DG still striving to localise civil service

| 02/05/2016 | 51 Comments
Cayman News Service

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson in the LA, 29 April 2016

(CNS): Cayman Islands Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has said that he is doing everything he can to recruit more Caymanians into the civil service. More than 74% of the people employed by government are local but he wants to see that increase, he told the Legislative Assembly Friday. Admitting that in some areas government had work to do to improve the recruitment of local people, he said he was pressing all heads of departments to focus on bringing more Caymanians into the public sector, but at the same time they were tasked with recruiting “superstar” employees to improve service delivery.

Answering questions about recruitment to the prison service and the failure of one local recruit to pass the induction, Manderson said the prison had still taken on four locals and two permanent residents in its second recent locally focused recruitment drive.

Manderson said he was proud that the civil service had a high number of local employees, a greater percentage than most of the private sector, and it would not stop there. However, he said that in the past, the civil service had faced criticisms for not doing a good enough job. The only way to get better is to train people and this meant bringing in skilled people from the outside, he said.

In the case of the recruit that had failed to make the grade at the prison, he said the recruitment exercise was done properly in accordance with the rules and the required standards that must be met, which could not be compromised, even for local staff. Although one local person was not given a job at the prison after the basic training, he had been invited to try again at the next recruitment, Manderson noted.

He said that the civil service was doing a lot of work to promote locals and was doing the “upmost to ensure upward mobility of Caymanian civil servants”, with jobs advertised internally first before offering posts to open recruitment campaigns.

The deputy governor, who is head of the civil service, said that in addition to moving people around on secondments to pick up more skills, government had 145 students working as interns across its various departments last summer and there was a committment to ensure that every local who applies for a public sector job can eventually join the civil service.

We will continue to do our best to get Caymanians into these jobs in the civil service and we take that responsibility seriously,” he said, as he asked the young man who failed to make the grade at the prison to contact him directly so he could address his particular concerns. Manderson also urged members to come directly to the civil service if they had constituency concerns about the public sector to give him and his staff a chance to address them.

Despite the recent recruitment and promotion of some bright young Caymanians, he said the politicians didn’t make it easy to attract locals, given the “beatings for doing our job” that some were getting when they came to the Legislative Assembly.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and other opposition MLAs jumped on the deputy governor for what Bush described as “casting aspersions” at the political members, claiming civil servants should not be afraid of answering questions in the parliament.

Manderson, however, said he was repeating what he had been told by government staff.

“Everyone knows what I am talking about,” he said, but made it clear that civil servants understand that they answer to “our political leaders” and they welcome the questions. He said he did not want to give the impression that public servants were afraid but when they hear what happens, sometimes it “doesn’t excite people” about joining the civil service.

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Category: Education, Local News, Politics

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is not our country. If they want 100% caymanization of the Civil Service so be it.

  2. Soldier Crab says:

    1. It makes far more sense to hire expatriates to do civil service jobs; when the job is no longer necessary, you don’t renew their contract and they depart. They also actually do the jobs they are hired to perform. Caymanians use their positions to show their importance and impede the efforts of other Caymanians: try getting a Trade and Business Licence or Planning Permission or anything else that requires a decision by a civil servant.

    2. As for Cayman Brac; there are a DC and Deputy DC who do nothing useful and a lady who actually runs the office who won’t allow anyone to be hired unless she personally approves or is related to them.

    3. People have short memories: wasn’t Immigration in a mess when the previous Chief left; what happened to the person who tried to sort it out…..?

    • LO says:

      My memory is that the immigration department was one of the best performing departments when someone left.

      Please engage brain.

      So many jealous people out there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m still waiting to hear about the much promised increase in retirement age to 65! Another lie? Will it apply to all Govt if it happens or will Manderson just take care of Central Govt as usual?

    • facts says:

      6:20. That Bill is at the Legislative Assembly. The DG and the Premier has delivered again.

    • Sonia says:

      The Cayman Islands would not be successful without the civil service.

      Who granted your work permit
      Who gave you your drivers license
      Who made sure your accommodation is built safely
      Who is teaching or caring for your children.
      Who is keeping you safe at night
      Who is incorporating your companies
      Who is issuing your tax exemptions
      Who is flying you off island
      Who is providing your medical care
      Who is fighting our fires
      Who is coming to rescue you when get drunk and get in a car accident
      Who is drafting our laws
      Who is granting you permission to operate local companies
      Who is making you rich beyond your wildest imagination ?

      Damn those incompetent civil servants they can’t do anything right …..

      Thank you civil servants. For all that you do for us. I for one is proud of my civil service.

      Arden stick to politics and let the DG run the civil service.

      • Fantasy Islander says:

        And who has to wait in line for hours or days or even years to get these services?

        • Anonymous says:

          12;34 hrs?? I got my drivers license renewed in 10 min….I got my work permit stamped in 19 min.

          the customer service has improved.

  4. Perry says:

    I am so proud of our DG for standing up for us in the civil service. This political rant is a good example of what is wrong in cayman. Our people must be encouraged to work hard and perform at the highest level not just run to your MLA I can tell you that the civil service has improved in the last 4 years and many of the underperformers are leaving.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rather than increasing the domestic dependence on Government largesse, Franz should have significantly cut the cost of the civil service by reducing numbers. He has singularly failed to take any unpopular decision and instead has turned into a puppet of the civil service unions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Has anyone actually read this article or watched the LA proceedings- if you did these senseless comments would not have been made. Let me educate.

      The DG is saying that there must be change in the civil service in order to improve performance.

      The DG has made it clear that the service will not lower its recruitment standards…so no more nepotism or MLA’s appointments!!!!!

      That performance matters

      That the days of MLA’s interfering in civil service matters is over.

      Lets stand with our DG as he makes the difficult decisions that are necessary.

      Oh 8:36 do you think the popular decision was to stand up to Arden? Ask the 15 persons who were fired last year from the civil service about how afraid the DG is about making or supporting unpopular decisions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fair point, but we would also like to see more action in regards to enforcing the rules when it comes to things such as gasboy access, use of government vehicles etc.

        • Kenny says:

          12:11. Old news. Those matters have all been sorted years ago.

          Come on try and find something current to complain about.

          Opps maybe there is nothing.

          Oh did you read that government financial statements for 14/15 all passed their audits with flying colors?

      • Anonymous says:

        Fired 15 out of 3,000? With that performance and attitudes the private sector would have fired 250! And some of those that were fired should not have been….

        • Tim says:

          Oh 3:37. We are all aware of the terrible record the private sector has for firing their poor staff. The labour board is full of cases of unfair dismissal.

          Thank Godness we have a civil service that cares about it employees and actually gives them a chance to improve their performance and training opportunities

          Stop being jealous of our Civil service.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes he may have got rid of 15 persons. But he has others that he knows must go but he is unwilling/unable to let them go. Too many secrets.

    • Anonymous says:

      If reducing numbers of the Civil Service is the required path, then the answer is very simple.

      Close down the way the District Administration is run in Cayman Brac! There is no way in this day and age that this archaic method of administering a minute number of the populace should be allowed to continue.

      This craziness has to stop, and there is no better place to start than with Cayman Brac. But I’ll bet my own two cojones that we will never see that. Why? Because of freaking politics. Only politiricks!

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman Brac is the worst. You have a DC and a DDC – one earning in excess of $100G+ annually and the other nearly $100G annually – to do what? Since K. Ryan left they have hired 3 persons to do his job as the DC. If the DC and the DDC would come to work on time and in some cases come to work at all or stay at work for a full day then maybe the work would be done. And lets not talk about the other civil servants in the Brac who use the government vehicles to do their personal side jobs and those who use government time to check on their side jobs or better still do their side jobs on government time. One officer in particular gets the “barge day” off from work so he can go and work a second job on barge day. There is so much nepotism in the Brac. And our MLA’s know that this is going on and do nothing about it. At the very least they could report it to the DG.

        • Anonymous says:


        • Anonymous says:

          The District Commissioner earns $125,000 for doing a non job. It was mandated that this was to be the salary because people like Julianna thought it would be an insult to the “Sister Islands” if the main employee didn’t have a Chief Officer’s salary even though everyone knows there is nothing at all to do over there most days for him or his deputy or most of the other civil servants. It’s a dead zone. Nothing happens. But they must get paid . It’s what’s called in modern financial management “transfer payments” where you give money without expecting anything in return.

    • Anonymous says:

      Deputy Governor (and his predecessors) has reduced staff numbers from approx. 3900 to 3500 over the last 8 years…look at the facts rather than making random comments that are incorrect.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Part of the problem is that we perceive David Legge’s editorial to have been correct. Cayman laws are simply not enforced. That is ultimately the responsibility of the civil service. It is the job of many to ensure compliance in a fair, transparent and consistent manner. They do not. The reasons range from incompetence to nepotism to political interference and to outright corruption. Why would any thinking person want to associate themselves with that?

  7. AGS says:

    Locals first have to eliminate the “entitled” attitude the majority of them have, get an education, work hard and then you will begin to see a lot more superstars emerge.

    People who actually earn what they receive and not receive things because of who they know or who their mama and papa are or who they know.

    This starts in the home, parents have to let their children know that they are not entitled to anything. Being Caymanian is not a qualification. Continue this mantra in the schools and make children aware that the world owes them nothing.

    If they want a scholarship, work hard, obtain the grades, be the best of the best to get the scholarship.
    If they want a job, determine what are the qualifications for that job and pursue it.
    Do not settle for mediocrity, strive to be the best in whatever you do.

    Never stop learning, you can learn from anyone, even if it is learning what NOT to do.
    Never be so arrogant and believe that you know everything.

    The civil service has its reputation because they have repeatedly rewarded incompetence and leaders have been to afraid to impose accountability and sanctions for poor performance.

    There is nothing wrong with hiring expats, however the locals should try to learn from them so that when their 2-year contract has expired, they are ready to fill the position.

    If you wanted a position and an expat got the position, take a look at yourself and ask why and what do you have to do to reach that level?

    DG, here is the wake-up call, it is not the expats in the Civil service that is the problem.

    It is the Caymanian managers/supervisors who have poor work ethic, did not actually earn the position they were in, they “inherited” it, simply because they were Caymanian; do not know how to actually be a leader, there is no accountability for poor performance and because they are Caymanian, they are there until they decide to retire. They stifle the budding superstars that you speak of.

    The budding superstars soon leave the Civil service out of sheer frustration. There is no succession planning, there is no reward for hard work, there is no environment for innovation, the attitude is “this is how we have done it for years” and “do as I say not as I do”.

    It may sound great to say you want to increase the Service with more locals but first ensure quality and not just because they are Caymanian and then have a plan of what you are going to do with those budding superstars once you get them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Civil Service must not become another social programme like what it is in Cayman Brac where people are hired just because Mosie or Julie says so.

    It’s needs quality and people free from political interference. People who will insist on doing the right thing and not just more pawns for the politicians to move around. People with cojones to stand up and be counted.

    It is high time that the likes it Arden, Ezzard and McKeeva were put out to pasture as well. They are the biggest blowhards in Parliament. Time to go!!!

    Enough is enough!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s worked until now and it will continue to work. Foreigners bring in money and their work ethic. Locals take a piece of that money using their sovereign privilege and their own work ethic. Foreigners complain and connive. Locals complain and party. Nobody is happy. Everybody is comfortable in their unhappiness. The word turns one more time, a day passes, everyone is comfortable and gets up and does it again. Those that aren’t comfortable change their attitude or go somewhere else.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you stand up to Mose or JuJu in the Brac you get put on paid required leave or fired and your entire family is victimised and not able to get help or work. So contrary to what the DG is saying that there is no political interference – this is not so in the Brac, The DG would like to portray to the public that this is not so but he knows what is happening and he plays a role in this as and when required to do so.

  9. Fed up says:

    Who gains if we sacrifice quality for nationality???? No one. Not the individual who didn’t meet the standard, the organization recruiting or the country. It is important to give serious consideration to local applicants but lowering standards for applicants who cannot hack it is foolhardy. And I really admonish our ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES who make generalized criticisms without knowing the facts and with ulterior motives. You represent the country, not individuals who perceive unfair treatment. You owe it to us to do your research. Don’t just make fools of yourself and waste our money!

    Being Caymanian doesn’t qualify us for anything except a chance to prove ourselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You want Superstars OR Caymanians, you can’t have it both ways! Sure there are rare exceptions, but it’s like finding a unicorn in a cow pasture.

  11. Anonymous says:

    the civil service….the place where people go when they can’t succeed in a real job……

  12. Anonymous says:

    franz…maybe you should concentrate on recruiting the best…as in quality over quantity…..
    civil service is currently one big social welfare system for locals…..

    • Anonymous says:

      for locals???

      DCI just hired more Jamaicans, when you check out stats, majority of of hiring is from Ja and questionably the RCIPS, go figure that one out, yet cops keep getting more jobs than Caymanians in finance for their compliance experience?

      check out the facts, this is not a comment about anyone specifically but to the obvious policy to keep recruiting Jamaicans on contract or with status and then West Indians BEFORE Caymanians are considered.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t understand what I just read

        • Anonymous says:

          Well let me explain it again as you must be status holder or one of the West Indian civil servants who benefits from our invisible membership in CARICOM and drive to recruit only from Caribbean but numbers and origin can’t be hidden for long.

          Therefore instead of cutting civil service the hiring continues so only welfare system is primarily for Jamaicans and thrown in the mix other West Indians, (from Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad, St. Vincent etc)

          • Anonymous says:

            75% Caymanian does not mean 75 Caymanians. It means for every 100 people hired 75 are Caymanians and 25 are hired for their skill and experience.

          • Anonymous says:

            Do you even know what the word “primarily” means?

            • Anonymous says:

              obviously you don’t, don’t worry don’t expect everyone to understand or accept the truth but yes the so-called welfare system is PRIMARILY (MAINLY, ESSENTIALLY) for Jamaican nationals married to Caymanians, or have status or are on contract, the stats will bear this out. Ask Mr DG himself for breakdown of hiring since 2005 and it will be clear to you and everyone with heads in the sand.

              And if a Caymanian MUST get a promotion I have only seen English people have contracts not renewed, but if you can find more examples to contrary go ahead.

  13. Anonymous says:

    civil service is a rats nest of under-performance and incompetence…..(read miller shaw or e&y reports)
    maybe they could do with less locals and more expats……..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Franz – nice try, but many of us do not want to join the civil service because we want to be free to think, to implement solutions, to do the right thing, and to be recognised for what we achieve. We do not want to be a part of a group of automatons, remunerated the same no matter how competent or hard working we are, and be kicked by politicians for doing no more than the laws they write demand.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:47 I am not sure what civil service you are referring to- but its not the Cayman Civil Service. Just look at the LA agenda this week and you will see the work being done in the civil service.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Civil Service and the DG is famous for saying one thing and then doing another.

    You want to attract the brightness and best, start creating an environment where the brightest and best can thrive, that means real having real sanctions for non-performance and real rewards for superstars.

    At the moment, joining the Civil Service is a potentially damaging career move for anyone hoping to someday leave and go back to the private sector. It is large viewed as a welfare programme and no amount of localization is going to change that, in fact one could argue that further localization will actually make the situation worse.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Most Caymanians want to join the Civil Service where you are guaranteed a job for life, where you can hide and where you cannot be censured for poor quality work. That is not to say that there are not hard working Caymanians. The Civil Service can of course work towards 100% Caymanization because it is in truth the easiest way to ensure employment for locals many of whom would not cut it in the private sector. There is a problem with the model though.

  17. Free4All says:

    Govt to Private Sector: “Do as we say, not as we do!!”

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hiring Caymanian friends with one hand, sabotaging and disenfranchising Caymanian non-friends with the other.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Make the civil service comply with the immigration law. Then we will get proper training and succession planning. As for how many Caymanians are in the civil service – thanks Mac!

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