MLAs deserve their pay, says premier

| 25/05/2020 | 272 Comments

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has confirmed that there is no plan to cut the salaries of politicians in Cayman as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. He said the people in his team “were working harder than they ever were before” and they have bills to pay like other people. While ministers in other countries have taken pay cuts as a gesture of solidarity with those now in financial distress, McLaughlin saw no reason to reduce local MLAs’ wages.

In response to the CNS question, which has been asked by many of our readers, McLaughlin said he was not sure why ministers and MLAs should be singled out for pay cuts.

However in New Zealand, a country the premier has followed closely through the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other ministers there have taken a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, Austria’s ministers plan to each donate one month’s salary.

And politicians all around the Caribbean are also accepting reductions in their pay packet at this time. Nevis Premier Mark Brantley has announced that he will forego his entire monthly salary for the foreseeable future, while ministers of the Nevis Island Administration have all agreed to a pay cut of 10% for the next three months, starting in May 2020.

All Bermuda’s politicians have taken a 12.5% pay cut. Cabinet members in Saint Lucia have agreed to a 75% salary reduction to help tackle the COVID-19 economic crisis. In Aruba, ministers and their advisors, members of parliament and directors of government-owned companies will forgo 20% of their salary, while other public servants are taking a 12.5% pay cut. Salaries are also being reduced in the the other two Dutch Caribbean countries.

However, here in Cayman McLaughlin said that cutting pay for public sector workers in hard times was, in his experience following the 2008 recession, disastrous. Cutting the pay of members of the Legislative Assembly alone would not have any material impact in a budge of $850 million, he added, as took offence to the idea that politicians should be treated differently.

“I am no different, if I get cut I bleed, if I get COVID I get sick, I eat or pay rent or a mortgage like everybody else, and that is so for every single minister or MLA,” the premier said. “They all have families; they all have obligations; they all have commitments,” as said, claiming that politicians were no different to anyone else.

The premier also rejected the idea that local politicians were well paid and said that twenty years after leaving his law firm he was earning less money today than he was then in actual dollars, never mind inflation.

“For people who believe somehow that this is a cushy job, you’ve got another think coming, and it’s seven days a week,” McLaughlin added, with a nod to the recently announced election date for next year.

Although pinning down the exact pay of each of the current members is not easy, the speaker, the premier, the deputy premier and other cabinet ministers are all on the civil service salary scale at grade B. This translates into a range per year of $158,400 to $179,196. The leader of the opposition, deputy speaker and other MLAs are considered grade D, with salaries ranging from $109,932 to $130,668.

But government MLAs receive more than those in opposition to cover the work they do as councillors, while all MLAs are given a constituency allowance on top of the regular benefits. Given the opaque nature of exactly how much they each receive, if MLAs followed the lead of Ardern and take a 20% cut, this would be around CI$150,000 per month in total, or just under CI$1 million in six months.

See the press briefing on CIGTV below, set to start with the CNS question and the premier’s answer, where he explains why he does not feel politicians’ salaries should be cut:

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Category: Politics

Comments (272)

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  1. Anon. says:

    CNS, your math here is way off.

    Just even assuming that 19 MLA’s all made the higher end of the higher salary scale ($179,196/$14,933 per month) which we know they don’t, if all of them took a 20% paycut, that is approximately $3,000.

    $3000*19 is $27,000 per month, not even close to the $150,000 you referred to in your article and again it would be much less than this because we know not all MLA’s make $14,933 per month!

    Or maybe you can share how you came up with $150,000 per month in savings if they took a 20% paycut.

  2. Tone Deaf! says:

    Plain and simple: this confirms Alden’s decision-making abilities are somewhat flawed, but yet we are supposed to put our trust in him and his Minsters.

    It appears Alden as in his MoH, believe their own hype! Listening to his answer re pay they probably think they should be getting a pay increase instead. Great show solidarity!

    It shouldn’t be this hard to ask politicians to do what’s right, but never fail, it always comes back to the All Mighty-Buck, it’s baffling they don’t understand the current pulse of the people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What twats. Not surprised.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The man did say “he had to pay rent …plus mortgage…plus other bills.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like I don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      As soon as they are facing the kind of devastation I have been facing for 10 weeks they will change their tune. People are basically selfish, if they are not hurt they do not care about your suffering.

    • Anonymous says:

      right, at least he doesn’t have to pay for the gas in the Range Rover…mortgage my butt!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Rent for his side pieces that use to work at the office. Cudos to him for admitting it

  5. Anonymous says:

    Honestly if Alden and the other members of the LA agreed to a say 10% pay cut till the borders opened ( we are talking a few months) it would go a long way with “his people”. Those funds could even go to a food bank and/or meals on wheels. It would show empathy to the people most of which are suffering a major cut in pay. Come on Alden it’s still not too late. It’s the right thing to do. #caymankind

  6. Anonymous says:

    I make no apologies for anyone that has not felt the consequences of Socialistic leadership and has not being affected because they are spending OTHER PEOPLES MONEY.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Seriously lacking content, their rating are -0

  8. Anonymous says:

    I find that Fedup 26/05/2020 at 7:50 am Comment is the best.

    Short summary of what he said:

    * Yesterday’s press briefing took this event to a new low.
    * we have not heard anything from the Premier of his distinguished Minister of Finance as to the likely impact of all of this on the islands finances. Not a word! ….,We hired him and his crew to be custodians for 4 years.
    * He and his merry crew are obviously free to take the position that there is no need for them to show any empathy for those who have had their earnings reduced or decimated.
    * they can’t live without less than their full salary + whatever else they earn from other interests.
    * Alden’s blatant intolerance to even being questioned about anything that suggests that he should be taking a course other than what he wants to take.
    * Your job, Mr Premier, is to answer us. We don’t need you to be questioning Wendy. We don’t need you to bring civil servants into your answer when they weren’t in the question
    * it’s well past time for Gov Roper to volunteer at a soup kitchen or find something else constructive to do.
    * we didn’t need your office to play ‘travel agent’ and set up new arrangements.
    * wishing the sister of the Director of Hazard Management a happy birthday … do it from your office, not form the podium of a national emergency briefing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In a nutshell, the leaders of this country have no interest in what is happening and do not care. Should be thrown out on their asses, split their bank accounts among the people, and place them in public housing in west bay.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If you cut their pay who is going to fill the bars and restaurants when they open?
    Remember the government and civil service have been getting full pay during this. They forced many of you to stay home which negatively affected your pocket books. This situation is very different for them and you just realize they are “not in this with you”. You are in this on your own.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When it’s all said and done, we will come to the very bad realization just how much devastation hurricane Alden has cost this country.

  12. Sick and Tired - Enough is Enough says:

    WE are NOT “all in this together” Politicians and district representatives and local officials have not given up one paycheck. They have not thrown away their farm products, they will not lose their homes or businesses. They have not laid awake all night wondering how they will feed their families next week, or pay their bills. AS they continue to enforce some of their DRACONIAN restrictions, not one of them is suffering from their own decisions we have to live by and in.
    They are not and NEVER WILL BE and part of the “WE” in this. Constant excuses how they deserve our money. Never ending playing on Liberty, Freedom and suffering with catchy saying.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Good news, everyone.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I support a pay and profit cut for all persons on the Islands, except those earning below “X”, whatever X is determined to be.
    I’m a pensioner and if my pension is above X then I’m willing to have my pension cut by whatever the cut is determined to be. Concurrently, CUC and other monopolies and companies with a guaranteed profit margin should do likewise.
    MLAs aren’t exempted but shouldn’t be singled out. Conversely, if they want to lead form the front this would be great gesture.
    Finally, if anyone has empirical data showing a positive correlation between high salaries and good representation I would be interested in receiving a copy.
    I almost forgot; if we had an income tax then all us earning above X would be contributing to the national good. This revenue can be ring fenced like the Environmental Fund.
    Not afraid to sign my name.
    Kenneth Ebanks

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have lost more than 100% of my income for nearly 10 weeks. I have been shut down, with zero income. By you! Yet I still have to pay all of the bills, utilities, commercial rent, sick pay, vacation leave, staff health insurance. I have lost not 100%, but 200%. So if you idiots cannot even consider taking a tiny cut in your salaries to help those of us who have paid your lame asses for decades FU. Do you not think I have bills to pay?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Capt. Whogene, Rusting, Bernie, Harden etc are really making a difference. Wote for dem again.

  17. Anonymous says:

    If everyone in Cayman had lost their income during the lockdown then everyone would have understand those have lost all income and is left to the mercy of others. Everyone then would be calling for the lockdown to end.

    • Anonymous says:

      There may be some truth to that, but that is not the case. Hang in there, it really is just around the corner depending on what industry you’re in. And if you’re in tourism, well it really isn’t the governments fault. So just accept that and you’ll be freer to chose whatever path you need to take to get through.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The politicians of bigger countries have to make bigger sacrifices for the privilege of leading them and to connect with the huge populations to whom they are just a name and face unless they do things like this. Caymanians are closer to their politicians because their politicians come from among them, hence we don’t begrudge them their pay. I truly believe if I asked the Caymanians from my walk of life whether they thought politicians should take pay cuts right now, they would say the same as Alden: why? He is visibly doing his job. He is right that it is seven days a week. He is right that it pays less than law, and if it paid even less, we wouldn’t even have Alden as an option for Premier! Imagine who we might be able to recruit with some real money! Premier Dan Scott? Attorney General David Ritch? There’s this myth we don’t have any good people. The truth is we have enough, but we won’t pay them what the private sector will, so that’s where the talent goes. And you people want there to be a pay cut? That’s exactly the sort of thing that doesn’t encourage anyone of modest means, but public-sprited and ethical character, to join the public service (elected or otherwise) – expecting your fortunes to rise and fall with everyone else’s – who would want such little control over their life? Taking some of the risk out of the job and making it well paid attracts better applicants – which Caymanians cry for every day. One day perhaps they will make the link and endorse making our political posts worth the trouble they bring. If you ask me, Alden should live in an official residence and give his press briefings alone, his pay should be even higher than it is, and he shouldn’t be Alden. But first Caymanians would have to be comfortable with some being better than others and that’s a big ask in such a small place. I remember Osbourne Bodden’s letter to the editor or article in I think the Cayman Net News many years ago, saying the common man had taken government from the elites. My grandfather was one of those elites. Can’t help but wonder where that great supposed victory over the elites has gotten us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly correct. It’s awful that so many people are so quick to want to take money out of someone’s pocket. You may not like the way Alden has governed or the way he has handled this crisis. But it can’t be denied that he is working hard and his heart is in the right place.

      • Doodlebug says:

        Alden may be earning his keep, but take a wider look, North Side for example. No word or sign of our MLA here.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I know that MLAs have bills to pay.
    I know that some MLAs earn their pay cheques most of the time.
    I know that there are a few that I forget that they are MLAs until I read the list of present MLAs.
    I know that none of the MLAs can truly compare themselves to anyone that makes less than say $5,000.00 KYD p.m.
    I know that none of the MLAs should truly say that they are worried about how they are going to be able to pay next month’s bills.
    I know that if any of the MLAs tell us that they are financially struggling, then I suggest they take a basic fiance class because they have not a clue about managing their own finances much less how to run a country.
    I know that all of the MLAS need to put their monies where their mouths are.
    I know that a simple gesture of say cutting their salaries by 40 percent for the next say 3 months and donating this to the charities that are currently doing their best to help persons that are so in need right now would be the right thing to do.
    Finally, I know that In doing so, this would be the biggest act of real political showmanship that has ever happened in the Cayman Islands and make History right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes….Trump does it.

    • CaymanKind is real says:

      I’m not saying you are wrong but some ministers/MLA’s fight for people who earn less to earn more, they assist people to get jobs. The good ones work very long hours, they have very little down time 8am to midnight 7 days a week, the hourly rate is lower than you think. Also know that because of the system we are in, that because welfare is difficult to come by for some or takes a long time, some MLA s do use a portion of their own salary to supplement those in need. Those who are having a rough month and need lunches for their kids or that light bill covered here and there. Those in opposition also have no district budgets so dip in their own salaries for community projects. I’m not saying this applies to all and I’m not saying we should feel sorry for them but there is more to everything than meets the eye. Covid-19 is not their doing, most are however trying to make it better for some. I doubt taking a pay cut would help, in fact it may be detrimental to the community especially now.

      • Anonymous says:

        So we need to reduce their salaries but give them more to work with otherwise. Makes perfect sense, and this is another reason the comparisons aren’t fair. If you are an UK MP you have a fully staffed office within the Parliamentary estate. You also have an office in your constituency. You have a political system that allows you to trade ‘exposure to politics’ and ‘a foot in the door’ for intern labour, so you get free employees. You have a formal expenses scheme. There are a certain number and type of posts every MP is allowed to hire – assistants, researchers, case-workers, and so on. I could go on and on. In Cayman, most politicians do all that themselves.

        For whatever reason, the bad blood over the past 20 years has meant that there is a tradition in Cayman of whichever group is in government starving the opposition of resources. An official office suite for the opposition has been one of the longest running shop debates amongst the politicians: ‘yeah, you’ll get dat office when you win next time bobo, and we’ll be using it to criticise you’. It’s all part of their little game. If we aren’t prepared to properly fund every politician, and they aren’t prepared to take the politics out of how we structure our politics, then they need high salaries so they can make their own choices, instead of picking from a menu provided by government that is accessible to each MLA. The fact that they are enabling their voters by giving them money is a separate issue – if each MLA had a budget to use for relief of hardship in their own communites at their discretion within reasonable boundaries (no more than X no more often than Y, with auditing, etc.), they wouldn’t need so much money. But so long as people in communities figure their MLA is one of the best paid among them, and the only one who owes them anything, they will ask, and the MLAs will answer. This is why they are so money-hungry, because they need and some want to be seen as the givers of all things in their areas. That requires huge sums of money.

        Yes, this job should be done by the NAU, but asking your well-paid representative who wants your vote is easier than filling out forms, having your utilities shut off and your rent not paid because a civil servant wasn’t on top of the paperwork. So the problem is the NAU not being a better solution than the local politician. And yes, further, for the avoidance of doubt, I find a politician giving any money to anyone, especially in the expectation of anything in return, abhorrent. None of them has ever tried to buy my vote – they know it would be the last time we would speak; they know I read and decide for myself. But I don’t pretend I can bring an end to these informal patronage relationships – I don’t understand the culture they come from (whichever it is), and simply don’t get how either party can participate in the transaction – crimes on both ends and the item for sale is not a vote, but integrity, which should never be for sale. Still, I understand the dynamics – the trouble is what you choose to do to change them. The current system works for a reason – better find out what that is and design a solution around it. The solution may be a massive up-skilling and renegotiation of the makeup of the workforce, so fewer are in need. It may be an aggressive assault on the cost of living. Whatever it is, do it.

        It is long past time for evidence-based policy in the Cayman Islands.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know what kind of math CNS is doing but $150K per month implies that the average salary for our 19 politicians is $473K per year. I doubt that is the case.

    If we assume their average salary is $150,000 per year then all 19 of them taking a 20% cut works out to $47,000 per month or $285,000 after 6 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      This was never about money and whether they deserved it or not. It was always about solidarity with the people.

      The Prime Minister of New Zealand has always positioned her appeal to New Zealanders during the lockdown in the context of “we are all in this together”. So it was easy to see why she, along with her cabinet, opted to take a six-month, 20% pay cut.

      Here is an excerpt from the Guardian newspaper from a month ago:

      ‘New Zealand’s prime minister has said she and other ministers will take a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll continues to rise.

      Jacinda Ardern said it was important the government’s most highly paid politicians show “leadership and solidarity” with workers on the frontline and those who had lost their livelihoods. Ardern, government ministers and public service chief executives will take the cut for six months, effective immediately.

      The pay cut will reduce Ardern’s salary by $47,104. Cabinet ministers would take a cut of NZ$26,900 each, while deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ salary would be cut by $33,473.

      Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health who has led the elimination response to the crisis, confirmed he would “definitely” take a pay cut too, as would opposition leader Simon Bridges.

      Ardern said: “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now. I am responsible for the executive branch and this is where we can take action … it is about showing solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.” ‘

      All I can say is “Wow!”

  21. JTB says:

    MLAs deserve their pay and have groceries to buy, and bills to meet?

    So, unlike the thousands kept out of work by this increasingly deranged premier and his unjustified lockdown then?

    Let’s hope at the end of all this there’s still a real economy left to pay government’s bills.

    • Anonymous. says:

      JTB, although I am in sympathy with some sort of gesture of goodwill with the people, I must defend the actions of the Premier. By far not unjustified. He has been moving us as fast as possible to a place where we can move about safety in our own environment.

      I stand with the Premier in his job performance. I just wish he could give us a little more sense that he understands the pain of the people.

      To my fellow citizens, hang in. Better days are ahead.

      • Anonymous says:

        You sure?

        • Anonymous says:

          6:32 pm: Yes, I am absolutely sure. We will recover and move on. This is tough, but the world has been through worse and rebuilt and recovered.

          I have absolutely no doubt.

          And what is great is that no one has died.

          Keep the faith.

          • nauticalone345 says:

            Then the Premier and other MLA’s would do well to follow the example of New Zealand and take a temporary pay cut. Donate the temporary cut to charity! TEMPORARY!

          • Anonymous says:

            I hope to see you commenting here two months from now, when the foreclosures start setting in, offering your really really valuable verbal contributions.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, actually…. much worse days are ahead for those that lost their ability to pay their bills.

        But I’m sure you will be donating the majority of your salary to help those that were forced to lose theirs.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m a pensioner ($1200 a month fixed) & I’m donating 15% of that a month to food banks/meals on wheels/feed our future – so why can’t our government donate part of their income?!

  22. ANONYMOUS says:

    Bills to pay, family to feed – is el presidente suggesting that every month he and his compadres spend every cent of their exorbitant salaries. They could create a fund to help buys groceries for those in need,

  23. Anonymous says:

    Since none of the Governor, public, or Official Opposition are allowed to review the internal reports, meeting transcripts, and secret agreements of the Unity action committee and private caucus; and are unable to capably monitor the Ministerial workings via functioning, updated department websites, and timely public disclosures (even where required by law) – including the ever-expanding catalog of private settlements; I guess we’ll just have to take his word for it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I deserve to have 6 cannabis plants in my yard growing, I deserve to smoke in my house if I want to, I deserve to not be treated like a criminal for smoking cannabis, I deserve to be able to give weed brownies to my friends to help their anxiety. But guess what I’m not
    No weed, No Vote!!!
    Alden have some good farm land too I’m sure Kush will grow strong there

  25. Anonymous says:

    Jeez really …

  26. Anonymous says:

    Did you really mean to say “monster” of health. POST OF THE DAY!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I posted this comment on another article but I think it probably more properly belongs here:

    To be fair to the premier, I think that people asking them to take a pay cut is petty and a sideshow. I appreciate the sentiment that perhaps they will be more motivated to loosen restrictions if they themselves are suffering, but I don’t believe that Alden doesn’t get that people are suffering. I think his actions are motivated by care for all the people of these islands.

    I think the problem is that he seriously believes that we need to maintain these restrictions to avoid a significant number of deaths. Rather than trying to focus on MLA pay, the media should be pressing Dr. Lee harder on why it is that none of the positive tests are symptomatic. And why they think it’s justified to maintain a curfew when no one is in the hospital. We need to hold Dr. Lee’s feet to the fire now. He has done a good job but the only thing that’s going to allow Alden to reduce these restrictions and eventually open up the border, is if he is getting the advice that this is a reasonable approach. I don’t think he is getting that advice. The comments by Dr. Lee about a “weakened” virus last week were concerning. I don’t think he has any basis to make such a statement, and if he does, he should be asked to present it.

    The stuff about pay cuts is a side show and we need to work harder to get the government moving into a more reasonable system moving forward where people are responsible for their own social distancing. If the police see people breaking the law, by all means, they should be empowered to ticket them.

    I was all for the lockdown and am still for masks in public, and limited group gatherings. But I am over these unnecessary restrictions. There is no need to limit the number of hours I am permitted to exercise if I am doing it by myself. On what basis is this restricted? Am I not a free person? What harm can be demonstrated in allowing this? If the shops feel they need to keep the letter restrictions for now, that’s fine. That’s their prerogative as private businesses.

    But there is no longer a justification for closing the beaches on Sunday, or for a hard curfew every evening.

    We can’t nanny people forever. I think the government’s paternalistic attitude towards residents of these islands is now misplaced. Yes, some stupid people will flout the rules. Hopefully police will catch them and ticket them accordingly. They should be encouraged to do so. If the beach is so scary, patrol them heavily. But we live in a free and democratic society. It’s time to give people power back over their lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is Alden’s job to balance medical advice and economic requirements, not Dr. Lee’s. Alden is not leading the country, he is just blindly following very conservative medical advice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Right. So Dr. Lee needs to be held to account for his advice and needs to be asked fhe hard questions about the basis of that advice by the media. The problem is they are asking.him pretty limited questions about the number of tests and where the positives are and instead wasting time asking Alden why he isn’t giving up his pay. As much as that is a “brave” question and will appeal to people who want to see him squirm, it isn’t accomplishing anything
        Holding them to account for the basis of their decision making, on the other hand, would help all of us. If Alden can simply say, hey, I know this is tough but we are doing this for your own good, that’s what the CMO is telling me, then we need to go after the CMO and make sure he has a sound basis for his advice.i appreciate that Dr Lee seems like a fantastically nice guy. But he needs to be accountable for his advice. And the good thing is, i think he will answer qurstions put to him honestly and in good faith. He is not a politician. Wendy and her colleagues need to step up to the plate on behalf of the people. The problem with that, i think, is ideologically i don’t get the sense that they believe this is necessary, despite the fact that CNS readers seem to, if you give their own thumbs up/thumbs down system any weight.

  28. Anonymous says:

    There is only one word to describe both Alden’s and JonJon’s “performance” yesterday – Arrogant.
    While the premier may feel they have done an amazing job of stopping the virus here, the cost to the population both personally and professionally has been enormous and without precedent. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and whole sectors of our economy are closed down. Even if you haven’t been affected economically, we have all been locked up for the last 9 weeks without the ability to lead anything close to a normal life. The costs to our mental health will be with us for years to come.
    To believe that you and your leadership team are immune and separated from these hardships is just arrogant. To believe that you do not understand why a reporter has the right to ask such a question or why you should answer it, is just arrogant. The lack of empathy from those in authority is just mind blowing.
    The simple truth is that the government is nothing without the private sector and the private sector cannot function without a functioning government. Unfortunately, the Premier and his team seem to have forgotten this truism. Government is there because the private sector pays for it. We are about to face the worst recession in the last 50 years and to exclude both MLA’s and the civil service from pay cuts and other cost reductions is stupid (and arrogant). While we may not want to see it, the hard reality is that we may have to accept it.
    Above all people are now angry at the government about the way it has handled various aspects of the crisis and that anger continues to grow. Alden’s reaction to the pay cut question just confirms what most people now think. We are in this together but we are not in the same boat. Alden’s luxury mega yacht is closed for anyone else to join.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that it’s time to reopen the local economy and he’s doing that…slowly…too slow for you apparently, but not ALL are hurting, I understand the ones that are, are extremely vocal, but you must remember, even if the world was fully open now, would that make your life go back to the normal that was? I doubt it.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am not looking or expecting the normal that was, as you put it. Was it necessary to isolate Cayman for a period of time? – yes. Was it necessary to close everything down as much as they did? – that is very debatable. Was it necessary to impose the restrictions that were imposed for as long as they did? – no and the fact that they started to walk back those restrictions very quickly when the pressure built up from external areas was a clear indication they went way too far. Still now, many activities are restricted when there is absolutely no rationale for keeping them stopped. Can you take a sailing dinghy out with one person? No. Is there any chance you can transmit Covid here? No. Can you transmit Covid to the person you are fishing with in a boat for hours on end? Yes, absolutely you can and they don’t have to be from your own household. This is clearly political and people are fed up with being treated like this. I have no idea whether it is against the law but my bet is if you have let people go fishing in boats it would be illegal to stop people do anything else in a boat, as long as social distancing was maintained. Again this is an arrogant approach from our dear leader.
        This isn’t about going back to the old normal but how we got here was in retrospect an overreaction to bad information to begin with. While Covid is infectious it does not have the mortality rate that the initial worst case scenarios made out or anything close to those numbers. Rather than adjust their strategy they are just continuing on as if nothing has changed. The funny thing is when every single positive result comes back as asymptomatic everyone in that room looks more and more uncomfortable as they know this means. They were wrong but cannot admit it. Again this is just arrogance.
        So when you say not ALL are hurting, you are right. A minority of people are doing OK. But the majority are hurting and the longer we go on with the charade the more people will be sucked into this category.
        It would be good to remember one thing which we learned from the eastern Caribbean a few years ago. When investors decide to move away from a jurisdiction they don’t make a big fuss. They don’t shout it from the rooftops. If they don’t feel confident about investing their money somewhere they will quietly pull their money out and move on. This will be our next challenge.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please see the story on the Cayman Food Bank just published on CNS. “Marie Eden, the director of operations for the local food bank, explained how challenging things are becoming. “We went from seeing 100 families a week to 700 and more and it’s growing,”
        Speed is relative. Apparently the need for food isn’t!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please enlighten me as to what the Governor does besides play steel drum, birthday shout outs, agree with Alden, organize flights to the UK, and stare at Dr. Lee?

    • What now says:

      Yes, seriously, I thought the primary role of the governor was to step in and restore order and liberty when the local government becomes too corrupt. Wouldn’t now be a good time for the crown to restore the trust of the public?

      • Anonymous says:

        That can only happen if we have direct rule.

        • Anonymous says:

          Rubbish. Go and read Section 21 of our Bill of Rights. That clearly provides that when the Governor declares a state of emergency, that is without prejudice to the LA ability to meet to pass legislation, etc.

        • Annie says:

          We should have direct rule.

    • Anonymous says:

      He walked on SMB to bring awareness to congenital diseases. Clean air is a pre-requisite to be born without congenital diseases.

      The Dump is not too far from the Governor’s residence. I bet he noticed its existence. Bring awareness on how the Dump’s toxins affect embryos and fetuses.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is doing what he is told to do. You really think Caymanians going to make a governor come here and boss us around?? You forget what happen to the last governor?? He got sent packing.

    • Anonymous says:

      @11.19 A cockroach ain’t got no place in a rooster fight a drunk, violent man once said.

    • Anonymous says:

      After the last guy was sent packing for trying to do just that, they’ve brought in a passive weakling who’ll turn a blind eye.

      Do you not remember he was told the second he stepped off the plane by the class Mac that a roach has no place in a rooster fight?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Will those calling for a pay cut volunteer to take a pay cut?
    I can’t speak for the politicians but I can speak for those of us front-line and essential workers, including the waste collection workers. The majority of these people are living from paycheck to paycheck and in many instances have a spouse who has been laid or made redundant.
    Working longer hours and at increased risk to ourselves and our families.
    I remembered the times when our salaries were cut and I don’t see where it benefited the economy, especially when certain projects were not necessary or could have been put on hold, including unnecessary travels to mention a few.

    • Anonymous says:

      I took a 100% pay cut because my business is closed down. How about that? Enough for you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps those in the front line should benefit from those that aren’t. So cut the pay of the MLA’s and give it to the front line workers

    • Anonymous says:

      The question posed by CNS at yesterday’s press conference did not mention civil service or related front line workers. It specifically mentioned MLAs and ministers.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 11:14 am
      sorry to be so blunt, but you completely missed the issue being discussed here.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Alden is working hard! Instead of declaring a state of emergency and let the Governor make rational and proportionate emergency regulations as our Constitution provides, he has become our totalitarian ruler deciding personally who can reopen their business and who must be bankrupted! Be happy that you get to go to the beach every other day, except Sunday of course! Clearly lots of work and thinking to do for him, he must reward himself!

  32. Anonymous says:

    True colors showing much? Arrogant ass.

  33. Anon says:

    The average MLA salary is about $10,000 per month and the Premier earns about $15,000, the Deputy Premier about $13,000. The speaker and Deputy speaker earns about $12,000 per month. Even if they follow what other territories are doing, they will only save Government approximately $240,000 to $ 250,000 for six months. What does that really do for 7,000 to 12,000 people who are out of work right now? What the unemployed need is for the CIG to find $2,000 per month for each unemployed over the next 4 to 6 months. It would also be helpful if we focus on the events that unite us and pay less attention to agendas that divide us permanently.

    • Covid this says:

      You reduce spending by doing it a little here and a little there. This particular cut (these and other civil service salaries) may absolutely need to be cut now that the private sector has been decimated.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its the principle

    • Anonymous says:

      It is about SOLIDARITY! It is about TOGETHER WE STAND!

      Even little children hold lemonade stands to help those in need!

      Southern Utah University President Scott Wyatt informed the university’s faculty last week that he will forgo his salary for the next year in an effort to thwart dozens of potential layoffs.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not about money. It is a gesture of standing united with the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      We can retrain 100 people with 250,000 to move into new jobs

    • Anonymous says:

      $250K could go along way in helping people right now who can’t pay rent, water and CUC..I don’t think it is a small amount at all..

  34. Disaster Management SkillZ says:

    Yes and while the governor is working his ass off to ship these people overseas certain overpaid self serving officials and political scions are subverting and trying to thwart his efforts. When the hurricane comes i only hope they will then see the wisdom in his decision and truly grasp the error of their idiotic ways.

  35. Anonymous says:

    As I stated in this forum some time ago, when Alden stated “Economic circumstances are not a consideration” what he really meant was…

    Y O U R Economic circumstances are not being considered.

    After all….. THEY have mortgages to pay and THEY have obligations to meet….. And THEY are required to work hard…… and THEY have families to feed….. And THEY… this and THEY that…….

    What about the people ****YOU**** FORCED out of work and destroyed their businesses?? What about T H E M and T H E I R families?? While you collect your $17,000.00 per month CI Salary, perhaps YOU should give that a tad of your consideration??

    The idea behind a pay cut is very simple…… since YOU forced everyone out of work, and destroyed their businesses, (That’s been ZERO salary for those folks!)

    MAYBE if YOUR, and the MLA salaries were also affected, it would make you all bunch of completely out-of-touch morons feel a bit or urgency… THAT’s why people are calling for you to be on the same f*ing boat you are forcing OTHERS INTO!!

    HAS ANYONE PICKED UP on their self important arrogance yet??

    Kudos to Wendy for making them answer the tough questions!! Don’t let those politicians slime their way out of this.

    And also Woody on the Radio!

  36. Anonymous says:

    He’s not cutting any public service salaries. Even the Cayman Airways and Turtle Farm cash subsidies are still on full tilt. They don’t care about how they (mis)spend our money. They are audibly addressing listeners as their subjects now. It is grotesque.

    • Anonymous says:

      All you cry babies about Cayman Airways. If we didn’t have them as our national carrier where we would be right now ??? Who would be flying out the work permit holders you are so eager to get ride of and bring back your Caymanians???

      • Anonymous says:

        Even if it were just one repatriation flight a week (and it isn’t even that frequent), it still wouldn’t justify a fully-staffed public-funded airline, and warehousing an inventory of aircraft that aren’t flying, while sitting in the most corrosive atmosphere on Earth. Three also come with colossal monthly lease payments, despite the 1.5yr+ and diminishing likelihood of ever carrying passengers again. Worse, we are all paying for that, but aren’t allowed to read the “private” terms, and signatories of that lease/%#@*up, because the CIG and airline act in open collusion against the public.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        We’d be in the same place.

      • Anonymous says:

        Er…. Charters!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just buying votes…civil servants are the largest block of voters..they are going to need them big time in 2021

  37. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Alden insofar as incentivizing the production of results. The Cayman Islands is in the best position in the Caribbean right now with respect to the current COVID-19 situation – we currently rank as one of the top ten countries IN THE WORLD regarding our level of testing for the virus. This didn’t happen by accident. This happened because of the hard work of those in power and the countless people they’re directing – even the current Health Minister, for whom I have no love.

    Another thing to consider when looking at the other countries’ leaders taking pay cuts is, in the world of politics, nothing is done in the name of goodwill – everything must be viewed through the lens of quid-pro-quo. Those leaders stand to gain some political benefit through taking a pay-cut. When you consider that our current premier has reached his term-limit, there’s no incentive for him to take a pay-cut – there’s no need for him to grandstand and cut the pay of his other ministers. AND THIS IS A GOOD THING. Had he taken a pay-cut or directed his ministers to take a pay-cut, the attention would then be turned on to him making this a political issue as I outlined, taking away from the issue at hand. He would undoubtedly feel the internally political heat of this, and this would detract from the situation we are dealing with now and it would trickle down to the citizenry and other residents domiciled here.

    I’m no fan of Alden and his government, but give Jack his jacket. He and his government are working hard to get over this COVID situation. Because if we don’t, the negative economic impact felt by everyone here (INCLUDING the premier and members of his government) would be far greater than the $1M saved over 6 months with a pay-cut.

    – a Paper Caymanian

  38. Anonymous says:

    No surprise there. Bunch of donkeys.

  39. Anonymous says:

    How many civil servants are working part time or not at all and still getting a full salary? For example, I can’t imagine the folks that normally man the immigration booths at the airport have much to do these days.

    • Civil servant says:

      I as an essential worker who is also a civil servant, have worked just as hard and at times much harder due to the current pandemic and lockdown. I have put my life on the line everyday and still continue to do so, but I accept that I have a duty not just a job to do.

      I feel offended when posters insinuate that civil servants should take pay cuts and that they are generally incompetent at their jobs. I am proud to be a civil servant and would like to ask “where would the country be without a civil service.” Who would collect your garbage, who would deliver your mail, who would put out fires and rescue accident victims, who would ensure law and order and guard those deemed unfit to live in society etc etc etc.

      Not everyone is a conscientious employee and this is true of private businesses as well as the civil service. So please do not criticize the entire civil service because there are many of us who work hard for our salary and deserve every penny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks, and that’s a great answer to a question nobody asked. The question was how many CS employees are still getting paid to work reduced hours or no hours at all.

      • Anonymous says:

        Generalizations are bad, agree. If it is not a secret, what do you do?
        Are you a firefighter? Work at the Dump?
        Where else you could be working that puts your life at risk daily? Please, take no offense, just trying to understand. And thank you for your service.

        **put (one’s) life on the line
        To put oneself in harm’s way to achieve something, especially at the risk of losing one’s life.

    • Anonymous says:

      i have been asking this for the past 6 weeks….

  40. Anonymous says:

    What a Marie Antoinette moment. A lot of other leaders have taken a pay cut to somewhat show “we are in this together”. Many people in Cayman have lost all or most of their income due to the Covid shutdown. But what does the Premier think? “Let then eat cake”.

    • Anonymous says:

      I noticed in an older posting an allusion to the Governor. Yes, he is paid by the local government. And it IS a plumb job.

      But I have long given up on Governors, although he seems to be on top of his job and pulling his weight.

      But I believe that the Caymanian public is looking for empathy from our Caymanian leadership. That is the difference.

      • Anonymous says:

        Too bad Caymanians stripped the Governor of his power.

        • Anon says:

          100pm. Wrong, the UK had pledged not to interfere in internal self government, but if corruption takes charge you will get a dose of Turks and Caicos medicine with short shrift.

  41. Anonymous says:

    You can get your full pay when we get weed. You can use a portion of the tax on it to pay your full salaries… salaries as big as your bellies and egos.

  42. Anonymous says:

    They should take the entire salaries from Bernie….who haven’t contributed s%#@t….David White…Barbara….Austin…..and the list goes on..

  43. Anonymous says:

    I’ve said it before. If you don’t elect people with heart, you get the government you deserve. Alden is what he is. As the saying goes – If it looks like a pig, sounds like a pig, smells like a pig… maybe it’s a PIG! They hide behind their religion and their warped idea of some vague ethos, but so far this government has been the least Christian, the least generous of spirit or money and the least ethical of any in the Caribbean. Alden always wanted this to be his legacy. He wanted a statue. It will be his legacy for sure, but certainly not for the reasons he wanted. Enjoy your full pay. Oink!

    • Anonymous says:

      We didn’t elect the Unity government. That wasn’t a ticket. The only two parties that ran, lost at the polls in 2017.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then they formed a coalition like happens in every other country and had more numbers than the unaffiliated so they formed the government. The end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh and did anyone hear even a word from Tara Rivers, another hardworking politician? I guess Hews cleaning crews are busy! And don’t worry we have a wealthy investor on our island, he can buy up your property after you lost your income and or your business! Locking down every business except the few selected by Alden because we have a few positive test results is crazy and the motives are questionable! The fact is that since April 26 not a single person, even the ones that tested positive on the island, has developed Covid 19 symptoms.

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember they could pass it on to youand you could have severe symptoms- ever thought of that?

        • Anonymous says:

          True. Its at least possible. However, so far no one in Cayman has demonstrated serious symptoms for the last month, and the only positives being found are those being tested who don’t even know they have the virus. So the idea that, despite 130 plus people found to have the virus having no serious illness, I could be the unlucky guy that goes down with full blown, ventilator and Covid is starting to look a little thin. Guess that now Alden is running his little experiment on the construction industry we will find out. But if no one goes down with those severe symptoms in the next week or two despite massive increase in human contact, going to be a huge amount of pressure to let everyone out of their cages.

      • Anonymous says:

        A new soup kitchen in West Bay gives you a hint…

      • john says:

        While Hews Cleaning Service is back in business, Deans Cleaning Service isn’t allowed.
        Wonder why that is?

        CNS: Dean’s Cleaning Service has been fully operational since Tuesday, 19 May.

        • Anonymous says:

          Great question from CNS, what I love it that Alden thinks Wendy is stirring it, when in fact it’s us the public on these forums asking these questions. It just goes to show how out of touch our politicians are.

          As to Aldebs reply, so if he made more when a lawyer why didn’t he stay? One is that he wanted to make a difference in our community and as a multimillionaire could afford to take a large pay cut and cudos to him for doing so.

          One thing we all for get is when Alden was leader of government first time round he gave all MLA’s a massive pay raise.
          I believe then MLA’s were making between 60/80k pa and Cabinet ministers 90/110pa (around that)
          Now, MLA’s start at 120k and cabinet 140k of course Premier, opposition leader and speaker make much more.

          Alot of these MLA’s are also double dipping (which Alot of us forget), getting their pensions plus salaries.

          We also forget that Alden changed the policy for MLA’s pay if not voted back in, in the past it was 2 terms, he changed it to 1, so after 4 yrs, you get money from government for life, oh and health care. Hmmm

          Let’s be honest, Alot of our MLA’s have businesses and some multimillionaire who could in fact offer goodwill during these times and forfeit their entire salary but of course this won’t happen.

          Alden also forgets that our politicians make more in salaries and benefits than most other politicians in the world, yes ours are some of the highest paid and we are only a population of 60k ok now 45/50k, I’d put money on it per capital they are the highest paid in the world.

          Alden, you have been doing a good job but we are starting to get a bit tired of you getting aggressive and laughing off questions from the media that the public want to know.

          As for the civil servants that’s not for the politicians to decide we need to get answers from Franz. Are they all working full weekly hours as contracted? If not their salaries should be adjusted just like those in the private sector.

          Anyway, just a my few thoughts, I could go on but won’t.

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