Miller calls for CIG staff secrecy to stop

| 10/10/2018 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller on Radio Cayman

(CNS): Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller is calling on the Cayman Islands Government to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding what appears to be a multitude of problems relating to senior management in the public sector. Following the sudden and very limited announcement from the board of directors at the government’s health insurance company, CINICO, that they had fired the CEO over undisclosed misconduct, Miller said that the relevant ministries need to be much more transparent about the issues leading to senior civil servants being investigated, suspended or fired, because it is ultimately the public that pays their wages.

“I am very disappointed in the short announcement that was made this week about the termination of the CEO of CINICO without explanation,” Miller, who is the opposition spokesperson for health told CNS. “It is typical of government in that they do these things then they refuse to show any respect for the intelligence of the average person with these claims of secrecy.”

Miller said that by firing the CINICO boss this way, without revealing the reason, the board will fuel much speculation about what really happened. “When terminating a senior person in the public sector the reasons should be explicit and I am calling for an explanation,” Miller said, as he called for the facts to be disclosed to the public to stop the rumours.

He said he also wanted an explanation about the situation with the former director of the Department of Environmental Health, Roydell Carter, who, after being on some form of leave for more than a year, was retired out of the civil service amid questions about whether or not he was culpable for the 800% overruns at the DEH.

Miller pointed to another staffing scandal, once again within the health ministry, in which two other civil servants remain on required leave from the hospital. He questioned how, given the amount of scandal surrounding that particular ministry, the chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn, was still in her job.

Ahearn was also at the helm of the ministry when the CarePay corruption scandal and the subsequent trial and conviction of Canover Watson exposed significant failings of oversight by the ministry’s management team, which enabled Watson and his alleged co-conspirator, Jeff Webb, to cream millions of dollars from the HSA in a fraudulent scheme.

The firing of Lonny Tibbetts this week came as a surprise, given the unusual nature of the move. Senior public sector staff are very rarely instantly dismissed; the more usual course of action is to see senior staff suspended or placed on required leave, as is the case with the current directors of the port and roads authorities. Then, after lengthy investigations, it appears to be the norm for some form of undisclosed pay-off to be made. However, the secrecy remains the same.

The actual amounts stumped up by the public purse to pay former public sector bosses up to seven-figure pay deals as well as the allegations themselves and details of the investigations are never revealed to the public, which nevertheless pay the bills.

The auditor general has said on several occasion that government should not be entering into non-disclosure agreements with people paid off from their public sector jobs with public cash, but government continues to do so.

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Names and reputations can sometimes obfuscate the point of arguments which is why some people like to remain anonymous.

    A good idea is still something that the most richest billionaire cannot buy and it is that asymmetry which makes all those in power shriek silently, especially if their power was derived from simply the name of their fathers and they haven’t a clue on how to rule with good ideas.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine what would happen if this man would have been Premier? It would have been a dictatorship, and the respect for people would have gone out of the window. Lest we forget how he behaved as a Minister, and the Dr Hortor Hospital fiasco where contracts were signed only days before the election and he used to behave generally.
    And the one from East End is no different.
    They make people feel intimidated.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Stating the obvious, I wholeheartedly agree. Cathy Church.
    There is a bond, it certainly seems, which keeps each ‘protecting’ the other.
    I applaud Ezzard for taking the bull by the horn…
    Alden and Mac are making surreal non-sensical newsworthy statements lacking integrity as per the norm. Why? Desperation? Money already talked?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Best comment of the year. This is a democracy. Not Burger King where every voter gets their way every time.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine the Leader of Opposition as Premier? A total lack of tact and diplomacy in dealings with others would be the outcome.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    BS

  7. Anonymous says:

    biggest cover up I have seen in government ever

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Max Jones is a great person who loves the Cayman Islands. Leave him alone Mr Bully man

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  9. anon says:

    1.40pm the answer is because locals are now getting all the top jobs.

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  10. anon says:

    4.08pm Garbage. The public has every right to know why a civil servant paid by the taxpayer, is fired.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    My name is……

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think there are a few contributing factors to this problem Cathy. I can tell you personally that I used my real name to comment on various fora for years and I got many more warnings that I should not be using my name than I did praise for using it. I have only observed two groups who regularly use their names: those who are already known by name and whose views on the subject matter are known or could be guessed, and those who effectively remain anonymous even though they use their names, because their names are too common or simply no one knows who they are. The first group is immune to retribution because their views are known before they are shared. The second group is immune because they are not notable enough for their opinion to register and thus to attract retribution by those capable of inflicting it.

    In-between these groups you have the vast majority of people who are just trying to earn a living. Right now this majority is in a vice-grip where we have big problems that you can only have controversial opinions about; people self-identify more strongly than ever with the opinions they hold; and so if your opinion is different you are a threat and an opportunity to reduce the threat you pose is always taken. Job applications are somehow not received, promotions not gained, calls not returned, e-mails ignored, but most of all, opportunities are not made available. No one wants to do a favour for someone who holds a view so different to their own that it makes them wonder what could be going on in that person’s head. That other person is a risk and a threat, certainly not to be rewarded with *anything*, and that is not a position that the vast majority of people here can place themselves in and thrive.

    Open debate takes place in closed fora, except on CNS where people can say what they and many other people are almost always thinking about the same events. Without CNS and the ability to share your opinions, fears, informed thoughts, ask questions, etc., we would all be that much more depressed at the lack of power we have and feel acutely as we face these big decisions at a time when there are people in government who don’t think they need to ask us about them, and don’t listen if we ignore the lack of an invitation and speak anyway. Dozens of citizens (yourself included) asked questions that didn’t move government at all. But the people who asked them ran the risk of being spotted waiting in line to speak by the wrong person. It’s a bad deal.

    This is to say nothing of the permanence of online posts and the ease with which they can be found. No one wants to not get a promotion because the person who happens to be giving it out happens to have read two sentences you felt like sharing on your lunch break 20 years ago. But that’s what you risk if you attach your name to controversy: you alienate everyone who privately disagrees with you, and they take the opportunities they get to make you pay for thinking differently, and perhaps even materially affecting them, because they just want to eat too.

    This brings me to what I think is the final factor, which is that because this is the conventional wisdom here, most people will judge you just for using your name, never mind what you said! They will think themselves more shrewd and more in control of how and when they share their opinions, and think the sharer is a fool for sharing in a small community like this with the dynamics I described above. They’ll think you full of hot air. The more you express your opinions the less weight they, and also you, will carry. Add in the apathy that those in power don’t listen anyway, and the act seems pointless and self-defeating. If it is pointless and potentially damaging in ways you can’t predict for decades to come, then few in their right minds will do it.

    I haven’t even mentioned the position you are in if the powers that be know you, know your name, know your family, and they like you and will put opportunities your way and help you build a good name for yourself. Your part of the bargain if you are one of those people is that you keep your opinions to yourself.

    So…who wants to put food on the table? Me for one.

    – Anonymous

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully we do that already, every 4 years. Everybody cant have their way on every issue. We voted them in…let them do their job. If you don’t like their performance at the end of the term, vote for a change.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    My name is…

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  15. Anonymous says:

    B S

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if CINICO will give Lonny a glowing reference for his next job? Been done before in another Ministry

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  17. Cathy Church says:

    The first step in opening up dialogue to stop secrecy is to stop all of this anonymous opinions based on fear of retribution. Cayman is full of ways to get retribution. But if the action and the retribution become public it will all be out in the open. It is the very secrecy behind things like anonymous that allows all of this happen.

    Help me out here as I have always been an outsider even though I have been involved here since 1972. Back then, when this was a small community and everyone knew everyone personally, the system worked. But now we are far apart and bad things can grow secretly. Put your name out there. Take a risk, lead the way. Make it happen and tell us who is talking. And tell me why I may be wrong.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Ms. Church , you have spoken a big mouth full to the “fear issue” that is at hand , and the politicians see it , and that’s why they are taking advantage of it , and everyone suffers . Yes people stand up and sign your name to whatever you say , because if you don’t it would be like you didn’t say anything , and remember that is a coward when you hide behind the wall and say something .

      Sincerely,
      Ron Ebanks .

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    • Anonymous says:

      As the Khashoggi caper has shown, retribution under authoritarian regimes is a reality, unfortunately. I don’t think it matters WHO specifically is talking, so long as the consensus narrative is the same…ie, it should be the Voters that wield the power, not their Servants. Compelling urgent retroactive enactment of Standards in Public Life Law (2014), pursuant to section 117 of the Constitution Order 2009 would be a more-than justifiable move towards better governance and personal accountability (under threat of criminal penalty). Where is that petition? The two-party system is clearly not working, seeing as they have created their own alliance and refuse to allow the public-paid Opposition to shadow or perform any of their prescribed function for four years. The party system should be abolished. Where is that petition? MLA qualification requirements should be enhanced, and eligibility broadened to incorporate patriots with Cayman’s best interests at heart. Where is that one? Then we need to call another election to get people that have aspirations beyond four years of personal enrichment – better yet, a realistic plan to complete financial statements, acknowledge and fund the looming $1bln in unfunded pension and health care liabilities, before these holes are exposed as insolvent and barred from the capital markets. Another petition! As the number one employer in the territory, the entire Public Service must become fully accountable and transparent – with personal exposure commensurate with the responsibility, honour, paycheck and position bestowed by the people that put them there – rather than the exposure reversed and applied to concerned individual citizens brave enough to state the obvious!

  18. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that everyone should take a serious look at these politicians and see which ones should be a Representative of the Islands and the People . Here we have the Leader/Premier , who is so hell bent on the pier , that he are trying to destroy the whole Opposition Party , and the will of the people , and environment too .

    Why aren’t Mr Premier looking at everything and everyone’s opinion on this matter of the pier , so that he as Leader can make an adult informed decision on this pier . What I see him doing here is self -interest , not leadership.

    I think that the People of the Cayman Islands needs to really take a serious look at him, and few more politicians and their leadership before it’s too late .

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  19. Anonymous says:

    If CEOs and Directors for government entities and authorities are being paid by tax payer’s money then yes, all criminal and corrupt incidents should be made public. This way anyone raising up the ranks would be mindful not to steal, lie or deceit whilst on the job. This hide under the rug is shameful and encourages corruption.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    he must want people who get money to become target?????

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  21. Anonymous says:

    There is no public sector in the world that discusses specific staffing matters in public. Follow the FCO and private sector rule CIG. Its world class.

    We all want more info until it happens to us or someone we like.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a former Big Five HR Executive, Miller should know better, or doesn’t he – that all employee matters are confidential. Did he publicly share those terminations he made in the private sector? Methinks he did not dare, as lawsuits could have been made against him and the company he acted on behalf of.

      So why he sits on his soap box and thinks the public sector should be discussed in detail?

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  22. cayguy says:

    seem like a whole heap of double stndrds going on with public authorities on how they handle disciplinary actions. shouldn’t manderson himself be involved with this fiasco??

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    • Anonymous says:

      Doing it Miller way will cost us alot more when we beach the right to privacy and get sued. We have no right no know why peole get fired.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes we do, when recurrent 7 figure hush payouts are being made! Horrendous management errors and Ministerial failures are being settled to our account under absurd and false NDA premise. No such anonymity should exist in Public Life!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    miller…doing what you say would become dangerous for the recipient as most caymanians feel it is their personal money? they may scandalize the person”s name and then more problems for government…it better staying a secret…shhhs dont tell….????

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Can do what you want but not as long as you want.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    stop hiring friends, and get the most qualified people. why are we only seeing locals in corruption cases? surely expats are just a guilty!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer is slowly but surely taking out the trash, left behind by decades of mismanagement and entitlement driven appointments. Ezzard like a nothing more than a populist soundbite.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 1:22. That is a lot of trash that she allowed to build up during her decades of tenure with Government.
      One wonders why she did not see it accumulating, trach that is. (pun intended)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard, Arden, Bernie etc have a personal vendetta against Jennifer Ahearn- just like they do with Allan Jones., Max Jones…. I wonder why ? Join the dots…..

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah you mean like garbage trucks coming days behind schedule in the wee hours of the morning disturbing neighborhoods and people sleep!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    The Czar and his ministers afford no courtesies to the serfs
    They have shown us time and time again, we are to work in silence, comply with their demands and vote to support them every election year
    and that is all

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  28. nauticalone says:

    I agree with Miller’s concerns here completely! Enough of the waste with no explanations. How can anyone expect anything to get better with so much sh!t swept under the mat?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Secrecy? Better start with the pearl and jewel of cayman then nimrod. The lodge is where they all call these shots brother.

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  29. Soldier Crab says:

    Cries for the public to be told all of the details of Government hiring and firing are nothing but political opportunism. Such demands show little respect for the person at the centre of the issue who, in all probability, might not wish their personal affairs to be in the public domain.
    A government is elected to govern and must be trusted to act in the best interests of those who elected them; it makes no sense to elect an MLA and then say he or she is not acting properly. By extension this applies to the boards appointed by Government, most of which have very little real authority to act independently of the relevant ministry but must be trusted to perform such duties as they have in a responsible and reasonable manner.

    There is nothing to be gained by media speculation or political pronouncements except embarrassment for the person most affected.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But when does the privacy/protection of one person trump the greater good of the community or society? I think we’ve strayed too far protecting the individual over the greater good. Peoples actions come with consequences, good or bad. Others can learn from others mistakes, that is the value of sharing it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you want privacy don’t get paid with public money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ridiculous. Working for the government is inherently different than the private sector. Especially in the positions of authority. The public is owed explanations.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bullhockey! The leaders who have their hands in the cookie jar should be exposed. If their fellows say nothing about it they are no better than the thieves. I am ready to vote them out! Bring on the election!

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      • Cathy Church says:

        Several people were arrested this week for just smoking a little ganja. Not hurting anyone else. Not damaging my property. But no one gets arrested for stealing money from the treasury — money that should help finish a high school or building a mental health facility. Stealing money from the treasury should result in JAIL terms and stop being just another acceptable event. Why is corruption a scandal and not a jail term?? Why is it just dismissal with pay or passed over or result in a high ranking promotion?

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        • Ron Ebanks says:

          Ms. Church, very good point , but why it’s not handled as serious crime , is because most of them who do commit those crimes are still attached to the umbilical cord of the club .

  30. Anonymous says:

    Leave that wonderful hard working lady alone you big bully!

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Miller the constitution makes it clear that politicians have no say in public service staffing matters. So obey the constitution.

    We need to follow the UK lead and stop commenting on specific staffing matters. You have no right to know peoples personal information.

    Its bad enough that these persons were fired or resigned. Now we want more info so we can further ruin them. I support the public service silence in staffing matters.

    Stop blaming Jennifer for whats happening at the Hospital. They have a board and a CEO.

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    • Jah Dread says:

      Yeah but Missa Miller what about conflicts of interest sah health ministry and cinico are there any sah. Please tell the public yea or neeeeeah.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The UK way is stupid.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This isn’t a staffing matter, it is a governance matter, in a public service, at the highest level. Politicians shouldn’t be using them for political gain but Miller is absolutely right to demand more openness and clarification, given the high level nature. As for the rights of individuals, they already accept accountability when they take senior roles and agree to adhere to public standards. There has to be adequate grounds for their removal and if there isn’t, they have recourse through a tribunal. This was a firing, not a suspension. As a firing, we’d have to assume guilt for something had to have been established and so we are beyond presumption of innocence.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    The use of NDA’s should be banned for public sector entities.

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