Work permit holders may become stranded

| 18/03/2020 | 166 Comments
Cayman News Service
Governor Martyn Roper at Tuesday’s press briefing

(CNS): The premier has said it is possible that government will have to accommodate and support stranded, jobless work permit holders, who may find it very difficult to get flights home as COVID-19 takes hold around the world. While Cayman Airways has said it has the capacity to get people home to Jamaica, Miami and regional gateways, those wanting to return to the Philippines, India and other countries without direct flights from here may have missed their chance.

Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday, Governor Martyn Roper said his office was in discussions with the UK Home Office about the possibility of passengers transitioning through London, given the closure of US airports and many more the world over. But he said nothing had been confirmed as the matter was under review.

“I can’t say we have got a yes on that. It is being looked at in the UK,” the governor said, as he indicated that his office had received a number of inquiries about the ability of people to get home.

If the UK agrees before the Sunday night border shutdown, some permit holders who have been laid off could leave Cayman this week on the British Airways flight and make a connection in the UK to their home destination. But as countries around the world lock down, airports close and flights are cancelled in the face of COVID-19, the window of opportunity for some expatriate workers is very narrow, if it still exists at all.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said the situation surrounding potentially stranded jobless work permit holders was “very difficult”, and he urged employers to buy flights for their staff who were without means to ensure they can leave if there are no other barriers to their departure. But he accepted that closed airports present a real dilemma.

“Many airports around the world are now closed down and it is very, very difficult for people to get overseas,” the premier said. “So we are going to have to continue to assess that. Obviously, these people need a roof over their head; they need to be able to live and to eat,” he said about expat workers who have been laid off as a direct result of this pandemic.

With many hotels closing, there will be places for them to stay, he said, but government will need to find out how many people are in this situation and work with their former employers to manage it. Those employers have been advised to contact the Ministry of Community Affairs because they will have to make the case that their former workers need support.

“This is very much a humanitarian crisis. If people have nowhere to go or can’t get there, then obviously we have to look after them, but we would hope that their employers do their bit to look after their staff,” McLaughlin added.

While government is focusing on how it will keep the economy propped up and locals in work or in business over the coming weeks and months, they will also have to think about these potentially stranded permit holders.

Although many of Cayman’s more than 30,000 work permit holders may choose to stay because they have retained their jobs and have the means to take care of themselves, some have already left and more are expected to leave this week. However, there could still be thousands of people that have been laid off but, for whatever reason, cannot leave.

The tourism industry is all but closed, but some companies are keeping their workers and still paying them. The Dart Group said it would be retaining local workers at the Ritz-Carlton and the Kimpton. They will be paid their basic salaries plus a percentage of usual service and have access to food each day, and the same applies for permit holders if they want to stay. But it has also offered voluntary severance packages, including airfares for permit holders who want to return to their home countries. 

“With a substantial investment across the tourism industry, we appreciate the human and economic hardship our islands are experiencing. We will always put our people and community first,” said Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde. “Hotels are economic engines and large employers, contributing to the Cayman Islands success and growth over the past few years. As we have been for over twenty-five years, Dart remains committed, through good times and bad, to the continued health and prosperity of our islands. We are in this together.”

So far, many in the business community have backed the emergency measures that have been put in place by government in its effort to contain the coronavirus here. But closing down the borders has shut down the entire tourism sector and a large part of the domestic economy, and in reality the three-week preliminary closure could turn into months.

While the last few years of tourism boom may help companies survive a few weeks of closure, few but the Dart Group could be expected to hold on for a much longer period. The real length of this national quarantine remains a mystery to government as much as it does the public and business owners.

Even if Cayman manages the unlikely feat of keeping the virus at bay and the borders are opened after Easter, given the crisis in the United States, it is likely that visitor numbers will remain low for a very long time.

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Category: Business, Health, health and safety, Tourism

Comments (166)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    classic caymankind cig response….
    handouts for locals and the everybody else is thrown under the bus.
    this will not be forgotten.
    mr governor…..we await your intervention…

    • Anonymous says:

      Resources are limited. You cannot expect a country to give priority to foreign nationals over their own people. A lot of this is out of the government’s control – Even if the expat workers were to leave Cayman to go home, especially if those countries have been banned from the connecting countries, it would just be shifting the problem and the expats could be in an even worse situation.

      So please, keep the “cayman kind”-bashing to yourself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t there Govt evacuating their own citizens like little Cayman is evacuating from the UK and all those other countries did from China. Waiting for India and Philippines to do their part too!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Many guest workers are distraught right now. Most of them are putting on a brave face, but the novelty of this situation has not worn off yet. In the days ahead, it will bite and unrest will occur.
    The government has a responsibility to humanity to address this situation in a way that demonstrates the true Caymanian spirit.
    Isolated people that are financially challenged are incredibly vulnerable.
    All I am seeing from this government is incompetence and coldness.
    There is no plan to address the next few weeks.
    It will blow up in their faces.
    This is a time for compassion and Christian charity.

    Let us evaluate what we have and how we can help those in need without violating the draconian measures that are being imposed upon us ….for our own good.

    • Anonymous says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how dense some people can be. Draconian measures? You make it sound like the government is trying to punish these people somehow. The government is doing its best (in light of what’s going on in the REST OF THE WORLD) to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse – it’s the lesser of two evils.

      What I think this is, however, is an opportunity for the people of the Cayman Islands to really stop and reflect on what the implications are for half of a country’s population to be made up of expatriate work-permit holders. If it turns out that a lot of these people are stranded here, and we end up having to take care of them during this crisis (and rightly so, in my opinion), Caymanian society really needs to consider changing those critical parts of our collective cultural mindset that have caused us to be so dependent on foreign labor. I’m not advocating that we get rid of all expatriates – even if I wanted to do so, it wouldn’t be feasible. But there is something to be said about 30,000+ work permit holders on an island of just over 61,000 people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is Govt planning to do anything to assist many Caymanians who are now without an income due to shut down of port and airport? Just saying!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am shocked and dismayed over some of the comments on here. Firstly, Cayman some of your money comes from WP fees, some of your money comes from the tourist and financial industry, but above all SOME OF YOUR MONEY comes from the UK. Cayman is a British Overseas Territory so who do you think will give Cayman additional funds for this crisis and on an ongoing basis. So please stop your racist, nasty comments and raising for rents or goods to make a quick buck. Just remember when all of this is over, your nastiness will be remembered.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The thing with Dart is -he can afford to do that. Many employers simply can’t. The problem is not who would help and who would not, because they can’t. The problem is with general attitude toward expats in this country, and this is the BIGGER problem for which CIG is responsible, because they are not promoting UNITY among residents, expats and work permit holders. They, the CIG itself, call expats driftwood, paper Caymanians, rascals and many other names. They even physically abuse work permit holders and get away with it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just imagine that only 10.000 permits per year were granted for the last 15 years.
    Government collected a $200 repatriation fee 150.000 times = 30 million dollars. Now employers should pay again, you can’t make that stuff up

    • Anonymous says:

      You only collect the fee once, not on renewals

      • Anonymous says:

        In the case of a work permit holder being dismissed from employment (by reason of redundancy) and then leaving the island, the repatriation fee would have to be paid again.

  8. JTB says:

    A question for Alden. What was the ‘repatriation fee’ actually for? In what circumstances would the government pay it out?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Further to my “charity begins at home” comment I must clarify that was in the context of the premise of public (Government) assistance for stranded WP holders, which is the general subject.

    Their employers have the responsibility to provide any assistance or care to those workers, not Government, except those who work for Government. There is no way anyone can expect public funds to be expended on them. Hence my comment that they should be the focus “after” our own who may require the same.

    How would that be addressed elsewhere in the world?

    So please don’t twist my words or intent into something heartless, for something brainless!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont worry it wont be twisted, its black and white for all to see….if you are an expat you will get zero assistance. Been here 9 years contributing to Cayman? Still zero assistance. Go back home is always the message….and that is heartless no matter which way you look at it.

      • Anonymous says:

        14 years here. Feel much the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’ve also been here contributing to your own pocket. You chose to come here. No one forced you. You took the positive and now have to deal with the negative – like Caymanians have to. Stop acting like coming here to make money is a noble sacrifice. It isn’t. It’s all about self interest. If you’re not a citizen of any country you are behind the citizens for government aid. If you want to be first in line, then go home. It’s pretty simple.

        • Anonymous says:

          WOW and there it is – black and white for all to see. As i said before, heartless. heart – less.

        • Anon says:

          10.18am You would still be living in the swamp with smoke pots if it was not for expats.

    • Anonymous says:

      And that’s a better explanation, you idiot?
      We all understood your original post, you’re just a bigoted fool who thinks you can survive on your own. Well, if I go, I’m taking my wife and daughter back to the UK, and they are both healthcare professionals on Cayman.
      How’s your bigotry going to work then?
      Expats and WP holders won’t forget your back stabbing attitudes, I hope you’re prepared for the backlash around the world on social and main stream media.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your wife and daughter are both healthcare professionals and you will take them both? Doesn’t add up…I suspect your daughter is an adult right?

  10. Anonymous says:

    CNS and others who clearly missed my point – the statement said “focus on others should begin thereafter”. I never said “not at all”. I stand FIRMLY by my statement, castigation and name-calling aside!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Government has been taking $200 per work permit for decades, you better believe they will have to support and pay to send home those that are out of work.

    • Anonymous says:

      They choose to come here, the Cayman Islands Government did not force them to come here. I hope that where ever they are from that their home country Governments are taking care of work permit holders and visitors alike. The Government owes no one a living and is doing what they are doing out of compassion and kindness. Don’t get it twisted !!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        We owe each other a living, regardless of where we come from. Borders don’t matter now, your neighbors do. What goes around comes around, you selfish waste of a human.

        • Anonymous says:

          11:03 With that attitude of yours, who wants you here. Why not thank the Lord Cayman gave you opportunity for the time it lasted. And pray for his guidance. Money does not magically appear.

  12. Anonymous says:

    18/03/2020 at 7:08 pm
    Nonsense comment!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not talking about USA and not talking about being in transit. Usual direct BA flight from Cayman via Nassau final destination UK!

  14. Anon says:

    Come now CNS!!! have allowed more than 50 comments on this article!!!.you might get shut down!!!..okay people….please spread out and find other articles to comment on…:) or we might just get locked away.

    Just spreading a little humour in this crazy situation…night all get some rest…tomorrow is another day..and we mmiiggghhhtt just see a glimmer of hope and a llliittlle bit of light on the horizon.

    All my love to each and everyone of the awesome people living here in the Cayman Islands…everyone of us combined is what makes these three small Islands the most beautiful place to live.

  15. Interested Party says:

    Can anybody fish in Cayman? Are coconuts free? I wonder what could happen if groceries can’t get to the Islands.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Most if not all(cures are on the way)of the people here will survive the virus. I hope some of the businesses here survive the economic shut down. Many will not. Many expats will not return. Tourism is done for at least a year. No post office so no supplies,welfare checks, medication, etc, unless its government sponsored(good luck with that) and no flights in or out. Whats next? When does the Governor step in or did he bail out while he still could? What is next?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Earthquake, the ever burning Dump, the xenophobia are 3 things that expats would have to take into consideration. Have yet to see how the current crisis will play out. Not everyone has a garden and a farm.

  17. Elvis says:

    I’m sure Cayman kind will reach out to everyone and offer them a spare room for free.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe this is even a discussion. This is a christian nation and everybody who calls it home deserves the same level help and support from the community.

    • Anonymous says:

      Christian nation but decidedly unchristian government.

    • Anonymous says:

      And how has “everybody” who call it home been helping the Island? Or does “everybody” just work here to make a dollar to send on?

      • Anonymous says:

        You make it clear you don’t want anyone but those who come to make money. Why are you surprised that is who you get.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a soon to be unemployed WP holder .. I earned 6000+ a month … over 4500 is spent right here CUC WA LIME, Car loan, RENT, Car insurance, FOOD personal services, GAS… I send 1000 home and try and save a little … Im sure my 4500+ a month “helps” … REal #CaymanKind

  19. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    These last three months have been a rapidly evolving situation, often with several changes within a day. If we can’t provide for EVERYONE left here, we are lesser people than I thought. Every strata of personnel contributes to the whole of our experiences on all three islands. The government should take whatever steps are necessary to hold those exactly in place who cannot afford to do so, due to the complex changing events that are unfolding around us.

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be administered through the NAU. I get that it is already set up to assess and make those payments, however we could also fund paying for housing, services and a supplies stipend per person whose job has just collapsed. They would simply have to prove that they had a job that is now suspended or gone. We don’t want to fund it through the NAU, because we want it to be a stop-gap measure that fills in for a time, in an effort to keep things static during the viral crisis. What we don’t want to do is convert workers into NAU clients, eventually having to cut them off. Nope. We want to fund things in 6 month segments, with an evaluation after each half.

    I really believe this. Covid-19 is as yet an unknown. We MUST all individually, professionally and privately do everything in our power to quell the virus. If we maintain the same relationships that have worked over the past years, isn’t that a value for money? Isn’t that better that any Capital project we might contemplate at this time? Let’s fund Cayman Islands residential society, and maybe we will get through all this eventually by collectively letting out our held breath.

    • Beach Cleaner says:

      Beaumont Zodecloun … always admire your comments!

      • Say it like it is says:

        Beaumont, despite his name, always give a fair balanced view of a situation without any hometown bias, based on common sense. If only he was a politician, but he has zero qualifications for this position based on his peers in the L.A.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Who said anything about ‘soon come’. Cayman is not USA. Aware of UK school announcement today. Two weeks notice could easily have been given in these circumstances rather than trying to herd people to UK on 3/4 flights with such short notice. Don’t know you include about the over 70s in your comment?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thousands of people have been stranded all over the world in places they don’t want to be. Thorough no fault of their own. Most don’t need help. None of them need more hardship. Help those in need and leave the rest alone. Please.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I have read this article with much concern and I must admit have to shake my head.

    Firstly, I am a Caymanian and a very empathetic person so I can understand the fear, anxinous and uncertainty these foreign workers are feeling.

    However, I have to ask where does the responsibilty lay:
    A. Worker? B. Employer? C. Community?
    D. Government?

    I donot have one correct answer but I would like to make these comments:

    1. There are many Caymanians that have been out of work for weeks, months even years before the Coronavirus existed. For such persons, getting any type of assistance from their previous employers, government or the community has been little to none;

    2. Where are the stands from the employers of these workers? Government should not be expected to feel the blunt of heat from this situation. It was the employer who took it upon himself/herself to hire a non-Caymanian. Then he or she should be the person to find the solution for their workers.

    3. Many of these same foreign workers turn their nose up when locals patronize their work place and have not a care in the world to provide us with quality customer service as if our money is not good enough.

    4. Like all workers, in times of desperation, they may have to dip into their savings regardless of how much it may be, borrow from someone, or lower their pride and seek the assistance from the employer, church, social network group(s) etc in order to ride this situation out;

    5. In this situation, if they now see the struggles that come with the unexpected, maybe they should try to keep alittle of their earnings in their bank account instead of sending ever last cent back home. As we all know, the economic leakage in the Cayman Islands is very high as aresult of the high percrntage of foreign labourers we have.

    6. I will publicly say to the many employers. In these islands, Karma is a Bitch and you should be made to bear the blunt of your workers struggles right now. Spending that extra to hire your own people would have resulted in less of a mess than what the current situation maybe.

    • Anonymous says:

      In regards to your point 6, explain how the employers would have filled the 25000 plus jobs filled by WP holders when there are only 2000 Caymanian unemployed – passing over whther they could find Caymanians prepared or qualified for the work?

    • Anonymous says:

      You sad little man/woman. Your entire economy and health service relies on expat labour, perhaps think about that and the amount they contribute to the local economy before spouting such inhuman garbage.

      • Anonymous says:

        The best economy is done, game over. Time to just chill out and take it easy a bit. It was a good run and we’ll be back up in 18 months. Will enjoy my fishing trips and getting back to the roots and things we use to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Careful. People consider the truth xenophobic these days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Karma is just karma. Nothing more.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. Just wow. I cannot comment on any permit holders except the ones I became friendly with and fond of during my many stays at the Ritz. Let me just say that the men and women who work on the beach, setting up chairs, fetching towels, picking up piles of wet towels, running back and forth in that lovely, soft sand (YOU try running in a pair of Crocs in that kind of sand) these folks are the hardest workers, and they do it with a smile. As I understand it, THERE ARE VERY FEW CAYMANIANS who will do this job. Y’all don’t have enough local workers willing to do this OR clean the rooms, etc. So if it wasn’t for my friends from the Philippines, Jamaica, Kenya, and Spain, to name a few, none of the hotels could operate. In other words, the stay-over tourism industry could not exist without them.

      Make no mistake. This is an INTERNATIONAL CRISIS. These are, and will be, tough times for quite a while. But now is the time to come together as humans. Now is not the time to throw these hard-working people out like garbage. I have been critical of Mr. Dart in the past, but if he is doing everything he can to care for the permit holders at his properties, I will seek to meet him on a future trip so that I can express my gratitude to him as a human being who stepped up and helped his fellow man during the biggest collective nightmare the world has seen in my lifetime.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Boy, if only Govt had an extra $9 million in reserves right now eh? Would come in “actually” useful

  24. Anonymous says:

    No one will forget the disrespect of others by the Caymanian people. No one. Ever. You don’t want to help others remember to not expect any help back.

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember your in our country, why should we feel bad, you have the option to leave, we do not, we have our own worries and situations to worry about. Other countries would of done sailed you you home on a home mad raft.

      • Anonymous says:

        “home mad raft”? Sounds like a crazy idea.

      • Say it like it is says:

        3.09am How many times do I hear this tired mantra “we don’t have the option to leave”.You all have the right to a British passport and a lot already have one, this allows you not only a discounted UK university education, currently enjoyed by several hundred local students, but the right to live and work there for the rest of your life should you so wish.
        Cayman runs the gamut of the wise and the ignorant, like everywhere, Beaumont an example of the former, and you truly top the list of the latter.

  25. Anonymous says:

    No surprise that Caymanians and their representatives don’t want to help anyone but themselves. Any excuse to force the very people who make Cayman functional leave will be remembered and people and businesses will act accordingly. Does Cayman not care about its future or does it already think there is none for Caymanians? You are making sure this happens right now. Your actions now will determine your future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they’ll buy the clapped out 2nd hand cars. Or pay the ridiculous ‘scrappage fee’ for vehicles imported in. Or pay the frankly exorbitant rents. Or get stung in the bars and restaurants every time. Nah…..didn’t think so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read the article?

    • Anonymous says:

      Businesses with marginal permit holder workers have access to the same news and press conferences as everyone else. If they sat on the pot instead of mobilizing solutions for their staff, that’s on them, as is the resulting marooning situation and attendant costs. The labour law has not been suspended for anyone.

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean the press conference where the Premier gave 6 days notice of closing the airport to outbound flights? Or the one when he gave 5 days notice to restaurants and bars of complete closure, having previously said less than 3 days before they would be able to operate at up to 50 clients, excluding staff? Perhaps businesses with marginal permit holders need a crystal ball rather than your criticism.

    • Anonymous says:

      But you have no voting rights, we care about the future for those who actually have a voice in the country they are actually from.

      • Anonymous says:

        As someone who has lived here almost 15 years and has no home elsewhere, I agree with you. This is where I am from now. But I still have no voice.

  26. Anonymous says:

    CNS, can you please raise a question in the press conference tomorrow if the hotels can also open up their rooms to residents who share a room, so that only 1 person lives in a room and thus does not spread the infection to the roommates or housemates, if anyone gets it. This should be done now, before anyone gets the infection and not after.

    Also, the landlords who have vacant houses now can they please offer their empty houses for free for such a purpose so that people don’t share rooms.

    I think that what the hotels do at this time will be up to them unless they are commandeered by the government. Perhaps if this goes on for a while they will rent out rooms for locals but they also have to consider what staff they keep on to maintain this.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I am scared to even asked my landlord anything (he is Caymanian) he has posted he is renting a unit today for 800+ for one person and only extending the deposit (full amount) into two months! I assure you I am on time with my rent and a very good tenant, landlord says it all the time.

    The government can regulate rent based on what is going on in the economy as a result of this pandemic. I am not even asking to “not” pay rent just lower it, come to an agreement in my case, every case is different so they should be handled differently.

    Some people are working part time now and from home, lower the rent based on income of working home and working part time. I don’t know for how long but at least fix rent payments for the next two months or even more so three months.

    Some cases are that people do not have a job and are stranded, Governor Roper has stated that we will get help or that he is trying to get us help.

    Cayman kind needs to get back on track.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you scared? Just ask. He is not going to eat you. Government won’t and should not regulate rents.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t seem to realize that many, probably most, landlords need their rent payments to be able to pay their mortgage on the rental property.

  28. Anonymous says:

    If you make barely 6$ an hour cleaning houses for the rich, you cant safe to go home.
    These people cant even afford health insurance .

    Now is the time that cayman chrisianity shows its real color.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cleaners should be rolling in dough right now. You can bet your ass Hews Janitorial is.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you mean the cleaning companies, not the cleaners. How much are they paid per hour? I’d say minimum wage, not the amount the companies charge

    • Jotnar says:

      Of course you should be able to access the repatriation fee that government charged your employer as part of your work permit to deal with emergencies to pay for a flight, but unfortunately government seems to have spent that already.

  29. Anonymous says:

    The countries of the “single house called the EU” are closing down – in the fight against a pandemic, each for himself. Globalization is no longer remembered, another era has come – disunity. And at the borders there are lines of citizens abandoned to their fate.

  30. Anonymous says:

    FLOW is already advertising that people that need to work from home should get upgraded internet. Why doesn’t government make them give out the upgrades for free for a limited time as we pass through this situation? Digicel and others too!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Current UK government advice seems to be, ‘Don’t try to travel anywhere because you will probably get stranded.’ There is no way the UK will accept passengers without valid connecting flights. Get used to it – these people are here for the duration and either CIG or the FCO are going to have look after them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup I am a stuck Brit sick of hearing Alden telling us all to leave on UK flights when he and our silent Gov already know damn well they’re all sold out. WORC tell me to leave by Sunday, UK foreign office tells me to stay put. Very unsettling.

  32. Anonymous says:

    BA flights from Cayman are all booked according to website so Brits stuck too.

    • Anonymous says:

      This evacuation fail belongs to the immature travelers and rotten employers that didn’t assist during the necessary action window. There have been plenty of empty flights to Canada with multiple transfer possibilities from there to UK and elsewhere. Everyone expecting continuity of their first choice direct flight time slot during a global emergency needs to get their head examined.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Brits are already in their own country.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Notice of closure and no flghts was too short. People should have been given at least another week to be able to get on a flight.

    • Anonymous says:

      My friends in the USA say they didn’t get any notice on their lockdown. On Monday everything was open, on Tuesday (St Patrick’s Day) everything was closed. In the UK they’ve apparently just announced that all schools will close this Friday and best indications are that their over-70s will be going into three months self-isolation this weekend. ‘Soon come’ doesn’t work in a situation like this.

      • Jotnar says:

        Slight difference between asking people to self isolate and closing public venues, and announcing you are closing the airport to outbound flights – not inbound, outbound – with 6 days notice (and less seats available on the flights in that period than the headcount of work permit holders). Your friends in the USA would have been able to fly out after Tuesday – are still able to fly out. What we did in preventing people from leaving was bizarre. Alden can try and dress it up all he wants about the practical difficulties of transit airports and flight availability, but in closing Owen Roberts to outbound traffic he eliminated what options there were. Rather too late realises that there are gong to be nasty consequences of that decision, and doing his best to pretend it wasn’t his decision. What the hell he thought he was achieving by preventing people leaving I do not know – you would think we would do all we could to reduce the population, particularly if those likely to need social assistance

      • Anonymous says:

        False. They were warned.

  34. Senior citizen says:

    1.45pm A lot of their employers are Caymanian, I can’t see them doing that.
    It seems the penny has finally dropped with Alden, in the first press conference he said Govt would not have the funds to help laid off expatriate workers who could not get home. This was completely unacceptable for a situation caused by Govt action, showing a callous disregard for their welfare.CIG has a humanitarian responsibility to assist these poor people in addition to Caymanians who have lost their jobs.Those taking these decisions are not faced with this problem and our civil servants in the thousands have a job for life whatever happens unless they shoot someone.

    • Anonymous says:

      especally as they take a repatriation fee on work permits and dependants where has that money gone?

    • Anonymous says:

      People that come here to work come at their own responsibility. The Cayman Govt is not their baby sitter or their keeper. How about YOU support their with YOUR money?

      CNS: This situation has nothing to do with people not being responsible. A sudden emergency has hit the world and these people in Cayman have suddenly lost their jobs and cannot get home because airports are closing and they don’t have a route to get there. Where on earth is your humanity?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are an absolute disgrace to your country and humanity in general. I hope you don’t succumb to this awful illness, but if you do, I hope the expat nurse or doctor treating you does so with more compassion than you are demonstrating now.
        The work permit community make this country the success it is, without them you will fail and fail very quickly. We pay more into this country than we take out, so next time you spout your hateful mouth off, remember those who have given you the highest standard of living in the region and the health service you will no doubt demand keep you healthy.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Humanity” is what put us is this mess in the first place CNS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look man, much as I dislike them, CIG didn’t create COVID. Businesses have had months – a quarter year – to wrap their heads around this coming interruption. Even now, people are still wandering around like local transmission is a fable. The rotten local employers should be on the hook for the staff they failed to relocate in advance of the doors locking.

  35. Anonymous says:

    According to BA website when looking for availability all flights to London Heathrow from Cayman are full. So do not understand paragraph regarding UK confirming before Sunday deadline?

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a Compass story on this saying the Sunday flight has been cancelled but someone from BA says passengers, ‘would not be affected by the travel ban, because they would be passengers in transit.’ If my experience is anything to go by the USA hasn’t accepted ‘transit’ passengers for years. That option was shut down at MIA at least 10 years ago. Typical rubbish from BA customer service?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not a Compass story – it’s on BAs website. Flight coming in but cancelled outbound. Presumably diverted somewhere else. But BA still selling tickets out of Miami using Cayman or AA to connect.

  36. Anonymous says:

    alden the idiot was asked this at the press conference a few days ago and he could not understand the question or the implication of what he had done.
    simple solution: free two month visitor visa extension for those who have lost their permits and have no means of leaving the island.
    the whole work permit s system should be suspended…these workers could prove a vital resource for cig if the pandemic hits hard.
    imagine if we need to house patients in the hotels?…that won’t be possible if most hotel workers are forced to leave.
    chamber of commerce need to be more vocal and give guidance to the cig in the mess they are creating.

    • Zulema Kelly says:

      Since government is overwhelmed with all the cost, I think they should atleast allow us to get some of our pension money for these hard days,at the end of the day it’s our money and we need it .

      • Anonymous says:

        defeats the purpose of a pension and cig have already scammed us on that with their nosense pension laws.

      • Anonymous says:

        Zulema Kelly the problem with that is you will get people buying stupid things if we allow everyone to use their pension money. Although some people are sensible many are not. It is risky let people use their pension for anything other than a mortgage.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am afraid there might be not much left… It was never a good idea to lock expats’ pension money in Cayman. Market crashes wipe it out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly, iPhone 12 coming out soon in case Alden didn’t know!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Can we just accept that there is not going to be ANY cruise tourism for a year and plan accordingly from now?

    • Anonymous says:

      A year? In your dreams. After this the whole cruise industry is likely to go belly up. The airlines may survive because governments can’t afford to let them fold but they won’t be rushing to bail out RCCL, Carnival, et al.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just the companies that are Trump’s buddies

      • Anonymous says:

        Think that bail out will need to come UK Govt since the big boy carnival got tight and decided to headquarter in London. Good luck with that bailout… Ouch that’s got to hurt penny wise pound foolish.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Charity begins at home!! “Caymankind” is a good principle but it should start with helping our own people who will be affected by this; focus on others should be thereafter.

    CNS: The article is about people who have just suddenly lost their job, are far from home and cannot get back. Should we just leave them to starve on the street?

    • Anonymous says:

      well said cns!

    • Anonymous says:

      My thumbs up is for CNS and for not the idiotic comment

    • Anon says:

      That is the Cayman Christian way. The bit about helping others was edited out of the New Testament.

    • Anonymous says:

      You vile hypocrite. I bet you won’t mind be treated by the expat healthcare workers.

    • Anonymous says:

      That comment just demonstrates a complete ignorance of how economies work. Without your expat workforce you won’t have a viable economy that can afford to support the highest standard of living in the region. You also won’t have a health service, hotel or hospitality sector and financial services industry. So genius, how exactly are you going to support yourselves and help the hopeless fools who have failed to insure against Mother Nature in their own country.

    • Anonymous says:

      And who earns the wealth that you want to give to those who failed to insure themselves against loss of earnings or save enough to feed themselves in hard times.
      You really are total failures, both as Christians and human beings.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hope they aren’t going to be allowing rich people with airplanes to be going in and out of the country as they please. Everything should be across the board. NO EXCEPTIONS!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. Some rich people are the germiest. Anyone that’s been to that Petrie dish called mar Lago should be hosed with bleach before they enter our airspace.

  40. Anonymous says:

    It is time to use Cayman Airways. Let’s shuttle as many people who want to/need to go home as soon as possible and as quickly as possible. There appears to be no reason we cannot be flying planes to MoBay every two hours around the clock. Same can be done for South Florida, Honduras and Cuba. BA can help Brits to get home. Any delay risks causing much more significant expense and harm to all concerned. I am not calling for some mass deportation. Just help people get to their countries if they want to or need to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Premier would have to reopen the airport to outbound. And you would have to persuade BA to fly here with no inbound. Shuttling Jamaican residents to Jamaica and everyone else to Miami a la hurricane evacuation on Cayman Airways is going to be as good as it gets, I suspect. Of course the Americans wont let them in unless they have an outbound flight – and who is paying for that?

  41. Anonymous says:

    @1:45 you saying that we should take out our anger and lack of humanity on these people, who have been the engine of our economic prosperity.

    This is a global crisis that will impact all our lives but we will survive it, as those before us, and during our times, that have survived other pandemics…but, please let us show compassion and humanity to others regardless of their origins or station in life.

    #you don’t speak for us

  42. So be it! says:

    Should have thought of that, before they just pulled the trigger so early, now the government is going to fork out millions all becuase a few old folks and sick people are going to die and I’m likely to be one of them but so be it.

    As written by someone earlier, it’s simple “survival of the fittest”

    I am also wondering as to the reason on shutting us down so early, is it to distract us from the dump issue and Mac assault?
    Just a thought.

    CNS: U.S. official says data show severe coronavirus infections among millennials, not just older Americans

    • Anonymous says:

      Still only 121 in the US. It should have been in thousands already if “calculated” predictions were correct.

      Yes, CNS, young people get it, some cases are severe, but so are flu cases.

      Destroying global economy was and is the worst decision ever made. We can’t stop people from dying. We want to, but we simple can’t. Every death is a tragedy. Always was and always will. Unfortunately we are not immortal.

      CNS: You still seem reluctant to get your head around the situation. Look at these graphs showing what happened in Italy, the very sudden exponential growth because COVID-19 appears to spread very easily once it gets going. When that happens the hospitals get overwhelmed because they are not set up for this. The measures being taken now by every country, include the US and Cayman is to prevent this from happening – it’s early days. Saying, ‘oh well, people die’ is not how to deal with a pandemic.

      The more prepared everyone is and the slower the virus spreads, the fewer people will die.

      • Brown Freeman says:

        To all concerned who dare to listen. The only way to avoid this catastrophe (in the making) would be, can be, and must be massive agressive active testing testing and testing all people with Acute Respiratory Infection Syndrome for the last 4 weeks and randomly travelers back the same period, and all of those with traced history of contact with someone or visiting home or institutions with people infected, and MANDATORY isolation for 17 days, not 14. In light of many cases in China with recurrency after discharge, plus 50% and more of all PCR tests (the same one we started using here) being false negative. I have being tiressly advising and commenting here and in other forums about this for 3 weeks now, but no one listen. Scientifically proven, “without the histeria and panic” referred to in the public meetings by the Public Health Officer and the HSA CEO, we are heading for catastrophe and not prepared for impact.

        No journalist here, knowing the results of South Korea with this aggresive approach, and the failure of the UK with our same approach, has dare to with b… put this tough question to the CMO the Public Health Officer and the rest of them during the public aired press conferences.

        Why are we allowing Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Lee to play blind hide and seek with our lifes? Ask them openly for qualifications, background and proven experience in the management and control in any previous Epidemic.

        Time is clicking out.

        I have said,

        Brown Freeman (MD)

        • Anonymous says:

          I posted on another article a quote from Dr Lee’s Twitter account where he said something like, “Don’t worry, there is a very low chance of passing on the virus if someone is not exhibiting signs of illness!” I almost jumped out of my skin!!! One of the MAIN reasons this virus spreads so quickly is that people can be EXTREMELY infectious before they even know they are sick. This is why we are all holed up in our houses here. BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO IS SICK.

          But your CMO, Dr. Lee seemed not to know that? May I have his job and salary? I feel I may be better qualified. Wake up people.

      • Anonymous says:

        300 in Florida… hmmm… they are part of the us right?

      • Anonymous says:

        Let us protect you from the flu.

        The fact that many will lose their jobs, their houses, their businesses and possibly their lives because healthcare providers are either closing down or shooing you away if it’s not corona related, that’s just technicality.

        What matters is what people think about and how concerned we look on CNN.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Asking employers to pay their way back to the Philippines – don’t make me laugh. Maybe if they work for Dart or one of the big firms, but most businesses here will just tell them goodbye and good luck. But talk about a potential hotspot for the spreading coronavirus – these poor people have to live 8 or 9 in a room – if one gets it, they all get it.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Employers who not not deal with their current WP holders properly so that they do not become a burden on CIG should be banned from any future WP’s.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the CI 200 repatriation fee that every employer has to pay for each and every 1-year permit supposed to take care of that? Government has been collecting that fee for decades.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is in the same place as the tyre disposal fee

    • Anonymous says:

      The refundable fee that was collected in the distant past was discontinued by the then immigration board and instead CI$ 200.00 filing fee replaced it. You can’t even be repatriated to Little Cayman forCI200.00. The employer should be responsible to get their workers home. They should eagerly do that even if they have to get a bank loan to cover the cost. They owe them that much.

  46. Anonymous says:

    We did this in IVAN
    Think cayman kind and rebuild again folks
    Be kind and help others

    • Anonymous says:

      Expat Labour rebuilt Cayman after Ivan as they will rebuild the economy after Covid-19, remember that and support them now.

  47. Anonymous says:

    This is another result of having all these imported workers from very impoverished economies and the pay-scales are very low. Lets move them in with there employers as they probably have big houses and lots of room.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!! They are minimum wage earners, sent every cent home to their families now government has to bear the cost. Aren’t their employers responsible for them.

      • Anonymous says:

        The employers should be responsible for there employees but they are more interested in living the high life for themselves and screw everyone else.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about their own governments

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop your separatist bullshit.

      If there were no philipinos / jamaicans who would build your houses / cook your food / do all the jobs you have no intention of doing anyway?

      The fact is that the Cayman Islands needs expat workers.

      So get over yourself, band together with your fellow residents and let’s overcome this TOGETHER

      • Anonymous says:

        It is a time for solutions not disparaging each other and certainly a time for helping each other.

      • Anonymous says:

        If there were no philipinos / jamaicans Caymanians would actually have a chance and more opportunity to do the very jobs you ignorantly believe only expats are capable of.

    • Anonymous says:

      Karma eventually comes back to slum lords and slave drivers everywhere.

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