Relatives stealing relief funds from their elderly parents

Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam told legislators this week that investigations were under way into a handful of cases where family members were cashing relief cheques for elderly parents and failing to spend the money on them. 

Mr. Adam was responding to a question by North Side Member of the Legislative Assembly Ezzard Miller during a Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, 13 March. 

Mr. Miller said he had been informed of cases in which children of elderly people were cashing cheques that were meant to be used for the care of their parents.  

The North Side MLA called for better monitoring to be put in place to ensure elderly parents were getting the benefits of those payments. 

“It is very difficult to get family members to take any kind of proceeding against or even report [these cases],” said Mr. Miller, adding in some instances, one would find upon visiting the elderly people, “the cupboards are absolutely bare” and their homes are not clean. 

Mr. Adam said the matter had come to the attention of his ministry, which had sought legal opinion on how to deal with the situation.  

He said social workers were monitoring the elderly people receiving the funds, known as Poor Relief Payments. 

“We are working on developing closer monitoring of these particular elderly recipients,” Mr. Adam said. 

George Town MLA Ellio Solomon asked if a large number of elderly people were affected by misappropriation of the funds by their relatives and if these cases had been going on for a long time. 

“I suspect a similar issue has been going on for many years, through the last administration as well,” Mr. Adam responded. “However, I believe the cases are isolated and very few and those that do come to our attention, we do address.” 

During Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, chaired by Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush, during which supplementary budgeting was discussed, an additional $260,000 was approved for the Poor Relief Payments programme, bringing the total amount of those payments during the 2011-2012 financial year to almost $6.2 million. 

An additional $1.8 million was approved for Poor Relief Vouchers to be spent in local stores, doubling the amount originally budgeted for the vouchers.  

The Finance Committee also approved an additional $1.2 million for rental accommodations for people in need, bringing the total to $2.4 million. 

adam mike

Mr. Adam


  1. This is a threefold Disgrace.

    First and foremost; that children are stealing from and neglecting their parent’s needs; familial, moral and social obligations are just being thrown out the window in these instances.
    This is the biggest Disgrace.

    Secondly, that the Minister (Ministry) of Community Affairs is only now working on developing closer monitoring for these particular elderly recipients’ situations.
    The world is not perfect but apparently there were limited, or no, Govt checks in place for this type of abuse prior.
    Disgraceful lack of foresight and hindsight.

    The blame cannot be equitably divided, but both sides are at fault (and guilt) for not providing, or willing to provide, or providing enforcement to sustain a minimal level of quality of life for these unfortunately abused elders.
    Why is this so?

    Yet, there always seems to be some form of outcry for the (human) rights of prisoners, in our newspapers, on our islands but not a peep about the rights of the elderly.
    Their circumstances are somewhat similar; both being prisoners of sorts, but why are the innocent being neglected in preference to the guilty?
    This is the third Disgrace; the people’s skewed values of social importance and focus.

    Let’s take more care of those who took care of us.

  2. Thank you Minister Adam for bringing this to light and for trying to do something. This type of elder abuse has been going on for years and has just been swept under the carpet. I know of cases where people worked very hard and did without themselves to see that their children were well provided for and got good educations. These same ungrateful children then turn round and treat their elderly parents worse than cattle.

  3. Not saying that they shouldn’t be investigated, but some of these complaints are very trivial. Funds do not necessarily have to be spent DIRECTLY on them. Expenses can be incurred indirectly and on family members who have to devote the extensive time and energy just to take care of an elderly person.

    It is like the saying pertaining to a man who has to pay maintenance for his child. If the mother and father has divorced, the child may not DIRECTLY received the funds. But the father is obliged to pay and show his responsibility or be prosecuted. Like what Judge Ramsey use to say, IF YOU LOVE THE CALF, YOU WOULD MOST NATURALLY LOVE THE COW TOO. The cow gets the benefit of the maintenance as well, because without the cow, the child will have no mother to care for. This is the reality of the situation, and every other situation where you have to take care of a dependent, such as an elderly or bedridden person.

    However, again, there are those who abuse such funds. But who is to say that those who are contributing to a dependents welfare, should not use the funds if they have to. That is why I believe A FRACTION of those complaints could be trivial.

    Mike Adams is doing a fine job.

  4. Based upon history no one will be held accountable for any wrongdoing. It is like gaspump-gate where ex civil servants were taking gasoline with government gas cards. Don’t name names and allow it to be forgotten.

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