Bush presses government for protection of caregivers

| 12/09/2014

(CNS): The opposition leader’s bid to get government to re-instate special measures for non-Caymanian caregivers under the immigration lawhas gained sympathy with the ruling administration after the Legislative Assembly supported McKeeva Bush’s private member’s motion on the issue. Although government has not yet spelt out how it will address the immigration status of these work-permit holders, most of whom would not be likely to qualify under the law for permanent residency, the politicians have agreed they should not be rolled over when they are taking care of the elderly or infirm. In a brief debate Thursday, Bush pointed out the particular distress caused to older members of the community when they face losing the people that may have cared for them for many years.

During his time as premier Bush introduced a special care-givers permit that would allow this specific category of workers to be exempted from what was then the seven year term limit. However, when the PPM administration made changes to the immigration law last October to remove the seven year rollover and allow all permit holders to stay up to nine years and have the chance to apply for PR, the special pass for caregivers was removed.

Nevertheless, Premier Alden McLaughlin stated that the government was very sympathetic to the situation and was already examining how it could be addressed and indicated the government would support Bush’s motion.

“This matter is of much concern to many people in our community,” Bush told his LA colleagues during the debate. “Those of us with aged parents can appreciate how the law had assisted people with sick elderly loved ones who sometimes have two caregivers. These aged individuals are not used to or can’t tolerate change and new faces around them,” he added as he pointed out that some are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, stressing the importance of those who care for them as he appealed to government to do something.

McLaughlin agreed that there were real challenges for families with sick or elderly relatives being cared for by people with whom they have an important relationship. But the problem lay in who takes care of the caregivers later on as they are among the lower paid people employed in Cayman, he said, noting the need to find a balance. He said that government was sensitive to the issues and had heard the concerns and pleas from the community, so it would find a way to address it. McLaughlin indicated that some form of amendment would be brought alongside the next phase of immigration law amendments.

The move by the government was welcomed by back-bench MLA Anthony Eden, who said he too has had many representations from his constituents in Bodden Town about the matter. He pointed out that the change in thelaw would help the people and that was what they were meant to do as representatives. And if they helped others, God would help them with the other challenges that come with it.

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden also noted that no one had felt good about removing the care-giver exemption and he agreed that, despite the obvious burden on the state these people may become in the future, the numbers were not so great that the government couldn’t find a way to bear that burden, as he too noted the service they are providing

Bush thanked the government for support and said that it, like all other governments, had to realize there are situations it can’t avoid dealing with despite the challenge. He pointed to the possibility of using the provision in the law that enable the government to offer status in exceptional circumstances. Bush said he believed this category of workers were exceptional cases and warranted finding a way. He pointed out that in the end government held the power to make the change and put in place safeguards so it would not be open to abuse.

Category: Politics

Comments (24)

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  1. Just note says:

    Just to note:

    The newly renovated Pines Retirement Home currently has room and a few open beds, rooms, and even a villa.  It offers much better care (RNs, healthy diet, social, and community involvement) and is less than a US facility. 

    People planning for the future should get long term care insurance and families should look into options like this.  Would you rather pay $1500 -$2000 a month for a glorified helper for a lonely loved one or good professional community care for just a little more.

    The children of the elderly should examine quality of life as well as cost of caregivers.

  2. Anonyanmous says:

    Yes Mr. Bush, help the care givers but please don't forget the Caymanians your people who don't have jobs and want to work, please remember them and do right by them also.  We the Caymanian people and you have given so much don't you think that it's now time to save some for ourselves and future generations?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Since we are on this subject what about some of these rude cashiers such as places like the supermarkets and gas stations. There is a certain one that the public who goes there are always complainig of. She has a bad attitude toward Caymanians , and also has no mannerism suvh as singing to the top of her voice and chewing her gum so loud and its constant. Everyone talks of her and only goes there to buy gas because the respect that good family in George Town. People like that should be made to work at the back doing other work rather than being a cashier. The Caymanian resentment comes over so strong.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Nothing is going to change in Cayman until we stop importing cheap labour and rude people. Don't believe you've seen nothing yet a new set of people are coming that are twice as rude. Our society does not have a caste system and we had better not encourage it here either.  It is just time to stop the importation of cheap labour period, pass a minium wage before it is too late and poverty destroy our beautiful country and way of life.  I visited a neighbourhood recently and was shocked to see the once beautiful neighbourhood had turned into a slum the kind that you will find in any third world country and worst than any one of the projects that I have visited in the USA.  If nothing changes between now and the end of the year I am going to go into those neighbourhoods and create a Youtube account to bring attention to this problem.  We are first world and cannot allow people to come here and change our way of life by creating environments that they are used to. No when you go to Rome you do as the Romans do…. when I went to Italy I ate pasta because they did not serve stew conch.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am an expat and technically a care giver…I support those care care giving charities financially, so I will not get rolled over, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Bush is just looking for voters from an impressionable sector of the immigrant voting population. These people failed to return his party at the last election.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It looks like people need to do some forward planning on their own. Rather than govt create a law for ppl which can inevitably damage the island in the long term. I am experiencing this issue. I have a caregiver for my mother and she will be rolled over shortly. My forward planning?for the past two years I have sought jobs overseas which I can them move my mother and the caregiver. Then when the caregiver is allowed back. We move back. This isn't thought about at a whim. This is called forward planning. You think out the box to plan. Or find another person and have that person get accustomed to your family member.  This is your personal responsibility and not the govt. I find this place I call home practically a nanny state. "Oh I can't pay my bills this month. Let the govt do it" rather than "let me get a second job" why don't people get that second job? Because it will interfere with their personal life. Bar, time with family, time spent at the salon etc. Well guess what if times are hard reevaluate what you are doing and stop going to social services. Spend less. Your kids and you don't need to eat out, nor have that fancy car, nor NEED to run the AC all the time. They are all luxuries not mandatory. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You cannot plan anyway but forward so adding 'forward' to planning makes no difference

  6. Anonymous says:

    So rollover causes too many issues for caregivers. It also causes too many issues for government employees so both need special measures. Hopefully the caregivers are sustaining the real estate market because any expat who has reviewed the point system wouldn't bother investing for a measly 30 (max) out 110 points.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t bother with real estate for 30. Just get a Caymanian girl (even one who became Caymanian last week) pregnant will get you 40. Just make sure the baby is born before you apply!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully they asked a question about how of the jurors need caregivers or want caregivers to get status.

     

    What a mess, we already see how much has to be sent home from the Jamaican community but if other CAymanians and status hodlers want to keep importing votes for UDP, just sit back and encourage this too and see who will be taxed to care for the caregivers and their dependents. 

     

    Immigration policy should not be used to increase votes at either end of spectrum, whether poor or wealthy, it is just disgusting application of our alws for political power and greed.

     

    We can offer extensions of work permits for these categories but you know what? can't wait to really have some government departments privatized and maybe when the Caymanians who are supporting the UDP in their strategy for votes start losing their jobs, can't pay for the caregivers etc let's see what the UDP will do for them, for eg what the UDP didnt do with CUC fuel duty when they the chance.

     

    Remember the UDP is partly if not mainly to blame for the mess we're in, an immediate challenge from status grants etc….SO until Caymanians, especially West BAyers realise what their loyalty to a leader and the colour green is doing to them and all of our futures, things will get worse. Lord Help us if Alden falls for this or is 'in on this strategy too' continue to give status for the sake of giving it and to the same nationals.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Alden is a strange guy. The provision was in the law and clearly they thought about it and made a decision to take it out.  I have to assume they had their reasons then.  Its as if he was shamed into changing his mind or too weak to stand behind his own convictions. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good to me. The folks that are here can stay for as long as required for these families. But with 1000 plus folks registered at the NWDA, hire these people before any new permits are granted. Look there first please. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Priceless!  Bye-bye, Bushman!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Give them extensions – certainly not PR, and CERTAINLY NOT STATUS. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would like to hear Mac's proposal for what should happen after the "caregiver" has been here for over 10 years then the person they are looking after passes away or recovers. Does he advocate they be automatically given citizenship? Does he say they should immediately return to their homeland?

  13. Anonyanmous says:

    The Premier addresses the problem of who will take care of the caregiver when they get old, there in lies the problem which is indeed a fine line.  To this I say much though must be placed into the problem and solution.  

    1. We will have to increase the pay given to caregivers and insist that pensions are paid to them;
    2. We might have to place an age limit of not over 35 for new caregivers so that if they are given residency and allowed to live it is a good chance that they will be young enough to find other suitable employment and take care of themselves after their employment is over

    We cannot be too emotive because this can lead to disaster just as it did with the status grants of 2003.  I am first to admit that many person who got status from the grants of 2003 deserved it while few did not but it is this kind of ill fated thinking that has and is causing trouble in the island today and unfortunately it is only a few but as the saying goes no bad apple spoils the whole lot.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have a son with an illness that requires constant supervision. When our helper of seven years was granted the Special Caregiver Certificate it gave my family a sense of security we were not expecting. Mac made that possible and we should ensure other families have the same option for security.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is all well and good. What you need to answer for yourself is what responsibility are you willing to undertake when the helper/caregiver becomes too old to provide these services? Are you currently paying them enough for them to care for themselves? Are you paying an adequate pension amount for them? Will you allow them to live with you if they cannot afford their own place?

      In other words what happens when this person is no longer needed or they can no longer provide the service you need?

    • Anonymous says:

      And the caregiver, in a few years, will have a right to stay forever, and bring her family, and put pressure on Government services, and harm the sense of security of the wiser community. Have you been paying into a pension for her? Most do not. There is a solution that works for your son, you, the caregiver and the community, but it does not include her being able to become a Caymanian.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can't keep a good man down.  Hard man fe Dead!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    This should not only be for the elderly it should be extended to the care givers of those with "special needs". These people also get attached to their care givers and are also affected when their world is turned upside down with change.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what the "consultant fee" is on that?