Government is failing Caymanian families and businesses who rely on the tourism sector.
Two recent newspaper headlines highlight the Government’s continued lack of attention to what is truly important to hundreds of Caymanian families and businesses in the tourism sector.
The Caymanian Times notes concerns of tourism workers that “Future of (the Tourism) Stipend Pending” and maybe in doubt for many who depend on it to feed their families.
The Cayman Compass reports that “Watersport’s businesses seek support as Omicron impacts recovery”.
The Caymanian Times story notes the ongoing concern of unemployed former tourism workers that tourism will be stalled for the foreseeable future. Recent government statements have meant that “the status of the continuation of the CI$1,500 per month stipend payments has become a matter of concern for many recipients”.
The Cayman Compass spoke to a representative of the watersports industry who had similar concerns. The representative said he was “hopeful that government would continue its financial support for businesses and people in the industry”. He said it “was clear that the road to recovery would be a long one and support would need to be tapered to allow small businesses time to recover”.
We have been saying to the Government, over and over, that tourism would be very slow to return. We implored them to continue with the Government’s support of Caymanian families and businesses struggling with the absence of any real and sustained return of tourism. We asked that Government prioritise such assistance for families and businesses. The money is there if Government would put people ahead of Ministers’ pet projects.
In response to questions from the media, the Government stated that they are “aware of the extent of the issues facing the sector” and are “in the process of determining the level, conditions and duration of additional support that will be required this year”.
There is no reason for last-minute policy decisions. The Government just passed their first budget, and the support for tourism workers and businesses should have been ‘cemented in’. This need has been evident for months. We have certainly been beating the drum that continued, and improved support was necessary.
This PACT Government first tried to cancel support for tourism workers, and now it is late to again woefully understand the apparent needs of the industry as a whole.
In contrast, we have been proposing better support for tourism workers and ongoing support for businesses from the start.
It is time for the Government to commit to meaningful help for all involved in the tourism sector – action and not lip service is needed. As has seemingly become the norm, I suspect that once the Opposition speaks, the Government will listen – and hopefully act.
Issued by: The Progressives