Government clean up doesn’t plug unemployment hole

| 17/11/2009

(CNS): More than 200 people were estimated to have turned up at the Truman Bodden Sports Centre in George Town on Monday morning, (16 November) looking for the opportunity of just one month’s work on a government clean-up initiative. However, there was only work for around 120 people on the project, which is, according to government, designed to give Caymanians work and clean up the island in time for Christmas. Almost half of them were turned away disappointed as there is not enough money allocated to take on all of those who want work, News 27 reported.

In West Bay, George Town, and Bodden Town only 300 people from a total of 900 that enquired about work on the clean-up projects have been taken on. Ezzard Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, told the TV station that, as far as he was aware, no money had been allocated to clean up his district and that there was no word from East End.

Government is paying workers $10 per hour and supplying one meal and water per day for those who are taken on to the project. Candidates had to be Caymanian, status holders, married to a Caymanian or a permanent resident.

The project was first announced by the premier several months ago as a way to give Caymanians work, clean-up the island and put some money in the domestic economy. With so many people turning up for work, however, government now understands the extent of the unemployment problem it is now facing.

One resident told News 27 he couldn’t believe how many young Caymanians had turned up.

“I was shocked to see the amount of Caymanian youths unemployed,” he said. “No one can say things guys are lazy and they don’t want to work they are here and you could see the frustration when they were not selected.”

Go to News 27 video

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  1. Bodden Towner says:

    Almost half of them were turned away disappointed as there is not enough money allocated to take on all of those who want work, News 27 reported…

    It appears there is not enough money allocated for the workers they took on, let alone the ones they didn’t…. if money has been allocated, why are so many of these workers not being paid what they were promised when they were promised?  Where have the ‘allocated’ funds disappeared to?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we get a breakdown of the unemployed Caymanians by number and qualification, skill set and industry? (840). This way we can target the jobs which are required.  It would also be good to know the various categories of work permit holders (22,000+)

  3. Joe Average says:

    1:42   That was a nice comment. You are at least showing empathy for the people that come here and clean houses, mind children, etc.  Sometimes we all get lost in the hedge fund thing. Talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.. like we all know what that would look like!  There are segments to this society like there are to any other. Unfortunately, when times get tough like they are now, we start picking on each other and the old ex-pat-Caymanian battle gets going.  And it is getting very boring.  For myself I know there are many fine Caymanians because I’ve met them and not every one of them drives a big fancy car. Some just try to make ends meet. Not all ex-pats work in the financial services industry. Some wash clothes and send money home to their family. These are the people that you and I know. And we know this country has a heart.  And it has a soul.  And not many can compare with it. Thank you very much for your dignified post.  Grateful ex-pat.

  4. Miss Caymanian Beauty says:

    I honestly can’t believe you people are so selfish, caymanians deserve a job so much as a expat. Don’t get me wrong at my work place I have co workers from across the world and they are sweet and caring people, but this is the Cayman Islands belongs to CAYMANIANS not jamaicans, hondureans, cubans, haitians etc. you name it!!!!

    Caymanians need jobs also, it’s so hard I am a young caymanian trying to make it in life, there are good caymanians around the place that can’t get a job and it’s sad. Not that they haven’t tried getting one but they won’t get hired. People make mistakes but who are you to judge anyone?? 

    I have a few things I would like to say.


    1. You expats come in this island and try to point fingers at caymanians; young caymanians especially.

    2. I know a few young caymanians that are my age and some that are older than me caymanians that I look up to, can’t find a job. It isnt fair to our society, and I think what they goverment is doing or whoever it is that’s doing it I thank you, because my family and friends are a few that are on the road cleaning just happy that they have some sort of job. And it was really smart of you to make the jobs just for status holders, caymanians etc.

    3. I am really disappointed in the foolishness caymanians are going on with because it’s low life people that do that, I love my caymanian people and I won’t give them up for anyone in this world.


    I pray that things with jobs get a lot better for the younger caymanians that will be graduating next year and the other year to come and so forth.


    may god be with this Island, and the sister islands 🙂


    Have a good day

  5. Anonymous says:

    Shame on you UDP bunch, what about East End and North Side… Take money from the Slash Funds and help clean up East End and North Side.  I lost all respect for you UDP bunch.

    Did anyone hear if Cayman Brac got any clean up funds??

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if any background checks are being done on these workers? When I went home this afternoon I saw a group of clean-up people clearing by the edge of the road near my fence and later I noticed a large bunch of bananas had been cut and stolen from my tree that is two feet from the fence and three feet away from where they threw the cleared grass. Never had a problem of theft in this area before. Just wondering.


    • Anonymous says:

      I thought we were bankrupt? We couldn’t even hold our annual beauty pageant, pay civil servants, or even pay our bills! Where is all this money coming from, or was all that talk by Mr. Bush about bankrupsy after the elections just a load of untruths in his usual attempts for political gain by trying to make the PPM look bad? It wouldn’t surprise me! They have stooped much lower than that for political points!

  7. Anonymous says:


    Even those who do not have a tertiary education still need to pay a mortgage buy groceries pay CUC and water bills and send there children to school in a country where cost of living it through the roof $10.00 an hour when based on a 40 hour work week for one month equates to $1600.00 a month how many of you could live off of that?? Heaven forbid it’s a single parent – Expat labor comes cheep they live 12 toa house or in the most unsavory areas of Cayman where a studio apartment comes with a small monthly rental fee so they can afford to live on little to nothing I’m not saying they live in the best of circumstances but they make the choice to be here Caymanians do not- this is home – Caymanians can’t afford to live on 6-8 dollars an hour and when and if they do apply for these jobs it isn’t likely that a employer will even consider them because they know that they can get the labor for cheaper from the expat they put the renewal in for –
    I’m sure if the jobs paid what was necessary for someone to live a comfortable lifestyle in Cayman many many more Caymanians would be doing them- contrary to the popular belief  that we are lazy and have no work ethic (not saying that there aren’t Caymanians like that but there are people like that in every nationality) I believe that if a minimum wage was set that was in alignment with the current cost of living things might be different and you would see more Caymanians doing the jobs that “we are to lazy” to do and less expat laborers would be needed ….. but that won’t happen because too many influential business owners have gotten to used to paying so little for so long
    “so it go”  


    • Anonymous says:

      Why should any Caymanian with no school education, no prospects or no willingness to train be too good to live in a ‘unsavoury area’?

      There are many many unsavoury areas all over the world and loads in the UK or the USA. Millions of Americans and british people have to live on minimum wages and have to live in these hovels. Your birthrights are no more than theirs.

      Get away from the mentality that you are entitled to live like kings. you’re not unless you are prepared to work extremely hard all your life to get educated, trained, qualified and a bit lucky to do incredibly well at work. you don’t earn the right for having a Caymanian passport or a GT High school leavers certificate.

      If they implemented a minimum wage, then all the local prices would increase as Fosters needs to pay their workers more, so they put up their prices etc etc. This means that even on the new minimum wages nobody is better off because all the prices have gone up.

      If there were no expats to prop up your economy, there would be no economy. Unless you want to get back to go back to supporting your family by fishing and making rope, you should be thankful that the fruits of the expat labours are allowing you to buy your nice 4×4, have your safe house in a nice area,pay for your drinking habits and wife beating.

      • Oh land of soft fresh breezes says:

        Education had absolutely nothing to do with how hard a person is willing to work and I was not suggesting that a Caymanian with no school education, no prospects or no willingness to train were too good to live in an ‘unsavory’ area but rather any Caymanian who is hard working and driven but may not have had the means to get a formal education deserves to make enough money to survive and live comfortably and if you slid off your high horse for two seconds to read peoples comments properly instead of searching for an argument and anyway possible to put down and degrade Caymanians and our culture you might have realized this

        It’s the people like you that make me so happy for the rollover policy but I wish you would just get on a plane and go back to whatever unsavory part of the world you came from of your own regard because people who have no respect for the people and culture of a country that they make a choice to live in do not belong there. I work very hard for what I have I was lucky enough to have a brilliant family support network to help me and guide me in the right direction and also the funds to move forward with that guidance and get an education and travel to broaden my mind . Unlike the UK And the US Cayman doesn’t give handouts to its citizens no Dole or Welfare here sweetheart no payout every time you have a baby and no counsel housing or tenements – you can’t compare a small Island in the Caribbean to the US and the UK but if you really wanted to they have minimum wage and a support network in place for there citizens incase that’s not enough … So yeah point made
        Just an FYI Caymanians Worked hand in hand with expats (whom most of now have been here so long they are a part of our culture our community and they call Cayman home and have more than the right to do so) to develop these Islands get it straight. Gone are the days when the expats who came here loved this country and wanted to integrate themselves into the culture and to help it grow, they are replaced with a bunch of self righteous prats like you who have nothing better to contribute but negativity and that’s so very sad. I would be so much happier fishing and making rope if it meant not having to deal with people like you.
        Guess I’ll be off in my 4×4 now need to feed my drinking habit before I go home and beat my fiancé he’s due for a good one
      • Anonymous says:

        So you came to Cayman to fish ans twist rope too. If we had such a bad living here you would not have come here. Many many years ago it was difficult all over the world but we rose up above that before we got invaded by such folks such as you.

  8. Curious Jorge says:

    Where is all this trash that is collected going to go? To the landfill? That’s rich.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The drunk guy directing a lawn mower in circles in the center of the North West Point Road on a blind corner today, may not have been the best one for the job.

  10. Bee Sting says:

    Well It’s No Surprise!


    No Surprise North Side and maybe East End has not received any funds at all or at least for the time being. Hopefully Mr. Miller / Mr. Mclean won’t allowed this to slip by like everything else when it comes to the Eastern Districts.

    Please for the love of God see to it that they too receive funds regarding these projects. There’s  lots of young & middle age men & women who needs a couple of dollars in their pockets for the Christmas as well.

    Big Mac/Ellio please note’ they too have families to feed  and bills to pay. There’s no reason why either of you should say” there’s no funds left’ or we’ll see what we can do. If this be the case what ever funds were brought forward to complete these projects ‘one of you should have seen that each District received the same amount of funds as Bodden Town/Goerge Town & West Bay did, no if or buts regarding this situation.

    As for my Two cents” respect goes out to the clean up grew which I so happen to pass this morning in Breakers/Bodden Town’ great job guys within such a short period of time one can say ” you can see the difference already’. 

    Just hope the other two Districts are funded bringing this project to a complete success for the Christmas Holidays and not one that would end up half completed. But one that will fill the pockects of a few MORE good persons who so happen to live within those Small/Sweet Eastern Districts as well!

    Good Day Big Mac/Ellio – Don’t Sleep on this one / rather deal with it now!

    • Spellin B says:

      For unleashing the Pied Piper of the Mediocre Mafia known as Ezzard Miller North Side should be quiet for a while longer.

      • Stone says:

        Hell To The No!


        Hell no,

        North Side should not and would not be quiet for a while longer, why should they? Is this because you clearly stated ” unleashing the Pied Piper of the Mediocre Mafia known as Ezzard Miller??? If this be the case you sound like you know the man quite well so therefore you should clearly know Ezzard won’t keep quite because you think it fits North Side best.

        North Side has been left behide way too long and no one to fight back muchless speak up for them therefore I don’t blame them’ don’t be quiet any longer. Ezzard am not sure about Mr. Mclean but then on the other hand am more than sure Mr. Mclean won’t stand still neither and why should he? Both of you need to stand firm for what’s best for both North Side & East End.

        Being quiet is no longer a demand” like the past’ use your voices and be heard, speak loud and clear your no different from any other Districts that’s rooted down in this rock.

        Simple as that!

  11. Anonymous says:

    No wonder there were so many people turning up when they are paying $10 an hour, which is more than many jobs pay, especially for unskilled and labourers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people quitting their regular jobs for a slice of this pie.

    Paying somebody $10 an hour to pick up trash is great in the short run as it will put money into people’s pockets for Xmas and hopefully stop them going out robbing and mugging people. But in the long term it is setting a precedent of paying $10 an hour plus free meals for menial unskilled and very relaxed working.

    The private sector employees doing menial jobs like gardening, security and cleaning are getting maybe half that wage per hour and being worked much harder.

    How many of these people would have turned up if they were offering $6 per hour and no freebies. That’s what these kind of jobs are paying nowadays and there are plenty of them available and plenty more with expats working them.

    If the government didn’t give people false hopes that they can drop out of school and still get a cushy job, then we would see a massive change in the young population. We would have almost full employment amongst Caymanians if they were willing to do the same job for a market wage.


    • Anonymous says:

      I have never posted here before, but just wanted to say that we need to ensure that we have the right information before we blabber off our mouths! My son is one of those out there working for the clean up and I’ll tell the whole world he is not there to keep from stealing or robbing. Further he is not there because of the $10.00 nor the freebies!  These folks did dnot even know what they were gonna be paid until they got there on Monday morning.  When he went to the office last week to register, they told  him ‘it’s not going to be much’ and he replied that, it would be a help and that he did not care how little it was, he would do it.  He is there (like many of the other, I guess)  because he needs work, he is tired of me having to foot all of the bills.  He has been out  of school for almost 2 years (and yes he did graduate – he did not drop out)  and has been unable to get a full time job.  He even signed up with the Employment Relations department, however, has not been able to get a job. Everytime he was contacted he was asked whether or not he had any experience, even to do construction work.  We all sit around and critize the young, but we are the very same people who insist that we want someone with ‘experience ‘ and then we turn around and hire  a foreigner  who has no  more experience than the Caymanian.   Please, lets stop critizing and putting people down when we have no idea what we are actually talking about. Give your people a little more credit. Why is it that we are always putting our own down?  At the end of the day we are all left here to suffer together. 

      • Joe Average says:

        Your comment struck a nerve.  I remember oh too well trying to get my first job.  I had to lie and say "yes, I do have experience."  I had bought a carpenter’s apron and dragged it behind my car to make it look well-used. That was a long time ago and it was a trick but fortunately it worked. For the next several weeks I did whatever anyone else did and watched and learned. It was very stressful because I wasn’t sure if anyone would notice I had never picked up a hammer in my life!  I feel for young people in the position where they are asked "do you have experience?" Because I don’t think the person asking them can remember when they didn’t also. It can be discouraging. My suggestion for your son is to return and tell the truth. "No, I don’t have experience, but here I am and I want to." And keep doing it. Until whoever they’re talking to remembers when they didn’t have experience either. Someone will. And perhaps if he returns to the same place several times they will see that he is willing and able and interested. That counts for a lot. Don’t be discouraged. And Good luck.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why is government paying so much CI$10.00 per hour plus a meal just to get people to work doing menial labour. I know there is no minimum wage here but we have many many many people in the Cayman Islands both on permits and not on permits who are making far less than this amount per hour doing work that requires far more skills than bending down and picking up and bagging trash.It is because we spoil our people with this hourly rate of pay for doing menial labour and give them unrealistic expectations that they then refuse to work for anything less at a later date. I support this initiative 100% however a more realistitc hourly rate would have been CI$8.00 per hour and no meal and then they would have been able to hire more people.

    • Real Deal says:

      I agree totally with poster 9:22 and as the old saying goes " half a loaf of bread is better that none" Ellio please get back to these people with a reasonably revised payment condition, one that each of them will be able to walk away with a piece of the pie and have an enjoyable Christmas holiday. 

    • Young.KY.female says:

      It’s the norm here. I had a friend who interned in a department that shall remain nameless over his summer break from studying abroad (where he was not attaining the grades "required" to keep the scholarship government was providing him, mind you) and got paid close to $14/hour even though there were 3 other interns and no real work available except for some archiving and catching up on ‘Days of Our Lives.’ And still the civil servant wants to cry about contributing more to their healthcare and pension ya-da-ya-da. 

      It’s also not in the Caymanian’s nature to work as a gardner or trash collector even though those paid by DOE make a pretty penny.  The only reason so many showed up to this is because it just proves they’re out looking for work, it’s a shortterm deal and they can be a part of an initiative confirming the desperation in the air.  Yes, we have a crisis – many are not working and are looking.  But even more are not looking but are waiting for something better to come along and for the economy to just fix itself and this is just an easy way to make a few extra bucks before the holidays.

      While there are some good intentions behind this project, I’m not sure how a one-month project is going to change the economy at any rate.  I wonder how beautiful they can make our island look this holiday season…and if these workers will actually get paid before Santa comes.

  13. bradley says:


    This is evidence that there is not enough work for people, especially, young Caymanians. We have too much government regulations and fees, scaring businesses away from these Islands, or making it very difficult for the average Caymanian to compete with other companies or create his/her own business. To get a trade and business license, go through customs, hire workers, and pay other fees – it is too expensive for the average Caymanian! And who is to blame? We cannot help but point the finger at a Government that has pervaded every aspect of our lives, and is growing larger and larger. I can’t see how increasing government fees are going to help the general public without hurting our business market! Don’t be surprise, at the final analysis that “such fee” increases will only fill the pockets of government officials. The money will go no where else and sadly, unemployment in the private sector will increase. We will have more and more Caymanian graduates with no hope of finding a place to live and work in this society. Unfortunately, they would have to go overseas.
    On the other hand, I will never condone us taxing (legally stealing from) Caymanians and business owners in any form as a solution to this economic crises. I can see the UK is attempting to persuade our government to go in the direction of taxation. As a historian, let me remind you, that God has blessed us so far for our obedience to the seventh commandment, “You shall not steal.” We have been tax free for a very long time and have seen the results, being the most prosperous Island in the Caribbean. We have a lot to be thankful for. Government needs not tax its citizens!  Instead, government needs to market itself to increase its own revenue – this is the just and fair way in dealing with people and clients. The less government interference in our society, the more the banking and financial industry will thrive, and as a result, the more jobs.  
  14. Anonymous says:

    So North Side didn’t get any money and no word from East End… remind me again which are the two districts with no UDP candidates voted in?

    Oh yeah, it’s the ones where the constituents are going to be angry with their representative because they didn’t get a piece of the pie that the UDP cut up.

    If this is true, shame, shame UDP.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Simple questions

    1. Did any Permanent Residents getemployment in preference to any Caymanians?  If so, they were likely employed in breach of Immigration Law.

    2. Did any of the Permanent Residents employed have permission to work in this field on their certificates. If not, they may be liable to lose their permissions.

    3. Are there any PR holders in Cayman who are "destitute"? If so, their permissions can be revoked.

    4. Does anyone in Government care what our laws say?

    • Please do this! says:

      Yes expressly discriminate against a PR on the basis of nationaility so we can get a human rights law suit up and running in London and bring this whole apartheid structure crashing down.

      • Anonymous1 says:

        PR require work permits so a Caymanian should be hired over a work permit holder.

      • Anonymous says:

        You sir, are the reason growing numbers of Caymanians do not trust growing numbers of expatriates. For you to compare our Law of preferring citizens to expatriates in employment to apartheid is offensive and unconscionable in the extreme.

        • Anonymous says:

          Offensive and unconscionable yes, but unfortunately true.

          Thats why expatriates without adequate health insurance are left to die in the street rather than get the treatment they need in miami. That’s why expatriate children have to go to special segregated schools.

          Making expatriates feel like second class citizens and discriminating aginst them on grounds of nationality or colour. Doesn’t sound too far away from apartheid to me and I’m Caymanian!

          Yes our people should have first pick of all jobs if they are willing and able to do those jobs. But when we welcome people into our country and they spend most of their lives here then they have earned the right to be permanent residents and should be treated as citizens like we are when we settle in any other country and become citizens.

          • Anonymous says:

            You miss the point. Expatriates are not second class citizens and they are not first class citizens either for a simple reason. They are not citizens (of the Cayman Islands). And I fight for fair treatment, and health insurance, and everything else for them – but am not ashamed to say that in employment Caymanians come first.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If Caymanians are willing to do this kind of work then why are so many jobs being given to work permit holders? Look at the people who work for gardening companies? there must be hundreds on the island. Few, if any are caymanians. Lots of prople working in supermarkets are on permits. What about helpers?  Do caymanians apply for these jobs or are they applying and being turned down. Hiring somebody on a work permit is very expensive, time-consuming and extremely tedious. I can’t believe employers wouldn’t always go for  Caymanian first. 

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Shops – Being paid $4.00 plus free room and board only applies to the foreigner.  The Caymanian gets $4 an hour and has to pay rent.  If the foreigner has to pay rent, they share with many others.

      Gardening companies – Most employees pay their own work permits, pension and medical.  If they have medical and pension.  They want to workso bad, they do without it.  Would you hire a Caymanian if you could do the above and lets not forget they get paid about $5.00 an hour.  Let’s not forget, Caymanian don’t want that job when they can work at Public Works cutting bush for $10.00 hr.

      Helpers – Yeah, right.  Which Caymanian wants to do that?  This post isn’t always advertised either.


      • anon says:

        Shop workers get free rent if their foreign, LOL, nice one, they also get free cars with that $4 an hour, LOL

        Gardeners forcing workers to pay their WP, and medical is illegal, as seem to know lots of companies that do this why have you not reported them?

        Helpers- if you’re desperate for work any job will do even as a helper. Just shows what you see as desparation is being able to afford you brand new Blackberry

        • Anonymous1 says:

          I don’t have a blackberry.  My car is always broken down and I live in aold house.

          I couldn’t support my family on a helper’s salary.  No, I don’t have a fancy car and my kids don’t have ipods, or any of the other fancy gadgets.  We have one t.v. with a broken speaker.

          I don’t feel the need for a fancy car, 300, 000 dollar house, blackberrys, ipods, or any other expensive gadgets.  I am happy if I can pay my mortgage, food, and utility bills.

          I don’t go Miami every weekend.  I would be happy if I can go once a year to Tampa to visit my family.

          Don’t make assumptions about people that you know nothing about.  I’m Caymanian but the truth is that most Caymanians wouldn’t take a helper’s job because of the pay.

          The helpers are sending their money home to make a better life for them there but that’s not enough money to make a life for a Caymanian to buy a house here.

        • Anonymous1 says:

          "Shop workers get free rent if their foreign, LOL, nice one, they also get free cars with that $4 an hour, LOL " Read the 2nd part.

          "Gardeners forcing workers to pay their WP, and medical is illegal, as seem to know lots of companies that do this why have you not reported them?" Immigrations job not mine.  They know it’s going on.