Free school meals rolled out in high schools

| 21/03/2022 | 41 Comments

(CNS): From today, students in all government schools will have access to free breakfast, lunch and snacks every school day, as the Ministry of Education rolled out the second phase of the multi-million dollar programme to make sure that children have adequate nourishment. The Public Schools Meals Programme was extended to government high schools and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre on Monday, 21 March, following the launch of the project in primary schools last year.

The CI$10 million meals programme will be administered through an interactive meal management system that allows parents to view menus, order meals in the case of primary schools and the Light House School, and view their child’s meal consumption patterns.

“Last August, we introduced the Public Schools Meals Programme in primary schools and at the Lighthouse School. I am pleased that we can now extend this programme to our secondary school students,” said Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.

“The meals provided must be wholesome, nutritious and delivered on time. Accordingly, a team from the ministry will work closely with other government agencies to oversee meal provision and ensure that meals that comply with the Cayman Islands Public Schools Standards for Food Provision.”

The decision was made to offer the meals to all children to avoid the stigma and indignity of means testing and potential discrimination.

During the COVID-19 full lock-down in 2020 the extent of the poor living conditions of many families in the Cayman Islands was exposed and it became clear that a significant number of children were going hungry. When teachers went out into the communities to deliver lunches and supplies to students, several had their eyes opened to the reality of the lives of the children they had been teaching.

Sir John A Cumber Primary School Principal Jovanna Wright was outspoken. about what she saw in the West Bay district. Following the “heartbreaking experience” delivering food to kids in need, she described her students as living in “unmentionable circumstances” without running water or electricity.

To learn more about the Public Schools Meals Programme (PSMP), email the Ministry of Education at

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A lot of talk here blaming the parents, can we all come to see the country is very expensive & many are too proud to accept that we are all now poor. Who is to blame that we are all poor?

  2. Truth says:

    People wake up this is not novel! What however needs to happen is that the meals but have high nutritional value. Second, offset the costs by using the program has an educational opportunity. So start school farms and school canteens where students can work and learn to cook meals. Have a small fee program for those can afford to pay and even those who cannot pay large sums even a dollar a week will help so there is dignity in contributing. It would be voluntary but every little counts. Remember education is about providing learning experiences that build character and teach values that will build a better community. With these suggestions everyone benefits and the sustainability is preserved plus students learn to contribute.

  3. Truth says:

    You know what there are countries serve their students free nutritious
    meals every day. What however is needed is a system to offset the costs while educating students about nutrition. So start a farm at every school, have school based food service, students can work in those services to gain experience and cut costs.Give the option for parents who can contribute to do so, even those with little even 1 no one would know how much is being paid so no stigma but at least some assistance is given, and money collected or saved can be used in the school farm and canteen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    10:06 am You are A MILLION % right

  5. Anonymous says:

    All part of the WEF Great Reset programming, this is all about control nothing about nutrition, remember the motto is “you will own nothing and be happy” it starts with the kids.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I can’t really think of anything I would rather the government pay for. That billion has to go somewhere.

  7. KZR says:

    For years prisoners have been given “three meals a day with no bills to pay” yet majority of you here are complaining that it’s such a problem for Government to provide children the same…
    Make it make sense Jesus!

  8. Anonymous says:

    “The meals provided must be wholesome, nutritious and delivered on time

    Does this mean that their is a catering system in place? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to ensure that all schools have a cafeteria to provide fresh meals. Shouldn’t there be a farmers program at the prison to supply meats and vegetables?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m torn on this one. When I was in school I was one of the kids that got free lunch and I was embarrassed by it. On the other hand that experience and others that are poverty related put a drive in me that I might not otherwise have. That drive has served me very well for over 30 years.

  10. Anonymous says:

    First of all, so you really think thats every single parent? you dont think theres actual struggle somewhere? you need to grow TF up. lmao

    and EVEN IF thats the case with everyone… i ask again WHYYYYY WOULD ANYONE WITH COMMON SENSE MAKE THE KID SUFFER for the parents being stupid…………

    You all are insisting that the kid should be looped into the parents incompetent mess too. YES the government needs to do something more about the parents themselves and how poverty is treated WE KNOW THIS.
    but in the mean time you are pissed that theres a kid that can eat? even if said kid has a money that puts on fake nails? you sound like the fool.

    get a grip. stupid parents or not, please learn to put that aside because at the end of the day the KIDS are the ones that walk into that school in the mornings not the parents.

    as a sensible adult, it shouldn’t be hard to make that separation but i guess a you arent one that; a sensible adult.

    thank god you have absolutely no power and say over this.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Parents should be responsible for providing their children with meals. There is nothing wrong with the government providing assistance for those children that are in need but the government should not take on the expense of providing meals for the children that are not in need.

    The stated excuse that the government is providing meals to all children because they are trying to avoid the stigma and indignity of means testing and potential discrimination doesn’t make sense. It is only the parents or guardians that will be means tested and if the government is concerned about the stigma and indignity of means testing then the NAU would not be means testing individuals and families that ask for assistance.

    Stop with all of the less than full honest statements.

  12. Anonymous says:

    welcome to wonderland…. where cig is providing free meals to some of the most obese and least active children in the world.
    don’t believe me…look up the stats.

    • Anonymous says:

      But yet these establishments consistently produce the best athletes the island has to offer . Go figure !

  13. Anonymous says:

    PACT’s dream for a welfare, socialist state come true. Next up is the bullet bond so they can buy votes for the next election and disguise “free” programs.

  14. iCaymanian says:

    Stop the wining and complaining!
    There is a social breakdown in our society where kids cannot get food from home.

    The parents can afford a proper meal, or even junk food or are not aware/educated about the importance of a balanced meal. Why? Because “We” failed them in the past.

    As a Caymanian, I am happy to see that we are making a good choice to do something about an obvious gap in our society.

    For those who are criticizing the move, go fly a kite! You have most likely not contributed to our society in any shape or form.

    At least this is action. It may not be 100% full proof but it is not stagnant.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What an appalling failure that this has become necessary. Who are these miserable parents?!? Perhaps after breakfast there could be a short moment scheduled to discuss the birds and bees of how unwanted babies like them were made so this cycle ends? If not now, when? Rather than fix the problem, CIG institutionalises a bailout for deadbeat parents that should be in prison for neglect.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with your second point that we need scientific, sex ed in school from an early age (research shows that societies with sex ed in schools have lower rates of teen pregnancy). But that has to be in conjunction with help for these poor kids who are already born. You can’t learn if you’re hungry 🙁

  16. Anonymous says:

    No such thing as a free lunch.

  17. Anon says:

    Hopefully meals will be protein and nutritious and not carbohydrate based.

    Problems today is with obesity in younger children. The diets today are based on sugars and other high fructose corn syrup laden foods that bring on diabetes.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why should we have to foot the bill for these kids to eat? Don’t their parents work? If you can afford a sandwich and apple then sell one of your TV’s or I-phone’s and pay for your own kids school lunch for 3 years. The rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for your lack of care.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. This is yet another example of the government picking up the responsibility of parents. My gosh can we have some accountability around here?

      • Anonymous says:

        OKAYYY but why the hell should the KIDS suffer for the lack of parents being responsibile.
        I think Cayman should NOT so OKAY with saying “well thats the parents fault” and leave the kid to suffer all thats gunna do is make more f*#$ed up adults… how is that not common sense??
        Are we not wanting to TRY and break at least ONE cycle… damn.

        All of you need to lighten up and think bigger about this. Its FOR THE KIDS NOT THE KIDS PARENTS. yes they suck as parents but you CANNOT do anything except help the kids who cannot do anything about it.
        COMMON SENSE. jesus.

        • Anonymous says:

          11:18, Do you seriously think a free beef patty and Ting will save any child from their crappy home live? The parents should be the ones punished and fined not the rest of us. Wake up!

          • Anonymous says:

            Do YOU think that not having anything to eat helps the kid? lmao like what sense are you trying to make. NO its not gunna fix at home but some kids have school as the escape from home and youre trying to tell me you dont see sense in kids getting SOMETHING TO EAT?! are you dumb? LMAO like…… your point makes NO sense. at the end of the day its the parents fault so why the hell should the kid suffer? even if it is a patty and a ting.

            evidently you need to wake up and see the bigger picture. damn.

        • Anonymous says:

          I used to think that if I fed the wild chickens that keep invading my property and eating my fruits that they would stop eating my fruits. All that happened was the chickens bred more.

          There is no such thing as a free lunch and I do not agree with this free lunch program. The real crime in Cayman is being poor and the shame of being poor. We should break the stigma against people who are poor and find other ways that empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.

          This program is just another crutch for irresponsible parents and for Julianna to buy political points.

          • Anonymous says:

            okay and how do we LIFT them out? lemme know.

            you all are still missing the POINT.
            Yes its the parents fault
            yes its not going to save everything
            yes its expensive
            YES cig need to do something more permanent as a fix

            but also YES THAT MAYBE A KID THAT CANNOT EAT AT HOME CAN EAT AT SCHOOL? lmao like how the hell can you dispute this. you make no sense lmao

          • Anonymous says:

            I was born in the 50’s and I thank God for that every day. We were mostly all poor but didn’t even know it until foreign people came and told us we were and how much they’ve helped us. The hardy honest ones who came in the fifties to seventies did help improve our lives but since that paradise has been ruined.

      • Anonymous says:

        So the kids should suffer because their parents are incompetent imbeciles? That’s smart and very progressive of you…

        One would think that the having the parents admit “im a bad parent” solves it all. woah

        Seek help if you rather the government spend money on other meaningless things as oppose to our children. dumba**

    • Anonymous says:

      lmao you are the grumpiest person on the planet if you are annoyed that a kid is actually being fed. Like wth? lmao
      like SURE i agree that the parents should be caring and doing that BUT THEY ARENT so then what? just leave it? and leave them hungry?
      Also you seem crazy for assuming that anyone that cant eat food must have a bunch of apple products so they “should” be able to eat.

      please seek healing for yourself because thats sad you would be this pressed about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Grow up 9:58. You full well now that all these malnourished kid’s Moms spend hundreds on fake nails, drinks, phone plans, knock-off shoes & bags, salon visits and junk food for their own lazy asses. Where do you live that you don’t see this?

        • Anonymous says:

          loving that you aren’t focusing on the other part of the comment where its asking “BUT THEY ARENT so then what? just leave it? and leave them hungry?”
          you are very focused on the bad parents…. talk about something else and answer that…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh hush, public money going on benefitting our kids is way better than awarding outrageous contracts to ‘connected’ people. When I was a kid (many many years ago) my school provided lunch and even milk back then and it was government funded. Nutrition and education are inextricably linked, but just keep finding a way to complain! I am not a huge fan of government, but this I support.

      • Anonymous says:

        people like OP commentor would obviously rather the government spend more meaningless money. lol we fight and scream that the gov isnt doing anything for the people and then when they do its a problem? for the kids…. lmao

    • Anonymous says:

      how crab in the bucket mentality of you…

      The parents are stupid so lets make the kids suffer and make more irresponsible adults. GOOD JOB

  19. Anonymous says:

    nonsense beyond belief…but just another day in wonderland.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It isn’t working well on Brac- definitely needs review. Food not all that healthy or appetising. But there sure is a lot of it. Very wasteful. And those individual styrofoam cups, containers. Environmental nightmare.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well that’s strange, My friend Kenneth and his family seem to think it’s a real money maker 😉

      • Anonymous says:

        Feed the kid, that’s very good, agreed 100%. Punish the parents in some way so they will understand they doing wrong not putting their kids first before going to Saloons and bars every week end and buying expensive phones etc.

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