The end of the school year launches a long hot season and wide anticipation among Compass readers of everything from clear roads to oppressive electricity bills to bored – and possibly troublesome – youth.
Privately sponsored recreational camps appear to be a sore point, overpriced and inaccessible to many families; overseas holidays will be an option for some; while others will contemplate the possibility of seasonal employment, although government budget constraints may render paid positions a little thin on the ground.
Still, lively discussion followed the poll query this week, including one remark that attacked the survey itself, calling the weekly queries “stupider and stupider”. The criticism appeared to be that the options were “leading”, in the sense that they offered to readers only the most cynical of choices about summer holidays.
While that is not strictly true – “clear morning roads and reduced traffic” were among the six possibilities – our respondent, sadly, neglected to register any further opinion.
“These polls get stupider and stupider. ‘Often overpriced’? ‘Difficult search’? ‘Long, hot season’? Really? Could you get any more leading?” read the counter-query. In all, however, most of the 430 respondents had something to say about summer holidays, even to the point of investing the subject with political weight, such as the voter who felt that expats likely interfered with seasonal employment for Caymanians.
“We need less work permits,” came the response. “PPM: What are you going to do about this?”
While the options for the elected government remain nebulous in this case, the National Workforce Development Agency is addressing the question, while the respondent’s fears, meanwhile, are not unfounded. Nearly 2,000 Caymanians are unemployed, a 10.5 per cent rate, with those between the ages of 15 and 24 suffering most of all.
Complexities abound, however, largely involving a match between the skills required for any job and those offered by any applicant. As another voter opined on the subject of finding work, the summer is likely to be “a futile job search for the long unemployed”.
More generally, one answer anticipated an overall complaint about a plethora of foreigners, fearing to hear a general “moaning about there being too many expats on the Island”.
The most popular choice among voters, however, garnered 171 ballots, 39.8 per cent of the total, looking forward to those empty roads every morning and afternoon in the wake of school closures.
Second on voters’ minds was “a long, hot season of idle youth”, drawing 92 votes, 21.4 per cent of the total. Expressed precisely, one complaint observed “the government sports office still has minimal staff at the Lions Pool, more than a year of NO learn-to-swim classes on Saturdays [because] the two employees are sorry [and only] work Monday-Friday. A few lanes are rented out to private programmes. Pathetic.”
That observation found a counterpart echo from a reader clearly resident in a block of private flats, lamenting “ragamuffin neighbourhood kids swimming in the pool at my complex and trashing the place”.
The limited alternatives for out-of-school students proved little more popular, registering third on the list with 70 votes and 16.3 per cent of the total. One comment indicated the recreational “camps” offered by companies and private organisations priced themselves out of the market, bypassing most of those in need of their services.
Ranking fourth, with 44 votes and 10.2 per cent of the total, was the “difficult search for summer employment”, while registering fifth, with only 38 ballots and 8.8 per cent of the vote, was the option of “off-island travel/vacation”, drawing a single comment from one excited expatriate: “Can’t wait: Back to the US for a nice visit.”
In the sixth place was that collection pegged “other”, which, despite drawing only 15 votes and 3.5 per cent of the total, often generates the most provocative remarks.
Tongue clamped firmly in cheek, one voter wrote: “A desperate search for meaning; Aye, whither the morns of yesteryear, replete with hope? Whither those comrades, young, sinewy and majestic, muscles coiled at the thought of another day’s diving, play-fighting, rumbling anew? So it goes. A summer is defined only by its end: soon, and insidiously, it will be over.”
Two others chose to turn their attention to more practical matters, perhaps pondering CUC’s recent price increases for the same old service, looking toward “another summer of paying exorbitant electricity bills”, while the second amalgamated most of the poll options into a portrait of a tropical – and expensive – summer. Finally, three voters voted for “all of the above”, embracing equally all six options.
Next week’s poll question
Should Cayman’s drinking age be higher, DUI limits be lower, maybe both?
A drinking age of 21 would benefit everybody
Lower DUI limits would reduce drink driving
Options 1 and 2 should both be tried
Neither change is acceptable
Police are already pushed beyond effective enforcement