McLaughlin promises to increase stipend

| 25/03/2021 | 150 Comments
Alden McLaughlin at a campaign rally in Tropical Gardens

(CNS): Warning that no one knows when the borders will be able to open as a result of continuing challenges around the world relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alden McLaughlin made promises on the campaign trail this week that the tourism stipend will be increased to $2,000 a month if the PPM leads the next government and if the tourism sector remains impacted. He said that even if the borders are reopened, the return of tourism will take a long time and people will still need help. But the government has some CI$525 million sitting in the bank as well as a line of credit that the future government will be able to use to help the people, he said.

“We don’t know when Cayman will be able to reopen,” McLaughlin told an audience at Tropical Gardens. “We have an estimate that it could be early June but it is not just Cayman that we have to worry about; it is the rest of the world and how many people are willing to travel,” he said, adding that the cruise sector would not come back until 2022.

“If we are returned to office and you see June and July come and things are not so… that we can truly open and tourists can truly come back, we are going to raise that stipend to $2,000 a month,” McLaughlin said. “We put that money aside so we can help our people. That we have done and that we shall continue to do.”

Although he suggested that some ‘opposition’ candidates have said they would stop the stipend, most challengers in this election have also committed to increasing and extending the payments to those who have been the most affected by the pandemic and the closed borders.

The new party leader and heir apparent for the premiership, Roy McTaggart, attempted to address the confusing messages that have been coming from government recently about the target for vaccination levels in Cayman before the borders open or the 10-day isolation protocols for those who have been vaccinated change.

He said the target for the border opening is around 75-80% of the adult population and not, as has been suggested, three quarters of the entire population, including children. None of the current vaccines have yet been approved for children. The first is likely to be available this summer but it will be confined to children over twelve.

At the moment around 43% of people over the age of 16 have received their first shot and just under a quarter of adults have now had both doses.

McTaggart said the only way out of this pandemic was vaccinations to ensure that the community remains safe. He said the reintroduction of visitors remains a priority for the next Progressive government but it would be guided by the science, especially given the spread of more infectious variants. Although he did not outline any figures, the new party leader said that the Progressives would continue to provide targeted packages to businesses affected by COVID-19.

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Category: 2021 General Elections, Elections, Local News, Politics

Comments (150)

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  1. This is vote buying! Illegal to say “if you vote PPM back in then we pay you !” Hello Governor , Audit committee? that is an election offence. I hate party politics, vote per community the right decent people not people hiding behind logos and promises just before election time!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just open the borders to the vaccinated so people can make a living without your disgusting welfare for votes program!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone surprised? All our focus should be on Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Howell, and Derek Byrne Commissioner of Police, the Governor’s Office and FCO. Our current Commission for Standards in Public Life is clearly a sham and should be reconstituted with appointees from the Governor, not the Premier’s payroll list. The last thing we need is another negative headline courtesy of Transparency Watchdogs and Anti-Corruption NGOs. Our bad headlines continue to write themselves while those entrusted sit aside and do nothing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As per usual these comments prove it’s your own God damn people that constantly keep you down. I love how all the “experts” seem to not know exactly how many different areas of Tourism there are (not just Cruise ships, Taxi, Watersports etc) and that there are many Caymanians that work in the sector. You all can say whatever you want daily but you do not know what any of us are going through so stop assuming you do and judging all of us as if we are the same. It seems Tourism workers are not respected and I have no idea why as we are personally being attacked for decisions being made beyond our control. Yes EVERYONE is facing hardships since COVID started and there is no denying that, BUT it is up to Government to make the decisions as to who should receive help so take it up with them. Everyone keeps saying go find a job in the supermarket or construction blah blah blah but just exactly how many jobs do you think those companies have available for the many persons out of work?? Are you going to create some for us? I didn’t think so. Pure hatred and jealousy spew in these comments anytime something is said about Toursim from our own Caymanians and its no surprise.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are more than 25,000 people here on work permits. Every one of them has faced a permit renewal since Covid struck. There are plenty of jobs available for most people who previously relied on tourism.

      • Anonymous says:

        @2:54pm….that “maybe” the case BUT did majority of those companies tell you they wanted to hire anyone in the Tourism sector given the situation? People can apply for a job yes but that does not guarantee they will be hired.

        • Anonymous says:

          If qualified Caymanians cannot get positions filled by expatriates, then Alden has some explaining to do…

          • Anonymous says:

            Of course Alden has some explaining to do. Lying to the people in regards to helping curb unemployment yet the people are being ridiculed for receiving a stipend when it’s Government suppressing the damn border reopening and them getting back to work. Open the damn borders and let them get back to work…this has gone on for far too long. We are not immortals and EVERYONE will get COVID at some point or another. It’s inevitable. REALITY!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh wow 2:54 you make it sound like its as easy as picking fruit off a tree! And it surely is not…..try again.

      • Anonymous says:

        25,000 people here on work permit is just under half of the damn population and putting in for a permit renewal means the company they work for has to advertise it, interview a Caymanian BUT that doesn’t mean they are going to employ them as they already have who they want hence the renewal. Caymanian do apply for jobs only to be told they are not qualified. If that’s the case teach them, give them a chance for God’s sake as they want to work but odds are against them. Giving out all of these damn permits during COVID is not looking out for your own people Alden!

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘It is up to government’. This is the kind of selfish thinking that leads to corruptive practices. Yes, tourism workers need assistance, but so do other Caymanians that lost their jobs in other industries due to covid and it has been covered in the news. What do they get? Nothing! Why! Because it is ‘up to government who they help’. This could not be any more morally wrong, but you support it because you are favoured!

  5. Anonymous says:

    How is this any different from other political promises to reduce cost of living or increase salaries for the average Caymanian ? Stop making a mountain out of a mole hill. It’s not vote buying it a promise to help more. You anti ppm crowd are getting desperate!

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously, this is not vote buying…If I tell you I will give you $2000 a month going forward if you vote for me, what is that?

      Reducing cost of living, is something much more encompassing and does not specify a certain group of people neither does it offer them cold hard cash! It’s vote buying! You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig..

    • Anonymous says:

      Please see (Cayman Election Act) below for your answer as to why it is different..Hopefully this hits home to you that it is vote buying and it is against the law..Not that anything will happen to Alden or any member of the PPM as Martyn Roper will ensure they get elected and will to uphold “the rule of law.”

      Election Act:

      95. (1) The following persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of bribery
      under this Act —

      (a) every person who, directly or indirectly, by themselves or by any other person on that person’s behalf, gives, lends, or agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration to or for any elector, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector, or to or for any other person in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any elector having voted or refrained from voting at any election;

      • Anonymous says:

        So why have there been no arrests? Are our police and prosecution authorities corrupt? Or does the law in fact say something else? Anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      Desperate for new government.

      • Anonymous says:

        We should thirst for ethics or law enforcement agencies to raise both hands, as they are entrusted to, make the arrests as they are supposed to, and file the applicable charges as they must…wtf changes if successive regimes continue to be given carte blanche from corrupt paid accomplices? We have deep governance problems, and the CFATF wrote us up on it!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is vote buying because this could have been done before the election, but it has more persuasive power now.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t care what it is or what you call it, ANYTHING is better than a MaKeeva government.
      Have you all forgotten the vindictive behavior, monthly scandals, accusations of backroom deals, allegations of corruption , doubts about who was being paid off for government contracts, Cohen deal,the Chinese and the list goes on.

      Mac will tempt the a”independents” to join him so he can be Premier again…. good for the Casinos I guess, but not with my money Mac.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Alden and crew you know that there are many in the tourism sector who still pull in a decent sum becsuse they have taken on other jobs or still providing taxi service yet these people feel entitled to have government continue to assist them.

    What about us pensioners who are in need of an extra few hundred dollars to top up our meager pensions.

    At least I can say that I worked long and hard for the few dollars I get for my pension and it is my money and not government handout yet I struggle day in and day out, week after week.

    Can I and others like me not get some of this assistance too?

    • Anonymous says:

      4:08 pm, your are 100 % right, and old seamen too are struggling day by day to pay their, and they two kinds if old people that worked hard and long, taking very few or no sick leave, and deserves more, if Mr Alden can give the tourism workers 1500 $ now why he can’t give us old hard workers of yesterday the same, we got plenty bills to pay too and two old to work and we are also voters

    • Anonymous says:

      And applying for a job when more than qualified to do it, no reply and companies still advertising to fill the position and start immediately, even in temp positions. They need to get over this age discrimination, people work until ages. No one younger is meeting their requirements so…. Get with it!

    • Anonymous says:

      They increased the salaries of all MPs by simply changing the grades. They sought to ensure that very few people noticed. They wanted the Port Referendum on 19th December when they knew many people would be going off Islands. This government is full of slippery business.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:11 pm, they promising all kinds of good things for us the people if we vote for them. Why don’t they say all the good things, money. Benefits, pension, medical they going to get for life if we vote for them, they going to get the cup full, we only going to get the few drops that spills over.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why not increase the seamen grants from 950 to 1500, and the same to retired old civic servants , those old people worked hard and built this county to where it is today.

    • Anonymous says:

      3.18 Remember he was criticized when his Govt increased the Seaman’s benefit to $950. By the way that was also called vote buying.

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