(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.