“We are asking for people’s patience and apologize for any inconvenience caused during the payment process. The team answering the queries have found that individual questions can be quite complex and take some time to clarify. We hope to have all issues resolved as soon as possible. I would like to thank the Ministry and Treasury team who worked over the weekend to process payments.”
Chief Officer Wesley Howell
(CMR) Displaced tourism stipend recipients continue to lodge complaints that they have not received their monthly money prompting CMR to contact the Ministry of Border Control & Labour for comment. The industry workers shared that with payment being a week late they are struggling to make ends meet. However, the Ministry has clarified that all eligible persons who completed the mandatory survey that was sent out in early February have been paid.
Last week the government did a last-minute about-turn and decided to move recipients to a transition program instead of cutting them off cold turkey from the monthly payments. Many are now dependent on these to sustain themselves entirely.
Multiple persons reached out to Cayman Marl Road sharing that they were unable to pay bills with one person noting that her utilities had been shut off on Monday afternoon. Another irate West Bay resident said that her father, a retired taxi driver, needed medical tests and had to find the money to do so despite not currently working.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening the ministry noted that as of Tuesday, 22 February all payments with correct banking details have been submitted to Royal Bank for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to individual banks for recipients who elected to have the funds deposited directly to their accounts.
For those who chose to be paid by cheque, the distribution of cheques began on Tuesday, 22 February from the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue in George Town.
Stipend recipients who did not complete the survey sent out in early February have not received payment. These persons can still complete the survey and their stipend payments will be processed once the survey answers are reviewed.
The ministry also confirmed that due to the high volume of inquiries being received, they have added additional staff to assist with answering queries about the stipend payments and process updates to banking information. Stipend recipients with incorrect banking details are being contacted individually for the correct information.
This is not the first time that the stipend payments have been late. On numerous occasions during the Progressive's administration they struggled to get the payments out on time. It remains unclear what caused those delays as that government issued no statement on the matter.
A growing problem appears to be the 2,400 plus industry workers being unable to foresee themselves being able to sustain themselves again without the help of the government stipend. One observer noted that the millions of dollars being spent on workers may have created a quandary similar to what has been observed in the United States – workers unwilling to return to full time employment even when it is available to them.