Rollover policy affects volunteer organisations

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    The rollover policy
    has affected many service organisations whose volunteers often come from the
    expatriate segment of the population.

    Traditionally,
    organisations such as HospiceCare, the Cancer Society and the Red Cross have
    been approached by many new residents seeking to get involved in the community,
    as well as earn credit toward permanent residence in the Cayman Islands.

    However, after the
    exodus of foreigners following Hurricane Ivan and a controversial rollover
    policy implemented in 2004,
    agencies have noticed a big difference.

    “We witnessed a huge
    falloff after Ivan, and with fewer people to pull from and more charities, we
    have to be extremely proactive in what we do,” said Jennifer McCarthy of Cayman
    HospiceCare. “It certainly is not getting easier.”

    She added that the
    recent hike in work permit fees also affects the numbers, and fewer renewals
    just as harmful to the pool of people available for HospiceCare to call on –
    for donations as well as for volunteers.

    It costs roughly $1,700
    a day to run the Cayman Hospice Care programme.

    “All services are free, and we depend solely on
    donations, but apart from finances, we are also seeing a decline in the number
    of volunteers available to assist with running the operations,” said Mrs.
    McCarthy.

    Her sentiments were echoed by acting operations manager
    at the Cancer Society, Teresa Foster.

    “We have a broad cross-section of volunteers and usually
    things flow quite easily, but things became really evident during this year’s
    Stride event, which was definitely more of an effort this time, and we had to
    work a little harder than other years,” she said.

    Mrs. Foster said the volunteers serving at the Cancer
    Society also have to work longer hours. “Our fundraising has stayed on par, but
    general donations have definitely taken a hit,” she said.

    The Cancer Society no longer receives government grants.

    At the Red Cross, Community Services Coordinator Carolina
    Ferreira said, “Though we are fortunate to see a continuous flow of volunteers
    at the Red Cross, what we have found is that people who have been volunteering
    for years have left. Most of the well-trained first-aiders, responders and
    individuals from the shelter management team are no longer on Island.”

    The Red Cross is the largest volunteer organisation in
    the Cayman Islands,  Ms Ferreira said,
    and it is comprised mostly of expatriates.

    “A lot of times people have served with the Red Cross in
    their home countries before coming to live in the Cayman Islands,” she said.
    “Because of the nature of the work we do, we cannot optimally function without
    the necessary manpower. It is not just a matter of finances.”

    She added that both the 2007 and 2008 recipients of the
    Volunteer of the Year awards have left Grand Cayman. “These are people whose
    skill and experience we no longer have. When we retrain, it costs us, and so we
    are hit twice as hard. We are neutral and do not enter politically sensitive
    discussions. What I can say however, is that the rollover policy has had a
    negative affect on us as an organisation.”

    Some service
    organisations served by expatriates report a rise in participation, however.
    Carolyn Parker, president of the Humane Society, said the shelter is doing well
    with donor support and volunteers, and the organisation is growing.

    “We can say that
    things are continuing to improve. I can’t say that we have noticed any impact
    from the rollover or people leaving,” she said.

    Vice Chairman of the
    Drama Society Paul De Freitas said it is difficult to monitor the Drama Society
    in terms of who was here and who has left because it is supported by actors,
    producers and stage persons whom you might not see for quite some time, until there
    is something going on that interests them.

     

    top lede redcross

    The Red Cross has lost many expat volunteers due to rollovers.
    Photo: STUART WILSON

    8 COMMENTS

    1. You would have thought the powers that be would have seen this coming – the expats are the ones counted on to run the various charitable organizations. Just another offshoot of this ridiculous policy.

    2. The only reason there are more Expats volunteering in these non profit organizations because they get brownie points when making an application for Permanent Residency and Caymanian Status. Therefore, when locals turn up they get told that they have an abundance of volunteers at the moment.

    3. From the votes on the comments below, it seems Caymanians dont believe expats can ever do anything for altruistic reasons. And Posey, what a cynic you are.

    4. Ive lived in many small communities and lets face it; there will always be a number of provincials who resent outsiders and there will be newcomers who dont want to support their new community. How sad for the rest of us who are called to serve either our existing or new home. Also, to be fair to long-time residents, perhaps because so many support a church or civic club they are less inclined to support a humanitarian organization whereas those mentioned in the article are typically supported by expats when they were in their home country and find them more familiar and more open to diversity and newcommers.

    5. The Rollover Policy was not put in place by the PPM. The Rollover Policy was put in place by the UDP of which Sherry Bodden Cowan was the brain-child and champion.

    6. The roll over is good …. it ensures that people go
      when it is time ……Just think of how many relationships were broken due to roll over .and businesses ruined ..it insures good thin blood lines and ignorance …which is what is needed to ensure inbreeding and failure…….My cousin is mine …hehehehehehhe…

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