Rivers: $20k UK trip yields ‘tremendous information’

| 07/02/2014

(CNS): Education and Employment Minister Tara Rivers declared her recent trip to London with her political colleague Winston Connolly and two senior civil servants as a huge success. According to information supplied by the ministry, the visit to the World Education Forum and various UK meetings cost CI$19,829.81. Flights totalled CI$8,409.65 while hotel accommodations was CI$6,235.33, transport was CI$436.09 and the per diems for the group totalled CI$4,300. The ministryalso contributed CI$448.75 to a dinner meeting with CEO’s of Education Trusts.

Education ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues and Deputy Chief Officer DrTasha Ebanks Garcia accompanied Rivers and Connolly to the forum, which is the largest gathering of education and skills ministers in the world. The team also hosted a reception for Caymanian students studying in the UK, met with ministers and lords responsible for education and employment in Britain and visited three high performing schools in the London area. In addition, the delegation went to publicly and privately operated job centres working to tackle unemployment.

They met with policy advisors of a leading “think tank” to discuss issues related to education and welfare-to-work programmes, as well as the Secretariat of the Low Pay Commission. This is an independent agency established by the UK government in the late 1990’s to advise on the introduction of a national minimum wage. Rivers said she gained valuable information to assist her in the work to improve the Cayman Islands education system and the services provided by the National Workforce Development Agency. 

“The Education World Forum highlighted the fact that the challenges related to education, the appropriate use of technology as a tool to facilitate learning and skills development in general for the 21st century are global challenges,” said the minister.

“Participating in the Education World Forum provided a great opportunity to meet, network with and hear from other education ministers from around the world on the system challenges they face and the solutions they have found,” Rivers stated in a release from the ministry. “It was also very informative to hear from leading international experts and corporations in the fields of education and technology, who discussed and debated the latest pedagogical changes and educational reform strategies used in some of the world’s most effective education systems and schools. ”

She said the range of meetings held during and after to the forum on education, employment and labour topics were also very informative and helpful.

“The meetings provided an amazing opportunity to amass a tremendous amount of information relevant to the local education and employment initiatives that I have been driving since taking office. We have also made many useful contacts, in both government and non-governmental organisations, on which we will continue to draw,” Rivers added.
The ministry said it would release further details about the outcomes of the trip in the coming weeks.

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  1. Anonymous says:


    I am sick and tired of hearing how much a trip cost. Who gives a hoot what you all spend what we need is some results and no more lip service. All this administration is trying to do is to show they are spending less on travel than the UDP but they are doing the same thing NOTHING. The Talk needs to stop and get jobs going get a project going

  2. Anonymous says:

    CI$8,409.65 for four tickets on the direct to London? I travel that route regularly and the most I pay is US$1,450. At CI$2,102.25 for each ticket – roughly US$2,501- it appears they've treated themselves to the tune of about an extra thousand dollars a ticket of our money.

    I hope they enjoyed themselves.

  3. CI spin says:

    Does Tara even know where the NWDA is? I'd like to see her actually schedule a few hours there a week! How can you fix something if you don't even know the process? (Or lack thereof) samegoes for Winston, Suckoo, and all the others that claim they are helping to fix the unemployment /work permit process. We are still recruiting and approving all overseas applications without any consideration for local applicants. 


  4. anonymous says:

    48 hours on the internet and I will produce some "tremendous" results for Cayman, without moving from my seat.

    Show me the information gained by her and I will pick another country and match the results.

    I will even do the research and analysis of the information and produce the report for all to see, which is surely going to be done by her also.

    I will also undercut the cost and I am willing to do this for ten thousand.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Isn't it quite ironic that in the middle of current reform, the Minister is suggesting that there is a need to reform the system?  In 2012, the former Minister led the development of what was considered strategic reform in education.  

    CNS: I've moved this comment to the Viewpoint section here

  6. Anonymous says:

    Posters are so shameless. We have for the first time open and responsible Government. Have we forgotten what such a Trip taken by the previous administration would have cost? With political aides, drivers and an entourage of followers??? We didn’t vote Tara in because she had experience in Education- she is a lawyer. We elected her because we felt she was capable of learning and making the changes needed to improve the education for her children. CNS posters really have lost the plot!! Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • The real bobo says:

      You, have lost the plot. Being honest and transparent in your travel expenses do not solve the educational issues. Hope long is  going to continue giving politicians on the job training and get no results?. How many Education Ministers is it going to take to get it right?. 

      We now and have forever known what our issues are, let's get some policies on education enacted and hire the expertise we can afford to develop and introduce and train our own to maintain an effective and rewarding process. Sick and tired of this bull crap of tinkering tinkering with the peoples money. And as for the  minimum wage, progressives please shake off the shackles you are bound with by the Chamber, do right for your country or go home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are we shameless…Tara "supposively" came with experience..why do we have to keep sending people overseas to see how they are doing things??? Can't we figure it out ourselves.  I guess not for that is why the school system is in shambles….labour??? why must the private companies be responsible for hiring Caymanians, why DOESN"T GOVERNMENT hire some of these people?  They have enough positions open for Caymanians with no experience and they take work permits out…many many people in the DEO and NRA are work permit holders..can't a caymanian pick up garbage?  I guess not….but noooo we need to spend our money that we don't have to send people overseas to learn how to run their country?  

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah you're right a Caymanian can pick up Garbage. The question is would they want to ? Is there anyone on here that is Caymanian and applied for the job of Garbage Man ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Shame this $20k was not spent by anyone 5-6 years ago togo have a look at a school somewhere. They would have noticed that contrary to  the consultants claims, schools have interior walls, and classrooms. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Now if they put all those charges on a Scotiabank Advantage card, they are already half way to the next trip! Cost me 40,000 points and $150US to go to the Europe this year. 

    Which may beg the question… Where do all the frequent flier miles go that these folks are accumulating? 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tara would have fitted in well with the last UDP government.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now, Tara has been in office for nine months.  She has spent more time overseas than she has in the schools and she has made no impact whatsoever.  Is anyone aware of the initiatives that she's driving? Nobody in Education has a clue. The system is in crisis and Tara is fiddling whilst Rome burns.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The only thing "huge" and "tremendous" is the horse manure in the released statement from the Ministry. XXXX

  12. Anonymous says:

    20 thousand to attain the information. Now, will she implement the information… that's the thing!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so will the "Tremendous Information" actually be converted to something tangible or will it only be a "Tremendous waste of money and time"?. If history has anything to do with this……

  14. Anonymous says:

    We will be watching and looking for the Return on Investment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lol! This is just becoming a joke! When will they actually DO anything! She was appointed Minister because she was meant to KNOW what she was doing, not get on the job training! Such a disgrace

  16. Alabaster says:

    $20k for Information!  Reminds me of a true saying, "Nothing is for Nothing!"  In every lost there is gain, and in every gain there is lost …

  17. Anonymous says:

    Shame she can't be as productive when she's here.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You smell BS?  I smell BS.  It certainly seemed a great networking experience for Tara.  For the nation, not so much.

    • Anonymous says:

      I smelled BS when she preeched she was running independent then joined a party….any confidence went out the window…so whodo we vote for next time…same s..t., just different name