Gov’t helping those in need, local or expat

| 30/03/2020 | 114 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has rejected complaints coming in from members of the public about government assisting foreign permit holders stuck in Cayman because of the pandemic. Despite “taking some licks for this”, McLaughlin said at Friday’s press briefing that the coronavirus pandemic was a humanitarian crisis and if people were hungry or had nowhere to stay, government would help them, whether they were locals or expatriates.

Over the last few weeks there has been an increasing level of complaints on social media and across the community that government should not help foreigners because there are hungry and homeless locals who are not being helped. Given that a growing number of Caymanians were already in dire need before the pandemic, they are in a worse situation now, which has led some to believe this means we must not assist foreigners.

But McLaughlin has completely rejected that position. Speaking at the daily press briefing on the management of the COVID-29 threat here on Friday, he made it clear that government was going to try to help everyone right now, regardless of their residency status and where they come from.

Responding to a specific question from the public about where the money would come from to cover the cost of supporting permit holders, he explained that the government would be ensuring the basics would be covered for everyone.

“We are treating this as a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “Regardless of whether you are Caymanian or not, if you are stuck here with us for the duration, we are going to ensure you can eat, that you have a roof over your head and have access to healthcare.”

He said anyone who found themselves with any of these needs not being met should apply to the Needs Assessment Unit so the officers there can look at their situation and “let us see how we can help”.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are Caymanian or not, you still have to eat, live and breathe. We are all humans,” the premier said. “I know we have taken some licks for this, me in particular, but we have a duty… to make sure that everyone who lives here is able to get through this time, and that is what government is going to do.”

See the full press briefing below (set to start at this question):


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Comments (114)

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  1. Rick says:

    Most expats wanted to leave, as far as I know. We created the problem by refusing to use the funds their employers (and in many cases, the expats) paid for repatriation and instead left it up to the employers. Now we are stuck with people who cannot afford to live and have no income. NAU will not help them and I do not believe this is a good faith effort to help expatriates in this category. This is mere hypocrisy. If you wanted to help, why did you not use the repatriation fees to send them home? And it is less costly to send them home now on flights into their home countries.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Government is going to make sure that everyone, Caymanian or expat has a roof over their head, food and access to health care. What a timely statement! Or did I misread it? Refreshing to know that all the homeless Caymanians, some who sleep on the beach, on a bench or somewhere else will be housed and fed.
      Many Caymanians were starving and only surviving on handouts. But now, no more beggars knocking on our doors and wrenching our hearts. Thank you Government. We are a rich and prosperous country and there should be no homelessness.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cheapest course of action would be to offer free repatriation on CAL to anywhere that can fill flights. Suspend their work permit so they can return if and when the economy picks up and they are needed again. Makes no sense at all to pay foreign workers to sit here with nothing to do only for them to go home 3 months from now when there are still no tourists.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Last years surplus comes down to 8000 CI per household.
    Not everybody needs help of course, so it seems to me that money is not the issue.

    Many people sit at home with no money, no food and no credit on the phone and no way to get any help.

    Where is this cayman christianity they are so full of ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Budgetary surpluses are not reserve cash profits to be spent. CIG is fully maxed-out on loans to the point where it cannot borrow more unless the FCO relaxes its collateral requirements. We are so broke we can’t borrow any more and still service the interest on the debt AND pay regular CIG payroll. Public pension and healthcare liabilities, excluded from the general balance sheet are estimated to be over $1 Bln. There is no extra free cash, just a little bit more than anticipated, which we hoped would go towards paying down our debt! Instead, CIG gave a raise, increasing carried-forward payroll costs, which now it can’t service indefinitely.

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      • Anonymous says:

        10.11am Do some research before you write such rubbish. This Govt has not increaed the national debt and has been paying down brought forward debt.

  3. Jacky Boatside from Old Bush says:

    Reality is under the current conditions how long will this remain calm?? All the praising and the accolades in the world and personal agendas I see being touted on here .The facts are their is No Work, limited resources, emergency conditions on this island and pandemic in full swing and some people including our leaders same to think its a 3 1/2 week flu scenario our economic situation like everywhere else is going to have very serious issues. If you love Cayman as you claim then leave it until it gets back up but go home and return when it does. It would appear our dear leaders did not learn one single lesson from Hurricane Ivan including what lead up to the evacuation protocols being put in place and some of the very nasty scenarios occurring at that time.Too busy eating Corn Beef I guess?? The current model for the curfew of essential staff only can simply be adapted for our expats population or work permit holders others simply when flights are available must return home. Until things return to normal whenever that occurs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Financial services is still working, albeit from home. The income from those work permits and taxes on food/gas bought by those still working on WPs are about the only income CIG has right now. Add that to landlords that would lose rent, shops losing custom and you see that those people leaving would not be helping the economy at all. How do you think CIG can support people who need it if CIG does not have any income?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    If you’re all honest with yourselves, you have to see that helping for months on end is not sustainable. This WILL go on for months. It is best if those expat workers who are without work leave to go home to their home countries, because the government well will have to run dry at some point.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Actually it is sustainable. If we have 10,000 people needing $1,000 per month, that’s $10m per month, $100m in ten months. It’s a lot of money, and it’s not ideal, but it’s not unaffordable for the government.

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      • Anon says:

        We wish we only had 10,000 w/permits granted. It’s actually nearer 40,000 plus we have our own needy people. Govt cannot afford to help all of them.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Just don’t give the expats money because they will head direct for western union to send it home

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  6. Anonymous says:

    This is not the governments problem alone. All those that are still employed and being paid should contribute, whether you give food, time or money it is everyone’s responsibility to help.

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  7. Reality Check Cayman says:

    Yes Alden we applaud your government’s generosity. However there are some very stark realities that are occurring in the US in regards to the supply chain and suppliers who appear to be going
    on strike for issues relating to the Coronavirus on top of this there is a serious container shortage. Those playing to gallery are simply ignoring the unpredictable and fluid situation we now face the gesture is a honorable one but will become unsustainable as time passes I hope you have a plan to feed the 40,000, Alden??? Because you aren’t Jesus Christ and this is not a long term solution and will become a serious problem very shortly.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Government shouldn’t being helping expats, what Alden needs to do is worry about his Caymanian people because these expats sure as hell aren’t concerned about us.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are an ignorant xenophobe. I sincerely hope one day you do not need the assistance of one of “these expats” to save your life or the life of one of your family members.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It always amuses me when local people come out with nonsense like that. Thankfully the educated local population are fully aware that without the expat population and the industries that they work in, these island would disappear without a trace. Smoke pots and wompers? Is that what you want? The good old days? Are you prepared to do the crappy jobs that some expats do? Doubt it. Be careful what you wish for.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We all never cum yah fi stay foreva di virus gonna kill most a wi anyway ….so no need for lacking humanity and is only one set a ppl unno see as expatriates don’t it yes like I speak it

  9. Anonymous says:

    I believe that the Premier is doing his best in uncertain times. Not everyone is happy with it, but in a crisis such as this, you can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t. I never thought that such a stringent approach would be taken towards COVID-19. I am truly impressed for once, and I’m glad that he is relying less on input from the public.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    People were outraged about liquor stores being open until some doctors detailed on this site why it is important that they remain open. Can any of those doctors tell us if a healthy person can die of this disease? To put it another way, does the virus outright cause death on its own, or does it only expedite death of those who are already unwell?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I have contacted NAU via email, filled out an application, submitted all necessary paper work and its has been two weeks and NO RESPONSE.
    Telling people to apply to NAU for assistance is a JOKE.
    Unless you are already enrolled, NO ONE is being assisted financially for food etc. and there is no options or directives for relief directly related to the lock down.
    NAU is slow and are NOT responding to applicants.

    CNS: Could you find out how many new applicants for NAU have been received since the lockdown and how many new applicants are receiving assistance.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Really?? So how is it a young cayman woman with a young child that a homeless tonight? Can’t get the help that she needs from govt?! Yes we are to help them but be realistic. Immigration should vet all work permit holders now and confirm they have means to support themselves or at minimum a sponsor who would.If not, fill their bellies with food and put them on Cayman Airways back to their own country.

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  13. Anon says:

    All well and good but we can’t keep this up for long. Put on evacuation flights asap it’s cheaper. Countries should have to take back their citizens as we had to take back ours.

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    • Anonymous says:

      When did Cayman have to take back its citizens? Which country threw them out? NONE.
      This is a humanitarian crisis and Premier McLaughlin is right.
      And I’m a proud Caymanian.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Haha you already have no tourists, you get rid of the expats you’re going to have no economy to recover.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they should have to but if they won’t let us fly in what can we do?

    • Anonymous says:

      I hear you but realize these countries you are talking about will not allow Cayman Airways to land whether it is their citizens or not…One of the reasons, I believe we should not allow BA to bring Caymanians back here from the UK. We have to beat this first before we open the borders and get re-infected..

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    • a carpenter says:

      Humanity does not need those who only think of themselves. Do you need humanity or are you against it? Could you survive without it?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Fine the local businesses that turned their staffing greed into our social net problem. Everyone was aware of all the airports closing. Bad actors in our community shouldn’t get a penalty-free CIG-backstopped ride every time an abusive business choice crops up! Make them pay to support their marooned staff and reap what they’ve sown…if they went out of business, all the better.

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  14. Status holder sponsored by Capt Eldon says:

    I have lived here for 51 years longer than a lot of Caymanians. Reading the above comments except for a couple of muckrakers I am proud of all the contributors who have placed humanity first regardless of the origin of those receiving benefit. Caymanians are a generous, fair minded and kind hearted people (with a few exceptions as in every country) and none more so than Beaumont.
    Alden has taken a lot of flak in these columns, but in this time of crisis he has demonstrated true leadership when we need it and given us all confidence in facing an uncertain future. I will sleep well tonight.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    alden has no plan to tackle the oncoming economic tsunami….
    he is asked about it at every press conference and he has no answer.
    bottom line is the private sector is going to be put to the wall…..and it will be business as usual at the overstaffed, underworked civil service.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The whole world doesn’t have a plan to tackle the oncoming economic tsunami. What do you expect of Alden, especially since the Cayman economy is so linked to the US economy, over which Alden has no control. With the horror show that’s coming to the U.S. over the next month – and the death toll there will likely be the worst in the world – no one even knows what the US will look like in the future. Chances are Cayman’s tourism is completely shot for the rest of this year, or at least until December – if you’re an optimist. But it could be for all or part of next year as well, depending on how the U.S. gets through the next three to four months. How do you expect anyone to “plan” for the entire loss of one of the country’s revenue drivers for even six months? If you think Alden or anyone in the world could sit here and come up with a plan that brought Cayman back – at least in the short to medium term – to the way it was two months ago, you’re dreaming. The paradigm has shifted and Cayman’s economic reality has fundamentally changed. There are no policies that, if acted upon, will take us back to before. Just like there was pre-Ivan and post-Ivan for those who went through that hurricane in 2004, there is going to be pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19. Everyone needs to get used to the idea that the in the near to medium term, Cayman is in for challenging times. Very challenging times. I for one am thankful that a sensible man like Alden is at the helm, ego or not. Would you rather have McKeeva, Julianna, Arden or Ezzard? And I think Alden is even better than Kurt would have been. Kurt wasn’t always very decisive because he liked to please too many people. For better and worse, Alden doesn’t have that problem and for better or worse, Alden our man for the season right now. Let’s try to place petty politics and biases aside and support the government as much as possible while we try to get through this. Next May, you can support someone else who you feel might do better, but Alden’s who we have at the moment. Right now we really to need a united front if we’re to drag our behinds through the next 12-18 months. We can all go back to despising the political competition once the good times return.

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    • Gray Matter says:

      And YOU have the answer to this … right.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Wait until they get the first wiff of NAU…. That will be about Christmas 2022.

    Caymanian or Expat… Yall ain’t getting shit so start planning your escape.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A government cannot give to the people what the people have not given to the government first. The government must barrow, create debt. Pay the interest. Pass it on to your children. Your parents have done that to you. You are doing it to your children. THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    I never thought I would be in Alden’s Amen Choir, but amen brother.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Premier Alden McLaughlin is correct in this instance. This is a humanitarian crisis and it is appropriate for the government to assist everyone that can demonstrate that they need the help.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The joke is if u need NAU you ain’t going to get it. So basically he is saying nobody is going to get bailed out. You must know the Cayman Govt. They belive with every fiber of their beings that the Govt. Money is their personal money. So expats you better leave Caymanians vote them out

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  19. Andrew says:

    Selfishness and hatred. We need to realize that we opened our home to the people that come here, and this is our time to show the true hospitality and compassion that Cayman was once known for. Please, this isn’t the time for us to separate. I couldn’t imagine that if my coworker (an expat) was to be in a bad position, that my country wouldn’t help him and his family. Someone who has fed me when I literally didn’t have a dollar to my name, someone who has told me that if things ever went south that i’m welcomed in his home anytime. Let’s unite and beat this virus, and help everyone who needs it along the way. No man or woman left behind.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    If nothing, this virus is showing we are all humans and none is greater. Love is needed as this is a humanitarian crisis. Give to those in need we are not in a position to discriminate now.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    What kind of selfish christian society is this ?
    Expats clean built an maintain this place, because you caymanians are to lazy stupid and arrogant to do it yourselves.

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    • Sunrise says:

      This is the kind of comments that bring hatred to people like yourselves!!! How would you feel if I said that “all foreigners are too stupid to keep their own country in a good economic standing, that is why they are running to Cayman for employment, so they do not starve to death”!!! Please don’t judge everyone like yourself!! We are very caring and helpful people here. It was probably your own country people making these stupid comments!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is not very helpful and suggests you are really ill advised to post this sort of a comment. These sort of comments make a bad situation worse. You think they are stupid and Lazy and they see you as just ignorant or all of the above.

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    • Andrew says:

      Did you not read the article saying that they’re helping everyone? Or are you too busy stereotyping Caymanians? Stop grouping all Caymanians into one! I work exclusively with expats, and love every minute of it. You know why? Because they’re my friends regardless of whatever color they are or where they’re from. There are lazy, stupid and arrogant Caymanians and they’re Caymanians who are none of those things. There are lazy, stupid and arrogant expats as well, and it seems you’re one of them judging by how you’re speaking. I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, Caymanians are not genetically predisposed to whatever stereotypes you and your friends create about us behind closed doors! You’re so brave for talking down on to an entire group of people from the comfort of your keyboard, behind an anonymous tag. If you have such a distaste for Caymanians, then may I say moving to a place called “Cayman” wasn’t the smartest move. You come here to work and make a better life for yourself, because in your country it may have been harder to find work. Perhaps here it’s just much safer for you and your family, so you came here to raise your kids in a better environment. Maybe you’re just here to make some money and leave. All things I admire and 100% support. However, you come here to reap the benefits of a society that need I remind you was built upon the backs of hardworking Caymanians, just to mumble and moan about the fact that “expats clean built and maintain” “this place”. Do you not realize the hypocrisy in that? You’re literally complaining about the fact that you’re doing the things you were hired to do. It’s not something you’re doing voluntarily, or from ‘the good of your heart, you’re literally being paid to do these things. Stop bickering and moaning and realize there are good and bad people everywhere, Cayman is no different.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Prove it. Go home.

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      • Anonymous says:

        As soon as the opportunity is there I will relocate my business, sell my properties to foreigners and leave for a more atheist environment, generally higher IQ therefor.

        Remember members of the public (caymanians) were complaining about government helping expats. Not me.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Please do. I will buy your property if you have such a thing. Will pay over market just to get your sorry ass out of here. Of course you don’t actually own property and are just exactly the type of lowlife troll we want to root out. But prove me wrong. Send me info on the properties and we can talk. How can I reach you? Or post a link. Or am I right, in which case, go and leave us thanks….

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        • Anonymous says:

          Easy to relocate an illegal after hours one man shop floor sweeping chip on the shoulder business, but do you have the balls my eunuchian friend??!!!

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        • Anonymous says:

          If you are on this site you are interested in Cayman. For that we are grateful. If not, the website you should be on is ecaytrade.com

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        • Anonymous says:

          Based on your grammar, you really should be looking for places with a lower IQ.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Let me know where you are from and as soon as the Cayman Government will allow I will ask my pilots to fly my jet in to pick you up. People like you don’t deserve to be here. I have lived here for many years and I have never found a better place to live and people like you let people like me seem that the love of this island and it’s people is not appreciated..

          Now if you have any guts, post your telephone number or email address and I promise you you will have access to leave as soon as the airport opens..

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        • Anonymous says:

          Cayman Islands needs you. Cayman islands does not need those who can’t take responsibility for and only think of themselves. Although they are cry the loudest they are not many and have no bite. They are also the ones who are failing God’s tests. Let God deal with them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          China here I come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nasty, spineless comment. If that is how you feel, it really is perhaps time to consider moving to another place. Government just said that no one, local or foreigner will go without, and you go and write that garbage. Stop stirring the pot. No one wants what is going on now, but we all got it and kindness is the best way to do that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your question is unnecessary. The head of the country has committed to doing the right thing. That is all that matters.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You will notice from other comments that your assumption is false.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please please do not subject yourself to this society any longer than neccessary and take the first available flight out.

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  22. Kathleen Bodden-Harris says:

    Good for you Alden!!! We haven’t been on the same side of issues, but when it comes to unilateral welfare for those in need, I’ll stand with you. Many of our expats & foreign permit holders are essential workers for the infrastructure of this country-while others spend their time & energies towards volunteering for social needs that most locals would not participate. This virus has made a level playing field for all & how we treat each other will determine our footing for recovery once we have healed.

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  23. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    I tend to doubt the existence of homeless Caymanians. There are resources for them, if so. This situation has left many expats in a horribly untenable position. Some, whose employer should have provided for their return home, instead worked them right up until the point where they were not allowed to. Some have no resources other than each other, and rent still due.

    Those landlords need to be paid also, as well as everyone along the line. We depend heavily upon the expats, without whom Cayman would not function nearly as well, if at all. Expats make money for Caymanians, but also perform functions and do jobs that Caymanians are apparently mostly unwilling to do.

    The very least we should be doing is funding those — regardless of nationality — who are unable to provide for themselves and/or their families during these unique and trying times. Caymanians have the NAU and other systems. We should do everything in our power to preserve those very valuable relationships between community, employer and employee, if for no other reason, than to be able to eventually pick up where we left off, with the same people in the community. Never forget that every expat that comes here sacrifices something also while providing a necessary service.

    If we are unable to help them, then we must pay for and facilitate their safe return to their homes. If their country won’t take them at this time, we MUST dredge up true Caymankind. For me, that means pulling together in tough times, and that means EVERYBODY pulling together.

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  24. Beach Cleaner says:

    Mr. Premier you earn my respect more and more each day! I wonder how the complainers would feel if they or one of their family were overseas and refused the basic necessities of life because they were foreign workers? That is just unconscionable!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree Mr. Premier? They are here and it is our duty to feed and shelter them. That Is how we lived in the good old days. Back then it wasn’t called CaymanKind but we practiced it every day. That is why we have been so blessed over the decades! Do good and goodness will follow you all the days of your life.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Alden, what about the Caymanians who are in need, I saw these same work permit holders on Saturday lined up sending money home through money transfer-

    Help your own people first we have no where to go but stay in Cayman help us first then help the others- every month they send their money home then expect the Govt to take care of them-

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    • Anonymous says:

      You have the internet, you’re not that needy… probably just a bigot.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Shame on you. What a non-Christian attitude. Sending money home or not to their needy families, the Premier has shown through his actions on this issue what Cayman is truly about….Caring for all its residents.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have seen Caymains transfer money overseas as well….it is not just expats!

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      • Anonymous says:

        I did. I do not want all of my eggs in one basket. That is just good money management. We know the US is going to do everything possible to sustain their economy. Here, we do not know.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Who cares who is sending money where? The whole world is suffering and I’m sure these people sending money wouldn’t be sending money under these circumstances if there wasn’t a need at the other end.

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    • Andrew says:

      You should take a page out of those work permit holders book, because they’re thinking about their family when they themselves are struggling. Should they let their family go hungry? You’d probably tell your kids to kick rocks, and continue to hoard whatever you have. Disgusting attitude to have, the government isn’t saying they’re prioritizing expats over Caymanians, they said ANYBODY who needs help. Which means they have enough resources to help everyone! This is why we ALL pay 24+% duty to the government on everything that comes in, so that when times like this happen we can depend on the government to be there for us.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Did it occur to you that those WP holders may still be earning a wage and could send money home? They certainly would not be doing that if they had no money, would they?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Money transfer companies are closed. So your assumption is wrong.

        And it is not about the people that HAVE money, it’s about the people that DON’T.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You bigots are too much. First you complain about people sending money back home, as if they had an obligation to spend ALL their money here and not give a crap about their families, and then you complain that it’s not really that they are sending money home, but that they have any money in the first place. Geez… I hope you don’t just pretend to be a Christian like so many around here, because you are a horrible person!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Some expats have never sent any money home and have spent most everything we have earned supporting this country which, we for now call home.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not trying to be bias cause there is good and bad caymanians and good and bad expat…….but bear in mind that expats has million of dollar in pension scheme here….which is monitored by the Gov…

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Well done Alden!

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