Anglin coy over basic wage

| 24/02/2011

(CNS): Despite comments by the premier on Monday confirming the United Democratic Party government’s commitment to a minimum wage, the minister for labour appeared less enthusiastic about the prospect when he made a speech in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. Rolston Anglin, who is currently revising the Labour Law with a view to presenting the new legislation to his parliamentary colleagues by the time of this year’s budget debate, said there were many arguments against a basic minimum wage and many issues for Cayman to consider before introducing the legislation. Listing some dozen questions over the issue, at no time did he say if he actually supported theconcept or not.

The minister’s speech comes in the wake of a political battle which took place during the committee stages of the Legislative Assembly on Monday, when the independent member for North Side attempted to insert a clause into a government amendment of the labour law to remove the cap on workers’ severance and compensation that would have introduced a national basic minimum wage. Ezzard Miller had proposed a flat minimum rate of $5 but his motion was eventually removed by the speaker on the basis, she said, that there was not a schedule with his amendment.

However, the issue focused the legislator’s attention on the debate for the introduction of a minimum wage in Cayman, which has continued for several years with no government managing to actually implement one, despite there being provision for it in the Labour Law.

On Wednesday Anglin spent some time presenting the arguments for and against a minimum wage in his speech with a definite emphasis on those against.

“Although the goals of the minimum wage are widely accepted as proper, there is a great disagreement as to whether the minimum wage is truly effective in attaining its goals,” the minister stated, adding that minimum wages were highly controversial and had received much less support from economists than the public, and he said that despite decades of experience the debates continued. “It is extraordinarily difficult to separate the effects of minimum wage from all of the other variables that affect employment.”

Listing the pros and cons, he said that while supporters claimed it increases the standard of living for the poorest, those against said it excludes low cost competitors and hampers business from reducing wage costs in recession and hurts small businesses. While those for it say it stimulates consumption by putting more money in people’s hands, others say it causes inflation, the minster pointed out.

In the Cayman context Anglin said there were lots of questions, from what the rate should be, what its real impact on poverty would be, what its impact would be on attracting Caymanians into the workforce away from illegal activities, and would it increase the cost of living, he asked rhetorically.

He wondered whether employers would lower existing wages to drop down to meet a minimum wage and how families would cope with the increase in the cost of hiring domestic helpers, and what the impact on small business would be. He queried whether benefits would be factored into the rate, whether some categories of workers had to be exempt and what the enforcement implications would be to government.

Miller’s attempts to introduce a minimum wage via committee on Monday would not have been debated on the floor of the House, would not have allowed for the 21 day consultation period or for public gazette and would not have answered any of the questions he had raised, Anglin told the Legislative Assembly.

“As elected members we must ensure that what we do will benefit our people,” the minister added. “The government must have dialogue and consultation to ensure the impact of a minimum wage is positive and that our people are better off because of it. Such dialogue cannot be restricted to talk show appearances or introducing committee stage amendments to bills.”

Anglin said government was not opposed to a minimum wage but said it would be properly debated and “robust public consultation allowed”, as the outcome had to be one that betters people’s lives.

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  1. Young Educated Caymanian... says:

    I am a young Caymanian (attended a prestigous college overseas) who has chosen to work inthe toursim industry. 

    I think it is long over due and high time that a minimum wage be introduced here…for the four/five past years since working at various hotels/restaurants gaining experience I have seen "middle aged" workers, true Caymanians and paper Caymanians alike earning $4.00 per hour. These people have worked in the tourism industry all their lives, they didn’t have the opportunity that I have to attend college. One cannot live and survive of this wage it is time for a law to be put in place.

    I chose to go into this career field, as other family members also worked in the tourism industry.  One does have to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, banker and the likes we also need people in the tourism industry…I love my job!!



  2. Anonymous says:

    this whole thing reminds me of the introduction of the rollover…..we have caymanians who think it will solve their ’employability issuues’…..but just like the rollover policy it will fail and cause huge damage to the economy…..

    when will caymanians give up their sense of entitlement and always wanting something for nothing?…if you want decent pay earn it by eductating yourself and working hard!

  3. Libertarian says:

    @19:12  *****

    Maybe you should consider analysing the ethical question:  Is it moral to impose taxes and penalties on people in order to feed and take care of those who are poor, disabled, and helpless?  Ethically speaking, to impose any tax, is to legally rob other people, because the government would have to enforce a fine or term of imprisonment in order to make you pay your hard earnings if you should refuse to do so!  Secondly, and here is the moralistic irony, to not help another person in dire need and just watch them suffer in their helpless state, would be to deny that intrinsic human connectivity that defines love, mercy, and justice in all human beings. Hence, the above ethical question in itself is problematic!  Apparently, you are stuck on the latter aspect of it, but fail to see the former one that if I work hard for my monies and play the game of capitalism aright, why should I be force, intimidated, or threatened by any government to hand over my earnings to another?  Wouldn’t it be immoral to impose a penality upon me if I should fail to do so?  Shouldn’t giving ones monies to another be a voluntary act!  And of course, it is your civic duty to help the poor, disabled, and helpless!  But "how" is the question!  I am a man of principle!  Why would I want to steal or "legally rob" another person and why would I not want to help the poor and needy?  To have a minimum wage, is to have fines and penalties with it against an employer just like you would add to a tax law. Although it would benefit the unskilled laborer, there is no appeal made to give from the heart!  Everything is unnatural!  Employers will comply only because they fear governmental penalities – not because they see it is immoral to pay their workers chicken fee!  I just do not think this is the best way to go! Government can always make an appeal to the public for welfare donations, they can always provide more free opportunities for its people to aspire, and they can always educate without having to impose arbitrary laws on the market. The Government should not be a religious or moral instrument of force unless it is an emergency situation where loss of life is eminent! The government can make appeal to the business community on coming together and helping those with low wages. The private sector can come together and start welfare programs, help with educating our youth, and create more opportunities for those who are not so skilled with the most common trades. The well-off must "want" to do good – not forced by law!  Also, I just don’t expect government to get rid of all indirect taxes (I wish they do), but they could at least start by lowering their fees and duties upon the people and private sector. They can reduce government size. They can start by causing more small businesses to be created, and just maybe the unskilled ones will have more options to choose from and the many employers will become more competitive in order to keep them.


  4. sandy says:

    I am 100% for the Minimum Wage! 

    And if the business community and those well-off should oppose MW by price control and relieving workers – so what?  Governments next more then in response could be to implement strick monetary policies on those businesses that they would have to comply with or else lose their TB Licences!  Cayman, we are bombarded with expenses and employers are being more tight than ever. Something has to be done or crime will increase!  On behalf of the people and ethical standards, we need better monetary policies in place!

  5. Anonymous says:

    We need to identify the problem we are looking to fix. Is it really a Minimum Wage that is required? Or is a a matter of finding a way to deal with unscrupulous employers who use the work permit route to treat employees as indentured slaves?

    We can’t even collect garbage fees, administer pension and insurance and now we are looking to mandate a minimum wage…waste of time.

    Do we know now how many persons are being paid below the mentioned $5 or a figure that is lower? If we do not know this or why, then we do not have a prayer in hell in knowing how to fix the supposed problem.

  6. Libertarian says:

    @ 21:31

    A true libertarian maintains that the country’s only legitimate role is the protection of individuals from the “initiation” of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property, the protection from theft and breach of contract. The government is a necessary evil, but remains limited, very small so that only minimal functions of governance remains, such like court, prison, defence, and police. The market or business community is left free to be… there is no government interference or intervention upon the market. There are no concessions and favoritism. People are allow to buy and sell and start their own businesses without any financial hindrances. We stress self-responsibility! The opponents against Libertarians, are always for big government and government hand-outs! Do you seriously think we would need a minimum wage with a very small government that does not interfere with the market’s growth and private sector??? Do you think that people are not responsible enough to find another job if the one they are working for now is not paying them enough??? I think not! What is the purpose of the minimum wage if government continues to raise fees and promote restrictive laws??? I am trying to make you think! You say that it is all about the business community against the people, but the business community consist of people as well who are responsibly trying to better their lives. How can everyone benefit if the business community are not benefiting as well??? Without the business community, do you think there would be a “fat blood-sucking government” we have today??? I think you’re on the wrong side!


    • I am a "Left" Libertarian says:

      Your views of libertarianism does not fit my views of libertarianism! I believe in using government to help those who are less fortunate and are in need of special care! I don’t believe government should just stand back and watch the survival of the fittest whilst the weak economically suffer and perish! What ever happen to those who are “unable to live” due to the high cost of living? Do you expect them to keep up with those who are able? I guess in your view, they should just roll over and die, and those who are the fittest should have no care in the world for such folk. Libertarian, you are callous and have no heart – you should have some “left” in you! A minimum wage is necessary because people are entitle to have a decent wage in order to live. Some people are not able like other people to make big bucks, and many of them are in more need of care and welfare than those who are making the dollars. It is not like we are living in some vast open country where we can find much natural resources to live on – the Cayman Islands is a small restricted island! Goods and services are therefore limited! Everything depends on what is being imported and those who are behind the imported goods and behind the services that provides such essential goods and services to the public, have nothing more on their minds but to make a profit even at the publics detriment! Hence for those who are unable to survive well on this island and have no access to natural resources which are off-island, should have at least a minimum wage as a “safety net” to ensure their welfare and preservation.

      There should also be a “fixed price index” on goods and services to control the supermarkets and other businesses from raising the costs of living in response to a legislated minimum wage! With the minimum wage, Ezzard Miller need to also consider a fixed price index for goods and services. You can’t have a minimum wage and then the employer raises his goods double the amount on the consumer! The wage won’t make sense if that’s the case.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A minimum wage is a terrible idea no matter where or how it is applied.


    Because it denies the right of a person to sell his labor, which is a basic human right, and as a result, the person may be jobless. The person is then driven to begging or joining whatever public dole is available.

    The minimum wage also drives many employers to automate jobs which decreases the number of jobs available and therefore harms all workers.

    It is a socialist idea which attempts to deny that the labor market is competitive, which of course is a lie.

    Like many other policies which deny reality, the effect is to worsen the problem to which they are addressed, usually dramatically.

  8. Anonymous says:


    90% of your comment favored non-Caymanians, I don’t blame you, look out for number 1. I must  agree only to disagree with you that the public and the business sector are one but in matters of minimum wage and collective bargaining  at the table to protect underpaid workers from unscrupulous carpet bagging employers, local or foreign;  then they alone are the  public -v-s Government and The chamber of Commerce Public enemy No. 1   representing Cayman’s business world!

    However we can  all agree that x-pats and Caymanians alike are being abused one way or another. we further agree that everyone need to sit at the table and discuss the issues, perhaps some town hall meetings nationwide. BUT NOT LONG AND DRAWN OUT.4-6 weeks is more than enough time.This can be completed before June 30,2011.

    A word of advice to Caymanians. If you sit at home and expect others to defend your cause and  speak for you; then if the X-pats show up at the meetings and their voices are heard while you stay at home watchiing the soap operas, then DON’T COMPLAIN IF  AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU  WIND UP WITH NOTHING, I mean no minimum wage  and ……..because you did not fill your seat at the table.This is no time to act irresponsible its time to state your case and SPEAK UP, Do not let anyone shut you up either.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I say helpers should make $2,000 per month.

    So raise the minimum wage up, even if it means her employer only earns $2,500 per month.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i agree with Flo . Mr Anglin do what’s right for the people . Stop wasting time we already know it will help people and the country. Think about your children and grand children. Not all will be bankers and accountants.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Honorable Alden McLean on Wednesday am talk radio had a difficult time staying ahead of the minimum wage issue.

    Of course he positioned himself as a long time supporter of the minimum wage but no one could remember his ever talking about it before.

    Then the head of the Chamber of Commerce called in and gave a very reserved nod to the minimum wage concept.

    No doubt there is a large group who pay 3rd world labor near slave wages hope this issue will go away quietly.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall within  the Chamber of Commerce as they discuss this issue behind closed doors.

    • Anonymous says:

      ARDEN Mclean is who you meant.

      • Owl says:


        You are a true right wing conservative working hard for the rich to become richer. and  12:31 is a true left wing liberal working hard for the people.


        We must start with a minimum wage.


  12. Anonymous says:

    ***** A minimum wage will either remained fixed or raised like a tax! They will not lower it once they increase the rate on companies and businesses! As a result, there will be more unemployment and crime in the Cayman Islands, because you will have employers unable to hire unskilled workers. Also, the cost of living will increase, because some employers will raise the cost of their goods or services in order to compliment paying for these unskilled workers. I recommend government focus its energy on helping locals to start and maintain their own small businesses by first reducing fees, duties, licenses, and permits – then you will see an increase of jobs. Even if the minimum wage was made law, how will it help unemployment…but increase it! *****

  13. Saucy & Sexy says:


    I know that’s right.

    Politicians always look out for the rich and have no time to lend their ears to the poor.

    Rolston don’t you think you have done enough damage to the people of the Cayman Islands by your remarks last year that Caymanians were not employable?Now you are electing to do even more damage to the low income workers better known as the skilled or unskilled WORKING CLASS   by WINING AND PINING ABOUT them getting a MINIMUM WAGE! which is way OVERDUE!  Where do you get off at?!This is the end of the rope.

    Rolston  if you stand in their way can you ask yourself  do you really deserve the portfolio of Labor  or Education? YOU SHOULD NOT BE A PART OF THE PROBLEM  and you on your high horse looking down at the little folks from your high heaven where you and the elite live, you are a cloud of witnesses to economic suppression of the poor that have no voice. SHAME ON YOU.  If and when you put your big foot out to trip up the minimum wage Legislation for these poor people begging for your help, IT WILL BE A PUBLIC CONFESSION OF WHAT AND WHO YOU REALLY ARE!  This is no time for political party competitions, time to meet the needs of the people and GROW UP!

     When the law passes the Premier and the entire legislature will get credit for this accomplishment not only Mr. Miller. stop being so narrow minded and selfish! We are well aware that you are on an ego trip!

    Rolston your speech is nothing but bureaucratic mumble jumble!


  14. Anonymous says:

    A minimum wage will not help the poor Caymanians or poor expats.

    The main evil that is associated with low paid labour is the indentured slavery laws.

    If the government wants to pass laws that bring the country up to a christian standard, then it has to take a long hard look at the work permit legislation that is designed to allow employers (some, not all) to abuse the low paid expat work force. Caymanians are locked out of these jobs because the employers (some, not all) cannot abuse and control Caymanians like they abuse and control expats.

    What are the abuses? Low wages. Long hours without overtime. Health care deductions that are not paid into the health care system. Pension deductions that are not paid into a pension. The threat of immediate deportation without the last month’s pay if a complaint is made.

    If a minimum wage law is passed, it would mean just one more abuse that is added to the list because it would be just as enforcable asthe medical and pension contributions.

    A possible solution? Give control of an expat’s work permit directly to the expat. Then, if an employer wants to keep a good employee, Caymanian or expat, the employer must treat the employee justly. Then Caymanian employees would be more attractive to employers because their hiring cost would be much lower than an expat employee.


    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Anglin did well in math.  Lets add this up.  Putting a minimum wage in is fine, but again you can only put in so much for a minimum wage.  Cutting the work hours from 45 hours to 40 hours, lets see now multiply 40 x 8 x 5 (if 5 is the minimum wage), now employee and employers agree in writing or are suppose to agree in writing that the employee will except straight pay for anything over 45 hours.  Now Anglin wants to get rid of that.  How on earth is this going to help?  That means government is going to have to pay all their employees time and a half anything over 40 hours, small companies, domestic, banks, construction to name a few.  You are looking at approximately 180.00 per week straight pay if the employer cannot afford overtime in which I am sure 99% of the companies in Cayman can’t.  So where does this make any sense?????  Who is he to tell me as an employee that I can’t work more then 40 hours and accept straight pay for anything over?  This is between myself and my employer.  This will destroy a lot of companies in the Cayman Islands.  WIth rising work permits, pensions having to be paid now and for expats in a year, rising fuel prices, rising food prices, you are going to see more crime for people have to substitute their income.  

      On another note did anyone notice Cayman 27 interviewing people on their feelings of the minimum wage.  Guess what, the majority were expats..the bartender to name one….so, hence there are jobs out there its just that Caymanians don’t want to do them!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    It pays to be coy when your power base is more than happy to build their ‘small businesses’ from the sweat off of the brow of underpaid honourable Indian and Jamaican guest workers.

    The UDP government appears to be long on soundbites and short on integrity.

  16. Anonymous says:

    some sensible comments from rolston….at least when talks he sounds like he has had an education… he should lead the udp….

  17. Just Sayin' says:

    These jokers couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery, let alone enforce a minimum wage. They haven’t even figured out how to get unscrupulous employers to pay the health care and pensions benefits owed to their employees yet and in the case of domestics, how to even get the employers to fulfill their obligation to pay for their workers work permits! Minimum wage my big toe.

  18. Anonymous says:

    PPM had four years and they did nothing on Minimum Wage; UDP has as at least said they will look at it properly and implement it in a way that is best for the Country.


  19. The Watcher says:

    The UDP and the PPM only do what the Chamber Of Commerce lets them do. Take this to the bank.

  20. Michel Lemay says:

    After reading this if you don’t get yet Mr. Minister you may have to flip the coin. just make certain it falls on the right side. Minimum wage NEEDED.It’s a start. Try and look at the good side of it for the PEOPLE

  21. Florence Goring-Nozza says:


    You are only right on one thing here that the economists (the business sector) are more against the minimum wage than the public the majority.

    The economists  the minority are those that paid for your campaign!


    You are listening to the business people and not the cries of the people.

    • Libertarian says:

      ***** Florence, the business people and the public are one! Yes, it is government that is out-of-touch with the people, and causing businesses to fail and downsize! But this is because of government’s management of the country’s finances and their anti-business legislations! Look at the roll-over policy, the hikes in fees, custom duties, the imposed indirect taxation on small businesses, the inability for people to start their own business because of the hikes, the restrictive and protectionists laws that claim to protect Caymanians when in fact they run our customers and clients off the island. Florence, such things as these have a negative effect on our market! It is government that’s against the public – not well-off people against the poor. Wake up! The problem is government trying to run the country like some personal business. *****

      • Hallowe'en Jack says:

        Someone pinch me, I think I might be in agreement with Libertarian.