Progressives seek to revive 'Christmas cleanup'

The Progressives-led government is seeking to revive a holiday season roadside garbage pickup program that began in 2009 under the former United Democratic Party government. 

The program provided paychecks for several weeks to unemployed people who picked up trash, cut down bush and generally tidied up, particularly in high-traffic tourism areas along West Bay Road. 

The effort, which took place in 2009 and 2010, cost government about $1 million each year. Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden said Thursday that he hoped to have a Christmas cleanup program this year throughout Grand Cayman. 

Minister Bodden said government intended to run its roadside cleanups a bit differently than the former government did, to “ensure that it is properly managed” and to “see which [people] really want to work.”  

“Some signed up for that [program] and didn’t hit a lick and then come collect at the end of the week,” Mr. Bodden said. “We won’t run it that way.” 

Minister Bodden’s comments came during a Legislative Assembly debate on a private members’ motion filed by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, which asked government to consider putting more cash into social assistance programs. 

Mr. Bush noted that in previous motions to the House, he has suggested that the government revive the annual roads cleanup effort, which the Progressives had not done since taking office in May 2013. 

“What a bunch of copycats. How can a cleanup not work last year, but it can work [in 2015]?” Mr. Bush asked. “They’re stretching things out until they get closer to the election.” 

Mr. Bush slammed the government for donating US$500,000 this summer to hurricane-ravaged Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean, a move that the opposition leader said had “everything to do with political expediency.”  

He opined that the money could have been used for a number of local issues, including mortgage rescues, poor relief and school lunches. “Burglary is on the rise, people are eating out of the garbage … this can’t be seen as progressive under any administration, and they hide it,” Mr. Bush said. 

Mr. Bodden said that while government appreciated the intention of Mr. Bush’s motion, it already had 6,000 people on record as receiving some assistance from government’s Needs Assessment Unit this year. The minister said there is a limit to what the public sector can do to assist these people and how long “it can afford to carry them.” 

“This is a 40-, 50-year-old problem,” Mr. Bodden said. “Our people were not being developed as the country was developed. There were times when education simply wasn’t a big deal. Even when we get educated now, we still have problems in the country. 

“We have to pinpoint our scholarship regime, look at where our people are really needed and put our funding behind [them].” 

Mr. Bodden
Mr. Bodden


  1. I support Mr Osborn Bodden in this move, and I am also thankful that he could have seen eye-to-eye with Opposition Leader Mr McKeeva Bush in putting dollars in peoples pockets this time of year by bringing back the Yearly clean up campaign.
    We do not know, and I will not speculate that it will not continue here after; but I promise to watch it closely.
    Mr Bodden I must also say that I am satisfied things will not be ran the same way in financial payouts as before. Yes there were talks and accusations, bushes got ears and Lion tongue bush talked. Select the right people from each district, do not be political, because that will be another shoo-shoo. Looking forward to a clean Cayman for the season.

  2. I have to agree with Mr. Bush that the $500,000 could be used to assist Social Services but it needs to be used for the sick and Elderly not just those who want to keep using and abusing the System! Mr. Bodden is right when it comes to those that signed up for the program but didn’t hit a lick and then come to collect their pay at the end of the week I seen that for myself! He is also correct in regards to "Our people having 40 to 50 year old problem whom were not being developed as the country was developed". There were times when education simply wasn’t a big deal. Even when we get educated now, we still have problems in the country. This is very true but it needs to change! We need a Youth Center as our children are being forgotten and a majority of them are spinning out of control. We need a positive change that will assist these children with behavior, Education and tools for the future! We also need Parents to be held accountable for child neglect and offer parenting classes to them! If not they better make plans for a bigger Prison as this generation is very aggressive and full of anger stemming from many problems such as mental, Physical and sexual abuse, child neglect, poverty, learning disorders and not having any guidance or support at home. I can tell you as a parent myself after having issues of a little girl bullying my son and pushing others to do the same after close to a year of meetings and emails it has stopped! There is a serious problem at JGHS that Government is not dealing with appropriately and they cannot blame the Teachers as there is only so much they can handle! Not enough Teachers trained to deal with behavior problems that need a boot camp Captain or more Madia Teachers! Security Guards cannot handle these children from Bullying, Fighting and drugs. There is usually fighting everyday and a Ambulance there on a daily basis. So I hope that this Government realizes that this is more than a Education issue we are facing now!