The opposition Progressives party has called on the PACT government to “to commit to meaningful help for all involved in the tourism sector” saying “action and not lip service is needed.”
Citing recent mainstream media reports - including Caymanian Times - highlighting of the situation surrounding stipend payments, a press release by Progressives leader Roy McTaggart, takes the government to task over its handling of the issue.
Now that the borders are fully open (except from cruise traffic) the PACT administration has said that the CI$1500 per month paid to inactive tourism workers is under review with a decision expected by next month.
But the opposition has called foul on that, accusing the government of prioritising ministers’ pet projects over the needs of the furloughed workers and their families.
“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,” the statement said.
It also referred to ministers’ response to questions from the media, saying: “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’.”
But the Progressives counter the PACT administration by arguing that “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.”
Quoting extensively from the two national papers to make their point, the Progressives say: “This need has been evident for months. We have certainly been beating the drum that continued, and improved support was necessary.”
The press release adds: “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.”
The Opposition says: “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.”
And it concludes: “As has seemingly become the norm, I suspect that once the Opposition speaks, the Government will listen - and hopefully act.”
27 Jan, 2020
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