George Town backbench MLA Alfonso Wright called for government to commission a manpower survey to help Caymanians get the jobs they want.
Mr. Wright made the remarks during his contribution to the budget debate Monday.
‘We have too many work permits in this country,’ Mr. Wright said. ‘A manpower survey would help government to simply understand what jobs are available in this country and what skills are [out] there.’
Mr. Wright gave an example of how the manpower survey would help.
‘If there are 15 quantity surveyors in this country and their positions are all filled but 10 are filled by people on work permits, we know in our career counselling we should be driving some students to that career so they can take the jobs held by people on work permits.’
Mr. Wright said there were many other areas where expatriates seem to have the best jobs. In the hospitality industry, for example, he said that out of perhaps 500 jobs, Caymanians only held 50 and the rest were held by expatriates. This shows the need for Caymanians to be guided to that industry, which he said was a good, honest way to make a living.
Other professions have similar situations, Mr. Wright said.
‘The missing link is for us to conduct a thorough manpower survey,’ he said. ‘It will make a big difference when work permits are being issued. We’ll know who’s where and what’s what. It can help Caymanians get the jobs they want.’
Another benefit of the manpower survey would be that tourists would see more Caymanians at the establishments they frequent, helping them get a true Caymanian experience when they visit here, Mr. Wright said.
Exempted employee warning
Mr. Wright criticised Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush and the rest of the Opposition many times during his debate. He brought up the fact that under the previous administration, some companies were given ‘carte blanche exempted employees,’ which they could allocate to any employee they wished.
He said such a practice creates a glass ceiling for Caymanians that are trying to progress.
‘You sit and you work and work and do what you’re supposed to do, and then suddenly one day there’s a big party because the employee you were supposed to replace has been granted exempted employee status.’
Mr. Wright said when that happens it is very demoralising for Caymanians, and it affects their job performance.
‘They kill us every way they can,’ he said. ‘First they say we’re not qualified for the jobs we want, and when we get qualified, they find ways to keep us down.’
Mr. Wright said that if Mr. Bush were re-elected, he’d grant more expatriates exempted employee status.
‘If you think things are bad now, put him back in there.’
Start saving and stop freeloading
Speaking about the economy, Mr. Wright said Caymanians like to complain a lot.
‘Sometimes we just complain because we heard someone else say something and it sounds good so we repeat it,’ he said.
Mr. Wright urged Caymanians to do what they could in the tough economic times. He said he had just refinanced his house to help cut down on expenses.
‘I still don’t have enough to save, but I can manage my bills better,’ he said.
Mr. Wright said people should budget their income and look at the things they could do without, and do without for a while.
‘And if you find you can do without for a while, you don’t really need it all,’ he said.
Mr. Wright said one of the problems was Caymanians don’t save money, and instead rely on the government to take care of them; an attitude he said was ‘making us a nation of very little values’.
‘We need to stop doing that,’ he said. ‘We need to change the tide.’
Some people get government assistance when they don’t even need it, Mr. Wright explained.
‘There are too many cases where people can afford it but they put out to Children and Family Services that they can’t, just so they don’t have to pay their own funds,’ he said. ‘That’s really distressing.’
Mr. Wright said that when people take advantage of the government in such a way, it leaves less money to hire teachers or police officers and to fix roads or build schools.
‘We need to get back to being proud, being ambitious and get back to taking care of ourselves.’