A Welfare Christmas

| 30/11/2020 | 50 Comments

The Ghost of Christmas Present writes: Christmas 2020 in Cayman will be like no other. Family from overseas will not be visiting, hotels will not be brimming with tourists grateful to feel a warm breeze in winter and, strangely, a vaccine will be on the wish list for many.

Also on the wish list for many in Cayman will be money to pay the CUC bill, money to pay the water bill, money for a bag of groceries or money to buy formula and diapers for their child. So many families have been facing dire financial circumstances for months now because of the collapse of the tourism industry and the thought of heading into the holidays, barely being able to provide for their families, is undoubtedly demoralizing, depressing and stressful.

This Christmas will truly accentuate the differences between the haves and the have-nots in Cayman. Many people are doing well and even thriving. If you work in finance things are largely humming along as normal. If you work in government nothing has really changed and if you work in construction you wish you could multiply yourself so you could work all the jobs people want you to do.

If you work in tourism or any related industry, you want a reopening plan, you want compassion, empathy and a shred of dignity to help you keep your head high, especially during this time of year when traditionally we rejoice and celebrate.

This year we all need to think twice about what Christmas is about and realise that acting like nothing has changed and everything is fine is morally and ethically repugnant.

If you can afford to purchase food, drink and presents to celebrate Christmas you are extremely lucky because there are many people on this island who were, only a few months ago, in the same boat as you but now may lose their house, cannot pay their rent, may not have their lights on next week and are wondering where their next meal is coming from.

We all need to think about what we can do to make someone else’s Christmas season better, how we can put a smile on someone else’s face, how we can make a child’s face light up on Christmas Day or how we can make sure someone has power and water for just a while longer.

I was appalled when I heard that government may still be providing thousands of dollars in funds to government departments so they can have some type of Christmas event. This is so incredibly despicable that it’s difficult to even write about. At a time when public servants have lost nothing and know exactly where their next meal is coming from, the government still wants to dole out cash so public servants can have a Christmas luncheon while thousands of less fortunate, many of whom have been knocking on the doors of the NAU for months, have nothing.

Any person in charge with one iota of sense, compassion or empathy would know that this year that money should be given to those less fortunate. Why not use that money to put on a Christmas dinner in each district for all the people who are less fortunate? Why not use the money to buy gifts for all the children on NAU assistance this year? Why not use that money to pay for extra counselling to help support those facing domestic violence situations and various mental health challenges, which usually spikes over the holidays, because of all the extra pressure people are feeling?

The same can be said for private businesses. There should be a rethink of corporate responsibility this year. Yes, it is understandable that many businesses need the funds from Christmas events to survive these hard times but why not sponsor an event for those that really need the help? Have your staff volunteer to stand in the chow line and plate that food that was so caringly prepared by the catering company.

You can support local businesses at the same time you support those in the community that need it most and, it can be pretty much guaranteed that the day after, you are going to feel a far greater sense of satisfaction than you would otherwise feel reading the congratulatory texts about how you single handedly demolished two bottles of champagne and still managed to keep down the two Crème Brûlées you had for dessert.

As Jim Carey pointed out: “…the Grinch never really hated Christmas. He hated people, which is totally understandable.” And considering the lack of self-awareness by government, and others, this Christmas season, it’s understandable why the Grinch felt this way.

Let’s get our heads out of the sand and spend our money wisely this Christmas. Think helping others, not helping yourself.

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Category: Viewpoint

Comments (50)

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  1. Eh says:

    How about if CUC , WATER AUTHORITY, CAYMAN WATER, FLOW , LOGIC and all supermarkets weren’t so expensive maybe persons with a minimum wage could get by.

    Persons work hard for there money and countless hours / overtime just to try to make ends meet.

    I think we will spend our money as we choose.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People can do what they want with the money they earned. Help where and if you can but there is no need to guilt trip people who owe you absolutely nothing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I hate those people who love to tell you
    Money is the root of all that kills
    They have never been poor
    They have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas

  4. ANIM says:

    What a nasty little guilt trip this article is. As far as I can tell most people, including public servants, have worked hard to protect and care for our community this year. No doubt they will continue to do so, as I do myself. Why shouldn’t they have a Christmas party or celebrate the end of this awful year? One thing does not preclude the other.

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to check your moral compass.

      • Cayman4All says:

        How entitled you all are. Isnt the government giving out millions in grants and loans. Weren’t hundreds of thousands of dollars withdrawn from pension funds by non government employees? Aren’t the spouses of some government workers without work and now they are operating on a single salary. Really…stop the critique and finger pointing. If you need help you need help. Don’t finger point at others because they are still employed and struggling to work and take care of their families under circumstances like never before.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is saying you shouldn’t have a Christmas party, just pay for it yourself and not with public money.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:02 who is using public money? No one.

        You leeches need to get a job and a life.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t get your comment. How is one a ‘leech’ for highlighting that public funds are being used? If you have evidence that this isn’t so, please enlighten us.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is astonishing, that government departments and statutory authorities will be funding binge eating and alcohol consumption with public money. If civil and public servants wish to do this, they should fund it from their own pockets. I would forecast that if this was made the rule, there would be far less binging on food and alcohol, after all, Who will turn down free food and drink? Government needs to conserve money. If you want to spend public cash to celebrate Christmas them give it to programmes such as meals on wheels. This is a time to consider our brothers and sisters in difficult times.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:39 why shouldn’t they celebrate? It has been a hellish year for everyone. Some more than others, however, that does not mean that appreciation should not be shown to those who have worked hard and continue to do so. It’s boosts morale and allows everyone to unwind. Quit being so bitter and hateful.

      • Say it like it is says:

        The Civil Service have reason to celebrate, jobs and pay guaranteed, many sitting at home, while others lost their jobs, their homes and could not pay for healthcare. Celebrate at your own cost.

        • Anonymous says:

          Say it like it is, so because some make better decisions job wise, they deserve to be punished? Oh okay, makes sense.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bitter and hateful? Where did that come from? Where does it say you should not celebrate?

    • Country Girl says:

      i think most of you forgot it was alot of civil servants and essential staff working over these though times while on lock down.

      they should be allowed to have a christmas lunch or gathering because they have earned it.

      while alot of you people were just sitting your royal A$$$$ on couches doing nothing.

      Alot of essential staff worked tired less hours day and night

    • Country Girl says:

      i think most of you forgot it was alot of civil servants and essential staff working over these though times while on lock down.

      they should be allowed to have a christmas lunch or gathering because they have earned it.

      while alot of you people were just sitting your royal A$$$$ on couches doing nothing.

      Alot of essential staff worked tired less hours day and night

      • Anonymous says:

        Self anointed “essential” staff enforcing the nanny state, while the rational wanted nothing more than the ability to continue to support their families.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Why not use that money to put on a Christmas dinner in each district for all the people who are less fortunate? Why not use the money to buy gifts for all the children on NAU assistance this year?”

    The trouble is that everybody feels they are less fortunate, and free food will attract too many people. Also such events could become a political vote-buying type of tool. Sorry to have to point this out, but it will happen and cause grief.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Here is an easy idea for food donations.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wait a cotton-picking minute here. Surely the lord will provide? If not, why not?

    • Anonymous says:

      No kidding. I’ve noticed that silence too, because it’s noticeable. >200 gay-hating churches that, apparently, serve no other public purpose. There are also a half-dozen Caymanian/Brac family dynasties, with multi-generational community influence, all comfortably sitting on hundreds of millions (or low Billions) of T-bills – they sit back, content to quietly do nothing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is someone wants to donate some money, which organisation would people recommend?

  10. Shimar Harding says:

    The writer seems to assume that two things cannot be true at the same time — that one cannot enjoy their Christmas while assisting others where possible.

    The writer would also benefit from doing a Google search using keys words such as: Cayman, Tourism stipend, Government Giving Tree, Meals on Wheels, R3 Foundation, Emergency Pension Withdrawal. That’s not an exhaustive list but I am sure it is a good starting point.

    On the other hand, it was a good reminder of some things that I can do on a personal level.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the point is that money is being wasted by the government and others at a time when it can be better directed…in addition to the charity work already taking place. And btw, $1,000 as a stipend for tourism workers isn’t going to go very far when that doesn’t even cover the rent or mortgage!

      • Anonymous says:

        This gov’t has no sensitivity to wasted funds, and doesn’t really even keep track. Literally, several millions are shoveled-out every month on things that don’t pass any kind of rational expense stress test. We have been paying secret lease amounts on planes for three years that can’t be flown, and few will ever want to fly in. We spend a million a month on the airline as a whole (even though they don’t revert landing fees to CIAA – and we bail them out too, another $10mln every 2-3 years via budget reshuffle). We also have a turtle abattoir, where CIG needs to promote the eating of turtle meat to move the merchandise. Millions were spent opposing and fighting the Cayman people on various human and civil rights issues, on a port project that wasn’t approved, and on paid political media misinformation campaigning. The coup de gras is that McKeeva’s Nation Building Fund, forked over millions to gay-fighting churches that won’t even mobilize to feed/clothe/house our own community even as they plea for that very charity.

  11. J. A. Roy Bodden says:

    In the Cayman of former times those who could afford charity ensured that their neighbours suffered no serious deprivation . There is a sense in which I lament the death of such charitableness. Let us realize that we are
    ‘our Brother’s keeper ” and reach out to help those in need , not only through the Christmas but for the duration of the rough times.
    As I read of the circumstances you have outlined , I remember well my dear departed mother’s admonition to me during one of her ” lessons at the well”. It comes from the Gospel of St. Luke chapter twelve and verse forty-eight. ” To whom much is given ; from whom is much expected”.
    Thanks for your poignant reminder that we should be neighbourly .

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit this year 🙁
    It’s been an awful year and I hope 2021 makes up for it. Bless you all!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Very well written. Thank you for sharing.

    I totally agree with the lockdown that is necessary to preserve life and health and I am sorry that it is hard on some people, including some in my family. I also agree with your suggestions for a compassionate Christmas. What you have written is an inspiration. I for one will look harder for things to do that will benefit those less fortunate than I am this Christmas.

    Please continue to contribute.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a no traffic Christmas. Tis my time of the year indeed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How can you say Finance is humming when they’re charging clients negative interest instead of paying them. Also Butterfield for example laid off around 35 Caymanians in the last quarter. However on the bright side they kept all their foreign staff.

  16. Anonymous says:

    well if I hated Cayman as much as some of you do I would leave.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How does a waitress get a job in construction or any unskilled person for that matter? There are only so many labourers needed and you have to be fairly fit to do that work anyway, especially in this heat.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps government can save some money with a hiring freeze and help those in need.
    Does CIG really need all these new hires? $155k for director of communications. WTF!

  19. DLF says:

    Well said.

  20. Elvis says:

    Christmas is cancelled this year. Get over it.
    Stay home with the family. Cook your own food, bond as families should

  21. Anonymous says:

    Construction is booming, yet people who worked in tourism can’t find work? Something doesn’t add up…

    • Anonymous says:

      Many of our tourism employees are elderly or women who are not qualified for construction work. I for one am a 29 year old married caymanian woman who have been working in tourism all of my adult life like my dad and my grand father. I got pregnant right around lockdown time as my husband and I had planned without the anticipation of covid 19. Now 8 months pregnant please dont expect me to work construction and have some empathy. dont assume that construction will provide enough work for the 3000+ displaced tourism employees.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are many who can be redeployed, and should be. Waiting for tourism to return is a fool’s errand. All persons who are unemployed need to be seeking work where it is available – and there is still work available. That may not be the case next year.

      • Anonymous says:

        The persons with jobs couldn’t care less about the tourism industry. They will call you greedy, but won’t part with their pay to help others in need.

        • Anonymous says:

          7:00 why should they have to? They are working hard for theirs. Maybe if some lazy sods in tourism would get off their bums and seek other employment they too would have money.

          Help where you can but no one should be expected to receive handouts.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s called Alden’s work permit system.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:20 you are a real moron

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m not the one handing out permits for everyone without regard to the long term impact, including as to the development of skilled local workforce able to generate above subsistence level income.

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