing 35k work permits it needs to make sure rental properties are available to house them.

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          • Take Cayman Back Revolution says:

            By your own words “Your myopic government” I guess it would be a safe ASSUMPTION that your one of the “Drift Wood” that has brought with them, from whatever slum nation you came from, their slack and criminal attitudes of doing whatever it takes to survive. It’s a shame you came here because you could’nt cut it back where your from. Maybe you need to leave here and go back. Caymanians need to get OUR culture back and stop allowing riff raff to dictate how we live.

            Just like Hong Kong maybe the young CAYMANIAN generation need to start a revolution here.

            ……TAKE CAYMAN BACK FOR CAYMANIANS…….
            ……..POWER TO THE CAYMANIANS………

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    • Anonymous says:

      Tolerated by sheer corruption. There can be no other legitimate explanation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      My rent was just raised from $1500 to $2200 per month. So essentially, after being a good tenet for a number of years, I was kicked out.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Would we accept a measure of ‘price control’ in return for better legislation allowing easier removal of bad tenants (non-payment of rent, etc.)?

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  25. Anthony says:

    Never again would I rent to NAU. Some of their clients are too destructive. I rented one of my apartment to one of their client and that was a big mistake. They destroyed my place and most of all, THEY DIDN’T GIVE A SH*T. The payments was ok but was never on time… Sometimes went you try to help some people it turns around and bite you. SORRY!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Instead of anticipating the problem and timely intervening, he now calls for help. Leadership my a$$.
    Start erecting tents.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    FREE CONDOMS everywhere. Reduce the number of unwanted offspring. Regardless of education & income bracket. Legalise morning after pills & abortion. Give people choices.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    The payment issue might be factual but some of these landlords need to stop using that as an excuse. The truth is most of them are poor business people and even worse landlords. Some of them bully and overreach into the tenants lives and wait for slightest issue to evict them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And then withhold the deposit for some spurious reason. It’s all about the dollar on this rock.

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    • Anonymous says:

      NAU tenants are the worst to have. Even if you had a nice property they will turn your property into a slum with their behaviour. I know landlords that won’t even rent to Caymanians unless they are professionals and show they are making a family monthly income of minimum 12k a month with only one child.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like a racist…because a lot of Caymanians never born here these days and speak and look all sorts of ways..so it seems like he/she is just after a plain racist and pretty much a scumbag

  29. Anonymous says:

    Alden please resign and put us all out if our misery watching you fail at everything you touch

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    • Anon says:

      Not only does NAU have a bad reputation for late payment but when occupants destroy the property funding for repair/ repair is not forthcoming. Th I s leaves the landlord to make a decision to repair the property from their own pocket or not have rental income from the property for years perhaps ever. I know of such a property that cannot be lived in because of the extent of the damage and Government has not made any form of payment or arranged for repair. The property has been sitting in disrepair for years with rain beating in causing more damage.
      I wonder how many of our MLAs rent their properties through the NAU? Those who do please stand up!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Everything Alden McLaughlin is responsible as a minister turns into a proper shit show. The problem is he and his government are disconnected from regular Caymanians. They focus only pleasing on Dart and the jet set Monaco class that use him and Joey Hew as their toys until McKeeva gets back in power.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    I would not rent any units to the CIG. It is not only the NAU that is tardy when it comes to making payment. Additional, unless the NAU and CIG are going to provide legally enforceable guarantees that the occupants will not engage in any undesirable conduct and that the CIG will promptly pay for any and all damages I would not be interested.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    How many persons (including children) benefitting from government sponsored housing were not born Caymanian? A harsh but serious question to which honest and serious answers are deserved.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @3:16 – You do realize that not every Caymanian was born in the Cayman Islands? A Caymanian is a Caymanian is a Caymanian. It doesn’t matter how you achieved it….once you’re a Caymanian you’re a Caymanian.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Except our laws expressly say you cannot become a Caymanian unless you are self sufficient. What do you say to that? Is it OK to ignore our laws?

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        • Anonymous says:

          I thought the law took it one step further and said even after you received your papers once you became dependent on social services your paperwork would be revoked.

          If it’s not already there it should be and the length of time you’re on the island shouldn’t matter either.

          Plus if you’re not already aware, there are some elderly/indigent that have no cayman income/property but are millionaires in their real home country, that come back to cayman to get the monthly stipend. Are these people’s flight travels monitored? If you’re on NAU money you should not be able to afford to travel. I’m working and can’t afford to travel. Even worse they have completely left the country and still receive the money.

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          • Anonymous says:

            You are correct in every regard. The negligence and incompetence at a government level looks pretty close to being criminally so.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Caymankind.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why should we be supporting foreign nationals while we do not even have enough to properly support our own? Perhaps if you paid your helper more we would not be in this situation.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Helpers usually won’t
          Make enough money to qualify for pr. If they do become Caymanian it’s because they got pregnant by someone and got rights that way.

    • Anon says:

      3.16pm Millions of dollars are handed out by Social Services to the indigent, poor families, seamen and war veterans. I suggest that the vast majority of the beneficiaries are Caymanian. A serious comment.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dem nah goin hanswer dat. Any positive response would be indicative of potential incompetence, nepotism, or even corruption. Our laws are designed to reserve almost all benefits for Caymanians, and to prevent non Caymanians likely to require benefits, from becoming Caymanian.

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