Thursday 26 November, 2020

Manderson: Transfer of Traveltime to Travel Cayman did not go smoothly

Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson

Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson

On October 26, in the house, Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson presented on the progress of Travel Cayman, since assuming responsibilities for logistics and monitoring of inbound travel and quarantine in Grand Cayman. In his presentation, Mr Manderson explained that the October 1 transfer in responsibilities from Travel Time to Travel Cayman "did not go smoothly".

The Travel Cayman programme includes monitoring and compliance, accommodation inspections, government accommodations and COVID-19 PCR testing. Two sub divisions of the team are The Travel Cayman Travel Management Team which manages inbound quarantine arrangements and the Travel Cayman Monitoring and Compliance team who manage the travellers quarantine arrangements once they have arrived in Grand Cayman.

"With an overwhelming number of travel bookings and applications, as well as monitoring, the Travel Cayman team was overwhelmed once the borders were opened," he said.

On October 1, at the beginning of the phased reopening, 110 people arrived to Cayman on 6 flights and went into quarantine at 72 different homes. Staff worked 12-hour shifts and made 95 house visits during a 14-day period. Staff at the monitoring centre were also required to make calls. The size of the team had to quickly be increased from under 10 individuals to 22 individuals to conduct home monitoring.

On October 10, Premier Alden McLaughlin advised all prospective travellers to the Cayman Islands that inbound travel was at capacity for the month of October and no further applications would be accepted. Government had previously announced that a maximum of 800 travellers would be allowed to enter the Cayman Islands during the month of October.

"Mr Speaker, the transfer of Traveltime [Travel Time] to Caymantravel [Travel Cayman] on the 1st of October did not go smoothly," he said in the house. "The number of travellers who wished to return home using the new policy of home isolation overwhelmed the Caymantravel [Travel Cayman] team."

Mr Manderson assured the house that a number of remedial mechanisms had been put in place including a new online application system, that would help to overcome the challenges faced in the beginning of the month.

"Mr Speaker, I have said it before and I will say it again the Civil Service aims to provide an exemplary service to our customers when we do not achieve that goal - we will not make excuses – we will not bury our head in the sand and hope that the problem goes away. We redouble our efforts and resolve the problem.  Mr Speaker from the information provided I do hope that you will agree that we have effectively solved the problem," he said.

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