Health City: An opportunity, not an entitlement

Prior to Tuesday’s official opening of Health City Cayman Islands, 2,200 local schoolchildren were given an exclusive glimpse of the medical development.

During the open house, the question was posed: How many of you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare? Some 300 indicated, yes, they were.

Now the question for the adults: What are we going to do to prepare our children for success in this field — or any other?

If the Shetty hospital will be, in fact, the “third pillar” of Cayman’s economy, we must acknowledge that our country did not take full advantage of the first two — financial services and tourism. Cayman must not miss such an opportunity again.

After Bill Walker founded his law firm in 1964, government evidently foresaw the potential of the offshore financial industry, passing framework legislation two years later.

At that moment of recognition, the country should have begun to invest enormous amounts of time, energy and (as the revenue stream turned into a flood) money in the education of Cayman’s youth so they would be prepared to succeed in the industry when the time came. That didn’t happen.

Strike one.

When Ben Torchinsky and his local team opened the Hyatt Britannia Resort in 1987, the hotel set a new standard for Caribbean development and opened the gateway of upscale luxury travel to Cayman.

At that pivotal moment, again Cayman did little — except perhaps to inculcate in our children that “those kind of jobs” were ones from which Caymanians should shy away.

Strike two.

Health City is Cayman’s third opportunity. We don’t know if there will be another one, but we do know that there will never be a better one with a group of people more willing to welcome Caymanians into a new industry than Dr. Devi Shetty, Gene Thompson and Harry Chandi at Health City.

During Tuesday’s opening, Dr. Shetty shared his dream that in a decade, people Googling for the best heart surgeon in the world will find their way to a Caymanian working at his hospital, which itself will be the best in the world.

Dr. Shetty and his local partners have set the table for Caymanians. If we don’t show up academically and attitudinally prepared, we’ll forever be the proverbial “beggars at the banquet.”

Premier Alden McLaughlin has previously stated that, even with stubbornly high unemployment, there are hundreds of jobs available — such as domestics, gardeners or caregivers — “which Caymanians have generally expressed little interest in filling.”

The first thing that needs to change is that attitude. Health City is an opportunity for Caymanians, not an entitlement. Any open door has the potential to lead to a rewarding career.

We expect that Dr. Shetty will accept nothing less than world-class performance from each worker at Health City, be they gardeners, nurses, administrators or physicians.
As of today, the schools should be identifying the 300 children interested in healthcare.
They should be encouraged in every way, including tailoring curriculum and fostering protégé-mentor relationships with Cayman’s healthcare professionals, both within Health City and without.

Health City is starting to roll down the tracks. Caymanians need to jump on board — right now — before it picks up speed and leaves us behind.

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  1. It is true that there are hundreds of jobs available like domestics ,gardeners,and caregivers. But without a minimum wage the likelihood of getting more then 3 per hour would be stupid to take that job. Can you imagine without any consultation or research, how in God’s name would you pay for a child on that salary?

  2. The mere existence of this facility does not mean that Cayman has struck gold. Education is whats needed to be revolutionized so that the future of Cayman comes from a new stream of different attitudes. Education gets you a job in the health care sector and being Caymanian doesn’t trump that.You don’t do become a brain surgeon based on where you were born.

    So before everybody gets giddy on the construction of this facility, wait until it happens and in the interim let the government start a new plan and approach to education.Plan for the future and that starts with the present.

  3. Right to the point, this is an opportunity for people to get in on the ground floor and those that want to will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. Parents if you see a spark in your child’s eye about the medical profession do everything you can to encourage them and steer them in the right direction. Government on the other hand needs to insure that there are mechanisms in place for people to take advantage of such as scholarship programs and internships. It baffles me that a government who would spend 10 Million Dollars a year to provide Turtle meat to people for consumption would cut back and limit academic funding for children trying to further their education. It’s time for our leading to get their priorities straight.

  4. I totally agree with this article, and I hope Cayman will make the best of it. Dr. Shetty and his hospital will greatly enrich job opportunities and provide excellent healthcare for all of us here on island. Not to mention the big boost to our economy. All the best, Dr. Shetty!

  5. I don’t think 3 per hour is realistic. Most Jamaican cleaners seems to make around 10 or 50 for a half day. Nannies also do pretty well. And besides even if it were 3 per hour isn’t that better than 0 per hour. True a minimum wage may help ensure employers aren’t taking advantage of certain people, but i don’t think the presumption should be that entry level employment isn’t worth seeking without a minimum wage. And why does the argument always lead back to taking care of a child or raising a family on minimum wage? Aren’t there unemployed people without children? This all just seems like another prepared excuse for when Caymanians don’t apply for and then don’t get the jobs at Health City.

  6. Adding to what Christoph says, there will always be people with that defeatist woe is me attitude, who expect things to be given to them without having to work hard. I say that the people who are willing to do what it takes need to ignore those with that frame of mind and continue to do whatever’s necessary to move yourself up the ladder of success. There will always be haters trying to hold you back, remember misery loves company.

  7. Have to take issue with David Miller – Someone who is not working would be stupid NOT to take even a 3 dollar an hour job. Employers don’t discriminate against people with low paid jobs on their CV, it shows work ethic and good character. They are often referred to as ‘gateway jobs’

    What scares a potential employer is a CV with big gaps in the employment history… If someone can sit at home doing nothing they would be quite happy to sit behind a desk, on your dime, doing the same.

    If I interview someone with a gap in their history THAT will come up at the interview – … So I notice you weren’t working for 5 months in 2012 – Tell me what you were doing to fill your days?
    Sometimes the response is an awkward silence.

    Somebody who is unemployed would do well to volunteer a couple of days a week at the red cross, meals on wheels or the humane society – it keeps the interview flowing much better when that sort of question is asked, or can be put on the CV to preempt it.

  8. Adding to what Andy says I think it would be an excellent Idea to require people that receive government support like welfare to do some type of Volunteer work or Community Service as a requirement for receiving the benefits. Workfare instead of Welfare..

  9. Well, I’m impressed, Andy, the fact that a person who is not working should take a job. That was not my point. If a person takes a job at $3 per hour why would any employer offer any more then they have too? Let’s be totally honest, they won’t. No more than you would pay more for groceries,gas, TV, phone service. Right? Come on, gentlemen, you pay domestics $10-12 per hour for one day’s work, not per week. So the domestic who is being paid that lives where? With you? Food? Are you paying for a work permit?
    Caymanians are not looking for that because it’s not entry level work. It’s experienced skilled level work with years of washing, cooking, ironing and taking care of children mostly under 3 years of age. They should get paid more, but they don’t? But how can a cashier at the bank or a clerk at a fast food rest or any waitress afford to pay $5 per hour or more??? Offer medical ins. and pension? No, that is definitely not the norm.
    We should have mothers at home with children, in fact if they can’t pay $10 per hour for a maid they shouldn’t be allowed to have one. We would have children with better attitudes, smarter, less violent, speak better and more loving. Maybe a grandmother could be offered the job?
    Some of the people who are able to work should be given work. If you notice in the past when Gov’t needed people to clean bush at $10 per hour before Christmas they had more people then they needed. Simple minimum wage set at $10 per hour. Those businesses that can’t pay should think about getting a different job. Shouldn’t be a hardship all of those people are used to working 90 hours a week. They will still be able to pay for their mortgages,cars, phones and maids.

  10. The article was written in the context of being ready to seize opportunity, and David, I think where we differ is that I was saying that even a 3 dollar job can be an opportunity. There are many examples of why someone should be paid a specific figure but on the flip side there are just as many examples why not.

    While I have a science degree and significant IT and engineering skills, I have taken jobs well below that suggested minimum wage because that suited my personal circumstances at the time, increased my skill-set making me more employable or offered new challenges.

    No employer expects to keep a 3 dollar/hour employee, but if they’re doing a good job and worth retaining the wages will increase to reflect their contribution, Or (as per my comment about gateway jobs) they can move to a better paid job with a different employer, Its much easier to get a job once you already have one…

    Conversely it’s much easier for an employer to take a risk on someone new who is not at the skill level required and then invest in their training when there is not a 10 dollar threshold. (there used to be something called an apprenticeship…)

    If someone is willing to take a 3 dollar job to gain a foothold in a company, both the employer and employee understand this is not a forever career move.

    Setting an arbitrary minimum wage limits employers options.

    The US is proposing a 10.10 minimum wage and it is estimated this will cost at least half a million jobs in a labour force of about 150 Million.

    3 Dollar Job = Opportunity
    10 Dollar Minimum wage = Entitlement