Ministers press tourism sector over local jobs

| 18/05/2021 | 185 Comments
Cayman News Service
CITA Meeting with members of Cabinet

(CNS): The new tourism minister, Kenneth Bryan, and his Cabinet colleague Chris Saunders, the new minister for labour, are publicly pressing leaders of the tourism industry to use the pandemic as an opportunity to change the low numbers of locals employed in the sector and reintegrate Caymanians into an industry that was once a popular career path for local people. At a meeting with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association last week, Bryan said that putting Caymanians back on the front line was a win-win, while Saunders said the goal was to see a substantially higher number of locals in tourism jobs.

As Cayman waits for enough members of the community to get vaccinated so the country can safely open borders, the idea of recruiting locals instead of depending on expatriate workers was at the core of the meetings discussions, according to a release.

“The COVID pandemic has presented us with a timely opportunity to correct the imbalance that has existed for too long within our tourism workforce,” Bryan said. “Integrating more Caymanians into the vacant roles is a win-win situation that will add more authenticity to our tourism product, while providing Caymanians with the ability to be gainfully employed and able to support themselves and their families.”

Saunders pressed home the desire by the PACT Government to change the previous situation. “This administration is keen to foster productive partnerships with tourism stakeholders and we are open to discussing mechanisms that will enable the tourism industry to become a more attractive career option for Caymanians. The ultimate goal is to see a substantially higher percentage of Caymanians included in the tourism workforce, where they are able to derive a far more direct and quantitative improvement to the quality of their lives.”

The meeting provided a forum for discussing the work that has been undertaken by the sector for the safe reopening of the Cayman Islands borders. But Bryan stressed that any reopening plan would be contingent on having enough of the population vaccinated. “With only 60% of the population having received their first dose of the vaccine and 52% having completed the two dose course, we are still below the target set by Public Health,” he said.

CITA President Marc Langevin, the general manager of the Ritz-Carlton who has been pushing for the borders to reopen for many months, said the association was willing to collaborate with the government about the establishment of a safe reopening strategy. “Tourism was the first industry to be affected by the pandemic and it will take time and a team effort to bring about its recovery,” he said.

Bryan also recently met with Department of Tourism staff to look at the work going on to attract visitors once we do open. “As the new minister for tourism, I am keen to understand as much as possible about the global and regional environment Cayman is operating in and how our tourism product can rise to the top of that fiercely competitive space,” he said.

But he also explained to civil servants the aim of the PACT government to ensure that more Caymanians are given the opportunity to fill the roles vacated by expatriate workers who have returned home due to the pandemic.

“Our people are our greatest asset and increasing the number of Caymanians in the tourism and hospitality industry would provide a more authentic Caymanian experience which visitors want and expect while vacationing in these Islands,” he said.

After learning about the current situation from DoT staff, Bryan said the calibre of work was impressive and showed that the department has a solid understanding of the nuances of Cayman’s tourism product and has the experience and expertise to spearhead the Cayman Islands marketing and promotions initiatives.

“I look forward to contributing to the ideas and strategies that will be developed to entice travellers to our shores in the future,” he said. “Although our borders are currently closed to visitors, there is still a need to ensure that we are proactively prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead, and we are at a crucial point in that strategic planning process. I am confident that visitors will be amazed by our level of preparedness when it is safe to open our borders and Cayman’s tourism product is reintroduced to the world,” he added.

The full press releases can be seen here and here.

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Category: Business, Jobs, Local News, Tourism

Comments (185)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    That is right Kenneth and Chris. Do something the last Gov did not do which is look out for Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      The first thing to do is nake the hotels/restaurants pay the minimum wage of 6 ci d plus the tips, then more Caymanians would work in the Tourism industry. They on pay 4,5 p h now, they aren’t paying the minimum wage of 6 ci per hour.Tips dont come from the Hotel, it come from the guest. Some people say they pay the same as live in helpers, but remember live in helpers gets free housing, free food, water and power the whole works free. Hotels dont do that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To sum up, Caymanians think tourism jobs suck—pay too low, hours too long, bank doesn’t count tips, uppity customers, low status, etc. At the same time, hundreds of people from the EU, Canada, and US think the jobs are great. But Caymanians hate the businesses that hire the expats who love the work the Caymanians hate. Classic FOMO.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not so simple. How does a person with a child afford childcare? How does a person who wants to own a home afford a mortgage? How does a person who marries, share a bedroom with a co-worker?

      All of the above is impossible on a minuscule minimum wage + tips remuneration structure.

      • Anonymous says:

        all your life choices doesn’t entitle you to a good job. Us a young Caymanians need to realize the world don’t owe us anything. we need to get back into the habit of starting from the bottom and working our way up just like most people in the world (80% of millionaires are first generation i.e. they didn’t inherit it).

        • Anonymous says:

          I understand all of that. On your way to the top, how do you complete against your expat replacement while you are on effectively unpaid maternity leave? Do you not see that our current way of doing business is going to place some pretty significant barriers in your way?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Ritz General Manager / CITA Board are the main problem Caymanians are not hired . Trust me. Kurt Christian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would we trust you. They run or used to run a successful world brand business well until CIG shut it all down. Would you call CIG a successfully run enterprise?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hotels want expats to work them like slaves. Lower paid expats on this islands have no rights.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Give Bryan a chance, he may get thimgs done, Bracker

    • Anonymous says:

      Number of people at the table that knows what it takes to run a business? Zero

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you have to run a business before you can run a business?? What kind of double-talk is that? Most people do work at a business before becoming the head honcho, so let’s not say it can’t be done.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lets see what the PACT government does. They campaigned on blocking permits for categories of jobs including relators,and dozens of other categories in tourism. A few of them said they would raise min wage to at least $10. They also said they would raise the stipend for unemployed hospitality workers who are not rushing to go back to work….and I doubt ever will. Many of Kenneth’s supporters fall into this category. Surrounding him at every event while the rest of us are working and earning a living. Our new Minister of Tourism is in no hurray to open the borders because he isn’t going anywhere. No Wiza No travel for him!

  6. Sugar Coat BS much? says:

    From reading the comments on here i’ve gathered there needs to be more Caymanians working tourism because it’s the tourist’s job to tip us what our employee should be paying us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go back to your government desk. Waiting tables is a good job and tourist money spends like any other.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I see a lot of people mentioning about tips being a great addition to the base wage for hospitality workers.

    Quick question (as I genuinely don’t know the answer): Do banks accepts tips as part of your income when reviewing loan/mortgage criteria?

    The reason I ask is because wages + tips might be fine for somebody with no ties to the island but for a young Caymanian that intends on purchasing land or a house it might not be viable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Banks do not include tips when applying for a loan or mortgage

      • Anonymous says:

        If you deposit your tips every week, they will count. If you keep them in a sock they won’t.

      • Anonymous says:

        Each bank has a different rule. Most banks will take an average of it if you have bank statements that show steady income. It’s the same for commission based stuff like real estate or certain medical jobs like pysiotherapists or personal trainers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. It is not viable for locals. The banks do not take tips into account.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well what would the commission be for real estate agents. Isn’t that a gratuity?

      • Anonymous says:

        No that is part of the contract I.e. it’s guaranteed when the sale goes through. Tips are not mandatory! And can be refused

    • Anonymous says:

      If the employee keeps a record of tips and pays them into the bank as proof then there’s no reason the bank won’t take that as income; banks want you to have all the debt you can service. If you just keep and spend it forget it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tourism and Real Estate are both very lucrative careers that typically Young Caymanians are not drawn to.

    Real Estate, you only make money if you perform. And if you are really good, you can make a lot of money.

    Tourism, if you start at the bottom, earn your tips, change jobs as you gain skills, you can be a Chef, Manager, HR director… All pay well.

    • Anonymous says:

      The first thing PACT Government need to do is make the Hotels pay the minimum wages of 6 CI dollar’s per hour plus the tips. Now they only paying 4,5 p h, remember, pension, vacation/holiday pay is not based on tips.

      • Anonymous says:

        That will increase the price of a hotel room, a restaurant meal etc.
        Who do you think is going to pay this intimately?

        • Anonymous says:

          Since Caymanians do not own the businesses, are not employed in them and cannot afford to stay in the hotels or eat at the restaurants even at present prices, we should give a damn why?

      • Anonymous says:

        The first thing you need to do is understand how the business works. The reason everything is gratuity based is so the company can survive slow periods and low season without massive layoffs every year. When business is good the guests are paying a lot and that 15% or more service charge goes to the hourly staff and they make great money. When business is slow the reverse happens. Ideally (and almost always) it averages out over the year to be a decent wage. If they work overtime and banquets and stuff like that in high season they can make an absolute killing.

        Now let’s envision what happens if we do what you suggest and raise the base wages of 700 people by $2/hr at 45hrs per week=$3.27 million per year. The hotel won’t magically make that much more revenue just because we increased the wages. So either the hotel increases prices and likely reduces rooms sold…or they have layoffs every time the business slows down. How does that play out you think?

        • Anonymous says:

          Or the hotel/restaurant simply adds 15% to your bill and takes the 20% gratuity off. No change on my bill at the end of the day, the staff get a better regular paycheque, everyone wins. (Including residents/tourists who will respond positively to advertising of Cayman paying a living wage so we don’t have to include tips on bills automatically so our workers don’t suffer.) … Right

          Or are you claiming that the hotel/restaurant is underpaying their staff by more than 15%?

          • Anonymous says:

            No that won’t work. If you increase the wages permanently across the board then you have to pay them year round regardless of business conditions. That means layoffs in low season instead of just thin tips

  9. Anonymous says:

    populist waffle from keeneth…but thats exactly what his career has been about so far.
    increasing the cost of doing business here will crush a struggling service industry.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This will only work if they employ them straight out of high school and train whoever continue to show up for work before their mind is screwed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone talking like they know the wage rates being paid. Does anyone know the actual pay for different jobs in tourism?

    • Anonymous says:

      I made a ton of cash bartending back in the early 2000s, born and raised Caymanian. Too bad more can’t see it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like every other business/career, the entry level pay is the most important to beginners.

    • SSM345 says:

      Bar / Restaurants along SMB and hotels etc can give 100k+ in cash from tips annually if not more. Ask anyone who does it in a popular spot.

  12. JTB says:

    I’m now a partner in a law firm.

    My first ever job was washing dishes in a restaurant.

    • Hopeful says:

      Well done.
      It would be useful to have you share some insights and lessons learned during your progression.
      As a local high schooler, and in college, I always found it interesting to hear of others’ experiences especially when they were once in my shoes.

      • SSM345 says:

        1st and only lesson required in life; hard work pays off.
        Nobody owes you anything.

      • JTB says:

        It’s hard to offer insight without sounding patronising or cliched, but here goes…

        – Try to keep your options open till you’re sure you know what you want
        – Always work, as many different jobs as you can, every vacation throughout your education, so you get used to the responsibility and you experience different industries and professions
        – Achievement is mainly about effort, not your innate brilliance
        – Nobody owes you anything
        – Your reputation will follow you about, so try to keep it in good shape
        – Kaizen

        • Anonymous says:

          And I’ll add (a few more cliches):
          *Be willing to do the work that others won’t. Take the shifts on holidays and weekends, especially in your early career. You’ll appreciate it later when you are supervising or leading a team and someone steps up to take those shifts.
          * Become aware and in tune with your intuition.
          * Be humble and kind.
          * Don’t let any one event, good or bad, define who you are. Life is full of moments.
          * Learn and practise the 3 disciplines of awareness, acceptance, and conscious choice. They will serve you. Acceptance is often the most challenging.
          * Create value from all things/situations= adopt a mastery mindset instead of a performance mindset. X did not go as expected. Instead of judging, ask yourself, what can I learn from this experience?
          * Practise the 4 c’s- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. In today’s culture, add compare (think social media).

          • JTB says:

            A final comment – for all those who believe that the only experience or qualification they need is a Caymanian passport, a life of mediocrity awaits you in the civil service.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was waiting in a good restaurant when I graduated law school. Got a job with a good firm and it still took two raises and a year and a half before I was making more than at the restaurant. The Cayman attitude toward tips is a willful rejection of reality.

    • Anonymous says:

      One of my first jobs was washing dishes as well. Then I became a breakfast cook, all while studying in college/university. After my articles I progressed in my profession, became a partner then travelled the world. I now work as a consultant. My work ethic originated from my parents then at about age 16 I got my own work ethic. I grew up in a poor family that could not fund university but I found a way. Nothing holds you back if you have an inner drive.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please let’s not make out like the problem is the private sector.. IT IS NOT:
    1. Caymanian’s need to stop thinking that the hospitality industry is low-wage. Even at $5-7/hr, the grats at these hotels is often times double and triple the payroll wage. I personally know waiters at WB road restaurants that take home $200-$300 daily on tips. A dear friend of mine has been employed at a Ritz restaurant for 6 years and earns >$500 per day shift in tips. I also know hotel workers regularly taking home on average $15/hr when tips are inclusive. Not to mention the ‘residence’ workers who handily get tips in the thousands per month. FACT.

    2. The last 2 generations of parents have taken the tone to their kids that ‘Caymanians do not do that kind of work’ and that note perpetuates among the young population. Stop telling your kids that hospitality or trades is ‘for other folks’ and get the kids involved in these sectors and watch them flourish and earn a decent living. FACT.

    So Minister Bryan, please be as vocal as encouraging our people to present themselves as viable local workers who are capable of the service excellence model. BUT FIRST Sir: we have to change the ideology.

    • Anonymous says:

      Therein lies the problem. Workers should not have to rely on tips to make an honest wage and customers should not be expected to subsidise an enterprise’s wage bill. The customers are already paying top dollar for food and drinks and that money so its not as if the owners can’t afford to pay a fair wage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Breakdown a meal
        Steak with mash potatoes and broccoli
        Restaurant charges $40
        Steak &11
        Potato $1
        Milk, butter, salt $.50
        Sauce $.50
        Cost of staff
        Cook $12 per hour
        Dishwasher $8 per hour
        Waiter $6 per hour
        Hostess $8 per hour
        Busboy $ $8 per hour
        Manager $20 per hour
        Utilities $200 a day
        Rent/ mortgage $10000 month
        Not sure where owners pulling that fair wage from unless they raise the prices

        • Anonymous says:

          19/05@10:33am – Sorry not sure about your math skills….you’re not finished. Breakdown all non-edibles costs per plate to support you point.

          Your justification sounds like an SMB restaurant owner/manager would argue but I’m sure their math is pretty sharp when they bank – lockdown times excluded! I’ve seen the mansions some own!

          But more power to them, ours is a free enterprise economy which is fueled by over-inflated cost-of-living and some will enjoy the fruits.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, then we can all have slow robots going through the motions of waiting on our table. As an ex-waiter I can tell you that tips are a great incentive, and a good waiter can make a lot more than whatever you want to pay them in straight salary. But hey, lets make everyone an hourly wage drudge.

        • Anonymous says:

          Totally agree with servers earning tips. I would say the standard 15% included is a scam though. That’s not incentive to work if you know you get it anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:02 nothing but the truth. Love the sugar coating tips BS

      • Anonymous says:

        19/05@8:16am – Amen!

        19/05@10:02am – Agreed, but that argument is also used by many of the entitled-mentality Caymanians to justify avoiding the service industry at all or giving half-assed performance if they work there. All that does is justify an owner or manager the opportunity to bring in an expat who is willing (not always able but likely trainable). Of course every Government will gladly grab the WP fees. All to the detriment of the Caymanian.

        As 8:16am said, consistently present viable Caymanian candidates and employers would have a hard time justifying a WP. The loss of WP revenues would be balanced out and exceeded in the longer term by employed Caymanians’ contribution into the economy!
        But it starts in the education system and…..therein is the REAL problem!!

        I didn’t see Juliana O’Connor-Connolly at the table in the photo!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Spoken like someone who’s never ran a business

        • Anonymous says:

          19/05@3.25pm. Sorry to differ, I’ve run a successful business since 1984 and still going. I think 36 years is successful. No?

    • Anonymous says:

      8:16am just nailed the issues!!!

      People complaining about pay have obviously never worked in tourism or they would know about grats! I used to love being scheduled on holidays too so I could get that double time.

      Also, I’ve said for years that there is a huge section of parents that think certain jobs are beneath their kids and are vocal against them. These same parents talk about only law/accounting is good enough for their kids knowing full well their kids aren’t academically qualified for either of those.

      Loved my hotel working days! My parents told us to never think we’re above an honest day’s pay!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Caymanian that worked a few jobs in tourism….including front desk at a local hotel. That hotel hired lots of Caymanians. Every friggin weekend we’d have people skip out early or no-show because they wanted to be able to go do social events. Y,ou can’t expect to keep a job behaving like that. Be prepared to work weekends and holidays but that is OKAY and you’ll be fine.

    I hope more Caymanians WILL give tourism jobs a go. That is still one of my favorite jobs I ever had.

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:08am – Good for you! A good example. Wish you continue success!

    • Anonymous says:

      So So true – so many current companies forced to hire a Caymanian (I love Caymanian people – most of them!) and they never show up – they keep them on payroll just to be able to hire someone else that actually works. Sad that this Minister is acting clueless tooting his nationalistic horn knowing that most young could care less about working hard – free handouts and parties is all most of them want. If they showed up, trained with care and worked hard – they would have lots of money and progress in their future. Alas, who will convince them? A politician – don’t think so.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Taking up time to pretend, this is nothing but a photo shoot. Telling tourism businesses they need to hire Caymanians when the CIG won’t even set a date that they can open? You can’t make this stuff up. I bet every business leader in Cayman groans when they get a call from the CIG to help fix a hiring problem in an industry the CIG has effectively destroyed.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s not as straight forward stop hiring work permit workers- hotels do hire the largest amount of WPs but that means they also provide the government with a large amount of funds for those permits- will need to figure a way to make money not Wp that’s the only how that will change

    • Anonymous says:

      19/05 @7:51am – Not hard to “figure out”. Any place which employs a greater percentage of its locals than others is surely to see more of their earnings being spent back into the local economy. No?

      Most of Cayman’s tourist industry workers are on WP from elsewhere and send most of their earnings back home. No?

      So, employ more Caymanians who spend back into our economy and thus there’s less dependence on the expats WP revenues.

      Now, it’s clearly not that simple. Can’t hire unfit Caymanians just for the sake, so that has to be addressed. And as 19/05@8:08 shows, there are quite suitable Caymanians in the industry – just not enough like a mere 30 + years ago. So if Government would initiate the right measures now, education, training, dispelling entitlement mentality through good programs, motivate parents to encourage youth, etc. etc. and the school system develop more like @8:08 then we could turn it back in another 30 years!

      Wonder what will be left by then!!

      • AnonymousLC says:

        Thirty years ago, the complaint was that WP take all the Caymanian’s jobs. The problem then was Caymanians wouldn’t work those jobs. Wouldn’t learn to dive, either. Several of those imported workers bought property here. Some earned status. Some made a lot of money. Fast forward to today. What’s changed? Same tired arguments that don’t hold up. Almost everyone in North America started out in some service job. Add to this sense of entitlement is a huge government sector, and you’re going to continue just like you are. Of course now you can blame everything on COVID. Point to everyone else but yourselves, and eventually no one is going to want to come here.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not true. I worked as a dive master 30 years ago, as did many of my Caymanian friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stamp Duty at $12M in one month? Problem solved.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Do Caymanians even want these jobs?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not at the wages on offer

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians do not understand tipping. With all the American tourists, you can make a lot in tips if you show a little interest and hustle. All the foreign kids waiting tables here understand it well.

        • Anonymous says:

          19/05@11:13 am – You’re not entirely correct, as usual there’s generalization. Not ALL Caymanians do not understand tipping. But then neither is tipping generally understood in Europe or the UK, for that matter. I’m Caymanian and have always tipped (since adulthood), here and abroad. I’ve lived in and visited the UK very often over the past 50 years and, while it’s more known these days, until 2018 I was met with astonishment when I tipped restaurant staff at breakfast in my hotel.

          You’re correct that there’s much to make in tips here and it’s originally a more North American trait.

        • Anonymous says:

          I currently work as a waiter and I can tell you I am making more percentage tips at the moment than when we have American tourists. Locals and expats here tip better than tourists, where I work at least

      • Anonymous says:

        I tip pretty damn good. I wish I was one of the servers or bartenders serving me cuz I don’t make that kind of money just bringing a meal to the table or drink out. If I thought I could hold a tray of food or drinks, believe me, that is the job I would take.

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t even apply or show up for interview while the stipend is flowing ..why work for pay when govt. pays you while you’re home.

    • Truth says:

      Not if you have to show up often or work hard. Past is proof so shut up. Want a good reputation? Caymanians have a great deal of work to do to get it back. I hope they do. Hotels just want good workers and don’t care where they come from.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I thought forced labor was frowned upon in these woke times.

    • Anonymous says:

      @644am. Please explain to me this new social media use and meaning of “woke”. I gather it’s in the “awakened” or “enlightened” context? If so, just say so instead of twisting grammar to make new words/meanings? No need to be a sheep and follow every trend….just because.

      It’s like the new “trend” of answering every question with “So,…”. So incorrect annoying!

      I’m old school..NO apologies. I like real English.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is great but what’s the point when they have no plan to open the borders. No plan to convince more people to get vaccinated before the vaccines expire. No plan to open the borders when we don’t reach 70%. There is no tourism industry for the foreseeable future.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The fact is no articulate local with a positive attitude that knows how to iron a shirt, get to work on time, follow instructions, and learn new skills has any interest in an entry level position in tourism.

    I would wager a large percentage of elected officials and high income earners in the US and Canada at some time worked in a restaurant.

    Pretty sure no elected official, or any senior government employee in Cayman has ever worked in tourism.

    Change the mindset of the people to have an interest in that industry before trying to force the industry to hire people that do not want to work in it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm, the industry was full of Caymanian. Then the Radisson came, introduced US employment practices, stopped paying decent base wages, and through economic pressures, forced Caymanians out. Tourism jobs today are not viable if you have a mortgage or children, and are not in a position to share your bedroom with a co-worker. In other words, they are not viable for most locals.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s on Caymanians for letting it happen.

        • Anonymous says:

          The minute Caymanians open their mouths, you have everyone calling them entitled and lazy. What a vicious cycle.

        • Anonymous says:

          Still happened. I am not blaming anyone. Those are the facts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Better be prepared to work 12 hour shifts without a break. 14-15 hours sometimes too

        • Anonymous says:

          I wor a day,worked 14- 15 hours a day, 6 days a week as a license electrician, made good money too, now retired and never asked or wanted the Government to give me anything. i had pride working for what i got, i felt really good.

      • Anonymous says:

        You forgot tourist started to see the difference between well run and Caymanian run and choose nice, friendly, competent, and happy over trying to be nice, friendly and competent. Remember?

        • Anonymous says:

          No. And if you in fact represent today’s Cayman Islands tourism industry you can (and probably should) all go to hell.

  21. Anonymous says:

    That’s a great theory. First get the hospitality school working with people that actually have worked in the industry. Next figure out how to get Caymanian’s to want to work in hospitality. Then figure out a Govt incentive for said Caymanian to show up for work as the company you are forcing to hire the Cayman will always be short of staff or have no real knowledge of the hospitality industry. You are not a chef just because you cooked at your grandma’s

  22. Unemployment is a scourge says:

    It’s a many faceted problem.
    – The wages are too low
    – Excellent customer service is a vocation (like teaching)
    – To excel in tourism it is necessary to embrace diversity and understand that not all foreigners view us in a bad light
    – Many Caymanians (sadly) perceive tourism roles as bridge jobs
    – WORC and the Work permit board needs to work together

    • Anonymous says:

      the wages are not too low when you factor in the tip pool! When I worked at the Ritz pool bar, we walked home with paychecks over $3000 for two weeks (and that was with the base pay being approx $5 per hour).

      • Anonymous says:

        The bank does not take into account 100% of tips earned. So until that problem is fixed, most Caymanians that want to own Real Estate understand won’t make tourism/hospitality their first choice.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bank takes into account what you put in the bank.

          • Anonymous says:

            Wrong if you’re lucky they’ll take into account 50%. That only if you have the funds in some bank to show savings, otherwise you’re up the creek without a paddle.

      • Anonymous says:

        Have you seen the cash the bellhops make at the Marriott and the Ritz and probably any other hotel that offers that service? Seriously.

        • Aanonymous says:

          You mean the African, Indian, Canadia bellhops?
          Our hotels are shameless in NOT hiring locals.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Not what I expected to hear from the New Minister. Same ole, same ole…not a word on developing measures to build a more resilient tourism economy, promoting the digital transition and move to a greener tourism system, rethinking tourism for the future..

    Lack of vision and nearsightedness continues…

  24. Anonymous says:

    Government should subsidize wages for the first 6 month probationary period. If businesses, especially small ones, have to hire unskilled locals then government should help support the business while those people are all trained up.
    Government also has to realize that many “locals” don’t want these jobs at the pay being offered, often don’t show up for work, call in sick way, way too often, think they are entitled to a job, don’t want to work evenings or weekends and in general don’t have any hustle. I know it sounds harsh, and of course it doesn’t apply to everyone, but it IS reality.
    I think a wage subsidy program would go a long way to getting Caymanians jobs. It would mitigate some risk for the employer and assist financially. A progress report could also be sent to government by the employer noting all the good and bad things from the hiring of that person. The reports would also be a good record to show what the issues were if they get let go.
    Places like the Ritz have no excuse for offering minimum wage but some small business have no choice as the cost of doing business in Cayman is very, very high.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure whether to like or dislike this one. A lot of good points made, but I disagree with government effectively paying businesses to employee Caymanians. There is already a financial incentive to do so by way of the paid work permit for non-Caymanian employees. And businesses need good employees to thrive, so employing a series of weak employees and trying to train them is a drain on the businesses time and resources, even if the gov were to pay some of those costs. When a business needs an experienced employee, that’s what they need, and they need it now.

  25. Anonymous says:

    oh yes if the Caymanians are good at working in the tourism sector. The real problem is that the Caminians are not professionals. Not all, I’m sure, but most Caymanians are not professionals and don’t want to work properly. They are listless and have no interest in improving themselves. The waiters in the tourism sector are the visiting card of restaurants or hotels, many times they are poorly dressed, they drag their feet when they walk, they are always late, they only want to do what they like and do not listen to the rules. Let’s face it, not all Caymanians have the aptitude for work in tourism. There are high levels in the tourism sector you cannot hire people who do not even have a minimum of professionalism.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you pay peanuts, what do you get ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you blame them if they are on a minimum wage ? $6 an hour works out at roughly 12k a year. Then take out pension. Not a lot to live on.

      Some imported labour will share accommodation with similar workers, in conditions that would be outlawed if there was ever any govt inspection.

      Nah. Working in tourism is just for imported slave labour.

      • Anonymous says:

        I work as a waiter, salary $4.50 an hour, tips $26/ hour averaged over 12 months. 50k a year and 2 months vacation.

        • Anonymous says:

          What were you paid on each week of vacation? What were you paid each day of sick leave? What would you be paid for your 3 months maternity leave? What would your bank consider your pay to be if you were seeking a mortgage? What does childcare cost while you are at work? What is the health insurance cost for your spouse and child?

          Think it through. Your math only works for young single expats.

          • Anonymous says:

            The bank accepted tips when they gave me a mortgage, 3 bedroom house paid off in 12 years. Holiday pay is rubbish and most is unpaid leave , but obviously if I didnt take all that leave, my income would be closer to $60,000, Still a lot better than many jobs on the Island. You have a point with maternity leave though. For me the main issue is the non payment of pension on the tips that are added to the guests bill, only the hotels do this although it is the law.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:41 You are obviously completely clueless on how these jobs work!

  26. Anonymous says:

    It’s always baffled me (as a long-standing visitor), that there is no minimum wage in Cayman, which leads to local people relying on welfare benefits and more and more low paid workers being recruited from other countries. How does this help anyone?
    There was even a documentary about it a few years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except there is a minimum wage. Mind you it is set at a level where you can actually make more in NAU support or from the unemployed tourism worker subsidy than you can from working a minimum wage job.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone chose 12hr days, dealing with rude entitled guests, for $6hr, if they can go sit at a desk and pretend to work hard in financial services or the civil service for $50k+ a year?

    Fix minimum wage, work hours limits, and workers rights.
    Promote tourism as the face of the country, and help to instil pride to be a representative of our nation.

    Until people see both a financial, and satisfaction incentive to work in tourism, nothing will change.

    Don’t force companies to employ the worst of us by making it hard to bring in skilled workers, make our skilled workers want to work in tourism.

  28. Anonymous says:

    so with the industry on its knees and no re-opening plan by the government….bryant is going around demanding who people should emply……welcome to wonderland…….zzzzzzzzzzz

  29. Anonymous says:

    with no re-opening plan given…kenneth should be told go take a jump.
    it’s a miracle so many service industry businesses have stayed open this long…but it can’t go on forever.

  30. Anon says:

    Caymanians are always interviewed first for jobs at the ritz and kimpton etc, but they have to be able to provide five star service which often expats are better at as they have experience in hospitality from big hotels around the world – the locals also often seem to expect higher salaries than the market rates that are on offer – better education and customer service skills specific training courses is the best route for the government to solve this,

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well at least PACT is going straight for jugular. It is nice to see a government that is actually speaking up for the people..

    This meeting would have been another “ass kissing” one for the PPM..

  32. Anonymous says:

    Employers should be extended a facility where local workers agree to a contract and if they default (especially at peak times of year) a certain percentage of wages is relinquished.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Well, they are doing more than the PPM ever did..No one in the PPM would ever dare confront any of the big players in the hospitality industry..

    It’s time to level up..PPM is gone Stand firm guys!

    • Say it like it is. says:

      10.10pm It’s easy enough to spout these grandiose plans like PACT have been doing, but let’s wait and see if they follow through and produce results, before lauding them.

  34. Anonymous says:

    It used to be that there had to be a certain number of Caymanians in any work place – I believe that was in the law. Why isn’t that enforced with companies?

    Companies years ago, would hire high school graduates and train them. Those same school leavers worked for those companies for 30, 40 and more years and worked very diligently at whatever they had to do.

    You have to get experience by starting somewhere and earning that experience – no one can buy experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      The proportion of Caymanians and an employers plan for training locals is meant to be something considered in your trade and business licence, your local companies control licence if you have one, and your application for work permits. Like most regulations in Cayman, rarely enforced. However, even if it were, let me share my experiences.

      My financial services business operates in a field where you need qualifications to be able to bill clients. The supply of locally qualified Caymanians is massively outstripped by demand. So we have run a training program for Caymanian school leavers for the last 15 years. Typically one or two a year enter the program. We offer paid employment and support with them studying for their professional exams – study leave and exam and training costs — so they go on to get a qualification. The route to qualification depends on how much time and effort you commit to the studying for the exams, but 2 to 3 years would be typical.

      In 15 years we have not had a single trainee make it through the program. They leave and go into other desk jobs where they can get a little more money immediately but without the effort to get through the exams and where their career progression isn’t based on continuing education but their nationality and time served.

      So my business is largely staffed by expatriates; people who followed exactly the same career path in their home countries but persisted and got the professional qualifications and experience that enabled them to have an international career. It’s just downright depressing. But we never have any problem with applying for WPs as we just point to the program and ask what else are we meant to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      9.49pm PR & Status is killing us. PR should not automatically lead to Status and persons married to Caymanians/Status holders should not be able to do as they please as soon as the ink dries on the M certificate. They also should have to wait at least 15 years to get Status. Time to stop all these marraiges of convenience.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I sure hope that great care will be taken to keep our people safe when opening our borders. The vaccines do not stop anyone from catching the virus nor does it make anyone immune. I have read that vaccinated people can in fact become asymptomatic carriers so care must be exercised by us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:26pm So much misinformation in one post. Good lord. Follow science and not your neighbor’s blabbing or others’ Facebook posts.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are going to make such a dangerous claim you should site a source and “I have read” is not good enough. This sort of rhetoric is the reason we are in the position we are in now. People tell their children and children see their parents as the smartest people in the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well the obvious solution to that is that everyone that medically can, should get the vaccine!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Why kenneth didn’t push for more than slave wages ? Geez man nobody can raise a family in Cayman on $6/hour that’s the real issue here.

  37. Anonymous says:

    It’s not so much about the minimum wage for workers here anymore you numbskulls, it’s about being able to afford long term quality health insurance at an affordable price, – an increase in minimum wage still won’t be anywhere near making up the shortfall

  38. Anonymous says:

    These cheap hoteliers must up the salary rates, and benefits that wi not only attract but also keep Caymanians employed.

    • Anonymous says:

      They need up the pay. Caymanian’s won’t take them jobs paying minimum wage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Might also be worth the new govt finding out if we caymanians are really interested in hospitality jobs. In my opinion, we are not. Working conditions, the absence of training, the absence of opportunities to advance, duties and performance determined by USA time and motion studies, poor salary, unfair allocation of gratuities, are all barriers to many of us looking to that industry. Many of us are only regarded as indentured labour, serving an absent/foreign owner. We have no say in operations, and no route to make suggestions. So why would we want to work there ?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not like they are not charging enough

  39. Anonymous says:

    Not since Jim Bodden have I heard a Minister go head to head with hotels about hiring Caymanians..all of the sound bites in the Parliament and Chamber of Commerce meetings was only done to make us feel like something was being done..

    Kenneth and Chris better keep pushing this..get in their face a few more times and let them know you mean business..

  40. Anonymous says:

    Good luck Kenneth.

    Pick any restaurant and go see exactly how many Caymanians are employed there. It’s as if none of the work permit staff ever left.

    Put a freeze on certain categories of work permits in the hospitality industry. Make them stop paying lip service to this problem.

    Get serious guys. Make the unpopular decisions early and get them behind you.

    • Anonymous says:

      What stops a Caymanian getting a water’s job at a restaurant?

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Part of it is that they do not know they exist. Alden passed regulations which exempt such positions from advertising.

        Then there is the issue that the base salary is only $4.50 and that is not enough to live on, especially when you have to pay for childcare which costs much much more, or are trying to get a mortgage.

        Then there is the issue that you are forced to compete for entry level positions with highly skilled foreign nationals who gained experience in their homelands before coming here.

        Then, just maybe, you have to contend with a hiring preference for foreign nationals who will not complain if they are not paid overtime etc. as required by law.

        Then, there is always the “are you willing to sleep with the boss” thing, on certain sectors.

        The reasons are many.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Being able to spell waiter for one

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps their inability to spell correctly, like you, has something to do with it?

    • Anonymous says:

      They employ expats because caymanians are wither not qualified skills wise to do the jobs in hotels or restaurants or they refuse to do those jobs. The solution is better education.

      • Anonymous says:

        Given your slaughter of the English language, I suspect that you too are unable to secure employment in this sector as well?!

    • Anonymous says:

      The reason there are no Caymanians employed there is because A) only a handful applied for the vacancies because Caymanians don’t want to do that sort of work or do any work for those sort of wages. B) of those handful, 2 of them had never held down a proper job and had no work experience. C) 2 more of them never turned up for the interview. D) The one who did turn up got the job by default, but just didn’t turn up to work in the second week and was never seen again.
      That’s why you don’t see lots of Caymanians working in the tourism industry. Hard work, enthusiasm, reliability, long hours etc are all required and that is too much to ask.
      And yes, I speak from frustrating experience over and over again.

  41. Anonymous says:

    WTF. The two politicians who had the answer to everything while they were in opposition are now ‘pressing’ tourism leaders to hire Caymanians?

    Here’s your answer you dumbasses, although I probably heard it from you.

    Increase the minimum wage for people working in the tourist industry and you can attract locals. At the same time increase the work permit fees for people working in the tourist industry. As long as you give the tourism ‘leaders’ access to slave labour they will take advantage of it. For the few who rise to top management, or receive huge tips, there are hundreds who share sub-standard housing, eat leftover scraps, and generally suffer in order to send a few dollars back home to family that are even worse off than them.

    You’re in power now, at least pretend that you are trying to do something.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, now why didn’t the PPM do all this during their 8 years??…and you are expecting the PACT group to solve it yesterday??

      Some of your ideas are good but come from the wrong vein..

    • Anonymous says:

      Won’t work. Increase it five times, the quality of work won’t increase correspondingly.
      You can win the battle but lose the war if wages increase is all you believe is needed.

    • McCarron McLaughlin says:

      Hi 7:44pm you what ticks me off are people who are so deep into their convictions and will be the first to criticize an action but they can never reveal themselves, always hiding behind anonymity.

      The administration is hamstrung now friend with COVID-19 the situatio and until they fix that nothing aint getting better, so give them some space and time and see what happens after this first step!

      • Anonymous says:

        First of all, a stupid statement is a stupid statement, even if it was made by Albert Einstein. If your opinion of something said is subject to change depending on who said it, what does that say about you? Posting with your name only allows people to say “I didn’t know McCarron was that _____(fill in the blank).

        Secondly, I haven’t seen a first step! Covid-19 came to Cayman more than a year ago, so it’s time to ditch that excuse and implement Plan B, or whatever iteration of Plan A they had for Covid-19 or any other pandemic still being here.

        Every new government comes to power on promises to change the status quo, or maintains power with the promise of maintaining the status quo. Previous new governments have at least had the good sense to immediately appease their mostly incompetent supporters by appointing them to the boards they had roundly criticized during the campaign and promised to change. When it comes to incompetent vociferous supporters, PACT is the leader, and none of them appear to have received any scraps yet.

        Parliament is where the laws are passed, not in meetings with industry leaders, so it is past time to go there and enact the laws they promised. Wayne’s World needs to be something more than just another dumb movie, but somehow this quote from Desmond Tutu comes to mind:

        “They (the new parliament) missed a golden opportunity in my view to demonstrate that they were serious about stopping the gravy train. . . . They stopped the gravy train only long enough to get on,” Tutu said.

  42. Nothing but greed says:

    The Olympics is being canceled this year. Japan acknowledges it would be suicide to hold such an event.

    How is opening our border on this tiny Island to tens of thousands any different?

    • Anonymous says:

      As if 8:01 an on 5/19, Olympics have NOT been canceled. There are certain groups asking for cancellation but it hasn’t happened yet.

  43. Not A Sheep says:

    So the government decides to destroy the tourism industry by closing borders for a virus that has a 99.97% survival rate and average age of death from covid is older than average life expectancy, and then they try to lecture the entrepreneurs who built companies how to run those companies, meanwhile these government officials didnt lose any pay from their fat government salaries this entire scamdemic. The politicians are not with us the people. They are eating at the trough of the public purse. Before someone calls me stupid, point out a single thing that Ive stated in this comment that is factually incorrect, I’ll wait.

    • Anonymous says: need to move to the States and hang out with the MAGA Patriots…

      The Great Orange Man beckons..please join him.

      • Anonymous says:

        10.01pm – how about you go to Cuba you communist fool.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not only does this one want to set house rules in another man’s country, but also wants to reserve the right to deport locals. THIS IS NOT AMERICA, doofus.

          And they say Caymanians are entitled. Clearly hasn’t looked in the mirror in a long time; might be too real to handle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the lecture, Dr. Covid Expert.

      Selling this foolishness in hopes that people will swallow it hook, line and sinker is the reason why we are stuck in this bubble.

      Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

    • Not An Idiot says:

      Hold my beer…

      Government destroying the tourism industry.

      You are factually correct, but you make the wrongful assumption that everyone in Cayman was equally benefiting in the tourism industry when everyone knows that is not true.

      Government stepping in only highlights the slackness that was left by many private companies that was not being addressed (local hiring, suitable living wages, and underemployment). Frankly, the majority of foreign private companies (not just tourism-related) did it to themselves and are makers of their own demise.
      I still cannot fathom how private sector companies always want to blame the government for everything that goes wrong, never failing to use the opportunity to glorify themselves. However, when they hit hard times on funds or business, they are always the first ones in line begging with their hands cupped and their mouths open like the rest of us or throwing temper tantrums (whichever gets them what they want faster). They want their cake and expect to eat it too. Using Cayman’s tourism industry like a casino chip. Economic leverage at its finest, and they know exactly what they are doing. (Looking at CITA president and Dart lapdog)

      To be fair, I understand that government employment isn’t feasible for everyone. However, at this point, both teams need to go back to their corners, get some serious gut checks, and reset boundaries.

      Over 24 thousand foreign work permits are currently held in the Cayman Islands. That is one third of the total population and half of the total workforce.


    • SSM345 says:

      Pray tell your experience with handling a pandemic or living through one before on a tiny island whilst the rest of the world burns?

      You seem to have all the answers.

      I’ll wait.

    • Anonymous says:

      You got that right!

    • Anonymous says:

      Since you asked, the survival rate is based on access to medical care and hospitals. If there is huge spike in case, the death rate would increase due to the hospitals being overrun with cases and exceeding their capacity. Also, doctors, nurses and other health care workers would fall ill with the virus and be unable to attend to the infected and cause shortages in hospital staffing further escalating the problem.

      Furthermore, due to more people being sick (but not dying) manufacturing would slow down, there would be mass shortages in certain goods (lumber right now), supply chains would breakdown, inflation would spike and eventually interest rates.

      I’m not calling you stupid, I’m saying it’s not as simple as it seems.

      • Anonymous says:

        9.12am – Every single person in Cayman could have covid, and the hospitals wouldn’t be over loaded. CNN & BBC have spread misinformation about the risks of Covid, and 95% of people have believed it. The WHO stated about 6 to 9 months ago that they estimated that up to 10% of the global population had already had covid. When you do the basic math, you will realize that that means that now, basically everyone has had covid. I do not see any collapsing hospitals, but I do see nurses making dance videos on TikTok.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! … theory

  45. Anonymous says:

    Pie in the sky foolishness from the Pact numbskulls.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Well done government. You have an opportunity to force the change that has been promised since the old Holiday Inn was knocked down. The treatment of Caymanians by too many in the industry has been sorely lacking. You cannot even get local dishes in any of the major hotels. No conch stew, no escovitch fish, no bread kind. All despite the fact visitors want to try local foods. Why would that be? They don’t teach it in foreign culinary schools?

    Time our tourism “partners” were forced to turn a new leaf. The PPM taught them some very bad habits when it comes to providing opportunity to locals.

    • Anonymous says:

      6.40pm – you are more than free to start your own business and serve your stupid conch stew.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll be serving delicious turtle. And a rundown with dolphin in it. In the mornings I will swim in the sea, near the Barcadere and sit under the grape trees.

      • Anonymous says:

        You haven’t even tried it, have you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wouldn’t it be better of the tourists went to place like Over The Edge and Liberty to get the local food? That way all of the money goes directly to the local owners, local chefs and local waitstaff.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are no local chefs or waitstaff (at least that’s what all the work permit applications claimed). Please remember to stay with the script.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Open the borders to ppl that are vaccinated we need to make a start. Waiting on 70% of the island to be vaccinated will never happen. Stop being like PPM too scared to make a decision we need to get our tourism market back.

    • Anonymous says:

      what is there here for tourists? the beaches are eroded and the reefs are dying at an alarming rate. The roads and car parks stink of toxic asphalt and the dump constantly is on fire and remains a major health catastrophe at best and a bomb waiting to explode at worst, high rises they have to by-pass in Miami to get here and ridiculously priced gallons of milk? Much cheaper to stay in Florida and go down to the Keys. Cayman has ruined all the things that made this vulnerable low lying island special.

      • Anonymous says:

        Over exaggerate much? Our tourism industry was very strong before covid. There are still many who appreciate what Cayman has to offer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly true, and the group of tone-deaf expats and flush with cash foreign investors are to blame. Profit margins are the only things that matter to these greed mongerers; would sell their own family members for the right price. Smh.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. We don’t really gain anything from tourism, so how about we just enjoy the relative safety and tranquility for another year or so.

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