Stranded expats urged to call hotline

| 07/04/2020 | 117 Comments

(CNS): As government increasingly focuses on the reality that many foreign workers currently in the Cayman Islands no longer have a job and the ability to support themselves, the need to airlift them out is growing. But Premier Alden McLaughlin has said that there are issues with helping people to leave as the governor’s office will need to persuade regional leaders to allow Cayman to send flights to their countries.

Anyone who wants to leave Cayman is urged to call the travel hotline on 244-3333 or email emergencytravel@gov.ky to help officials collate details about who wants to leave and to where, so that they can begin organizing airlifts, which will be conducted by Cayman Airways.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said at Tuesday’s media briefing that he was worried that people who want to leave are waiting until the government announces that a flight is happening, and then they plan to come forward to book a seat on it. But it cannot work that way, he said, as he urged people to call the hotline or email with the details of where they want to go.

McLaughlin explained that organising these flights was not as easy as people might think because many airports are closed. For example, Jamaica’s borders are now shut so Cayman needs to know how many Jamaican nationals want to go back there before it can approach the government there to ask them to allow a flight to land.

Another issue to consider, he said, is the return of Caymanians from the destinations where these airlifts will go, which will expose Cayman Airways pilots and their crews to the dangers of the virus. This means that, in addition to quarantining those people returning, we will also have to isolate the CAL teams.

“It has got to be truly worthwhile for us to go these lengths,” he said.

There are said to be several Caymanians currently stuck in the United States as well as in countries around the region who want to return, and government has said it needs to collate those numbers too before it begins to embark on what it accepts will be airlifts both in and out of Cayman in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the community remains concerned about the isolation of the 58 Caymanians who returned on the British Airways flight yesterday. However, these residents, most of them students, are all in quarantine in government facilities.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee confirmed that they have not yet been tested as the incubation period for this coronavirus is at least several days so the results could be misleading. Therefore, they will not be tested until the end of their fourteen days of isolation unless they become sick beforehand.


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Category: Health, health and safety, Local News

Comments (117)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    DONT BE FOOLED !!!!!!

  2. Anon says:

    8/4/2020 at 7:17pm. This is a warning from a Paper Caymanian living in the UK (England) stay in Cayman , you are better off. It is not nice here. No help, I am not a shame to say , if it was not for my son sending me money from Cayman , I would die of hungry. It is bad here , no help from the Government nor the Councils. I am sick of hearing people calling the Radio Stations venting frustrations. DONT BE FOOLED.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A special CAL dropoff flight up to IAH or DFW would allow those wanting to return to Philippines to do so on Tuesday via LAX-ICN for $828. Cdns could also fly or drive north from there. Americans, wherever. USA airports are still (strangely) open, and these flights are still running. Last call for anyone wanting to return to Cayman with a 14 day quarantine at Comfort Suites. Make it happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK are running 12 special charter flights to India to bring home some 3000 British starting Monday. Probably some space for those wanting to get back to India/Central Asia on outbound journey.

    • Anonymous says:

      Canada US border is closed still I think

  4. Anon says:

    American, Canadian, and UK citizens who are retired or otherwise financially independent are one of the very few population sets still bringing money into the islands. I imagine that the powers that be are in no hurry to have these particular expats leave and I’m therefore not surprised if organizing expat exit flights is not at the top of their priority list.

    As for ourselves, we will be on the first boat or plane or balloon out of here. Great place, nice people, but there’s no place like home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please spare us your high-handed condescension and cliché white man West Indian savior fantasy…dial the number so we can count you among those colonialists for expedited departure back to wherever it is you actually want to be. Have that storied credit card handy, and pack your bags!

      • Anonymous says:

        You want to rely on the white caymanians to support you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hypocrite. I bet you’ll be first in the queue to get your ‘white’ colonialist paid for Covid-19 test, or the medical and financial assistance coming from the UK.
        Sadly, your bigoted rant is both ill informed and clearly wrong as everyone can see that the West Indies are well beyond saving by anyone. Take for example your refusal to properly social distance, or even conform with requests to stay off the roads. If Covid breaks into the community it will be those white and black healthcare workers you’ll turn to as your sick, young and old, die alone in hospital.
        The truth is that without the financial benefit that the poster describes and the multitude of expat workers that stand beside them, your fragile economy will implode a lot quicker than it almost certainly will do anyway. The US has just announced that cruise ships will not sail for at least another 100 days, that in itself will destroy the tourism product for the next few years.
        The only businesses keeping this place afloat at the moment are food retail and the offshore industry. 30k expats are shopping for food and essentials, many are paying rents to Caymanian property owners and all contribute far more in blood and treasure than any Caymanian that I’ve ever met in 30 years of being on this island. The overwhelming majority of police, healthcare workers and other essential workers keeping your fat asses fed healthy and safe are the very people you hate, shame on you, you truly are beyond redemption.
        Instead of berating the truth, try berating your corrupt and incompetent leaders and rich business community who have failed to put aside finances to cope with a national emergency. They have ripped off locals, residents and tourists for far too long, isn’t Karma a b***h. At least the expats can leave, what’s in it for you?
        Look how the richest country in the Caribbean treats its own elderly, it’s poor, its women, its kids and it’s animals, yes, it’s most vulnerable members of society. Then take a look how it treats its Caribbean neighbors who come here to wipe your last asses and pick up behind your self entitled, hypocritical backsides.
        Don’t lecture anyone on colonial attitudes when you openly exploit poor expat labour for your own gain without offering anything in return. Racists like you make me sick, the poster didn’t identify as white, merely as a foreign national. It is you that chose the route of racism, xenophobia and blind ignorance, sadly more prevalent on these islands than the over used mantra of ‘Caymankind’ would have the uninitiated believe.

        Oh, and FYI, I’m not white either.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Airways will never answer their phones. Total screw ups.
    Good luck with getting a flight with them anytime soon. To Jamaica or any country really they are AWOL. Our family of 4 need to leave and we sent an e mail to: emergency travels gov.ky
    You get back nothing definate as their response is that they are swamped with calls.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good grief…the &@&ing airport is closed and the airline isn’t flying. Call the evacuation hotline and put yourself on the list.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read the headline here before writing what you just wrote…There are no flights out of Cayman. Cayman Airways is closed. No airline including them are operating any flights out of Cayman….

      Call the hotline as the headline states….geesh!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you did no read – THE ATO IS CLOSED AND CAL ALSO.

      Not that they ain’t answering they are closed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Guys, if you can, then leave. Those on this island that want you gone so that they can have their myopic utopian dream of Cayman for Caymanian’s don’t deserve or respect the wealth you have brought them through personal sacrifice and damn hard work.
    Leave these ungrateful, hateful and unchristian hypocrites to the mess that will inevitably follow.
    Work on this island is over for the foreseeable future for expat work permit holders. The future is bleak as it matters not if Cayman opens up as we are totally reliant on the rest of the world to resume normality in order to operate effectively. That just isn’t going to happen anytime soon as cases continue to grow in the US, UK, Canada and Europe. Plus, the third world is getting hit hard and it can only get worse, we haven’t seen anything yet.
    So to those Caymanian’s who think that everything will go back to normal soon, I say educate yourself and think about the impact that a mass migration of work permits will have on your businesses and economy.
    We have a long ways to go and in that time we will see many businesses both large and small dissolve forever, so look to the future, probably two years into the future, before thinking about anything like business as usual.
    I sincerely hope Cayman can afford to lose their 30 thousand work permit holders, because without them you have nothing, and they won’t or can’t come back anytime soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go far and stay long. God works in mysterious ways. Amen!

    • Anonymous says:

      Whatever man…adios.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please stop generalizing and putting all Caymanians into one group..

      There are a few xenophobic Caymanians but not all of us are the same..

    • Anonymous says:

      Brought who wealth ??????? Dont make me laugh so hard in such serious times. You know nothing of the true state of affairs in modern day cayman islands.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We cannot support all the expats here out of a job indefinitely. Send them home asap.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where can we send the unemployed caymanians?

      • Anonymous says:

        If all the expats are gone and when the island is able to open back up you should all have jobs provided you’ve been good workers in the past

      • Think before you type says:

        Honestly if you don’t have anything other than snarky comments then keep off the keyboard.
        I believe the Cayman Islands Government should help work permit holders but this cannot be done indefinitely. Persons who have lost ther jobs need to return home. That may sound harsh but it is the truth.

        • Anonymous says:

          They would if they could. But you can’t just drop them halfway to their home countries.
          It is not like they will be missing the Dump’s fires.

      • Anonymous says:

        To the United Kingdom.

      • Idle & the Vagabonds says:

        Back to fishinin, turtlin, and rope makin school!

      • Anonymous says:

        Unemployed Caymanians should move to the U.K. Serious labour shortages there now with so many Central and East Europeans gone from hospitals, care homes and agriculture due to BREXIT.

        Lots of jobs if you seriously want to work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I know the PR was needed and it helped to fuel our growth and the development of Grand Cayman. Cant say I am a huge fan of development as I appreciated the late 1990s except the traffic from WB into Town.

    Anyways, now the downside of PR is coming into play along with general development. Lots of leverage in the housing market driven by Govment policy, now the gonna have to either double down and grant more PR or just watch the whole deck of cards fold. It really matters how long our PR holders can hold out or when they have to cut their losses and return to native lands. I know there will be Caymanians leaving too of this youngest generation that just bought a condo or house and have to let bank take it back and become blacklisted.

    Perfect time to change laws that forgive and forget foreclosures after 7 years. We live in the constant bubble economies since the 2000s

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Canadian living in Cayman. I’m fortunate to still have a job, but it is early on. If the US economy continues in its current state, which is likely, I may not have a job so I’m not sure if I should leave or not. Have family that I could crash with in Canada and the Canadian government is offering help to Canadians out of work so I think that should be what I do? Tough call…

    • Anonymous says:

      I would probably leave while you can. It’s going to be a long time til Cayman opens up the airport IMO.

    • Anonymous says:

      The last sentence should be able to help you make that call real quick. At least you have that option available to relocate to another jurisdiction and wait this out.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:25, Caymanians have that option to. The country is called the United Kingdom. So lucky we are a colony.

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems unwise to quit a job in a market where you won’t be able to find a job because you think you’re going to be out of a job….

      • Anonymous says:

        In normal times yes, but not if you’re stuck in a country that hates you and won’t be able to help you for longer than a month or two.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get out if you can. Cayman has little to no safety net for expats (not much for locals either) and things can go bad quickly. If you can find a way to get to your home country and its social support system then take it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good call 5:19 pm…. If I wasn’t a Caymanian like 5th generation with house, land all paid off and a bit of savings I would be out like chout. Still thinking about Hawaii as a possible slide out for chapter 2.

        • Anonymous says:

          There’s discrimination in Hawaii against all non-Hawaiians. You’ll be paid 1/3 of what you are making here unless you get transfer through you company. I was making $60k in one of the NW states, 5 years experience, certified and licensed. In Honolulu I was offered in a non-Hawaiian firm $40 while a Hawaiian firm wanted me to take high school level tests. I laughed in their face. I got $80k in Bermuda plus perks.
          Keep in mind cost of living in Hawaii is very high, traffic congestion is unbearable. Most, non-professionals, have 2-3 jobs to survive.

        • Anonymous says:

          In Hawaii you will be paying Federal personal income tax, Federal social security tax 6.2%, Hawaii personal income tax, sales tax rate for Honolulu is 4.5%, 4.712% state sales tax rate on the purchase of a vehicle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sigh collecting fat ci cash and got options in ypur home countries then still want have problems with cayman people as if they aint frpm here and call them all entitled

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is very troubling and quite perplexing. The government should know how many expats are here and how many are out of work. Are people going to be lining up to be deported to another country right now? No one in their right mind would get on a flight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course you would. If you have little money, no income and little prospect of any this year, living here is extremely hard if not impossible. Alternatively returning to family in Honduras or Jamaica who you’ve been supporting for years might be a much smarter move than waiting here.

      • Moi says:

        Why would you presume that Jamaica or Honduras would be their home? Quite a stretch there!

        • Anonymous says:

          42% of all work permits are held by Jamaicans, so if you are guessing, it’s a good place to start.

        • Anonymous says:

          I made no such presumption. It’s simply a damn sight easier to lay on CAL flights to Jamaica and Honduras than Manila isn’t it? What’s your point?

          • Anonymous says:

            Easier call Aerolineas SOSA and Phillipine Airlines… Why does Cayman Airways have to pay…

          • Anonymous says:

            Ok, so you just want to send people away, you don’t care where they end up?

      • Anonymous says:

        Alden been telling people for weeks that you can’t be in six feet of someone at da grocery store line as they could be infected! Now they gonna cram on a plane?

        • Anonymous says:

          This is where the problems lie. Do you risk your health and get on a plane that may be the last one out for months, but risk going hungry for the same amount of time only to have to leave on that flight months later ?
          So you’re screw if you do and you’re screwed if you don’t.
          Personally, I would rather be near family and in my home country, than stuck here where everyone hates you and thinks you’re stupid for staying.

          • Anonymous says:

            I would suggest that people about to leave be tested first,. If everyone is negative, then the risk of getting the virus on the plane is very low. It. would be awful to have sheltered in place and followed all the rules for weeks only to get the virus on a plane home. The same should apply for anyone wanting to come home. CIG could send someone to Miami or Toronto or wherever and test people who want to fly back to Cayman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I think the government have so far done an excellent job given the circumstances the need for free repatriation flights for those who can no longer support themselves here was blindingly obvious from the outset. Not sure why it’s taken this long to figure it out.

    • Anonymous says:

      BS. You worked, you saved, you sent home so you have money for a flight. It’s a Global pandemic so why should someone else pay for your ticket??? Because your financially irresponsible?

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re an idiotic bigot.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m with you for the most part, if one makes enough to save. Most don’t, so have some compassion.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well let’s hope it’s your house that gets broken into first when these guys are starving then. Have some compassion you small time loser. These guys don’t have savings.

        Oh and it’s you’re not your. Idiot.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’d be surprised how many people live paycheck to paycheck. Also, free flights back would cost less in the long run.

      • Anonymous says:

        Their employer has already paid a repatriation fee; I also expect that you’re one of the people that have trouble “finding” work.

      • Anonymous says:

        The government should pay because for years they have been happily collecting repatriation fees. Now it’s time to actually use those fees so pay up CIG.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because your employer paid for a repatriation ticket as part of the permit fee?

      • Moi says:

        Lived here for 35yrs and not once have I sent any money home. You are vapid and ignorant!

        • Anonymous says:

          The comment was not made in ignorance but based on statistics. Facts. You are but one person.
          You may not send money back home but I know you know people who do.
          Nobody really cares about what you do with your hard earned money but if you work in a country for years on end and you spend no money hardly in that economy and send it OUT monthly then why should you be that country’s priority when times get hard?

          • Anonymous says:

            Where do you think the money in this country comes from? It comes from the outside. If it weren’t for people on the outside, you would be polishing turtle shells. Oh wait, you killed them all.

    • Hanonymous says:

      Every WP holder pays a repatriation fee to the government, so the flights are not free for the WP holder as they paid this in advance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, their employer paid.

        • Anonymous says:

          It isn’t a repatriation fee. The practice of charging a repatriation fee was cancelled many years ago because employers were complaining about the fee after they started hiring workers from far away countries. The immigration board The immigration Board then charged a processing fee of CID$200.00 across the board and it is non- refundable.

          • Anonymous says:

            Oh interesting…. Good to know… Looks like Covid is going to shift up lots of things. Might even kill globalisation and Cayman can go back to the 70s and early 80s when $13 dollars per hour and cheap real estate meant good times.

      • Anonymous says:

        Every country around the globe are repatriating their citizens and not expecting the host country that they are in to pay to send them back..

        Why is it that “some” expats here believe that the government here should pay and operate flights to all these different countries??

        United States flew their people back from Japan and other countries around the world on chartered flight.

        Westjet has been repatriating Canadians from around the world back to Canada.

        The UK has been using BA to repatriate their citizens from around the globe.

        Cayman Islands is expected to repatriate at their cost, Filipinos, Hondurans, Americans, Canadians, Indians, etc…

        Wouldn’t it be better for these folks to contact their countries Embassies and ask for them to send an aircraft to pick them up?

    • Anonymous says:

      Typically a person’s home country not their host country would provide a repatriation flight. We could perhaps have a few flights with multiple nationalities on-board sent to a larger flight hub where they could then travel on to their home countries but we should not be expected to foot the bill to fly everyone home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you ask your country to send a free aircraft for you..Why does Cayman Government have to pay for it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you waiting on Cayman. Call your country’s embassy and ask them to send a plane to come pick you up..Simple, why are sitting around waiting on Cayman to provide for you?

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is what happens when the immigration law isn’t followed, let alone enforced.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let’s hope we don’t need a Russian flight and Dwayne required to translate…

  14. Anonymous says:

    WestJet, if that far ahead, could arrange for many nationalities to fly to Toronto and on to Vancouver and on to other world destinations.

  15. Anonymous says:

    as usual cig making a mountain out of a mole hill….get planes chartered…airlines are looking for the business….then clear it with the countries that you are sending their people home to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should the government go ahead and charter planes before they know how many and to where these would be passengers will go. They also need to know if the airports on the other end are open and willing to accept the passengers. It’s a good thing you are not in charge of complicated things like that.

      • Anon says:

        2.14pm You and Minister Seymour need to try calling the emergency travel #, it never answers, that’s why Govt doesn’t have the numbers.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “most of them students, are all in quarantine in government facilities”, unless you are one of the ministers children, then you get to go a private residence in South Sound, have an apartment all to yourself, have your friends visit and come and go when ever you please. Quarantine, what a joke! This was all done right under our noses, as a resident of this apartment complex, furious is an understatement of how I am feeling. This student was allowed to flaunt himself around the place and potentially infect families and the elderly who live in this building. Do as they say, but not as they do!

    • Anonymous says:

      😲

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a very interesting observation. For whatever it’s worth you should name them. We have a right to know and whoever it was should be tested and frankly chastised a little for being so irresponsible. One bad apple to spoil the bunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      If that’s right then they are breaking the law and you should report them to the RCIP. Have you done that? As a resident you have a duty to report this as they may have the virus and pass on to others. Or are you merely trying to stir the pot with vague accusations?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hew’ve got to be kidding!

    • Right ya so says:

      @ Anonymous 07/04/2020 at 7:38 pm: instead of taking the time to type your complaint and voice your outrage (which I totally get btw) why didn’t you call 911, msg the Premier’s fb page and the fb pages of HCMI, HSA, the Compass or CNS.. ?

  17. Anonymous says:

    WestJet continues to fly Canadians home. In the last couple days for example, there were flights from Panama and Havana. I personally know that WestJet would be willing to fly a plane to Cayman. The Cayman government could easily arrange this.

    Here is a tweet on their recent repatriation flight from Panama for example:

    https://twitter.com/WestJet/status/1247642382889345029

    • Anonymous says:

      So have the Canadians indicated they want to leave as required? Then the governments involved the flights. The Panama flight did not happen without a stated need.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why do they have to indicate anything? Immigration has their names and phone numbers, knows how many there are, and knows what the law says! Just how much choice is there in who has to go? Why the disconnect?

        • Anonymous says:

          I may not have a job, but I’m fortunate enough to ride it out. When the time comes for Cayman to open up the local economy and all the expats are gone, you may find that there won’t be enough of us here to help you get the local economy up and running the way you would like. And if the airports aren’t open, which they won’t be for a very long time, I’m not going to be able to come back to help you!

          • Anonymous says:

            Not to be rude but if you were on permit and no longer have a job then your permit legally should be have been cancelled and you are no longer allowed to stay. It may sound harsh but it is the law.

            • Anonymous says:

              I said I don’t have a job at the moment, but I’m legal as I’m still on a WP so not breaking any laws.

            • Anonymous says:

              Number of reasons why I person could stay here if they no longer have a work permit. As they said, they have the means to ride it out. You can legally be here for half a year or longer if you have the means…

          • Anonymous says:

            And we will not pay you money to be here, so I guess that is a fair trade. Caymanians have managed before, and will manage again, even if necessity is the mother of all invention.

            And a little self entitled? You are demanding a right to remain in another’s country even if the basis for you being there no longer exists?

        • t says:

          because everyone is working their arse off trying to keep ppl alive and don’t have time or inclination to go and chase every expat off the island right now.

          • Anonymous says:

            Who said anything about chasing off? This is about helping those that need to leave, to leave, in part so that we do not have to spend so much effort keeping so many people fed, houses, separated and medicated.

            Part of keeping people alive requires reducing population density. 10 unemployed foreign nationals sharing a two bedroom apartment is dangerous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Personally know? Call government and connect them to your contact… or do you mean personally suspect/expect???

    • Anonymous says:

      WestJet is the best!

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