Local charities facing cuts

| 13/04/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news, Cayman charities(CNS): According to the 2009/10 budget documents, the government handed well over $10 million in official contributions to the arts, churches, charities and sports associations. The amounts range from as little as $5,000 given to Big Brothers and Big Sisters to as much as $200,000 to the Land and Sea Co-op. From $50,000+ stipends to a number of individual athletes to $60,000 for the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, the government contributes to a wide array of local causes and clubs. There are concerns now from some organisations, however, that their contributions will be either dramatically reduced or cut altogether as the public sector is forced to cut its own budgets.

Other sources have also told CNS that, given the current circumstances, cuts will have to be made to charities and non-government organisations as they are not essential services and as those are currently under threat, these NGOs will also see reductions. The idea that civil servants could lose their jobs or have their earnings severely cut while there are dozens of organisations such as the Cayman Islands Angling Club receiving more than $46,000 to hold an annual tournament is unfair, some public sector workers have told CNS.  
Although government has what it terms purchase agreements worth millions of dollars with government companies and agencies providing essential services, such as the HSA and the National Roads Authority, it also makes contributions to what are considered non-essential organisations like the Miss Cayman Islands Committee, which receives around $100,000 each year.
Many of the organisations, such as the West Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church Light Bearers Club, receive only a small contribution of around $7,000 per annum to fund youth programmes. The Rehoboth Ministry, however, receives $100,000 per annum to provide a number of community programmes, including meals for the elderly and after school activities for children.
There are a number of arts programmes which are likely to raise controversy, as some would consider the arts essential programmes that need to be funded by government while others say these are exactly the areas which should be cut and funded through private donations during tough times.
However, in all jurisdictions where subsidies to the arts are cut, it is almost impossible to generate the necessary revenue to keep them alive from private sector contributions alone. As a result, the programmes which are seen as key to cultural development by some are closed, often depriving young people of artistic outlets. Moreover, evidence from other countries like the UK demonstrate that once arts budgets are cut it can be very difficult to regain those subsidies, even when times improve.
In 2009 the National Art Gallery receives around half a million dollars to put on exhibitions, manage its collections, acquire new works and hold a vast array of community outreach programmes for children and other vulnerable members of the community. In desperate need of a new space, the gallery has plans to develop its own new venue through the private sector. However, despite having an original goal to complete the new gallery by 2009, the gallery has not yet broken ground. The fundraising campaign to raise the first $2.6 million needed began in February 2006.
The National Trust, which has a crucial role in preserving the natural and historic environment, is another body which is already struggling to manage and has had enormous difficulty in attempting to preserve Cayman’s built heritage as it has not had the funds to purchase important historical buildings, which have then been lost forever. Although it also fundraises in the private sector the $300,000 it receives annually from government is crucial to its survival.
Some of the NGOs and charities receiving government funding also provide unique and essential services, such as the Crisis Centre, which is desperately under funded considering the number of families the organisation assists. Although it does have some significant corporate donations, it is heavily dependent on the $300,000 subsidy it receives from government in order to offer a safe haven to women and children who are the victims of violence.
While there will be some debate about which services are essential and which the country can no longer afford to back, what is almost certain is that some or all of the NGOs and charities will be looking at smaller allocations in 2010/11. Following the Cabinet’s decision to ask the civil service to reduce the government’s operational costs, a number of these organisations are now genuinely concerned about their survival. Despite the size, many are dependant on government cash to keep them alive and offer the community the support and alternative services that are sometimes taken for granted.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS what is the Land and Sea Co-op. They are receiving $200,000.00? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    A government that cuts back on it’s contributions to community projects, yet gives millions of dollars in concessions to inward investors like Dr. Shetty has truely lost its way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am not aware of any churches that receive funding from Government, but then, I could be wrong. 

    Yes, private schools do receive funding from Government, many of which are church sponsored schools. But so what? These schools play a SIGNIFICANT role in educating our children and at a lessercost per child (I am led to understand) than Government is able to. Can you imagine how crowded thepublic schools would be if they were the only institutions providing education? And…how much more of the budget would be needed for education if it were not for families who are able to send their children to private schools? But then I digress.  Oh well!!


    • Bobby Anonymous says:

      No funding for churhes? Are you kidding?

      What do you call the "no work permit fees" Etc, etc?

      • Caybill says:

        Maybe I was not clear enough…I was talking about actual CASH contributions made directly to churches. You are referring to ‘concessions’.

        Furthermore, the ‘no charge’ work permit fees are written into the law/regulations and have been there since the first Caymanian Protection Law/Immigration Law/Regulations fee structure. If it is the desire for the Government to change these concessions, then so be it.

  4. Cuts like a Knife says:

    Well there goes my effort to save the spotted leopard on Cayman.  Have you seen any spotted leopards?  Of course not it’s too late.  But seriously…government donating public money to churches?  What is that all about?  Cancel that! 

    And leave the needy charities alone such as the Red Cross.

  5. Frank Balderamos says:

    Dear CNS,

    Thank you for your timely article on the issue of potential Government cutbacks to local charities.  My personal belief is that the services which organizations like ours offer are more essential now than ever.  The problems we in Cayman face today with at-risk youth and an economy in turmoil stem from a number of factors, including: a lack of programs for youth, an educational system which is not reaching segments of our youth population, a lack of support for single mothers and families in general, and a lack of understanding and appreciation for the elements of Caymanian culture which have proven to be the main drivers of our success thus far.  To name just a few.

    It would be a giant mistake to think that cutting back on the charities who strive every day to plug these holes in our society will actually lead to a successful outcome.  In fact, the opposite will occur.  Less after school programs, less educational offerings, less support for those persons and institutions most at risk, and less understanding of our culture and its positive attributes will only serve to exacerbate our problems.  How can we expect to curb the growing crime problem if we offer no alternatives to at-risk youth than a life of crime? How can we expect to grow our economy, and take advantage of the many opportunities available in the global market, if our children aren’t being educated to the highest standard possible?  How can we expect our youth to stand proud when representing their country abroad, if we fail to educate them about their cultural heritage?

    Yes, of course I’m biased.  I work for one of these charities you mention.  But I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t believe everything stated in the paragraphs above.  I am a paid employee, as are many of my colleagues in the numerous organizations working to improve Cayman society.  However, most of us, if not all, earn less than we would in the private sector.  Further, our organizations are already run on a bare bones basis.  We work long hours, in sometimes less than ideal conditions, and are constantly haunted by the specter of not having enough funds to make ends meet.  We make do somehow, but further cuts to our funding would be devastating to our organizations, and the work we do.

    The charities and community groups of the Cayman Islands are of vital importance to the future of our country. I plead with your readers, and the leaders in Government, to understand this and to not support any cut to our budgets.

    Frank Balderamos

    General Manager

    National Trust for the Cayman Islands

  6. Anonymous says:

    When faced with budgetary constraints, it might be difficult to determine what are essential services and what are not, but a little common sense and some human compassion will go a long way to simplifying the decisions.  Programmes such as those that assist people who are truly not able to help themselves (for example the Nadine Andreas Foster Home that houses children who have been removed from physically violent home situations) are easily placed on the ‘essential’ list.  Beauty pageants do not benefit anyone (not even the ‘beauty queen’) and should not be supported by Government. 

    A basic rule of thumb:  if a project can be done profitably, it would have been done by the free market.  If government is being asked to do it, it is likely a revenue loser, and so reversion back to my first point is in order.

    Government is not a place where unlimited tax-generated funds are distributed to every ‘good’ idea going.   A Government’s responsibility is to create and uphold the laws of the country that will protect its citizens.  Modern governments have also expanded this remit to include the provision of other services deemed to be of benefit to the greater good, but in so doing, have created behemoth structures that become inefficient and therefore outrageously and unsustainably expensive.  The private sector does need to take responsibility for its share of picking up some of the slack that will be left by the reduction in Government spending.  As an example, the tourism industry in Cayman relies heavily (to the tune of how many millions of dollars?) on the Department of Tourism for it marketing initiatives.  Many of the programmes sponsored by the DoT would be far better handled by the private sector, but in this case, many Cayman operators feel that it is government’s responsibility to provide their market to them.   Of course, to be fair, that would also require Government ceasing to compete with the private sector and get out of the business of running businesses (CAL, Boatswains, Pedro, etc) and get into the business of running an efficient Government.


    • Anonymous says:

      The Miss Cayman pageant was previously run privately, I believe.  Other pageants are run by individuals, and I wonder if they get government grants.  If they do not then they must be at least breaking even. We better ask someone who know how to run a profitable show to take over Miss Cayman. Govt cannot afford to do it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Its about time the Government stop wasting money and funding unnecessary charities especially those who only use the name "charity" for their own personal benefit !!  cut back on all if need be !!!!  There is a church in every corner of this island, that should speak volumes !!  every man want to be the financial controller of the collectionswhilst building their huge mansions elsewhere – A say to all the charities "stop sponging off the Government for your personal benefit !!!!!!"

    • Anonymous says:

      It is about time that some of this is stopped as the Public always knew that it is posed as political . There are certain Sunday churches that receive alot of funds under the name of Paloma, even one of them  in Grand Cayman that did not have a damage nor a need for funds as that particular church we understand do not have INSURANCE so they bank their money in times of catastrophe. All of the churches has a big congregation so there goes alot of votes. Good Mack be the BOSS and stop them with their POLITRICS. The Rohoboth Miss BEULAHS SCHOOL IS VERY WORTHY OF THE ASSISTANCE, also anything to do with the youth and the Presbytarian and the Adventist churches work very hard with the Youth. People who was not business people and enters into Politics will waste money, this is the Publics money and it should be spent with caution. For example the Cayman clean up is only encouraging people to throw pot more garbage on the streets because they know that there is people to clean it up .As suggested before, a stiff fine should be put on them with their picture appearing in the news paper then you would not have to employ so many to clean after them.OK i HAVE SAID MY PIECE FOR THE WORTH OF IT.

  8. Realist says:

    I love dogs  and cats… and am proudly owned a by a rescued one of each… but come on…. people first!  The charitable giving by a local store on it’s Christmas tree purchases produces a result table of where their public contributions are sent:  the Humane Society usually is way ahead of the Cancer Society.   I know the former need pubilc funding and they do a fabulous job,,, given how many unwanted litters of dogs and cats are born her each year… nearly all avoidably!!   Come on folks…. people first – education more than money!

  9. Stirrer... says:

    And where were these athletes for their stipends during CARIFTA,,, and apart from a statutory week in the summer holidays on a youth camp?!?

  10. peter milburn says:

    Being involved with the CI Red Cross for many years I would certainly hope that they would not be subject to any "cuts’in money received from Govt.They among many others are far to important to our community and should not have any cuts made period.

           If I leave out any NGO’s my appologies but the Humane,Cancer NCVO Drug.Ntl trust Red Cross these are all vital to keeping our country in good shape for the future so please find other NON ESSENTIAL areas to make any cuts.

  11. Kermit says:

    I do not think that it is the state’s place to make donations to charities. 

  12. Snip! Snip! says:

    Everyone has an opinion… and now you’re going to see some in comments to come!  Is a beauty pagent outdated, degrading and not worth any money spending on it… or is it national pride and a public face for tourism and these islands on the world arena?  I don’t care what anyone else thinks… you’re as entitled to your thoughts as I am to mine!!   But…. PLEASE… make cuts in the right places and then make sure the money saved goes where it is needed.  Right place – wrong place??… don’t take my little 5% per month to ‘save’ that $2000 a year … and then spend 20 times that on a fishing contest which I’m sure could and would be privately funded in a heartbeat for sponsership advertising.     Who gets to decide!?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Miss Cayman needs a hundred grand, they could allocate funds from the DoT to help with the promotion, shouldn’t she be known as an Ambassador of Cayman like Kareem Street Thompson and Jean Michel Cousteau? As for the scholarship?  That funding comes from the Dept of Education/Education Council budget anyway!

      Other entities like the NGCI, Nat Trust, Museum, CNCF need the funding!!!…look at the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association….they get less than $5000, they have no office, no staff, everyone on their committee has to work voluntarily, and you wonder why music has not developmed much in the last 20 years???  

      Funding should not be given to churches, each congregation should be taking care of their churches. I do my part at my church and in return I receive spiritual fulfilment.

      Unless the fishing tournament is done by DoT to bring in lots of visitors, then scrap IT!. Bottom line, if it does not benefit our communties on a WHOLE and only benefits a few, then let those few find the money to run their programme.

      Please look at what value the arts has in giving kids (everyone) a positive vein to express themselves, maybe more arts could lesson crime and give us all a better outlook on life, everyone needs art and science.

      Caymanians are talented in the arts, look at the Native Sons, Leonard Dilbert, Roy Bodden, Frank E Flowers, Rita Estevanovich, Quincy Brown, Andy Martin, Andrea Rivera, Brent McLean, Pat Bent, Charles Ebanks, Twyla Vargas, Nasaria Suckoo, Shawn Smith, Kenneth Bryan, Letitia Davies-Eden,  Susan Barnes, Selita Ebanks…. the list goes on and on and on…. we can preserve our heritage and environment using the arts….

      KEEP THESE PROGRAMMES running so we can give these and other talented Caymanians forums to express themselves…arts can help develop a nation!!!!



  13. Anonymous says:

    I say it now time for the private sector to finally became better community citizens and give back geniously to a community that enables them to earn millions and billions every year.     I realise there are some companies  here that  alreadygive geniously and thanks to them, but there are others who just take as much as they can and give back as little as possible …. they don’t even want to hire Caymanians, and to those I say here is a great opportunity to step up and make a difference.

    Also to NGO’s, if the Civil Service has to become more efficient and make do with little then you should have to do the same,  because your main financial assistance is coming from the same source.    May I suggest that you start looking at your organization  to see what you can eliminate from your budget or find additional donors (there are plenty private sector businesses) to approach.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please enough with that feel sorry for me talk, is not like the companies you refer to are here free; they pay their various business fees which gives them the right to do business here,

      I don’t think the community has anything to do with the companies ability to make there so called millions, it might more be the abilities of the individuals employed with the company and the current tax laws of the island “which might soon change after the budget gets read”, if they make millions and keep it for them selves, well that’s just the way it is sometimes

      And about them not hiring Caymanians blah blah blah, don want to go into as to why that might be so but one interesting question I wanted to ask, is it not Caymanians that grant the work permits in the first place when a company hires an expat? Who is to blame really? The company or the Caymanians on the work permit boards?

    • Anonymous says:

      "Private sector earning millions and billions every year?"

      Most companies in Cayman are hanging on by their fingernails – and all of them pay extensively into Government coffers as it is.


    • Joe private sector says:

      And I say it is way past time that all Caymanians take responsibility for themseves instead of trying to figure out new ways of getting someone else including the Government to pay for them .  May I suggest that any business on Cayman that pays all their dutys, fees, and permits and still makes a profit deserves to send or save it as they see fit.

      What ever profit The Caymanian Goverment can make should go to feeding the helpless and non employable.

  14. Anonymous says:

    There is so much wrong with this… we are looking at cutting such core programs such as the Big brother, Big sister, athletes, youth clubs, art programs etc.

    Yet our prisoners are sitting in their air conditioned country club (Northward Prison) ordering out three meals a day, watching weststar TV, DVD’s, listening to music, talking on their cell phones, getting free medical, dental, education and even get to leave the prison to attend sporting events, and one day a month go home (unsupervised) for "family day" and we pay them a salary for sitting in jail, so they have money when they get out…????   WHAT THE XXXX ???  Why are we not hearing about any cuts here?


    • kiss says:

      Valid argument.

      1. I think we can get rid of the weststar TV and replace it for a library or an internet cafe that is monitored; and,

      2. They can removed cell phone access from prisoners who would abuse it.

      I’m not quite sure about reducing meals, medical, and dental care. No one would like to be innocent and subject to such a state; especially, if that person is in need of more than two meals a day or certain medical attention.

      You have a different perspective when you’re locked up in a cell.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is supposed to be a PRISON!!

        Why would you get rid of Weststar TV and replace it with an internet cafe? 

        Theyare not supposed to have cell phones in the first place?

        Should have had a different perspective before being locked up in a cell?

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh they already have a well equipped library, and a nice computer room facility to, oh did I mention they were in the process of building a media room for the prisoners with good behavior to have a place to come and watch movies and listen to music…

      • Anonymous says:

        Wonder where you are writing from?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is also so much wrong with your information about Northward.  when last did you visit and find an air conditioned cell? Monthly home visits??

  15. Anonymous says:

    How is the Land and Sea Co-op a charity?

    Isn’t this a cooperative group of profit-oriented businesses?

    • Backstroke says:

      Co-op group, they all west bayers.

      Churches_ enough is enough, how bout that new one going up in Bodden Town, I hear Govt gave them donations and reduced tariffs as it will be used as a shelter. How bout that one.

      I have had enough of the waste,

      • Anonymous says:

        To: Submitted by Backstroke (not verified) on Tue, 04/13/2010 – 17:59.

        quote "Co-op group, they all west bayers." unquote

        Please get your facts right before printing stupidness!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    What about for those that can’t speak for themselves?  Our 4 legged friends!

    Why should Churches be getting any funding from the Government in the first place?  They make enough money as it is!!!

    I guess they aren’t important enough!


    • Anonymous says:

      Animals get a lot more support than anything in support of eradicating AIDS. In the world, yes – here it’s a major problem that everyone turns a blind eye too. I hope their efforts and support is not lost because a pile of foolish admin level civil servants can’t face reality.

      • Anonymous says: