OCC to manage whistleblower reports

| 19/11/2015 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service

Franz Manderson, Cayman Islands Deputy Governor

(CNS): The Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) will have oversight for receiving and clearing reports from whistleblowers under new legislation, once it comes into force. The law, which is designed to protect people who report wrongdoing, not just in government but in the private sector as well, will be implemented by Cabinet following a comprehensive education campaign, the deputy governor told the Legislative Assembly as he presented the bill on Wednesday. Despite a number of concerns raised by some members about elements of the new law, it received cross-bench support.

“The bill covers both the private and public sectors,” Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said. “That means that all employers and employees in the Cayman Islands would be subject to this new law. To be effective the law will need to be properly understood by all persons and enforced.”

The OCC has been designated as the entity where whistleblowers can go in confidence with their concerns and that independent office will then start the ball rolling and pass the details on to the relevant investigatory or statutory body, depending on the nature of the report, and ensure the anonymity and protection of the whistleblower.

That office will also publish the guidelines on how to whistle blow and receive lawful protection. Those reporting misconduct or wrongdoing will need to do so under the protocols of the law in order to ensure they get the full protection. Those who expose an alleged wrongdoer by other means, such as through the media, will not be protected under the law, the deputy governor warned.

He said that the aim of the law is to encourage and protect anyone who reports through the official means, not just criminal wrongdoing, bribery or corruption, but other forms of improper conduct or failures to meet important legal obligations and attempts to conceal wrongdoing. It will ensure that they are not ‘blackballed’ and that their jobs, in particular, are protected and they do not become victims of reprisals as a result of blowing the whistle on their boss or anyone else who may have influence over their lives.

A long time in the drafting, the law will not come into effect immediately because there needs to be a thorough public awareness and education campaign to ensure that people understand how the legislation will work and what obligations employers, especially, have under the law, Manderson said.

He stressed that the law covers the commercial sector as well as the public sector and bosses in all industries will need to ensure there are protections in their workplace so staff do not suffer as a result of exposing wrongdoing. He explained that whistleblower protection already exists in various laws but this stand-alone law will widen the protection, encourage reporting, create more transparency and act as a deterrent to would-be wrongdoers in government, as well as the business and non-profit communities.

Manderson said there would be a comprehensive regime for investigation and anyone convicted could face jail time or heavy fines as well as possibly compensating anyone who has suffered because they blew the whistle and lost their income or benefits. But he said whistleblowers must act responsibly and those making malicious and knowingly false reports can also be prosecuted.

The deputy governor said he believed the law, which was recommended by former complaints commissioner Nicola Williams, would promote whistleblowing and provide the necessary protections and sanctions to create a safe regime for exposing improper conduct and illegality in government and private sector workplaces.

Questions were raised by some MLAs. The East End independent member, Arden McLean, queried whether the legislation was robust enough to protect whistleblowers in the face of the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law (CRPL), among other problems, and Winston Connolly, the C4C member for George Town, pointed to the need to ensure it was enforced. Bernie Bush, the UDP member for West Bay, asked whether the police would be covered, given that the OCC does not deal with complaints about the RCIPS.

The deputy governor said the law applied equally to the RCIPS, both in means of protecting whistleblowers and the obligations on the part of police management. While the police will also be called upon to investigate reports of possible criminal misconduct made by whistleblowers, Manderson did not say who would investigate any reports about wrongdoing in the RCIPS.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill, 2015

Statement from the Deputy Governor’s Office on Whistleblowers Bill

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (18)

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  1. Sharon says:

    oh my are we talking about the same person…. i keep reading on CNS about how Franz is too nice???

  2. Anonymous says:

    The head of the civil service knows well who the corrupt people are. Why do they want someone else to blow the whistle? Why don’t they act on the information already available to them. Want a clue? Look at one particular statutory head who spends $40k of the public purse on a new truck which he drives exclusively for his personal use and then uses his Gasboy card to keep it full of free gas. You know who it is and you continue to allow it to happen. Blow your own whistle!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would like to whistleblow that a number of persons were granted Caymanian status for improper motive and believe that a certain amount of corruption may have been involved in some of the grants. I am glad I can soon have a mechanism to report it and expect some formal investigation of the possible serious crimes involved.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Franz Manderson is part of the problem. The government cartel rules. There are a group of them and if you are not part of the group Lord help you especially if you are female. Too much male dominance in government. Ask Franz why he has to send three of his female government employees out at 10am in the morning to run personal errands for him. All abusing their positions in government. Can’t wait for this law so I can blow them out the water

  5. Shame on You Franz Manderson!! says:

    Whatever you do, DONT send him to negotiate on your behalf. He went to Cuba to re-negotiate with a Country that DOES NOT abide by any Human Rights or International Law. The results were: The HMPrison Services, which was already cut in the Budget, must now “guard” Castro’s people, at the Cayman Islands expense!!

    But while we honor Castro, we disregard the United Nations on Human Rights, we allow Civil Servants to NOT do their jobs – to a level that’s it’s bad for their health. Funny or Sad?

    So instead of insisting that they to to their jobs – we give them time to go to the GYM (less work for the public),

    Shame on you Franz Manderson!

  6. Hold Caymanians Accountable says:

    I am tired of Franz Manderson BS. Let me explain why:
    1. Chief Officers DONT do their JOBS.
    2. Therefore their staff DONT do their jobs.
    3. So, comforted by air condition and too much food, EVERYBODY FAT!!
    4. So to compensate the Civil Service for NOT doing their jobs, they get to go to the GYM during work hours and GET a salary increase!!!!!!

    Franz Manderson would be FIRED if he worked for ANY private sector company. Instead of HATEING Jamaicans ( who helped develop this Country), and HATEING others we need to start holding CAYMANIANS accountable, for THEY are truly our worst enemy!!

  7. blah blah blah says:

    More hot air. The Cayman Islands, a nation in compliance with all and nothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The thought process is great, but more I suspect designed for the private sector. You cannot honestly expect a Caymanian, for example, to go whistleblow on a fellow Caymanian in the CS or similar for some wrong doing without somebody finding out and there being repercussions. Cayman’s endless dilemma. I would like to think this could be true, but unless furreners with no conflict are appointed to run it, then, damn….

  9. Roman Law says:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  10. SSM345 says:

    About time, we will finally be able to do a clean sweep and get rid of all this dirty thieves at the trough.

  11. Brian wave says:

    An amazing achievement for the Government. So many positive developments. Thank you CNS for the first positive story I have read in months.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Psssst. CIG cannot provide proper accounts for all the cash it spends. That would mean firing and probably prison time in pretty much every jurisdiction. Now I have whistleblown, can you do something about it?

    • Brian wave says:

      Actually have you read the latest AG report not one single ministry or portfolio received a disclaimer or adverse opinion in fact most received an unqualified option. What you are referring to is a thing of the past …..try and get up to date please. These mistake and negative comments is just plain boring.zzzzzzzz

      • Anonymous says:

        Brain wave, methinks you smoke too much ganja..accounts were produced but very few of them escaped criticism for record keeping, and of course the minor issue of not accounting for health or pension liabilities. That things have improved by no means states that they are perfect. Far from it.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m guessing by the name BRIAN wave instead of brain wave, the and all the zzzzzs that can only indicate being asleep on the job, that the poster also works for the CIG–which explains the posts.

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