Roughly 600 people showed up to Tuesday’s NiCE program registration, like 61-year-old Sherlena Wright unemployed since 1998. She said, ” If I’m home I not making nothing, so at least if I’m out here I’m making something, payday come I have $2.”
That’s the sentiment shared by many who gathered at the Lion Centre to register for the Christmas clean up programme like fisherman Jefferey Seymour. He said, “To me it’s very important because it’s sure, when you go fishing you go with the intentions of fishing but it’s not sure. But if you get 2 or 3 weeks of work that is sure Christmas money.”
The programme aims to aid unemployed Caymanians and their spouses during the holiday season, especially important for former inmate David Bodden. He said, “I got out just a couple months ago and now I’m back again, tying to get a job.” While the job seekers may appreciate the chance, George Town central MLA Kenneth Byran says the turn out is cause for alarm. He said, “The turn out is rather bitter-sweet from the perspective of there is a lot of people here so it’s successful but successful to show that there are a lot of unemployed Caymanians.”
Public Works Department’s Mark Bothwell says the programme should be able to help several hundred people. He said, “It’s not finalized at this point but it looks like it is going to be about 75 for public.”
Mr Harris said, ” but should we do nothing to help those who have nothing or should we do something so they have some degree of dignity. There are persons who are here today represent the fact that they are not afraid to work, they are willing to work and they are willing to do what ever it takes, to put a few dollars in their pocket. I think as a government we have an obligation to help them.”
For many who showed up to register they’re thankful for the chance. Caymanian unemployment is at 6.2%.