NWDA director to CITA: 'We're sorry'

As shared in the statement released to CNS on Feb. 12 the NWDA apologizes to the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) and to MLA Alva Suckoo for the role it played in the miscommunication of information that resulted in some erroneous information being shared through the CNS article dated Feb. 12 titled, “CITA job drive manipulated, says MLA” and on Cayman Cross Talk’s Feb. 20 programme.

The National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) wishes to make clear that it affirms its strong interest and desire to work with CITA in joint efforts to assist Caymanian job-seekers in accessing employment within the tourism industry. NWDA values the proactive efforts of CITA, its membership companies and the many volunteer hours that were spent to support the CayTED event in October. Further, the NWDA acknowledges that CITA has attempted to engage in an employment initiative at a level that has not yet been seen within any other industry or sector in the Cayman Islands.

The NWDA served on the planning committee for the CayTED event. From the NWDA’s perspective a great deal of effort was extended by CITA staff, CITA members and CayTED volunteers to deliver the second Cayman Tourism Employment Drive (CayTED) in late 2014.

The jobs available, as part of the CayTED employment drive, were posted on a website developed by CITA. This website was made available to the public and allowed all interested persons to access the list of jobs available. The NWDA has been advised by CITA that when CITA members posted their jobs on the CITA website the members were asked if the job had been posted with the NWDA. The NWDA is aware of the fact that CITA has tracked this information and according to CITA members many of the jobs were posted on both the NWDA portal and the CITA website.

On the day of the first event an NWDA representative requested a copy of the list of jobs available. While CITA asserts that a list was provided to the NWDA representative, the representative does not recall receiving the list. However, a list may have been received by the NWDA and in the midst of the activities of the day this fact may have been forgotten. At no point in time did CITA refuse to provide the NWDA with a list.

While it is true that at the time of the CNS article the NWDA did not have in their possession a discrete list of jobs, this was the result of the NWDA not following up with CITA after the event to request the list. However, following CayTED the NWDA received CITA’s working spreadsheet, on Nov. 17, 2014, and an updated version on Dec. 10, 2014. This document contained detailed information including the list of participants, and names of companies and posts that participants were referred to. Subsequent to the CNS article CITA has provided the NWDA with a list of jobs that they advise is the original list of CayTED jobs as at Oct. 17th, 2014.

CITA has indicated that the working spreadsheet is being updated for transmission to the NWDA, at which time the Department will be in a position to comment further on the outcomes of the CayTED initiative.

Once again it is the hope of the NWDA that the Department will be able to continue its partnership with CITA in order to provide employment opportunities for Caymanians. The NWDA values its private sector partners and sees this type of relationship as critical to facilitating opportunities for Caymanians to access, maintain and progress in the local labor market.