FB group reshapes for future

| 11/08/2012

(CNS): The founders of the Facebook group that formed last month to unite both Caymanians and expats against the government’s plans to introduce a direct tax on work permit holders have reshaped their grassroots movement into a new group called Cayman United. The goal of the new social media movement is to promote wider interest in the community in what government is doing and for people living in Cayman to demand more transparency and accountability from their political representatives. Eden Hurlston told CNS that this is just the beginning of a movement using new technology that will pressure government into doing a better job.

The local entertainer said the group was pleased that government had adopted some of the measures recommended by the original group’s members.

“We feel really good that the discourse in which we were all engaged through the medium of modern technology allowed us to pool thoughts and ideas very quickly and contributed to solving the problems faced by government over the budget and ultimately helped to remove the planned discriminatory tax,” Hurlston told CNS. “The use of this kind of technology to consult with the public and to engage in discussions about important issues is something government needs to utilize itself going forward in an effort to address many more public policy issues.”

Hurlston said the group was well aware that the issue of balancing the government’s books was far from over and it looked as though the hole in government finances was still not properly filled. Many people left Thursday evening’s meeting with far more questions than answers, the group spokesperson stated. Disappointed that the premier refused to open the floor at the Mary Miller Hall last week, Hurlston said that Cayman United would keep the debate going and would continue pressing government for answers.

“To be honest, few of us left on Thursday with a clear idea of where we truly are when it comes to government spending and government revenue, it doesn’t really feel like it is anything like resolved yet,” the West Bayer added. “It still feels like a fiscal crisis and Cayman United is making a call for clearer economic models in the public domain on how the budget projections will work.”

He pointed to many questions about the delayed 2012/13 budget, including questions about the massive amount of unfunded liability that government has with the civil service pension. 

“Does this budget include that? What about the costs that the economy has incurred because of the damage done by the announcement and then u-turn on the expat tax? Despite the premier talking at us for more than two hours, we got an incomplete story.”

The Facebook group members present at the meeting were, however grateful that the premier was a little more restrained in his attacks and tendency to blame everyone. “We must give credit where credit is due but there was still far too much political soap boxing and we didn't get the information that the people need,” Hurlston said, pointing out that the detail on the replacement measures was scant. 

Going forward, the new website will be focused on the goal of trying to get understandable information about government policy and encourage action from the wider community. Hurlston said there was a need for far more public scrutiny of what the politicians were doing with public money and the policies being formed. He said the group was working on shaping the new page to make that possible.

From encouraging people to register to vote, to examining the possible future candidates at the next election and using it as a platform for demanding more from elected representatives, Hurlston warned all the elected members that this was a sea change and the old ways were no longer acceptable.

“We want change; we don’t want the same old, same old and we simply will not accept it,” he added. ”From now on we are keeping an eye on government, demanding transparency and accountability. We are not kindergartners; we need to know what is going on and we need to understand what our politicians are planning, after all they work for us,” he added.

See the new Facebook page Cayman United here

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I believe the key term here is "settled residents".

    • Anonymous says:

      Which they can then be officially recognized as by becoming naturalized

      • Ping Pong says:

        If you just swap the words “getting PR” for “becoming naturalised” then you have got it!

  2. UGH says:

    Classic. Yet Sad and Funny.

     

    The people of the Cayman Islands (citizens & residents) were and are responsible for providing the Government with alternative ideas to the "expat tax" in order to create revenue.

    The Oh So Honourable Premier actually asked the public for suggestions!

    Imagine, Presidet Obama or Prime Minister Cameron or any branch of ANY Government asking the public how to increase revenue for them to waste,errr, I mean spend!

     

    There needs to be a sign hanging in the Government offices that reads…

     

    CAUTION – BRAINIACS AT WORK

     

    What an ULTIMATE FAIL.

     

    UGH UGH & UGH

  3. Anonymous says:

    go GET a job… I've talked to so many business owners who would gladly hire a qualified caymanian… even one who would just show up to work on time and work hard as opposed to paying for a permit. Yes, I'm an ex-pat but no one handed me a job… I knocked on many doors to find someone who would give me a chance and I worked jobs I didn't like until my persistance paid off. I wonder how many doors the person who made the comment about they're not interested unless someone else's focus is to get them a job. Just wow. How about someone cuts off your handout so you are motivated to get a job? What happened to hard work paying off? Personally I'm glad no one handed me anything in life… it was difficult at times but I sure did benefit from figuring out how to survive on my own and stepping up to responsibility. SMH

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree about jobs instead of social service. I think what gov't could do is create jobs for people who are not qualified . Jobs like dishwashers, service jobs in hotels and condo's, bus drivers for companies, gas station attendants.  Does everybody realized that there were many people trying to get jobs that were offered to clean bush ? So don't tell me you need a high school diploma to do these jobs. Hell those jobs should be going on right now. They are young and strong people they want whats right. Its up to gov't to create these jobs  How you say is gov't going to create these jobs?

    Well there was one country this month that told all there pot washers on the island that friday of that week was there last day working on the island . They were told they had till three weeks to get things sorted on the island and leave. There wasn't enough jobs on the island for islanders so unfortunately they would have to go. Good luck  

     

    new yorker

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, those types of jobs are not in shortage here on the island. It's the will to do these jobs that this place is lacking in our people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians don’t want entry level labor intensive jobs. Unfortunately, that’s all most of the currently unemployed Caymanians are qualified for. The turnover rate for Caymanians that do accept entry level jobs is appalling. The Caymanian tradition of coddling precious boy children, and discounting the girls, has produced a couple of generations of males that can’t hold a job, and females that are much more suited to steady work.

    • Anonymous says:

      If only we could get unskilled Caymanians (of which we have plenty) to apply for those jobs they are indeed plentiful here.  But alas, nobody seems to want them hence the ongoing importation of expat labor.

  5. Ed says:

     

    McKeeva Bush walked into a branch of a bank to cash a cheque.  The cashier asked for ID.

    Bush: "Well I didn’t bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am McKeeva Bush, The Premier.”

    Cashier: "I’m sorry, but with all the regulations, monitoring, of the banks because of impostors and forgers, etc. I must insist on proof of identity."

    Bush: "Just ask anyone who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

    Cashier: "I am sorry but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

    Bush:  Getting angry, "Look, I need this cheque cashed!"

    Cashier: "Perhaps there’s another way.  One day Tiger Woods came in here without ID.  To prove who he was he pulled out his wedge and chipped into that bucket over there.  We cashed his cheque.

    Another time, Arnold Schwarzenegger came in without ID.  He took off his shirt and did 50 press-ups and then we cashed his cheque.

    So sir, what can you do to prove that you are The Premier?”

    Bush stood there thinking for a few minutes and finally said, "Honestly, I can't think of a single thing I'm good at.  I’m terrible at everything."

    Cashier: "Will that be large or small notes, Mr.Premier?"

  6. Busta Brown says:

    Honesty and changing government good luck with that !!! The old boy club already making plans for your little group Eden and when they get finished with you, wont be much left. they are not going to allow anyone else to share or influence power old boy unless u play ball. That means they set your agenda for u and you keep your mouth shut when their involved in any matters of interest to them. They run and control government not politicians ,why you think it never changes. I tell you what it's going to take alot more than a few users on facebook to solve or fix that problem thats for sure…

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel so sorry for you Mr. Busta Brown.  The tide has changed in Cayman – we are no longer afraid to voice our opinion and demand to be heard and you appear to have been left behind and fear free speech.  The old boys can threaten all they want but the Cayman youth are becoming stronger and more united by the minute so I suggest you mind yourself and your words of caution as really you are blowing hot air that no one cares to hear.

      Eden – what you are doing is commendable and necessary.  Keep up the good work.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon 11:50 you have alot to learn what Brown said is good advice that many don't heed to their own detriment.

        • Anonymous says:

          Fear fear fear – is that all you can preach?  Detriment for speaking out???  Advising your youth to succumb to the status quo and accept abuse of authority, to look the other way when the government spends like it is drunk, permitting our leaders to mismanage at will and THEN attempt to crush a young person's wish and  GOD GIVEN RIGHT to speak and express themselves freely is truly sad indeed.   Surely these are not the principles you wish to teach our children????  People are just as entitled to run and hide and live in fear if that is what they wish for themselves but in the process do not ask the youth of Cayman to be as scared, spineless and closed minded as you are to be a man or woman with educated conviction who will stand up for what they believe in.   Sadly Sir or Madam I believe it is you that has much to learn indeed.

    • lookeyhere says:

      Dont let em back you down with comments like this eden. Whatever the final outcome many people applaud your effort for change. A lot of us are in a situation where if we voice up we may be penalised for our actions. Which can ruin families and lives. There are many who stand behind you.

  7. Clean Hands & Pure Heart says:

    I share in your surprise that there was no question and answer session at the conclusion of the Premiers monologue/tirade. But I don't understand why nobody  from the audience got up after the meeting to take the microphone to invite rebuttals and discussion. This was a prime chance to show the Premier that we do have a voice which can be spoken without his permission. He may have even felt a little “left out” if we had done so. 

    I would suggest that if any future meetings are called by the Premier or his Cabinet, that you or some other group arrange with the CITN ahead of time and tell them to stick around for the real question and answer session afterwards with or without the Premier. That would be exciting to watch.

     

    As a side issue I would like to add the following. Politicians in general are not likely to change rules which allow them the freedoms they now enjoy. It is up to the people by way of referendum if necessary to reign in these loose cannons by placing rules and regulations that prohibit undesirable actions and behaviors. Primarily we should look at how corporations and Condo Stratas operate. Condominium owners know that they are represented by a small group or committee who hold meetings to make decisions on all matters concerning the condominium. The minutes of these meetings are made available to the owners to show what was said and who said it. This is total transparency. There are no secret meetings behind closed doors since that would be unethical and illegal.

     

    So why do we accept anything less than these standards from our government? Imagine if all government meetings including Cabinet meetings, contract negotiations with private sector entities  and all correspondence whether during working hours or at the bar after work over drinks were documented and made public by law. If Cayman was a giant condominium regulated by Strata Law, we would all have minutes of meetings showing things like how it was decided that government would take over the OMOV referendum or how government came to know of and make deals with CHEC or what was being said behind closed doors at meetings of the ForCayman Investment Alliance. In a condo, all of these details would be made public as they should be. The people have every right to know what their elected representatives are saying and doing on our behalf. As it stands now, most of what affects our future is taking place in secret. As I said earlier, no politician will pass laws to allow this because they like the secrecy. It is up to us, the people, to make this change. In this regard, Face Book could go a long way in motivating people in large numbers to gather or to vote or take steps that result in change. Maybe your group or one like yours will be the true leaders behind the changes we seek.

     

     

     

  8. Anonymous says:

    Please move onto to challenging permit fee charges for PR holders. These are clearly illegal.

    • MackB2 says:

      What law are you making reference to? I would like to read the law in question and would appreciate it if you would provide additional details.

    • Anonymous says:

      The immigration law states that people with PR must pay annual fee equiv to last permit fee until they get status.

      • Pink Grapefruit says:

        Which would be discrimination against settled residents on the basis of national origin which in those circumstances would be contrary to the UK’s ( and hence Cayman’s ) obligations under the ECHR.

        • Anonymous says:

          Immigration policy is discrimination between a countries nationals and foreigners.  Thats the point.

          • WhiffWhaff says:

            But this is not an immigration issuefrom a convention perspective.  The domestic treatment of those with PR would not under the relevant human rights law be anything to do with immigration but rather engages the property rights of those with PR under Art 1/1 and hence Art 14 applies.  Just because something is labelled "immigration" law under Cayman law is pretty much irrelevant.

            • Anonymous says:

              Permanent residency is the _right_ to stay here permanently, which they may or may not do.  Becoming naturalized in most peoples mind is an immigration issue. 

              Frankly, you don't care about discrimination, your just another chump using any angle you can to save cash.

              • Ping Pong says:

                PR = settled resident. Once you reach that stage Art 14 compliance is required to prevent illegal discrimination.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The expansion of those interested in and prepared to scrutinise and criticise government and the status quo is always to be encouraged. But the experience elsewhere is that social media, while good at bringing down government (i.e. saying what we do not like), is not yet proven to be good at building government (developing and executing something concrete).

    At the end of the day, it comes down to the votes actually cast in an election. And in Cayman that means influencing some 15,000 people, first to vote and secondly to vote in a way that produces meaningful change. A very large number of the current voters are (as yet)  unlikely to be tapped in to social media (or the internet), and thus will not be influenced by the new message. So social media activists need also to embrace old style ward politics if they wish to really make a diffference on election day. That requires boots on the ground and door to door miles. No number of quick chats and pressing "send" can be a substitute.

    Tim Ridley

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thats good keep up the scrutiny, we must get integrity back into the system

    Blaming others have never yet solved a problem weather it is Government, private or personal.

    Unfortunately we will never get answers for any of our problems from this adminestration

    as they are too involved with the "blame others game".

  11. Anonymous says:

    Eden Hurlston, congrats for your effort however, real change begins from within.  Caymanians need to first know and realise who they are before any real change can begin.  Don't let others define you and know that often times others will not see you as you see them.  It is an excellent idea to keep an eye on the elected members of government and make them accountable.  The eyes of Cayman are also focused on those that aspire to lead in as much as those that are elected. 

  12. Man From Foreign says:

    Paraphrased Headlines:

    ]'Facebook Group Upset About Tax.'

    'Facebook Group Thinking Of Doing Something.'

    'Facebook Group Decides To Do Something Later.'

    'Facebook Group Decides To Do Nothing Right Now.'

    'Facebook Group Really Mad!'

    Facebook Group Says Their Really Going To Do It.'

    'Facebook Group On Verge…'

     

    Can we be serious? Please!

     

    The Facebook group has been little more than a CNS distraction. Can we stop seeing articles about them until they actually do something tangible? Like most all Facebook groups, there's lots of internet frothing and zero in real life(IRL) action.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would just like to state that this facebook group has brought things to action.  Many of the new revenue measures which the government will be inplementing in place of the CEF were suggested by members of the group.  An increase in cigarette taxes, luxury boat fees and an increase in stamp duty on insurance policies are just a few of those things.

      The question is not what they have done, the evidence of that stands clearly in the public eye.  The question is what's next for this group.

      • Anonymous says:

        "An increase in cigarette taxes, luxury boat fees and an increase in stamp duty on insurance policies are just a few of those things."

        These are not significant suggestions

        • Anonymous says:

          Well don't blame the FB group for that.  It was Woody da Costa and the other business leaders who apparently suggested that.  The FB group have made their own suggestions, as have many others.  What "significant suggestions" have you put forward?

  13. Anonymous says:

    woooooooohoooooooooooooooooo……..about time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well Mac, if Mr Swarbrick, Mr Bellingham, Mr Taylor, Mr Miller, Mr McLaughlin, the police, and FOI weren't enough now you're going to get even more b-brurocratic harrassment. Praise the Lord! 

  15. Anonymous says:

    This new group needs to address a few things.

     

    Firstly, not everyone uses Facebook. There are many reasons ranging from age or not having a computer or simply choosing not to patronize Facebook. I know many people with great thinking ability and creative ideas who don’t have or want email. I personally like what you are attempting but hope that you also make a website outside of Facebook for the rest of us to keep up with your progress and to make contributions.

     

    Secondly, could you explain after seeing this government operate how you think public opinion no matter how it is expressed will make a difference in curbing undesired behavior by our elected members? CNS and other reporting bodies use FOI requests to dig up otherwise hidden facts that are less than pretty yet that’s all there is. Everyone is made aware of misdeeds and wrongdoing but no one does or can do anything about it. When was the last time you saw or heard from out country’s Attorney General on matters that fall underhis official control? Could he have played a role in helping government to find loopholes in our Constitution in order to hijack the recent OMOV referendum by government? We can be pretty certain that the Premier did not work out those nitty gritty details on his own.

     

    Thirdly, the Premier has followers who would follow him off a cliff if he told them to. In their eyes he can do no wrong. He is like Teflon when it comes to criticism. Our cries of outrage roll off his back like water off a duck and he proceeds to do has he pleases because he knows there are no checks and balanced built into our system that can stop him. So how is anything we say going to make a difference or change for the better? Sure, we could create referendums until we’re blue in the face and the government will continue to make sure they are not fruitful. It appears that the voting booth next year will be our last best hope.

     

    Your intentions are good and I hope something good comes from it. But, please consider addressing a way to include the rest of us who don’t use Twitter and Facebook. There are lots of us out here.

    • Anonymous says:

      It takes your actions as well. These people are not going to be able to cater to everyone on the island. They started facebook because a majority of people use the social media website. If you want your voice heard, then I suggest you get in contact with Eden himself via telephone, e-mail or a good old hand written letter. I'm sure he would love to hear from you and would keep youup to date.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately change doesn't happen overnight. Look at what one brand new page on Facebook did to encourage and be part of change. It's only the tip of the iceberg. How would creating a seperate website solve a problem for someone who doesn't want to be part of a group on Facebook? Any forum that I've joined on-line and make comments requires me to list an email address. For someone who chooses to not patronize Facebook or doesn't want email I find it a small sacrafice to make to be part of a group… email is free as is Facebook. You aren't required to do anything else besides create an account and join the group. It's the minimal amount of effort required to voice you opinion on this Facebook page. If they don't have a computer, smart phone, etc. (which is a really small number of people, hardly worthy of creating a seperate outlet) there are places that they can go on-island to log on for free. If someone doesn't care to make that effort I doubt they will want to vest serious time or energy into being part of change in Cayman.

  16. Anonymous says:

    WAY TO GO!  FANTASTIC NEWS!   For far too long, both parties, UDP and PPM, have pandered to xenophobia fears, and used it to divide and conquer and pit the locals against expats.  To Caymanians, please understand that expats mean you no harm, we love you and your country and just want to be able to work shoulder to shoulder with you, for a mutually beneficial society where we can all enjoy a good standard of living for all, not just a few.  Look at history ever since party politics reared its head with the old rhetoric – claiming they are looking out for Caymanians, while at the same time, there is high unemployment.  Ask yourself, who benefits from the work permit fees?   Ask yourself, who is responsible for the dismal education system that turns out young people unprepared to work?  Ask yourself, who allows the sale and giveaway of the country's most valuable assets and land to developers?  Ask yourself, who benefits from people remaining uneducated, unable to think for themselves, and unable to question their leaders, and remain submissive to their leaders?   Ask yourself, who likes to hold onto their political power and keep the status quo the way it is?  As yourself, who wants to retain the old dinasour type of politics, as opposed to bright, young, intellligent and educated Caymanians leading the country?  Ask yourself, who wants to fight freedom of information requests, transparency and accountability?    I don't think you need anyone to answer that one for you.  You will come up with the right one, and there is the root of your problem.   Start demanding better government and better representation for ALL residents, not just some.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Good post which I am generally in agreement with however, I want to point out the redundancy in “and keep the status quo the way it is”.

      To maintain the status quo is “to keep the things the way they presently are”, therefore your statement reads “and keep the ‘to keep things the way they presently are’ the way it is”.

      The Major is probably doing a pirouette in his urn right now.

  17. sickntired says:

    Stop adding ppl to your page without their knowledge.  There are 2000 caymanians without jobs if your group is not focused on this then I am not interested.  Expats wanted to group with caymanians when they were going to be impacted, but you dont hear them talking about giving some caymanian a job.  what a joke!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on 2000 without jobs!! 1800 don't want jobs. When I worked in Cayman the reason I was there in my position was because there was no Caymanians qualified. That is the case for most expats living in Cayman. Why should someone just give you a job, don't you think you have to earn it first!! change your attitude and you may be in with a chance. All the jobs in the hotels, bars, A.L Thompson and all the supermarkets are jobs that anyone can do if they are willing and able. The joke is on you if you are not able to find a job.

       

       

      • John says:

        Hey not having a job is no joke, especially if you ave a family to feed. Then exays wonder why the growing animosity what else do you expect when you disrespect. It would be meaningful if those who make negative comments about Caymanans would volunteer their time to assist in the training of Caymanians , huh, there goes the Alliance..

        • Anonymous says:

          Being ignorant is no joke either. Caymanians need to get educated and stop whining that expats are not "training" them. Be in charge of yourself.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is not a negitive comment about Caymanians but do you honestly think that we should VOLUNTEER our time to train you? Nobody volunteered nothing when I worked in a bar and stacked shelves in the supermarket while studying and trying to make ends meet, but that is exactly what you do when you want to get somewhere in life. Stop blaming everybody else for your laziness. Get of your Ar$e and get a job and stop expecting handouts all the time!!

          • Anonymous says:

            I'm sure the many, highly successful Caymanians working in our community didn't expect anyone else to volunteer to help them succeed — and they would likely be seriously offended at the suggestion.  Unfortunately, this is not an exclusively Caymanian trait.  Where I come from in Canada, there are people with similar views.  They blame everyone else for the fact that they are unhappy with their lives and complain that they didn't get enough help from government, their parents, their bosses etc., and that "foreigners" are taking up all the best opportunities.  The truth is that the foreigners coming into the country are simply hungrier for success.  They are able to see the opportunities and are more willing to work hard to attain success — and they don't turn up their noses at "common" work.  

             

            I'm sure there are complainers all over the world.  The unfortunate thing is that they tend to drag everybody else down with them.  

             

            Wouldn't it be great if Cayman could find a way to motivate these people?  We could be the only country on earth in which every single citizen was willing to pull his or her weight. 

             

             

      • The lone haranguer rides again! says:

        8000 people receiving some form of goverment assistance, ridicules and embarrassing we have become the handout society, cut the bastards off make them work.

      • FmrExPat says:

        A tax just on work permit holders?

        .

        Not that much different than the USA, where there are huge taxes on hotel stays and airport rental cars, which hit out of towners exclusively  –  tax anybody but me!  In this case, a tax just on people who cannot vote, very sinister.

        .

        I, too, used to work on the rock.  A small population just doesn't generate sufficient college educated people capable of doing all the professional level white collar work available in the banking industry, or even in government.  Trust me, the bank were I worked hired locals whenever they could find any who were remotely qualified (and sometimes, believe me, there were those who weren't even remotely qualified, yet continued to hold their jobs).  Bringing in foreign workers causes work permit fees, significant relocation costs, etc.   Banks are run by bottom line oriented business people, they don't hire foreigners just for laughs and giggles. 

        .

    • Anonymous says:

      People are NOT given a job. They GET a job. See the difference?

    • Natalia says:

      Get back to your blog woman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm maybe they’re not the same expats.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is true that some people have been added to that FB group without their consent.  Automatically adding those "invited" to the group undermines the creditibilty of those numbers that suddenly amassed there.  Pity.    

      • Anonymous says:

        I think that is a Facebook issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is something to do with FB's (very annoying) settings, it was never intentionally done by the group.  Indeed, I myself invited some of my friends to join, and noticed they were added before they accepted the invites.  I would not have invited them had I realised they would be automatically accepted into the group and its events.