The National Community Enhancement Programme or NiCE programme is offering jobs for the first time in the summer and while some welcome the temporary work, others say it does not address the underlying unemployment problem facing some Caymanians.
“I think it’s a complete waste of time and it’s a complete waste of money and I think its nothing but a political move,” said former government social worker Michael Myles.
He said given rising inflation the NiCE programme’s wages won’t cut it.
“So they may make $200, that can’t even pay a person light bill, people will often say that can’t even buy them food that is not gonna pay their water bill and it’s not gonna pay them on an ongoing base.”
But according to former NiCE employee Jeffrey Seymour, any money is better than no money at all and he is grateful.
“It’s not a waste of time because it’s Caymanians that are getting it and to me its a start, you understand if I sitting down doing nothing and they call me out to work for five days and give me $350, I thank them for that so I don’t think it’s a waste of time I think it’s great.”
North Side lawmaker and Opposition Leader Hon. Ezzard Miller said he believes more effort should be placed in creating long-term jobs.
“What Caymanians want is long-term employment where they can build a future with their families so they can have careers and they can take care of their personal commitments and that’s what I support,” said Mr. Miller.
He said the NiCE programme is unreasonable for Caymanian people.
“For us to have this kind of NiCE programmes twice a year in a country that has 22,000 work permits is just ludicrous.”
Registration for the NiCE summer programme starts next Monday (13 August) at 9:00 a.m. It runs from 20 August to 31 August. Registration takes place at the Lions Centre. The project is open only to unemployed Caymanians who are 18 years old and over. Under the programme employees will conduct maintenance work, gardening, cleaning parks, beaches and roadside verge.