The PACT Government reiterates its plans to continue the COVID-19 tourism worker stipend until it is no longer needed as addressed in the Government Strategic Policy Statement and iterated many times by the Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton.
Mr. Panton, in addressing remarks made by Tourism Minister Hon. Kenneth Bryan on a Monday morning radio talk show, said that the Minister had gotten caught up in the moment of being on the radio and fielding questions from callers.
“Our Minister of Tourism is doing a great job and taking care of our people within the industry,” said Mr. Panton. “His indication that the stipend was to be reduced to incentivize people to get jobs was a mis-step. He was seeking to express his desire to both support tourism workers and motivate them to seek ways to help themselves. He is a human being who like all of us will occasionally be a little less than perfect.”
Mr. Panton pointed to his comments made during his winding up speech after the Strategic Policy Statement was presented to Parliament in July.
“Our aim with the current COVID-19 tourism worker stipend is to continue aid until it is no longer needed. And our intention is that the tourism industry will be back up and running again in time for our traditional high season in November – which is when we plan to taper the stipend payments – with the idea being that displaced Caymanians will be back at work at that time doing what they love and taking advantage of those opportunities.”
Mr. Panton said that the PACT Government has every intention of ensuring that those in the tourism industry are taken care of until the industry gets back on its feet but confirms that Government will be tapering off the stipend payments as the industry re-grows.
“This PACT Government has done more to promote and protect the interests of the people of this country in four months than the previous administration did in the last four years.” said Mr. Panton. “Just as we are monitoring the uptake of the COVID vaccine, we are also monitoring the hiring and placement of tourism workers in other jobs. At some point the stipend will no longer be needed. Until then, those in the tourism sector who are without work can depend on the Government to continue providing support.”