Almost 8,000 get Government aid

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    In 2010, the Cayman Islands Department of Children and Family Services provided some type of financial assistance to nearly 8,000 people.  

    That staggering figure was revealed by Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam during a political meeting last week in George Town. It represents about 15 per cent of Cayman’s population according to tallies done by the Economics and Statistics Office during a census last year.  

    “This department alone assisted almost 8,000 persons with some form of financial assistance,” Mr. Adam told a crowd of more than 200 United Democratic Party supporters last Tuesday. “This included food vouchers, rental assistance, school uniforms, school meals for children, medical expense for travel and many, many other areas.”  

    Mr. Adam indicated that social troubles worsened during the prolonged economic downturn that began affecting Cayman in 2009. He said the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing was working “to ensure that the vulnerable are eventually in the position to help themselves”.  

    “It is something hard to appreciate what we are doing on a daily basis,” 
he said.  

    According to government budget documents for the current 2010/11 fiscal year, some $6.7 million was budgeted for various poor relief programmes, another $6 million set aside for ex-gratia benefit payments to seamen, $4.7 million for the administration of the community assistance programme and another $1.6 million for the care of elderly and indigent people.  

    Mr. Adam said the elderly and infirm had suffered most keenly 
during the economic downturn.  

    The minister said the newly refurbished Golden Age Home for retirees that officially opened in November now houses 11 people full-time and another 17 in day care. Four seniors are housed in Hillside House, another six in East End’s Sunrise Cottage, 24 in the 
Kirkconnell Community Care Centre and Tibbetts Home, and 11 are in home care in Cayman Brac.  

    In addition, the minister said the government was responsible for 26 clients now staying at the Pines Retirement Home.  

    “We will not leave anyone behind,” he said.  

    Another area where the department has seen an increase in demand is foster care, Mr. Adam said.  

    As of Tuesday, the ministry had 34 children listed in foster care programmes but only 14 new foster care parents approved.  

    “We need more [foster parents],” he said. “It can make the key difference between a decent life and one full of struggles.”  

    Affordable housing  

    Minister Adam said the government has also made significant strides in the establishment of affordable housing homes on Grand Cayman.  

    He said 12 homes are now ready for occupancy in the East End district, and another 29 in West Bay were just finished.  

    “I can promise you we will be building many more in the next 18 months,” he said. “You cannot live in the homes the previous government was only talking about.”  

    According to National Housing Development Trust officials, some 26 affordable homes are planned for the previous Affordable Housing Initiative site in Windsor Park, George Town. Plans are also being made for an affordable housing site in Bodden Town.  

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    Mr. Adam
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    17 COMMENTS

    1. I am one who don’t believe in direct taxation that could hurt our financial industry; however, I do see a need of implementing a community tax solely for assisting the helpless, disabled, and those who urgently need medical financial assistance. So long the money is transparently monitored and channeled to credible recipients in urgent need, I can’t see why the whole community can’t give back to society when it is at its low.

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    2. I agree with you Bodden that there is a need for funds for these programs but even starting direct taxation in small way will open a Pandoras box that will never be shut. Once the infrastructure is put in place for direct taxation there will be no stopping it. Caymanians will soon find themselves paying 30% of their income to the CIG as well hefty taxes on their homes such as we do here in the US, for example the 8000 dollars a year I pay just to own my home in New Jersey and this will still be need to be paid if the home is paid for with no bank note, so you will be looking at you mortgage payment as well as taxes.

      I think people need to think twice about fighting against all the income generating projects the UDP is proposing or they will find that what you are suggesting will soon become a reality.

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    3. Again, I don’t understand how people could disagree with my previous comment. If you had a child that became handicap from a serious accident, and it would cost you not thousands, but 10’s of thousands of dollars to correct the life threatening malady that not even your church could produce those funds – Don’t you think government should at least have a financial safety net to those individuals – besides, government has accrued expenditures that has made our cost of living high. I think it is our moral duty to help those who genuinely can’t help themselve. The majority may disagree, but I know from my own experience. Sometimes you can never understand another person unless you have empathy.

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    4. NJ is right.

      Look, there are going to be people that are have nots. That is just life.

      Life ain’t fair.

      You learn to cope and deal with it. Don’t expect government to fix it. That’s the lazy persons way out. And it rarely if ever works.
      All you are going to get, is direct taxation. And as NJ pointed out. Once you start that ball rolling, it can only get bigger and go downhill faster. And there is no rewinding it back. Ever.

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    5. Bodden, don’t get it twisted, I totally agree with you that there is a need for funding in these areas. I just don’t believe taxes are the answer. An income generating government is and would have the means to fund these areas without it costing everyone their hard earned income this is what a government that works for the people does.. You have great moral perspective but unfortunately need everyone that get assistance actually needs it, there is a huge element of people that have mastered the art of manipulating the system of public assistance to their own benefit. So there must be proper infrastructure in place as well as the correct people in place to insure the money goes where it is actually needed.

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    6. This is something most Caymanians dont understand. Becuase most have never lived anywhere else. The Caymanian way of government is awesome. Hands down, bar none.

      It IS the best in the world. And the part they dont understand is why it’s the best.

      NO ONE ON THIS ISLAND works for the government. And what that statement means is. You do not pay direct taxes to the government. Which means, you keep your entire paycheck.

      The only time the government makes money is by the user buying something. Or using a government facility or asset.

      Places like Britian, Canada or the US. EVERYONE works for the government. a large portion of your paycheck has to go to feed those Bureaucratic monsters , that only keep growing bigger. Because there is nothing keeping those governments in check, except inflation (ie massive unemployment).

      And all those government’s responsibity’s are, is to waste that money from taxes, and when they need more. They just tax the people more. And the people cannot do anything about it. They can’t say no, they can’t stop it.

      Those people in those countries have to work harder and longer to feed those governments. And they get little to nothing out of it. Cayman has one of the lowest age of retirement rates in the world. Because the Cayman Government doens’t treat it’s people like disposible sponges to tax, to be squeezed how ever, and whenever they feel like it.

      I brag about how I get all the same ammenities that people I know, do in the US, or Britian. But pay no direct taxes.

      This government is unique and amazing. If direct taxation is ever introducted. That would be the end of this special and fragile system.

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    7. Sure those less fortunate need help but the introduction of direct taxation will kill the Cayman economy. The reason Cayman has become the banking and insurance hub it is is down to no direct taxation. Without this how will Cayman distinguish itself from elsewhere and will it be able to compete still? I doubt it. Introducing direct taxation may finally achieve the aims of some and move the expats on, but with the expats will go the companies, jobs and the economy. Direct taxation is a dangerous game.

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    8. Big Berd, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Very well put. Sometimes people do not appreciate what they have until it’s gone..

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    9. Another statistic to consider:
      Given that assistance would not be directly given to underage children, intellectually challenged, or mentally incompetent seniors, their guardians would have been given the funds. Since the 2009 elections had 15,338 registered voters, that 8000 represents 52% of voters.

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    10. What Mike Adams is saying here sounds like the recipe for a social welfare state, if you ask me.

      The less fortunate are not the same as the able-bodied unemployed; these are two different categories of Caymanians altogether.

      If a major committment and effort isn’t made by the current and next Caymanian government to stimulate Cayman’s economy to create jobs for the able-bodied, unemployed of those 8,000 Caymanians, they will soon become dependent on government handouts and a benefit culture will be established…

      Never to be revoked.

      Without a change in Cayman’s immigration system, taxation is the only other alternative.

      Caymanians unemployed now must be somewhere in the region of 5 – 6,000 people or more; almost 2/3 rds of the 8,000 receiving major government assistance.

      This is a major disaster for the Cayman Islands in the making if these numbers are not reduced drastically and quickly.

      You have never seen a country go down the tube as quickly as when major unemployment and government social welfare become the norm, rather than the exception.

      The levels of crime already inherent in Cayman should give some idea of what I’m talking about.

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    11. Cayman Islands has become a ‘WELFARE STATE!
      According to the Cayman Compass Mr. Adam indicated that social troubles worsened during the prolonged economic downturn that began affecting Cayman in 2009. He said the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing was working to ensure that the vulnerable are eventually in the position to help themselves.He stated that over 8,000 people were receiving some kind of financial aid from government.This can only mean that the social thermometer is talking to us and we need to listen.
      As I see it, modern day politicians have become disconnected from the poor. They lead lifestyles that are totally far removed from the people who live in the socially troubled or disadvantaged suburbs. Dictatorship regimes, far left, far right, or center isle, are better described as spin doctors and machine politicians who answers to the party boss that dominates the system.
      These political party loyalists are not in the least bit interested in the poor as those living in poverty are not even within marginal seats. Cayman’s Legislators or politicians described above are much more comfortable holding discussions hiding behind the Town Clock on immigration reform and opinion poll topics like environmental impacts of dredging, town development projects and so on. The poor is not at all a part of the equation,nor conversation, but is being held responsible for electing and re-electing these spin doctors who sit at the lawmaking table day after day trumping up deceptive stories to unleash on the poor. Of course this is only to buy more time only to spend wining, dining, and bending over backwards for their rich friends and avaricious rich developers handing out huge concessions to them that would never be considered for their own people who elected them into office. Even though constitutional rights and freedoms of the poor are being denied they do have the freedom to be poor.
      We have all learned a hard lesson and that is our legislators in their disconnect from the poor ; say one thing when they stop to talk with people in the poor suburbs. But when issues are debated in parliament and the media it is completely different from what they discussed and promised the poor people!
      Consequently poverty or welfare is now an exercise in political mythology, while they hold poor people at bay with empty promises to deliver them and their true embrace of the rich and elite developers granting their every request and without delay.
      Since The Cayman Islands is now a welfare state with over 8,000 individuals receiving some kind of aid or another it has resulted in government’s welfare strategies as a proven recipe for failure.
      Cayman elected politicians need to get out of their air conditioned offices and start talking to local businesses owners. Some of these are middle managers who were freed from the twisted, bureaucratic rules and systems of government. They are educated, and capable of creating something out of nothing, such as unused buildings or land and turning them into community buildings for education, training, research manufacturing and achievement, this means physical and social change. People need new self esteem, poor people need to experience a community hand-up instead of a government hand-out.
      Its time to fight poverty and TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK!. Its time for the Cayman Islands to start manufacturing products, build factories where thousands of people are employed begin to be a country that PUTS PEOPLE BACK TO WORK engaging in EXPORTS instead of IMPORTS, it’s time to stop building and developing physical structures and begin to build on our socioeconomic and educational structure, bringing people out of poverty and making them self sufficient and independent, creating entrepreneurs and creating jobs for the people of the Cayman Islands..Its time to ORGANIZE FOR CAYMAN!

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    12. How many of these 8,000 own property or rental properties? Shouldn’t having these types of assets preclude people from receiving financial assistance?

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    13. Fiery,
      We do not need direct taxation here in the Cayman Islands. We would lose our identity. Tax free is what the Cayman Islands is all about, and it is our pride and joy. Bear in mind we are the envy of not one, not two, but many nations. I do somewhat agree with Bodden that a community tax seems more palatable since we all are going to be old one of these days and may need the financial assistance.
      However, Bodden should have mentioned the wasteful spending by this present government in excessive traveling expenses, numerous counts of unecesary sundry spending and the MLA’s pay needs to BE CUT by at least 33% to 40%!They are OVERPAID! they are making a salary equal to as much or more than a US senator who makes US174,000 per year.Why do these home grown do nothing party pigs need to be paid so much? they live on a little Rock, size 110 square miles with a population of less than 50,000 only approximately 25%-35% of which are Caymanians with a voting register of only 15,000 people.Comparing this study to the United States Internal Revenue service which is supported by 300 million tax paying citizens! How does a Caymanian MLA in a colonial setting with a low populace fit into the equation of such a high salary equal to that of a United States Senator?!
      This is not only outrageous but totally insane and needs to be revisited and salary cuts and adjustments made.
      These guys are getting a free ride living high on the hog while everyone including hard working middle class citizens are forced into a welfare status.This charade must cease. Continual granting of work permits for cheap foreign labor is 99% to blame for this misfortune and this present government is RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HARDSHIPS OF THE PEOPLE.The people in charge, the lawmakers, yes the legislators we elected to office need to lead the way in taking a 40% to 33% pay cut from their monthly salary which is a Las Vegas style luxury. Taxation in this country would not only destroy our reputation as a tax free nation but it would wipe us off the map as a leading financial center amongst global players.

      I’m sorry to have to break the news to you but THIS IS THE WORST GOVERNMENT EVER ELECTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. That is a fact.

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    14. Tiger, Are you sure that 8000 includes people on Unemployment? I didn’t think that unemployment was considered public Assitance thats provided by Children and family Services…

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    15. You got a point there Tiger, that does seem like a lot of money to represent so few, no wonder they do everything they can to ruin the Oppositions reputation, they are all after the big job..People who truly care about Cayman would be willing to take the job even if the pay wasn’t so high. Cut that pay and see who still runs for Office. Your comment about work permits makes since as well. I thought the law was that the only way you could hire a foreigner was if you could not find anyone qualified with the same skills locally. I can understand having a hard time finding a Banker, CEO, Accountant or maybe a Software Engineer, but to say you couldn’t find anyone locally with Construction, landscaping or cooking skills doesn’t make since. A Minimum wage might just change that, do you think people would still pay work permit fees for foreign workers if they had to pay them the same as locals ?

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    16. Bodden,
      I tend to agree with what makes sense and go to bat against what makes no sense.
      Yes a community fund perhaps something like a partner fund but STAY AWAY FROM THE TERM’ TAX’ OR COMMUNITY TAX
      Once Legislators like the unscrupulous ones we have get comfortable with the term taxing they will go overboard and tax the hell out of us all,ACROSS THE BOARD! while lining their own pockets with MOST OF IT! So lets get an understanding here of what the people need -vs- granting these political party hungry sharks a license to kill!
      Thanks, nice idea.

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    17. Dear NJ2K

      I not saying that the 8,000 are all unemployed. The point I’m making is the Member Mike Adams has reported 8,000 people that has or is receiving some kind of government aid. Whether they are employed or not employed we are already aware of the serious unemployment facing our people here in the Cayman Islands. The fact that out of such a small population of 50,000 more than 50% are on work permits, we have a high rate of unemployment amongst locals that are duly qualified to fill such positions. This is certainly confirmation that the present system has failed and more over the present government is ineffective.

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