Dear Cayman Marl Road,
I watched Ruthanna Young’s video last night and listened to some of her show comments. Since she’s the host of Straight Talk – she should really learn to speak the truth and stop lying. So many people applauded her for her honesty and addressing the failures of her multiple businesses – all 3 have now failed.
The real truth is Ruthanna is very good at telling half-truths and would be perfect as a politician if people want the same ole same ole – liars and people using the system for their own gain. Meanwhile, the poor people of this country get nothing but the short end of the stick.
Let me start at the beginning. When I get my job with Ruthanna I was desperate and had been unemployed for some time. In fact, CMR’s Sandy Hill assisted me with getting in contact with her. She gave me a chance and for that, I will always be very grateful.
Ruthanna said to me that she was “Not hiring me because I’m the best but hiring me for me to go places, train me and prep me for the working world and see me on my way out.” I believed her. I wanted to believe her, but before long I realized that Ruthanna was not a genuine and honest person.
After working for her for a year and a half the one who claims she was preparing me for better things gave me a poor reference saying she was not responsible for my actions like I was a common thief or something. I had to literally chase her down for the reference letter as though she did not want to give it to me. My new job depended on it and without it, I could not start my employment. I received it several days later than the deadline given but thankfully the new employer was understanding.
Customers appreciated what I did and often give me a tip although I was just the receptionist.
When I see people online commending her for being an amazing woman I have to wonder if we are even talking about the same person. Saying she had integrity is far from the truth. She is not an exemplary person and has a lot of hardship the poor people trying to make ends meet and survive.
I can't help but wonder if you all would be so understanding if that was your salary and benefits not paid. Would you be telling her years later that she was a great person and thanks for “doing the right thing”? I would think not.
People in Cayman must be cold-hearted or just easily fooled. I am not sure which one to believe anymore. As time went on, I found her to be spiteful and selfish at times while portraying a different image to society people.
Before I started working good other workers were pulling me to the side and telling me to be careful with my benefits and salary. Apparently one employee fell sick and had to go to the hospital. That is when she discovered that she had no insurance coverage. Her mother told Ruthann they would call the authorities and she had to give her a cheque for all the money she took out and did not pay.
For the first month, I worked for FREE while 8 months pregnant. Then I returned shortly after having my baby as I was desperate for the work.
Before long not paying health insurance, pension and wages became a regular affair. It was so bad that her Filipino and Jamaican workers would cry because they could not send money home to their family. Some had to pull kids out of school. Another employee had a miscarriage and lost her baby – only to find out once again she also had no insurance coverage.
Sadly the bad payments were not only for her employees but also for other companies that she did business with. I can tell you as a fact that companies like Security Centre, Club Save, Cooling Cayman and even her car mechanic were owed money and constantly tracking her down. She would try to get staff to lie for her to say she was not in when they would come by the salon looking for her.
She even went as far as tinting her office door so that no one could see in and when persons came she would call before they reached the front desk to tell us she was not there. Well, some of us could not lie for her and could only say that she was in a meeting. This was a constant situation.
The staff was always paid late. At first, it was only 2-3 days late. Then it would be weeks for some and others still are owed money to this day. She told one Filipino worker that she didn’t have kids back home so she didn’t need her salary.
On payday she would disappear and we wouldn’t see her at all. This was the norm.
Can you imagine? This is the person you all are calling strong and amazing and honest? This is the person people are claiming they want to run this country and applauding her for this video. I am so disappointed.
On a more personal note after some time I asked for a promotion and different hours because as a mother of three I was opening and closing the shop and barely seeing my kids 6 days a week. I worked from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm and sometimes later with no overtime pay.
She refused to give me this opportunity. Eventually, she hired a lady all the way from Dubai and gave her, a non-Caymanian the exact hours I asked for. Well, they soon found her out and left after just a few months.
She even refused to give me the day off for my daughter’s birthday.
One time I ran out of gas in Newlands because I had not been paid. I was stuck on the side of the road crying with my young child in the car. A total stranger had to stop and help me. She had no compassion when I eventually got to work late saying next time, I must make sure I get in contact with her no matter what. I couldn’t even afford to pay to top up my phone.
Staff would go on maternity leave and not have their money to take care of their baby.
So in her video when she expects sympathy as a new mother – who can really have it for her knowing the full truth? But guess what? It doesn’t stop there. She claims that her step-mother left her in a lot of debt when she took over the business. I do not know her stepmother but I do know that staff has told me they had no issues getting paid before Ruthanna took it over. There were no companies chasing her mother for payment.
She expects people to be sympathetic to her because she operated the business “with her heart and not her head”. Yet she was out there traveling and telling clients that she tipped restaurant staff extremely well when she ate out. She can afford to tip staff but not pay her own staff!
Her life did not appear to be impacted by her poor decisions but her employees suffered and continue to do so. Many are still not paid. Pension and insurance taken out of their pay and a plan never even opened up for them. I think that is theft.
I found out I had no pension plan when I was trying to get a government house for my family. Imagine that! Most people will know she eventually got evicted from that location and then went on to open a new salon in the middle of town.
I’m no business person and have no accounting degree like her but if you had to shut down one business why would you open another one? Why open up a cleaning service after shutting down Renaissance and doing the same thing – not paying staff? The second salon has now been shuttered for months. The talk is again … not by her choice.
I eventually found another job and was able to leave. I am still owed overtime and money was taken out of my final check that was still not paid into a pension fund.
When I contacted CMR and others about all of this you hesitated and wanted to give her a chance to “fix it”.
Another person emailed her apparently and many were told her dad claimed he was going to pay everything off and settle the matter. That was over a year ago. Still, people are waiting for their money. Many have given up any hope. Filipinos are afraid of going to complain.
She claims staff begged her to keep the business owner. The truth is she threatened foreign workers that they could not leave her. Many were fearful of canceled work permits or wanted to get a new job.
I worked X hours per week and was never paid overtime. I’m still owed and pension.
She gave excuses about being a new mother – what about her workers who lost their baby most likely because of work-related stress and money worries?
Well it’s been years now and nothing is fixed. Everything is the same. On Friday, I had no choice but to call the radio station and put it out there in public. I reached out to CMR and politicians and nothing was done. All I could hear was excuses about what she promised and you all believed it.
Now that she has responded I am even more upset because she has continued to lie and not tell the full truth. If she had come with the truth, I would not be writing this letter. Her lack of honesty in a prepared statement is shocking and says a lot about her true character.
If she is really going to own up to her failures, she should start by being 100 and not continuing to lie to people. Those of you who have defended this behavior disappoint me and all Caymanians struggling. Our own people are prepared to do this to us and based on the public support she is getting nothing will ever change. These are the people we want leading the country?
You all have been lied to and conned!
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