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Friend of prison boss favoured over colleagues

| 17/11/2016 | 94 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Prison Director Neil Lavis

(CNS): A British woman who was a long-time friend of the prison director was given preferential treatment when she was employed at HMP Northward as a manager in 2014 compared to her colleagues. Nina White, who has since left the service after getting embroiled in the ‘videogate’ scandal at the jail, was paid over $1,000 a year more than other prison managers, received higher pension contributions and a car upkeep allowance, even though she may not have had a car.

As a result of what appeared to be unjustified favouritism, White’s male colleagues took the case to the Gender Employment Tribunal, which recently delivered its ruling and found in the men’s favour. The gender tribunal found that the complaint brought by Stephen Cuthbert Atherley, Peter Andrew Foster, Marlon Dane Thomas Hodgson and Ricardo Hugh Patrick Lashley was substantiated and submissions on damages are expected from them before the month end.

The men who filed the complaint were all experienced prison managers and all of them were undertaking duties that were very similar to those performed by White. But the decision of the tribunal (posted in the CNS Library), which was based on issue of gender discrimination, appears to indicate that White received special favours because of her long-time friendship with the prison boss as much as because she was a woman.

White was interviewed and secured her post at the same time as Steven Hansen, another employee at the prison, both having applied for two vacant management posts. But from the get-go the inequality was apparent, as Hansen was employed on a lower starting point on the salary scale than his new colleague.

But White was on a higher rate than her new existing colleagues as well, which officials from the prison and home affairs ministry had claimed was down to White’s experience, qualifications and interview performance. This contrasted with the austerity measures that had kept pay for all existing prison employees stagnant.

Despite the claims about White’s experience when she applied for the post, she was working in a coffee shop, having left the UK prison service. In emails with the prison she also confirmed that she did not have specific experience in the role she intended to take. Hansen, on the other hand, who was also British and originally recruited to Northward from the UK system, already had several years experience working as an officer in the Cayman Islands at the prison.

The tribunal ruling also reveals that it was not until White was shortlisted for interview for the management vacancies that Prison Director Neil Lavis revealed that she was a family friend.

He told the tribunal that he had familiarised himself with the Public Service Management Law and Code of Conduct and the requirement to disclose and take steps to avoid conflicts of interest and that he must not use his official position for personal or familial gain.

Lavis had known White very well for several years and she had been a member of his staff in the United Kingdom from 2000 until 2004. He stated that he had told the other members of the interview panel that he knew White and that they did not think it prevented him from being part of the interview panel.

However, the tribunal found that there was no mention in the interview notes or elsewhere about his friendship and they questioned why Lavis had not mentioned the matter in the two affidavits he swore for the tribunal.

“Against this background, the majority of the tribunal has struggled with the credibility of Mr Lavis, particularly when coupled with a failure to disclose in either of his affidavits that prior to the interview, he had escorted Ms White on a visit to the prison,” the tribunal stated in its finding.

The members of the tribunal also noted that they were not satisfied with his account of why these matters had been initially omitted. “It was also notable that Mr Lavis had not mentioned that his wife, who was a close friend of Ms White, was at the time working as a consultant for the Ministry of Home Affairs,” they stated.

During the hearing the prison service argued that “the sex, marital status, or gender of the complainants” had not impacted decisions about their pay, and that the men were paid less because of budgetary and policy constraints. However, the majority of the tribunal members “did not consider that this was genuine”, the ruling states.

The tribunal found that Hansen and White were of equal value to the employer, but White was being placed on a salary scale of Grade J, Point 6, while Hansen was being offered a very similar position on a salary scale of Grade J, Point 4, “notwithstanding that there appear to have been no significant differences in their experience and qualifications and only a comparatively small difference in their respective scores with the Interview Panel”.

The tribunal concluded that the reasons offered by the prison for the difference were not established as genuine based on the evidence. They pointed to a lack of real differential in experience between White and the complainants as well as Hansen, as they found in the men’s favour.

Although the complainants and Hansen are still working at the prison, White is no longer with the service. It is understood that she parted company with the prison after she was suspended, on full pay, in the now infamous scandal involving covert video equipment and allegations of inappropriate behaviour at the jail last year.

CNS understands that White then went to work at a well-known local security firm.

See full tribunal ruling in the CNS Library

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Prison

Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wah. Wah. Wah. Said the Angry at all Furiners Caymanian Bully waiting to spew hatred on this site.




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  2. Sucka Free Cayman says:

    This is no less unfair than Ex government Top civil servants being given Chairmanship on appeal tribunals which makes rulings on outcomes and decisions on the very persons they handpicked or hire for post,. Dont see nobody shouting and jumping up and down protesting about that. As for you 5:12pm with your little rant about getting rid of the British It sures hurts when it one of unnah eh. Now you call for all “Caymanians” which you are not. It is just convenient now to be one. Yes go head and give up the coveted passport you all love to possess sooo much. Please leave us out of this fight between plantation manager and owner.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Aaaaaaand once again….Caymanians are the victims of the big bad furriners.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Whenever I need a good chuckle I read CNS and boy this article and comments is a real Roflmao.

    First this decision had nothing to do with gender

    White on a work permit??? Huh where did that come from

    White working at security center huh ???

    Lavis decided White pay point Huh??

    At least one fact would help .

    I just keep laughing at the grossly absurd posts.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    It happens in most corporations, that hiring of friends or friend of friends. Some work places even go as far as to dish out a cash incentive once the person passes probation period. It’s a dog eat dog world out there!




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  6. Anonymous says:

    The British influence here has become more of a disease than Zika.
    It is time for us to eradicate these self-serving, colonial hypocrites.
    Give them back there stupid passports, which are nothing more than a passport to a failed welfare state.
    Be very frugal with Caymanian passports and roll over frequently. These people need to be taught some respect.




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    • Anonymous says:

      So your not racisit or bitter at all are you haha?!!! Cayman kind at its finest!!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Taught respect? When there is something wort respecting you will get all the respect you need. And therein is the problem, there is an element of Cayman society that just seems to think being Caymanian is all you need to earn respect. What you are really saying is “let’s bully the Brits”. See how much your good Lord loves that one when you turn up at the Pearly Gates. Or you could get off your bigoted a$$ and do something worthwhile.




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    • Jotnar says:

      Can you explain what a Caymanian passport is, because I thought there was no such thing – only a British Overseas Territories Citizen passport, granted by the same authority that issues a British passport. Think you are confusing the right to stay in Cayman with the passport.




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    • Anonymous says:

      @5:12 are you one of the anti-British expats here talking trash or are you a Caymanian brainwashed by your so-called friends.

      Look at the facts and wake the hell up!!!

      This is a British Territory like it or not but how many British people do you see taking jobs in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, civil service, police, we are outnumbered by Jamaicans period!! Sadly they are able to befriend most expats, even the British by CLAIMING Caymanians don’t like them, they’re expats too etc etc and then they come around teh Caymanians and blame everything on the British and Filipinos. Caymanians know they’ve all experienced this so wake up!!

      Why don’t Caymanians remind expats that the Jamaicans hated the people in Cayman who were usually treated better and even when the UK would send help via their administrators in Jamaica they would keep what was meant for Cayman.

      know your history….. Caymanians and British and realise the majority of Jamaicans are dominating, intimidating and encouraging this division.

      Who brought this action?




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    • Yellow star permit holder 14795 says:

      Please knock yourself out and go for it. I have already rolled myself over, took my pension out in cash and am just waiting for house to sell. By the way, the plane door didn’t hit me on the ass either!




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    • Father Ted says:

      So are we all to racist now is that the official churche’s stance? What with the farm and all I don’t think I will have much time for the old racism.




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  7. anonomous says:

    Hmmm! all boils down to too much driftwood in this Ministry. They are the ones turning the blind eye and hiring these people. Remember they not born ya neda. Don’t matter where they come from or who they marry, they for the foreigner.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    I read the article, the judgement, the bloggers and have some questions. How can this be allowed the happen in a reinvented Civil Service? Who is paying for the AG time? Shouldn’t this type of behaviour be challenged? How could we as Caymanians be not angry at this..because it Is “Expats” A born Caymanian was retired to make way.? Is this really about Lavis or the local people that mislead him.
    From my reading this not about gender. It is about what is right, transparent and fair for all of the Civil Service. Not about $1,000 because if you are willing do it for that you would do it for more. It shouldnt happen. Mr. Director you are doing a good job, get rid of your advisors now, cause whoever told you that this was good decision didnt mean you no good. Hope you remain at helm….




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  9. Anonymous says:

    On behalf of all driftwood Caymanians living here, an ironic thank you Mr Lavis, Mrs Lavis and Ms White for making our lives even more difficult by your damn stupid arrogant antics just because you were all friends in the “Youkay” and wanted to continue that out here. Mr Lavis seems to actually know his job and be a good appointment but his tenure here will (rightly) be tarnished by this idiotic, insensitive to local opinion behaviour. Shame on you all. I would not renew your contract if I was your immediate supervisor, Mr Lavis, and I suggest you fall on your sword and return to the Youkay where (maybe-though I doubt it) you can employ your and your wife’s pals to work with you.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Is White on a Work Permit?




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    • Anonymous says:

      UK games? So it never happens here, right? No one ever makes stuff up to do anyone down or to try to make them lose their jobs? Wake up, this is Cayman with its jealousies and stupid games and revenge seeking idiots who all mutter the name of the good Lord as they stab you and watch you bleed to death.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s count how many issues this Ministry has ?




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    • Driftwood says:

      We do not have enough fingers or hands to count the issues. The former Chief Officer got promoted to a cushy job in the UK a promotion rewarding incompetence and due to favored status with the Deputy Governor. The Civil Service is a joke but government tries to punish the private sector in all employment matters. Get your house in order Mr. Manderson you are a bunch of hypocrites.




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  11. Mall road Sam says:

    Poor journalism to be honest I for 1 know mrs white never worked for the security center, I’m sure these idiots make it up , she was suspended, appealed her dismissal, won her case but they chose not to renew her contract simple, she wa interviewed by 4 panel people not just lavis so they were all her friends too right? Hehe, get over it,

    Northward prison has never run so good in years regardless of mr lavis knowing an employee, wow I know some who went from officer to supervisor to manager in 18 months.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read the judgement? He shouldn’t even be in the building when she was being interviewed. The PSML requires him to stay away from the appearance of conflict of interest. Not much people would go against the boss wishes..what would happen to that working relationship? Ok..I know some people who went to the top of their field in record time..is this the same thing? He is doing a good job…Alone???. He, like you need accept that this unfair and right the wrong..He cant run Northward alone and this don’t do anything for commitment, trust or motivation.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly demonstrate you know nothing . it is not about who interviewed her but who gave her the increase in salary. The article demonstrated it was Lavis. This also explains the investigation she was under and why she won the case. Mr Lavis was advising her without the Ministry knowing.
      What else have you done Mr Lavis? An internal investigation is required on all salaries.
      Are some imates treated better because they are from the Uk.
      Mr Welsey you need to launch a full and independent investigation on the prison service. Please no experts from the Uk that were corruption starts with just a wink and a nod old chap. Cherry O .




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  12. Too much 4 play for u says:

    Well Mr lavis they have highlighted all your apparent wrong doings which are very minor compared to what was going on at HM Prison before you arrived. Here are some questions you need to ask the desenters. Exactly where did they get the materials and labour that built their personal houses and apartments? Who recieved all the money that prisoners earn whilst of work release? Where did all the Rice and foodstuffs and monies from the sale cow meat from stores go? I bet you Gender equality tribunal cannot answer those questions. Finally Mr Lavis i hope you realise that your removal of certain obeah experts has cause some consternation amongst the flock. There is one good thing that has come out of all of this they have realize now the legal means is a better venue rather than the witch doctor ? And colluding and networking with certain legal advisors high up in government can get you results. My advice to you Mr Lavis keep up the drug interdiction program at the prison and the monies that is funding this challenge will soon dry up trust me!




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  13. Anonymous says:

    So she went to work for the Security Centre. Does anyone have a problem with the friendship between Bush, Bostock and Lavis…XXXX?




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone surprised? Apparently Ms. White had three things going for her, nationality, gender and colour. Apart from that, is anyone surprised by general “UK nepotism” in Cayman.

    I wonder how the Brit prisoners are being treated in comparison with everyone else?




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    • Judean People's Front. says:

      I’m also heard her mutter the name “Jehovah” during a local stoning. Surely Brothers, we can now get the pitchforks out?




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier, any thoughts on the matter? No, right!?

    Your silence is deafening.




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    • Anonymous says:

      If he did then you would accuse him of meddling in the management of a government service. Sometime it is best to not make public your comments to management in such cases.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Meddling how? The deed is already done! Surely he can step up and say that his administration will not stand for this type of cronyism and nepotism in the government workplace and that … oh, wait – nevermind.




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      • Hold up says:

        It’s his Ministry or have you forgotten?




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  16. Polyakov says:

    Jamaicans complaining now about their British masters wow things really getting bad in this place.Yet they like those in our police will come together to remove the Caymanians and their interest at the jump of a hat, and please CNS stop referring to these usurpers like they represent Cayman when them and others who sit now on various influential positions do their utmost to degrade and diminish anything Caymanian for the benefit of their mother or home country Yet they hold Caymanian citizenship tightly grip in their hands.Nothing but economic refugees run this place now.How truly sad for Cayman..




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    • Anonymous says:

      At least one of them a Bajan




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    • Anonymous says:

      You would have to get Jamaicans involved; they are all Caymanians; country of origins – 2 Barbadian, 1 Guyanese and 1 Nicaragua




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    • Anonymous says:

      You got an election coming and you are the only people who can change anything…unless UK imposes direct rule…but that would mean you have really screwed up. Still you are doing quite well at that and blaming it on all but yourselves…amazing how that happens–moan-a-lot, do-not-a-lot. That’s gonna sting but forget your piteous outrage and just think for a minute, who else can change it?




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    • Anonymous says:

      8.46am and how many Caymanaians hold British passports?, they don’t have to wait for years or be millionaire friends of the Cabinet. Without educated and professionally qualified expats these islands would still be one big swamp.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Well said….ppl of Cayman cant accept the truth though.




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      • Anonymous says:

        As an educated professional expat who came here before almost all of the bloggers on this site I can declare you to be totally wrong. The transformation of Cayman occurred without the the degree of participation of expat professionals that your revisionist history pretends. To the extent expat professionals participated they call themselves Caymanians and mean it. They are nothing like the majority of your ilk, passing through and looking down on those that welcomed you.




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      • Anonymous says:

        4;13 , you must be mad or smoking something bad, to say that, why don’t you go back from where you come from and see if we caymanians can’t survice nicely without your kind,




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Let’s be fair, of course this was wrong, but doesn’t this happen all the time in the Civil Service which is an absolute den of Caymanian nepotism.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    This is interesting. I am glad that the inequity was found out and will be punished. I do hope more people are courageous enough to come forward and ask for justice in their similar circumstances, especially now that we can see the tribunal is enforcing the law.




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  19. WhaYaSay! says:

    Like the former CoP, I’m sure this one will be able to “separate” from the service and continue receiving his pay.




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  20. Anonymous says:

    This sort of behaviour is unfair.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    But yet we Caymanians are always criticized for always giving preference to our family and friends.




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  22. Anonymous says:

    Very disappointing.




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  23. Anonymous says:

    How did her work permit get approved and on what basis if she is involved in something so public which is potentially criminal.




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  24. Anonymous says:

    Nepotism and Cronyism at it’s best……… all the way to the Cayman Islands from the U.K.




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  25. Anonymous says:

    This is an example of the cronyism that has plagued the public and private sectors in which those in positions of power have skewed the systems towards those they favor. Glad that these other workers had the courage to stand up for principle. usually we grumble and fail to take advantage of available avenues of redress. Congratulations to this tribunal for equally carrying out their role without fear or favor.




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  26. Anonymous says:

    This is what happens when you get an outsider, they support there own people and hold down caymanianso!!




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  27. Glass says:

    Crabs in a bucket the lot of them, the only one I ever rated in my stay at that S**t hole was MR Hansen




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  28. Anonymous says:

    Boy these people really feel entitled to Jobs in Cayman; and they say Caymanians have an entitlement mentality.Wow.




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  29. Anonymous says:

    Drain the swamp…Lavis needs to go. Nina White? Hmmh, so she was accused of inappropriate behaviour and not much came of it…wonder why. Hand meet rug. Hand lift rug. Hand meet broom…




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    • Anonymous says:

      Well what came of it is was she was cleared of any wrong doing, but you don’t want to hear that do you. Doesn’t fit into your warped perception!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Ok people, grab some pitchforks and flaming torches. Bernie is getting the truck started. Time for the circus to get pon de road once more. Baines must be laughing over the next bottle of champagne reading this.




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  30. Anonymous says:

    An example of nepotism in the civil service.




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  31. Inmate 99 says:

    Wow the previous director and friends who are now complaining need to explain exactly how they got their jobs and what were the crircumstances of their employment at HM Prison now you want to have some fun. Griping by appointment. Keep up the good work Mr Lavis the CAYMANIAN people are behind you 100% and support the needed changes to ourprison system that you are trying to implement.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you should get your facts before spitting nonsense; all of these men were employed to HMP before the former director and a tleast 2 were recruited directly from the home country by the CIG of 30 years ago.




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  32. Here we go again says:

    This is Aldens Ministry bet you anything he does nothing about this!
    XXXX

    This is why you always hear Caymanians talk about discrimination and blatant disregard for our laws and still the band plays on!

    I really hope the PPM wake up before the end of their last term.

    Lets just put Caymanians in charge of Fire, Police and Prison for God sakes




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    • Anonymous says:

      8;49 we completely agree with you, we had a caymanian Fire Chief from tim the start of the firestation until this year, and it were running good




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  33. Allar says:

    This is happening a lot more than we think, have a close look at RCIPS. English taking care of English




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    • Anonymous says:

      Jamiacans take care of their own better though.

      Look at how long they can stay there, attend law school, set up businesses and LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF JAMAICAN NATIONALS in the RCIPS, fact that we are a BOT we should replace all contracts NOW and really shut people up!! We have a few English officers and yet those who want jobs for their friends from Jamaica, look at new recruitment stats




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  34. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan




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  35. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm.




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  36. Anonymous says:

    This is just the start of what these outsiders will do to caymaniana!!




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  37. Anonymous says:

    who was the Chief officer in charge of Prisons during this time?




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  38. Anonymous says:

    Is that the same security firm that the Prison Directors wife works for, or is she a ‘consultant’ there to?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh………this explains the drones up at the Northward Prison, being purchased from this security company.

      Isn’t that called a conflict of interest ?




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  39. Anonymous says:

    Nothing new ……same shxx, different day




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  40. Anonymous says:

    Oh what a mighty webb we weave. Corruption all around. This is only the beginning of how our government operates.




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  41. Anonymous says:

    WTF? The first time a woman gets a measly $1000 more a year than a man, it’s a problem, whilst pretty much every other job a woman has here or anywhere is generally paid between one third to 25% less for the same job a man would have. And it’s been that way since the Ark. I think Pandora’s box just got opened. I also suspect that Lavis is doing a good job which in Cayman terms means it’s time for local pathetic games to get rid of him. Can’t have a furrener showing up incompetence or being fair and balanced.




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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not that….not even gender discrimination to be honest. it is cronyism at its best. Lavis probably, as her line manager, chose the point on which place her, and designed her “package”.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Shows how much you know or understand about recruitment. All companies have HR manager/dept and ,as you clearly dont realise, it is THEIR job to deal with all matters arising from someone employment. The MHA are who sign off and approve wages, pay scales etc NOT Neil Lavis. Doh!!!




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      • Envision your civil service says:

        So what is the consequence of Lavis not disclosing. I mean it was only an affidavit, right. We watching and waiting cause what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Right Gov.




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        • Anonymous says:

          By making a determination that this was gender discrimination, a whole new can of worms has been opened. More appeals are on the way. Get the money ready!




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    • Anonymous says:

      haha exactly, imagine that a white women getting paid more than a man!!! what a joke to think its an equality issue. Look at all the wage discrepancies in all industries and then ask yourself why is it a matter for tribunal that a women was paid for her experience and knowledge over a man!!!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Prison, Police, Law firms… keep hiring Jamaican-status holders for your ‘Caymanian quota’ at least we know they will sue you!!




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