Masks ‘not political’ claims minister

| 11/05/2020 | 156 Comments
Health Minister Dwayne Seymour at last Thursday’s press briefing

(CNS): Wearing masks in public is obligatory now, so if people want to enter stores and banks they must have effective face-covering, but accessing them appears to be causing public concerns. Health Minister Dwayne Seymour has said on several occasions that he has handed out government supplies to MLAs in all the constituencies because it is “not political”, but there are allegations in the community that getting these essential supplies is just that.

Most of the supermarkets are selling disposable mask at top dollar prices and charities are both distributing and selling homemade face coverings, but not everyone can afford to buy them. However, making sure that everyone can access a mask, regardless of their ability to pay, is going to be a major factor as Grand Cayman moves towards the next stage of its re-opening phase.

The health minister made a policy decision to distribute the masks acquired by the health authorities via the MLAs. In the larger constituencies the political representatives are believed to have been given around 1,000, but depending on the population of the district and its current economic circumstances, in some cases this has been nowhere near enough for all residents in need.

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Asked by CNS on Thursday why those government-purchased masks could not be handed out at supermarkets, Seymour, who has consistently advocated that everyone wear a mask in public, said supermarkets “should be getting their own”.

The minister added that the supply he had given to MLAs was just “one measure”, and asked, “Who would know their constituency better than the person who has been elected?” Other community leaders were given masks as well, but he said that did become political, though he did not explain why.

“It’s only one effort. There are many other efforts with masks being handed out in the community,” the minister stated.

Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) Director Danielle Coleman also said that community beat officers with the RCIPS, the Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) were also handing out free masks to those who need them. She said that officials may work with the supermarkets as a location to hand them out but were concerned about people getting more than one.

Premier Alden McLaughlin also denied that this was about politics.

“This is a public health effort. It doesn’t matter if the person supported you or not,” he said. “What we are trying to do is suppress the transmission of the virus. I don’t think MLAs, whether they’re members of my government or in the opposition, are thinking about whether they should give them only to their supports… We are trying to get masks into as many hands… and on as many faces as we possibly can.”

Speaking on Tuesday last week, Seymour said there was no favoritism on the part of government when it came to giving out masks. He said more were on order but “people were making much about it”, as he claimed there was “no politics here”. But on Thursday the minister said that caucus, not the ministry as might be expected, was evaluating what would be done with the next batch of masks that were expected.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (156)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I live in Bodden Town East where is our Health Minister with our mask. Guess he give to all his friends.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m in Red Bay, Masta Aldens district. I’ve not been asked if I need a mask. Odd since they had the resources to leave propaganda about the failed port project on my front door before the failed referendum.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is very much political and vote buying. They went to a complex and handed out mask to #16 and #18 and skipped #17 because they know who lived there. Do not believe their bullshit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Believe it, or not, there are people out there that surpasses the “Minista of Health” when it comes to ineptitude. And that’s the people who voted him in. He is just a reflection of the majority in that electoral district.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Community Leaders? Not likely! it was people who plan to join him on his quest to become Premier next election. People who quite frankly have no business in politics and who have very shady backgrounds.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My MLA is a certain “dual-role” public representative who has seemingly gone further underground of late than he’s been as my constituency representative since last election. I believe it may be because of another controversy he’s involved in – something about allegedly assaulting a bar manager while he was allegedly blind drunk.

    I guess he’s burrowed in so far that he can’t get out to hand out any masks which may have been provided to be distributed in his constituency. Wonder if he took his MLA-office staff with him?

    Where’s my mask Mr. Mole?

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently Mr. Mole has distributed masks to a select number of persons in his constituency, those who voted for him. A request was made to his mla office secretary, asking if he would release some of his remaining masks and they would be replaced when the next shipment arrived, as other constituencies in WB had run out of masks. Still without masks as request was refused. But of course no politics at play here.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Scientists test their hypotheses using controlled experiments. A controlled experiment is a scientific test done under controlled conditions.

    So, the “experts” conduct their experiments in a controlled artificial environment- light, humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure ➔ arrive to conclusions, then pass its results as a scientific proof of whatever that would apply universally- from dry desert of Sahara or Arizona with its scorching heat to humid low lying Florida, from mostly dark, dry, cold and windy Canada or Alaska to high elevations of Colorado, EXPECTING that in natural environments the subject(s) of their study(s) would behave exactly as it did in a sterile lab?

    Remember, all labs devoid of sunlight!!!!!!

    Don’t you think viruses and bacterias would behave differently in the heights of Himalaya than in London, NYC, Gobi Desert or Amazon River basin and the Cayman Islands?

    Don’t you think wearing a protective mask in a dry windy climate would be more beneficial than in an extremely humid hot and sunny Cayman where a virus has very little chance to survive or deactivated to become harmless?

    Unless scientific experiments that are being referenced by CIG officials to justify their actions were conducted in Cayman natural environment, they are without scientific merit.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Any face cover you use that is not a medical N95 approved mask is for the protection of others, not yourself. Use your homemade or non-medical devices to protect others. To protect yourself, stay at home.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Apparently, Seymour’s mask is almost finished.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So, according to our wise minister Seymour. Masks are only for his friends? What a crock of shit is that.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is so dunce. Yesterday he stated that he has been trying to get tested for covid but he cannot get sick. I could not believe this man. Is he telling the public that you have to show signs of sickness before being tested? Has he not been listening? I cant even…….

  11. Anonymous says:

    One, 1, uno, singular, one death. And we allow ego driven, fat pay cheque pols to destroy our lives and our children’s futures? Not today bobo

  12. Anonymous says:

    If I want to take the risk I should be allowed to do so.

    CNS: It’s not about you and your risk, it’s about the people you may infect.

    • Anonymous says:

      Infect with a cold?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, the whole world has shut down over a common cold. Could you possibly be more stupid than you are?

    • Anonymous says:

      Then they can wear a dirty mask if they choose. And compromise their values as they see fit to get a clean one. This is not China…or is it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shit, sorry people I hit thumbs up on impulse when I read the CNS response. So cancel out one of the thumbs up it’s not for the original poster.

    • Pastor Alfredo says:

      If there are people who do not wish to get infected with a virus (that you have a greater than 50% chance of not even realising you’ve contracted), they are free to continue their self isolation at home for the rest of their days while I, and an increasingly enlightened majority of the population, get on with our lives.

      This “what about everyone else you might infect” argument is getting really old. I don’t care if catch Corona virus so it follows that I don’t care if someone gives it to me. Anyone who is worried about catching it can stay away from me and the cohort of the population who hold the same opinion as me.

      It’s really, really simple.

      Pastor Alfredo

    • Anonymous says:

      If you choose to not wear a mask you put me at risk not yourself. If I choose not to wear one I put you at risk. You do not have the right to put me at risk.

      • Pastor Alfredo says:

        I put you at risk every time I get behind the wheel of my truck, as do you, every time you get behind the wheel of yours. Everyone puts me at risk when they choose to text while driving. CIG chooses to risk my life every time I go for a swim at the beach and they decide that employing a lifeguard to watch over me is too expensive.

        If you wish to live your life risk free then it’s incredibly simple. Lock your front door and nail some planks of wood to the inside so the virus can’t get you. You have no right – none – to dictate to me that I can and can’t do something that YOU don’t like because of some perceived risk that YOU think may exists.

        The crux of the argument is that society tends to delegate these decisions to the executive on behalf of everyone. In Cayman, that’s the legislative assembly who currently advocate for almost total lockdown – potentially illegally. The issue that’s continuing to become more problematic every day, is that society is starting to understand that wearing masks made out of socks, closing down businesses for months and locking people in their houses for undefined periods of time is actually worse than catching the virus.

        You are entitled to your opinion. I respect it. I just disagree with you and, increasingly, everyone else is starting to disagree with you too.

        Pastor Alfredo

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ventured out for the first time with a mask on Saturday, never again absolutely disgusting experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      In this heat, one will pass out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Doubt it joker, run 5 miles a day (except Sunday’s) and absolutely fine. Walk into Foster’s looking like Hannibal Lecter and immediately start feeling ill. I’ll just start using my 90 mins to hunt food instead of shopping.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont go out then.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it’s not easy to breath with a mask on, especially as we the general public are not used to wearing one. that’s why I avoid going out, or go only where I will need to wear the mask in public close space for only about 5 to 10 minutes. I commend the healthcare workers who are wearing the masks constantly when at work,

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow – let me take my baby violin out.
      Do you have any clue what sacrifices people have made for the sake of others, or even how many people’s normal lives are pure hell compared to yours and you complain about wearing a mask or having to stay home??

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have been using the same dirty mask for weeks. Forget Covid, what about bacteria? Until we have abundant, free or low cost masks this is a silly, pointless regulation,

    • Anonymous says:

      Wash it and wear it.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is paper. If I wash it It will disintegrate.

        • Anonymous says:

          If its paper, its likely only meant to be used once and thrown away. Probably isn’t offering any protection and likely you are safer without a mask than using a dirty old paper one.

          • Anonymous says:

            True, it will not help me, nor protect others. It is nor even the right kind of mask. I am wearing it to appease fools.

      • Anonymous says:

        How many people will be forced to share or borrow disposable masks? If you have no access to masks, and are a criminal if you fail to wear a mask, then you will wear someone else’s .

      • Anonymous says:

        Mine is paper, I cannot wash it.

        • Anonymous says:

          True, but you can do what a lot of medical personnel is having to do, with those types that can’t be washed rotate them. Wear a mask then put it down for ideally 3 days and wear a different mask and put that down for 3 days and keep going. But you need several to be able to do this.

          Of course cloth masks can be washed.

          There are certain kinds that can be santised a variety of different ways other than washing, go online and do search.

          I have asthma and find it extremely difficult to breathe in the cloth masks so I had to order online some low grade 80% medical masks which work for me. I was able to get enough to allow me to rotate which is wonderful.

          BTW I live in Eastern districts, haven’t voted in at least 20 years and my area received masks for free. Once I received mine I gave them away cause I already have.

      • Anonymous says:

        you cannot wash those cheap disposable masks. They were intended for one use only. Great plan, CIG. And waste of $$. Does anyone there have a brain?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I would have understood this early on, but now? And where do I get said masks? If they are disposable and I am forced to reuse them, isn’t that riskier than no mask at all? This is just silly.

  16. Anonymous says:

    More garbage for the Dump. Human learned nothing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Every evening Wayne Panton rides his bicycle around Newlands with a tortuga yellow bag stopping on door steps asking if masks are needed. I personally got from him last week. He was riding cross and stopped casually. We need to get back to living as a community. I notice Raul put up a sign asking who needs a mask also. I haven’t no use Alva anywhere around.

    I really hope Cayman wakes up for next election! And just so you know I don’t know Wayne Panton but I’ve seen him more than 5 times now around the community!

    • Anonymous says:

      you are just plain lying. Alva was out in Newlands as recently as this afternoon handing out masks. If you do not support him that is your business but when you lie you are a danger to all.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can attest to this and I am not Caymanian but me and my family live in the North Sound Estates community and this gentle man rode up on a bicycle and asked if we had masks and was everything ok. He didn’t identify himself and i was wondering at first but my neighbor Who is caymanian told us his name and that he lives in the area. He didn’t ask if I was Caymanian or say I am a politician. He just asked did we have masks and is everything ok. That’s true #CaymanKind in my eyes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow talk about blatant lies! Alva Suckoo has beren all over Newlands giving out masks. If you are an example of a Wayne Panton supporter, I really do not want to be one. You can keep that title to yourself, Ill stick with Alva.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where?????? I live in Newlands and I have not seen Alva. I made sure and asked my neighbors if they’ve seen him. We went as far to go to the office THATS ALWAYS CLOSED! Stop this political shit and look at the bigger picture.

        • Anonymous says:

          yea that sounds believable, I regularly poke my head out the door and yell, “anybody seen Mac?”. SMH

    • IzaBayea says:

      I wish the WB mask was like Wayne’s delivery service. Why couldn’t they just go door to door wearing their own masks and gloves. It’s not like they don’t see houses, apartments etc. But NOOOOO, that wouldn’t leave enough for their buddies!

  18. Anonymous says:

    “Wearing masks in public is obligatory now”

    I missed this addition to the regulations

  19. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Minister fairly meant to say “I didn’t make a political decision when I distributed them to other politicians”.

    Sadly, good intentions, etc. As soon as you give anything to a politician by definition it is politicised. Even if the district rep. had chosen to run a random distribution based on anonymised ESO data, it would still have been a political decision by definition. (And of course someone would have objected for some reason, and castigated the random distribution as a politically motivated decision.)

    Why is caucus deciding the distribution of the next tranche? (Assuming that rumour is true.) Because almost any Govt. action requires a policy direction – like the Minister’s direction to make sure he wasn’t accused of politically motivated distribution by giving all of the (sitting) politicians masks to distribute. And almost any policy decision requires a caucus decision. Now, we can argue about the invidious role of caucus in Government, but its not a conspiracy why caucus is (rumoured to be) involved.

  20. Anonymous says:

    A day late and a dollar short.

  21. dee says:

    I’ve seen all kinds of contraptions around peoples faces and It just shows the lack of research people do and B/S spread that people don’t understand that half of these ”home made masks” dont even protect you from dust nevermind microscopic viruses.

    • Anonymous says:

      These home made masks are washable while disposable mask is not washable and only use once. I have made nearly 500 masks that are hospital approved masks that comes 3 layers of cloth. I have made 200 for the hospital frontline crew. It will stop all droplets from your mouth that may have the viruses.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you have any masks for sale? If so please post the contact information!

        CNS: See the ad in the top right column for ads from the Food Bank. Buy a mask for $10 and help feed the hungry.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d like to know which laboratory tested your home made masks and what evidence you have that supports your claim of them stopping viruses.

        • Anonymous says:

          Jeez, make sure there is scientific evidence that supports the air you breathe is suitable for your body’s needs.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, I buy that mask, which I did, for $10 ci. Is it sterile? No. Does it meet any protocols? No. Will help stop the spread of Covid-19? No. Will it possible give me Covid-19? Yes. Will I be forced to both purchase and wear it? Yes. Is this the stupidest idea ever? Yes!

      • Jj says:
        n this randomized control trial from 2015, investigators examined the efficacy of cloth masks versus surgical masks.

        Study design
        The study included 1,607 hospital staff working in high-risk wards at 14 secondary-level/tertiary-level hospitals in Hanoi, Vietnam. They were randomized to medical masks, cloth masks or a control group (usual practice, which included mask wearing). Participants used the assigned mask on every shift for 4 consecutive weeks. Cloth masks were washed with soap and water every day after finishing the shifts. Outcome measurements included clinical respiratory illness, influenza-like illness (ILI) and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infection.

        The cloth mask group had the highest rate of all infections. In addition, cloth masks had statistically higher rates of ILI than the medical arm (RR 13) and the control arm. Particle penetration was 97% with cloth masks and 44% with medical masks.

        The control group was not ideal, as investigators could not withhold use of masks. But the outcomes showed that cloth masks were inferior even to control arm (usual practice).

        Clinical significance
        This study shows we should caution against use of cloth masks in health care settings, especially in high risk situations. It is important in the era of PPE shortage and COVID-19 that health care workers receive medical masks, not cloth masks.

    • Anonymous says:

      The mask is not meant to protect the wearer. It is meant to protect the people around them. If you sneeze or cough the mask reduces the distance your “spray” goes. If you want to protect yourself you should stay home. If we all wear the mask we can help to limit the spread of the virus. it is not the be all end all solution, but it does help. Dee, you might want to go online and find out what the intention is in wearing the homemade masks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Keeping a personal buffer of 6 feet or more from all non-household people is still priority #1, and we still fail on that. Mask or material doesn’t matter if we can’t abide the legal minimum separation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do your research! and FFS it’s to protect others from you more than protecting you.
      Try to think of others instead of just yourself. Thank you.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well at least Chris and Alva sent out messages asking who needed masks in their areas. I saw that Chris and Alva said that they only had 1000 each and it was for those who really need them. A few days later Alva send a message that he had run out and would be buying some himself to give out. Today he dropped off a pack of 10 masks for me. I am not registerd to vote, but I am a single mother and was let go from my job a few days ago. He said he would help me register with the Work deparment and said that if I needed to apply to Nau he would ask his assistant to help me with the forms and paperwork. He never mention election, voting, or anything like that.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Cut up an old tshirt and tie it around your face. It’s better than nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Google it its really easy and just put a coffee filter in between 2 layers of the t shirt. It’s also way more comfortable than elastic around your ears and you wash it and use it over and over again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? Do you have any evidence this benefits anyone? You have to have the virus to spread it. Yes, front line employees should absolutely be required to wear masks, which should be proper masks, provided by their employers. They, not us are likely to carry the virus. Is there no logic at all amongst our so called leaders? This isn’t rocket science, just common sense.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “Who would know their constituency better than the person who has been elected?” – LOL you obviously don’t know Joey Hew.

  25. JTB says:

    Sky ‘not blue’ claims Minister

  26. Anonymous says:

    it is political, end of story, no matter how you spin it. If it wasn’t political it would be public health officials handing them out.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Where is the PLAN?????

  28. Anon says:

    “other community leaders were given masks as well” says the Minister – this stinks to high heaven.

    • Anonymous says:

      That means clergymen to give to their flocks. If you aren’t a PPM/Unity supporter or a member of a church, forget it. I’ll bet he clergy have cases and cases and cases of these things and I’ll start selling them “for charity.”

  29. Anonymous says:

    Not everyone can breathe through a mask. Some people experience near fainting episodes.

    Those who have a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD, covering mouth and nose can be especially challenging. The physical barrier of the mask makes it harder to take in air; it also traps some carbon dioxide as you exhale, which means you end up breathing in air that is warmer and moister. Add a compromised respiratory system to the equation and a mask can feel downright suffocating.

    That sensation of having trouble breathing in a mask might feel worse in hot and humid climate.

    My glasses get fogged when inside an air conditioned store and I take it immediately off once I am outside in order not to faint. I don’t have a respiratory condition, but cardiovascular instability that comes with shortness of breath.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then why are you even going out? The guidance is clear that anyone with any sort of underlying condition should be staying home. You only have yourself to blame here

    • Anonymous says:

      Try sliding your glasses down your nose when wearing a mask in an airconditioned building to reduce the fogging.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL. I did, my glasses are small and if it have to sit on my nose I won’t be able to see. Besides, it have prism lenses to help with binocular dysfunction that contributes to dizziness and must be worn correctly.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here. Move along …..

  31. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear!, the moment they decided to control the supplying of masks to the public they made it political. Why didn’t they passed them on to Public Health to hand out ? Also I am sure that the supermarkets provided ttheir workers with masks but the customers are ” all of us” . Does the Minister really expect the supermarkets to hand out mask to all the customers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually in Germany and Austria, store clerks stand at the door with tongs and a tray of masks and hand out disposable masks to everyone who enters. This is presumably to ensure that everyone who goes into the store has an effective mask and not a dirty old one that’s been reused 100 times.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Shame that all they achieve is the further spreading of viruses

  33. Anonymous says:

    The distribution of a few single-use disposable masks is already being abused into a constituent-need-driven PPM re-election data collection exercise.

  34. Anonymous says:

    That masquerade with bandanas, scarves, panties and socks is an utter joke and just shows how scared, misinformed and easily misled most people are

  35. Anonymous says:

    when were laws passed to make it obligatory to wear masks in public ???

  36. Anonymous says:

    What am I supposed to do? Break curfew and go knock on the door of the MLA in my district. He certainly has not contacted me to see if I need masks. I m sure his strong supporters were contacted. I am surprised that The minister can actually say with a straight face that it is “not political.” Anytime you give an MLA something to distribute it becomes political. Anyone who believes differently has their head buried in the sand. (which probably means they are breaking the rules on staying off the beaches.)

  37. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a voter. I live in a strata with lots of non voters. Incidentally, I am a human that can catch and spread the virus. What’s the chances of my local MLA dropping off a care package of masks on my doorstep?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Who is in charge of picking up the 1000’s strewn along the roadsides already? The distributing politicians?

  39. Anonymous says:

    I don’t care if its political or not. Where do we find masks? We have so much to worry about already. Now this. Another source of anxiety if we don’t comply. Yes, this is an important COVID precaution, but the free paper masks handed out are meant for one-time use! Not worn for weeks on end! If CIG dictates that everyone must wear a face mask in public, then it must find a way to make them available. People need reusable, washable masks. There are enough seamstresses with the experience to make masks this in this community…and an opportunity exists to make a little money. So far it has been impossible for many to find masks as the few reusable ones sold here have sold quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really wish people would not use the term “seamstress”. Honestly. It’s 2020. How about “tailor” or even “seamster”.

    • Sally says:

      I made mine out of some old socks.. How to do it is on YouTube, all you need is scissors and a sock. Easy. Not perfect, but it will do.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe I don’t have any socks. I shouldn’t be required to fabricate a mask to buy flipping groceries. I am not Martha Stewart, I do not have a sewing machine, nor excess socks.

        • Sally says:

          Then reach out, my friend. Lots of nice people on this island to help. I have extra I can spare you. If the government won’t take care of us, we need to stand together, not split apart.
          My sock masks aren’t pretty, but does what it needs to do, I guess.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sounds like you just like complaining..

  40. Anonymous says:

    Do you have to kneel and kiss the ring first?

  41. Anonymous says:

    If it was nearer election time we would all get a mask personally delivered to us by the politician.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Can I get one for my Personal Trainer then?

  43. Anonymous says:


  44. Anonymous says:

    The few (supporting influencers and non-supporting outraged) that are part of our PPM-affiliated MLA’s invite-only Whatapp group, received a message to register for the district constituent database via their non-public MLA aggregated email address. We have to provide the full names of everyone in household, full street address, ages, citizenships, tel and email details, along with a case about how many of the district’s scant 1000 disposable one-time masks we might think we deserve over other more needy people in the district. Not exactly the equitable and orderly distribution we might have hoped for, and most definitely political by virtue of the pre-election database fleshing-out request. Gross.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Well we live in Red Bay and the Premier is our MLA, so where are our masks?

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