Mac proposes worker alliance

| 26/02/2014

(CNS): The opposition leader is calling on workers to unite to protect their own rights and advance their skills so they can address some of the ills in the modern workplace and unemployment. McKeeva Bush has denied that this proposal is a union, even though he expected people “to smear it” as such, but he said that while there were enough advocacy groups, such as the C4C and the Chamber of Commerce, in Cayman representing the interests of business and employers, the country’s employees were unrepresented. He said that, given the increasing challenges facing them from the pressure of a global workforce and cheap labour, workers needed to try and advance their own cause.

Speaking on the new series of Cayman 27’s talk show, The Panel, on Tuesday evening, Bush said he would not be leading or setting up this alliance but wanted to promote the idea. He said he wanted to help those who had talked to him about creating a formal association to represent workers, from hotel employees living on low wages to young lawyers not able to find articles.

The opposition leader said participatory democracy meant everyone should have their say but at present most issues are decided by employers, with the people only invited to speak on election day. Bush claimed a long history of promoting workers’ rights, from pensions to maternity pay, as well as holidays and overtime, duringhis time as a politician. He said that workers' rights have come a long way but new technology had brought many new challenges for the local workforce, not least the impact of outsourcing and cheap labour.

He spoke about past times when workers received fair wages in their jobs and said that before now, Cayman never had a situation where people were living 20 to a room because theywere earning only $5 per hour.

The workers alliance idea, he said, could ensure a level playing field and give local people the opportunity to compete for jobs.

“It is not a union,” Bush stated. He said he wanted workers to start the discussion and create an organisation focused on helping people find work, improve their skills learn about their rights and build awareness in all of the major sectors, while still recognising the commercial realities.

He said the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA), which was created by the former labour minister, Rolston Anglin, "was practically useless” but whoever formed the workers' alliance would still need to work with government, this agency and within the boundaries of the labour laws.

Asked by the show's host, Tammie Sulliman, why Bush had failed to create or promote such an alliance when he was premier, he insisted that he was fully occupied trying to keep Cayman afloat, tackling the budget and public finances and fighting red tape, as well as dealing with the media, which he blamed for blowing everything out of proportion. Bush said that the current government has four ministers now doing the job he had done, and he said government could not do everything.

He said that no government would be able to help the workers because of the pressure from business and the civil service stopping everything.

See Bush on the panel here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Surely you jest Mr. Bush?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I seem to be confused.  There is already a rather expensive government unit in place to protect the work force it is called the Department of Labour or whatever it's new name is used to be DER and it is filled with staff just waiting for employees to come to them with labour issues and those employees that man that unit get paid hefty salaries so……why this, hmmmmm let's see another redundant department to cost us all money while doing nothing?  We do not need yet another whatever we need to consolidate and work smarter not expand we seem to have it backwards instead of a contracting government and expanding economy we want an expanding government resulting in a contracting economy….


    Our forefathers were free enterprise visionaries….could we not give that model a chance again??

  3. Anonymous says:

    That akward moment when the leader of the government that catered most to big business is calling for worker's unions….

    • Anonymous says:

      Incredible that this unpricipled buffoon who has brought shame on our land should still have the ability to speak on any subject. Go away Mac you are now just a cartoon character who cannot be taken seriously.

  4. T5 says:

    The problem with Alliances and Unions, they hook up with special interest groups and look out for their own… they forget about the other poor people who are not on their side. 

    • Anonymous says:

      That is why the poor have to open their mouth and form their own union. All it takes, really is a group of poor people with the same common goals. whats so hard about that?

      All industries should organize themselves to protect their trades and jobs. No matter how poor they are. They have the freedom to organize!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva Bush does not deserve the time of day. This man has spent forever in Cayman politics and what has he done? TELL ME!

    • Anonymous says:

      He brought home several expensive law suits.

    • Anonymous says:

      He managed to embarrass us as a country on a global stage once again during the opening ceremonies for the Health City….seriously the entire audience was appalled by his antics.

  6. Knot S Smart says:

    i have some really good Duct Tape.

    i just need two strong volunteers – one to hold him, and the other to put the Duct Tape over his mouth…

  7. Turtle Stew says:

    Mr. Mac you realized you created this. What did think would come out your paid travels all over the world , casinos  visits, law suits and your poor management  of governments finances have screwed us royally for generations. 

  8. Whodatis says:

    Dear Mac,

    There have been occasions in the recent past where I have supported your position when the masses were against you. I was ridiculed for doing so however, I was simply calling things as they were regardless of who it offended.

    However, on this particular issue I have to throw a red flag on the play.

    Frankly, this is without even considering the merits of your argument.



    You have been a career politician in the Cayman Islands for almost as long as I have been alive. Not only have you been an elected member of government, but you have on many occasions wielded ultimate power in the politics of the country.

    Therefore, for an individual of your background and CV to flirt with such proposals at this stage in the game is a bit much, wouldn't you agree?

    If you perceive major problems in our model of doing things today, is that not an indictment against yourself to some degree?

    Frankly, I do believe things must change regarding the welfare of Caymanians in their own country, however, I am not sure which is the best way forward.

    The newly elected government has this far provided a chequered performance – good in some important areas, and quite dismal in others – those directly relevant to this news story, for example.

    The country called for new blood on May 21, 2013 – and yes, there was a partial transfusion.

    However, the mercury-tainted "old blood" continues to flow strongly throughout the veins of the country.

    Whereas I am hopeful for change in the matter at hand, I am wary of an individual such as yourself (and many others for that matter) being at the helm or controls of the entity to realize said change.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wasn't it Bush who gave Dr. Frank a cabinet seat to shut him up about worker advocacy groups (aka unions)? 

    • Anonymous says:

      How is the Northward Workers Alliance doing these days?

    • anonymously says:

      And make Frank the head of a Union?!  You got to be kidding me. No way would Mac allow that!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes he did, that should prove to you, the Cayman people, that a trade and labour Union can not be formed, establish,launch,create,institute,initiate by any Government member.

      He should have let Frank put that union  in place then,  to protect the cayman people. We would not be in this mess we are in today.

      Not only would that union be in effect , but others would be in place today, which would assist the  poor people.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how Shetty's going take the news that his workers at the hospital can now alliance themselves and take em out!  I can see it now:  "Mac… you feather and tarred, dispicable chump!  You brought me here all away from Indie and now you wanna take me out… !"

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should Shetty"s hospital fear any union.  He and his partners have hospitals that already operate in countries with well established unions and far more stringent and complex labour laws that the Cayman Islands.  Get real man!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Low paid Indian workers don't have unions, they're just grateful to have jobs…

  11. Keep it simple stupid says:

    MAC wants to be a Union boss and like our Caribbean cousins …so he can wield a workers powerful government.  This is more vote buying plain and siumple, but the sheep voters should not buy this old political trick. 

    The political foolishness is a growing disease and our 20,000 voters gobble up this cancer as if it was manna from heaven.

    Shovel more BS Mac, we are on to your political game this time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Big Mac doesn't want a union because his main supporters are the ones who believe they don't have to work if Big Mac is in power.

      If you are a member of a union you might be expected to pay fees to that union, but if you are a member of an "alliance" then your fees are paid for you. So besides the $500 per month for being an ex-seaman, batabano ranger, or strawberry broom maker, you get an additional $100 per month for being an "alliance" member. I suspect we could get Dart to donate the money like he did the "save the mortgage" fund if we give him the dump.

    • Anon says:

      Whlst at the same time he distances himself from the work involved in putting it together. But if it should ever get off the ground it's gonna be "HELLO – it was my idea – I'll take it from here!"

  12. Anonymous says:


    Let's create Unions, and by doing do, we will create an army of political workers to expand a voting base.


    What does that mean for companies?  See just about every American airlines that are continually on the brink of Bankrupcy.

    • Anonymous says:


      Stop the scare mongering. The politicians will not be any part of this.

      AA is not on no brink of bankrupcy, they are ripping peolple off, I know that much, they over charge for every thing.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Isn't this the geezer up before the courts on corruption charges? Is he the best the Cayman islands can come up with to talk about workers' rights? What a pitiable state of affairs, truly.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Now he can speak all he wants since his success with shetty hospital. He must feel proud of himself. 

    • Anon says:

      He should be proud – after all, our current Premier called the opening of the hospital "a transforming" moment/occasion, whatever, for Cayman. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    The cayman islands society is easy a hundred years behind the rest of the world.

    There are third world countries with minimum wages and workers rights.


  16. Anonymous says:

    You want to advance an emplyees cause, create more jobs. Provide incentives for employers to increase workers. 

    Create 3000 new jobs and 1000 caymanians will be no longer be unemployed.

    New jobs from new companies are nice but it is hard to attract new business here. 

    But we can keep the businesses we have. 

    Change the fee structure for professional firms based on number of employees from 1-5, 6-10 etc to 1-7, 8-13 etc. Little if any change to Goverment revenue but it will allow professional firms the chance to grow without putting out extra cash.

    Bundle that with an incentive of a three year no charge work permit for any new professional (new job, never worked here before) coming to the island provided that a new non professional support position is created. 

    Increase that to 4 years if the professional brings a dependent, 5 years if the proffesional has multiple dependents. 

    There is no loss to present business licence revenues as none would go down. There is no loss to work permit revenues as these are new jobs. 

    Allow the businesses that created much of the weath here to grow and watch the rising tide lift all the ships.

    • Anonymous says:

      Create 3000 new jobs and the same 1000 Caymanians will be still be unemployed. Half are unuemploayble, the other half are unemployed by their own choice.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Is his proposal not a "union", the same way the "community charge" was not an expat tax!

    Call it what it is for goodness sake!

    All employees whether Caymanian or not need support from an organization independent of the Government or their Employers. What needs to happen is thatGovernment should be enforcing the laws that are in place, Mr. Bush is as guilty as any poitician for the wholesale disregard of this and pandering to the influential business owners.


  18. Anonymous says:

    This man always makes me laugh. I can't be bothered to comment on this further.

  19. Coconutz says:

    I miss Big Mac big time!!!  Little Mac is small fries compared to Big Mac when it comes to the entertainment bizness (business for those who prefer the Queen's English).  I do like Big Mac, I really do.  He always has something interesting to say about things that he knows next to nothing about.  Wasn't more than a day or two since the Sochi Olympics expired that Big Max Engels cried to the world, "Workers Unite!"   If Castro was able to do it in Cuba, and Chavez in Venezuela, why should Big Marx Mac not be able to do it in the Cayman Islands. I mean, common sense has never held him back from doing things that make no sense.  The union, which is not a union, is a prime example of this.  But to him it's important for everyone to understand that the union is not a union; rather, it's a workers alliance that reeks of union, feels like a union, and would probably act like a union if it ever came into existence.  Of course, just like the proposed thermonuclear reactors and space ship in East End, this too will not come to fruition.  Fluttering lips, like farts in the wind make lots of noise, but little else.  I like you Marx, I really do.  Workers Unite, I say!

    • Rose (from Golden Girls) says:

      I could never think East End had aliens. And to think they were near those reactors whilst shetty was building his hospital. Oh dear. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh Mac, on more than one occasion, the Caymanian people entrusted you withforging their destiny in a cruel and harsh world and what did you do? You feathered your own nest and visited loads of casinoes. How can we take you seriously any more? I wish you all the best, but let's be honest here.

  21. Anonymous says:

    For once I agree with Mac.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac's hospital to repair hearts is finished.  Now he needs to get a mental health hospital started to take care of Anonymous 11:41.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mac's going to build me a mental hospital.  Yay.  Now I can finally get some rest.

  22. Voter, says:

    Tara Rivers suppose to be a patron for the jobless. So because she is quiet and soften by PPM, wouldn't it make sense for M.Bush, her West Bay counterpart to try and take that title from her? 

  23. Howie Tizz says:

    All I have to say about this, Honourable ex-Premier, is that you are full of it!  Have you ever considered telling the truth?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Isnt it strange how the suggestion of a Union is such a frightening concept, and then last week, Taxation was the unacceptable prospect. Other jurisdictions cope with them, and very often these ideas contain the obvious answers, but for the Cayman public they have to be called something else, in this case it is an Ad vocacy group. This man clearly struggles with so many of his utterances, but who wrote that lot for him?

    He clearly didnt know half of the content, he read it end to end, became confused when interrupted, and didnt come close to answering questions, he also kept mentioning democracy, which for one that refuses to consider one person one vote is truly astounding.

    I had forgotten quite how bad our ex premier was, so thanks for reminding us!


  25. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened to Dr. Frank's "worker's alliance"?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is he still doing that thing where he moves his mouth and words come out?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Cayman's Jimmy Hoffa!  Wake Up People!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I don't blame Mac. Think ahead for an alternative career as a union boss in the event you are no longer qualified to serve as an MLA. 

  29. Anon says:

    Bush says "someone should do something about the workers. But not me – I'm just an MLA……. – someone else" 

  30. Anonymous says:
    la·bor un·ion
    1. 1.
      an organized association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.


    • Anonymous says:


      To further that;

      Workers who have united together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of its trades, achieving higher pay.

      In this Island we have to protect our selves from  governments, who keep selling out their people, to these large developers.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Sorry.. but what a lame suggestion and what a lame answer to why didn't he do this. In my opinion, based on meeting people in job interviews, is that if people want work, they need to have something relevent to the job they are applying for. I've given advice to so many people on how to get started in the industry I work in. Not one person has taken the advice which consists of simply: take this weekend long course and I can hire you. None do it. 

    What is needed to solve the unemployment problem isn't more committees, more groups, more organizations. All of these things try to pull the unemployed out of their situation. We need them to push themselves out. Better education is needed. Hire top notch teachers and give them the resources they need. Offer trade training. 

    • Anonymous says:


      It goes further than the unemployed. It goes further than the unskilled and lack of training.

      In this island we have approximatly 40 local building contractors, who are extremely skilled and  have been building on this island since 1970.  Their structures are still standing today.

      Can you tell me why, then, these builders are not getting jobs from thedeveloper, or the large  home owners? why are these developers bringing in their own builders?

      Why are government in bed with these intities? which give them the green light to screw the builders.

      Now you see why  the builders need a trade union. He who feels it, knows it!

      Ther is no regulatuion in place to stop this mess!



  32. Anonymous says:

    I know CNS don't like MB so just when he begins to shine on Shetty they post an article with a funny picture of him… fess up, nah true?  :)>

  33. G. Towner says:

    Now I'm confused!  I always thought McKeeva Bush was for big shots like Dart, Chamber of Commerce, etc…  You know… his Republican view of trickle down wealth from the top to bless everyone… what happen to that?!  And the how many times he opposed Ezzard and Arden when they were opposing indifference in development. Hmmmm …. this don't sound like McKeeva at all. I guess he must be very contented now that Shetty Hospital, what he labored adn travel for, has started.

    • Pssst :\\ says:

      He is for dart!  Once the union is formulated, he will use them to outsource everybody else except him. You have to be business-minded you know!