Private sector bearing the brunt of pain

| 01/06/2020 | 89 Comments

Our colonial history refers to public sector workers as “servants”. While this has discriminatory undertones, it has largely been culturally accepted that public sector workers are servants of the people. I think a conversation is justified when I, as a private individual (the people), can be sent home without pay by my organisation because they have no requirements for my services at this time, but those who are paid by my taxes are home on full pay, in some cases delivering no services at all, even as the government heads for a ballooning deficit.

I think it should be discussed why mini-marts, fuel stations and liquor store workers are told they are essential and expected to operate for the good of the public (notwithstanding the threat of a virus), but postal workers are allowed to cower at home for weeks on full pay because they find it too risky to put mail in mailboxes.

Whilst it is agreed that some services can be delivered remotely, if you are a customer service representative at the licensing department, immigration or the turtle farm, do pray tell how you are delivering services from your dining room table?

For weeks, the government was unable to find a workaround to pay a private service provider (school bus operators) for services it did not receive. Consequently, bus wardens went without pay.

Yet, the premier was crystal clear that no public servant will lose their job, have their salaries reduced or be allowed to compromise their retirement savings by withdrawing from their pension funds. The same applies to ministers of government and members of the Legislative Assembly.

This even in the face of the dire financial outlook read out by the minister of finance and the looming potential for $500 million in additional debt, which will take us another generation to repay.

Why are public sector workers sacred cows? Why am I stuck in traffic every morning because the government cannot afford infrastructure? Why will I not be able to retire because the 10% of my basic income contributed to pension will never be enough?

Why will I have to move in my old age because I will not be able to afford local healthcare? Why am I being asked to pay over a billion dollars to afford the privilege of lifetime non-deductible healthcare for public sector workers and their dependents during retirement?

The present scenario is this: I am unemployed without income. I must now go to “my servants” to ask them for a little $150 assistance while they enjoy full pay on my taxes (even though hundreds are literally sitting home doing nothing). The country cannot afford this, but that doesn’t matter; our leaders are willing to borrow up to $500 million so the status quo for public workers are not disturbed. How can this be?

How will “the people” be looked after in the hard months of this crisis which looms ahead? Will all our national resources be spent supporting an unsustainable public service while we drown in debt and our economy crashes?

When are we going to address the unfair privilege of the public sector? When will the taxes on the private sector to pay for this privilege abate? Is it when there are people in the streets of George Town? Or will we take an opportunity to address these issues now and avoid a boiling point?

The unjust treatment of the people by those in power must not be allowed to reach a point of crisis. And no, Mr Premier, it is not a question of “how does making civil servants poorer benefit the economy?”, it is a recognition that we are in this for the long haul and we will need teachers, healthcare workers, law enforcement, garbage collection, real financial assistance, and other critical services to be sustainable.

We cannot maintain the current burn rate of the public purse because it is politically unpopular to lay off or reduce salaries for public sector workers (even those who are not delivering services to the public).

If I have to forget my years of education to go look for a construction job in the “new economy”, I call on the government to either call back public sector workers to resume full services, or temporarily layoff/reduce payments to those individuals who are getting paid for doing nothing.

This comment was made in response to: Gov’t revenue plummets to record low

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags:

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (89)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for all the people who are hurting but punishing government workers will not help you

  2. Anonymous says:

    Should the government not all be showing an example, and offering to have the same cut in income as other sectors of the population ? Or at least a token 20% to demonstrate leadership by example? Is a cut of 20% sufficient as members of the public are generally suffering much more than this ?

    After all, if the politicians are not suffering financially like most of the rest of their populations, then they will never understand what the general public are going through.

    I am mighty sure if Mr. Panton and Mr. Archer was our legislatures, they would be the first to take a pay-cut.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The key point here is that we elect leaders to make decisions which are in the best interest of the entire country and not just those working in the public sector. Page 357 of the Government’s 2020 -2021 Annual Plan and estimates show that $541.3 million was budgeted to pay salaries, wages and benefits to public sector workers in 2020. That amounts to over $45 million per month.
    Now put that in the context of a $14 million economic package (loans and grants) offered by the Government to support the rest of the entire local economy (which by the way they made businesses jump through hoops, go to training and seek financial counseling to receive.)
    That stimulus package amount to less than 33% of one month’s salaries and benefits for public sector workers. Are you starting to see the disparity here?
    There is no hatred for Public Sector Workers and I for one personally appreciate those who work diligently to provide security, education, sanitation, healthcare and a raft of other services. This is about accountability for our elected leaders and the decisions they are making on the use of funds in the public purse.
    We did not pay taxes at a higher rate than the services we received over the past 10 years (hence the buildup of surplus) so that the money could be squandered in a crisis by paying people to needlessly sit at home on full pay doing nothing.
    As a country, we have no unemployment safety net for the private sector (who pays the brunt of the taxes) and no guaranteed healthcare or retirement savings.
    Elected leaders, we need you to save the pennies we’ve invested to your care for the benefit of all of us. That will require tough decisions on what you purchase with those funds. If people are working, pay them! if people are working part-time, pay them commensurately, learn the word furlough, make some tough decisions, that is why we elected you and why we continue to pay you at some of the highest rates in the world for a country of our size.
    And by the way, where is the opposition in all of this?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jealousy? Wrong word!

    Private sector should demonstrate to the public sector what it is like to live without private sector by closing ALL privately run businesses for a week.

    You keep all the money you “earned” because there would be nowhere to spend it.

    No a/c technician would come, no pool cleaner would come, no eyeglasses for you and your family, no nanny for your kids, no coffee for your break from doing nothing, no gas for your car, no repair for your auto, no food for your dinner, no medicine for your diarrhea, no electricity for your house, no water for your house, no dentist for your aching tooth, no internet, no TV, no news.

    MAY BE THEN YOU START APPRECIATING PRIVATE BUSINESSES!

    Nobody envies you. People just want to have means for a living. They want to work and earn their money. They didn’t quit their jobs. It was taken from them.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:32. Do you live in Cayman. Rubbish. you mean you didn’t know that the public service has its own world class dentists, public works for the plumbing etc and their own gas station.

      We need each other to make cayman great. stop the jealousy and come together as one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Legit questions.

    If government bans business activity it must compensate for the loss of income for the duration of the ban.

    Prisoners are fed and housed because they can’t work. Disabled people gets disability benefits because they can’t work. How people who were forced to close their business for THE PUBLIC’ SAKE are supposed to eat, pay for the roof over their heads? Does government wants them to die of starvation and or become homeless? I bet not.

    Why would any government support one group of citizen but not another? If this is not discrimination, then what is? Why would anyone want to run a business if it could all go in smokes at the whim of the next government.

    Just to show to civil servants who are on full payroll what life would look like for them without private businesses, all private businesses could close it for 3 full days. From gas stations to hair salons, from eye doctors to auto repairs. I bet no one would like that.

    The other side of the story, are people in urgent need of medical care, from continuation of cancer treatments to monitoring progress after injuries. Broken bones for example must be monitored for proper alignment and healing. Yet, it it put on hold.

    • Dumb and dumber says:

      Maybe civil service should close down for 3 days as well. Let’s see what would happen then with out the Hospital, post office, police, fire service, prison, courts, WORC and many more. So before you go on your high horse please remember that we all need one another.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Question you ought to have asked is “Why did I not become a Civil Servant?”

    • Anonymous says:

      While I’m begrudgingly the host, I have no desire to be the leech, thanks but no thanks, you can keep your public sector job, I will keep my pride.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:56am Failed the entrance exam? Be part of the solution. Work together and be a productive citizen. The Cayman Islands provided you a life beyond your imagination.

      • Anonymous says:

        Entrance exam was just fine. The jealousy is astounding. Instead of wanting to better one’s position, most want to tear down the benefits that others enjoy. There is no issue. Civil servants make a steady, comfortable salary. The private sector has the opportunity to make far more. It’s a trade off. I don’t hear the moaning and the jealousy from the civil service…though I do hear the groaning from the private sector. If you’re so unhappy with the private sector, switch to the civil service, or quit your whining. Whiners.

  7. Anonymous says:

    12.33pm Totally made up and disrespectful to Civil Servants. First of all there are many non voting expats who are civil servants.Secondly civil servants are free to vote for any candidate of their choice and we have a secret ballot system that allows them to do so. Please posting made up stuff as facts and please give civil servants a little respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you 8 48. Finally a sensible comment. We blame the post office for closing yet the banks closed all of their sub branches and forced long long lines.

      Was it the private sector that was treating the COVID-19 positive patients or working 12 hrs shifts 7 days a week keeping us safe.

      I am proud of our civil service.

    • Anonymous says:

      This article. A tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

      A good example of the public service superiority.

      Doctors hospital test results 75
      George Town Hospital 300.

      One day the private sector will catch up. Stop complaining and work together.

    • Anonymous says:

      Articles like this really make me sick. The jealousy has to stop. Name a country where the civil service was shut down and the private sector allowed to operate.

      Cayman is the envy of the world because we have a world class private sector and a world class civil service. Everyone working together translates into 100 million dollar surpluses, low crime and a thriving economy. Lets not kill that winning combination because of petty jealousy.

      I am sure the civil service will continue to lead our recovery and will shortly advertise jobs. Rather that posting rubbish articles why don’t you join the winning team of dedicated civil servants. I am sure the Postal Service would offer you a job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hahaha. Remember the memo that Franz passed on basically telling civil servants not to go against their government over the port fiasco?

      • Anonymous says:

        6:56. Before posting rubbish why don’t you read the Public Service Management Law. Our DG was quoting the law. If you think he was wrong why don’t you go against your employer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Secret ballot system? LOL

  8. Anonymous says:

    You asked .”Why am I being asked to pay over a billion dollars to afford the privilege of lifetime non-deductible healthcare for public sector workers and their dependents during retirement?” Really ? You are being asked for a billion dollars. Proof please. A bill or invoice or copy of letter requesting this please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Islands Government’s (i.e. our, the taxpaying residents and those international businesses who choose, currently, to do business here) unfunded and off-balance sheet liabilities have appeared in many’s a report – take your pick E&Y’s (from the previous recession of 2008), a tonne of AG reports, the various actuarial reports on the CI CS pension and healthcare liabilities…etc. Only for some civil servant to file those reports away to gather dust….”remotely”, of course!

      That E&Y report caused quite a stir at the time – until the two great and real powers on this island conspired killed it – the Lodge and the CI Civil (Welfare) Service.

      Better dust it off and just change the date…..not that anything will ever happen….ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      At last count, by the Government’s own actuaries, it was $1.4 billion, and yes, we the people will have to fund that over the next twenty years.

      You are funding it when you pay 75 cents tax on every gallon of gasoline, when there is a direct 22% tax on everything you consume, when you pay a 7% transfer tax on the value of your home to the Government and when you have to fork over thousands in fees for a foreign worker to work in your business (even when, with full local employment there would still not be enough Caymanians for all jobs).

      None so blind as he who refuses to see.

  9. Anonymous says:

    To 12.48pm “Not one person treated in hospital”. Outright lie.Where did the one death occur? in Shetty Hospital.Also see this link:http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/cighome/pressroom/archive/202004/Coronavirus%20Update%2020%20April%202020.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The civil service is a social warfare system.

  11. Stephen Wagnet says:

    What an excellent article. The Premier and Governor said that and public servant who wasn’t working will be re-purposed. I sent an email to the passport office over 3 weeks ago. I never got a reply. Arn’t they supposed to be working at home?

    • Anonymous says:

      I been sending emails to DCI – no replies! WORC has been excellent, defiantly working from home, even replying emails at odd hours late at night!

  12. Anonymous says:

    2. 41pm True and lucky you. Still not able to access box in central GT. Sure the lock would have been removed quickly enough if hadn’t paid renewal in April. Wonder if I will receive a refund!

    • Anonymous says:

      We all better get a reduction for renewal.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have never read more rubbish in my life. A thought process like this is why our amazing civil service developed the mental health hot line.

      I am shocked that most people simply don’t get it. The Post Office was not open simply because we didnt 100 staff on the road at the beginning of the lockdown.

      At the least the closure of the post office forced the private sector to understand how important that entity really is.

      What is so bizarre is that the need for the post office can be attributed to the fact that many of the private sector companies are unable to direct deposit payments in their clients accounts. Something which is done by many civil service departments for years.

      Cayman is the envy of the world because of its civil service. Face the facts folks. Remember not one expat would be in Cayman without a decision of the civil service. Not one company gets incorporated without the civil service. Do i really need to go on.

      Stop complaining, be thankful you are in Cayman. Don’t be part of the problem be part of the solution.

      I know everyone is a bit stressed but please engage brain before commenting and remember the civil service set up the mental health hotline for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really feel sorry for you folks. You complain complain but yet you are likely alive today because of our civil service. How many of you are manning the isolation facilities full of COVID-19 patients. Shut up and be greatful.

      • Anonymous says:

        So let me understand this, over 150 people became infected with COVID-19, how their body reacted to that infection and the fact that they didn’t even visit the hospital is a reflection of our world class Civil Service?

        Okay then, I will remember that next time I am bowing to kiss the ring.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL

  13. Say it like it is says:

    As far as the Govt and the Civil Service go, it’s the old adage – “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. For the Islands’ largest employer and the Islands’ largest voting bloc, it’s always been like this and always will be.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Indeed the servants have become the masters just as the meek shall inherit the earth.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Agreed 100%. I am on the brink of losing my business because I was forced to close it Mid March and will be among the last type of business to open “maybe by June 22nd”. That will be almost 3 1/2 months of no income, paying full rent to my business landlord, and refused any assistance because my business is not 100% Caymanian owned and I have not been open quite a year. I will have to close my business without it having a real chance to succeed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same here. But the steps to get assistance are sooo complicated not even 100% Caymanian business owners are taking them. Grant applies to all, but many never got an answer to application.

    • Right ya so says:

      @ 01/06/2020 at 2:40 pm – wouldn’t your business be covered by insurance for this sort of event?

    • Anonymous says:

      Blame China

  16. Anonymous says:

    Let us be perfectly clear in this situation.
    Alden McLaughlin has only been a mouthpiece for the intransigent position of the UK enforced by the very powerful Martyn Roper.
    If anyone thinks that Roper’s time at the helm during the Algerian pipeline incident and his subsequent years in China are insignificant, then I would suggest that you don’t read the news.

    Martyn Roper is fully behind the creation of the military force in Cayman. It is embryonic now, but when the Sandhurst recruits arrive back with full training, they will recruit at least 50 more.

    Here is a wiki entry that will back up these facts.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayman_Regiment

    This core force will be the “boots on the ground” at the behest of the very seasoned Lt. Col. Simon Watson (a veteran of Iraq) and the other gentleman ( Lieutenant Colonel Simon Spiers) who has also received his commission from the governor.

    Unfortunately, Mario Rankin was onto something, but he blew it with his premature ejaculation of truth which effectively destroyed anything of worth he had to say.

    The last known positions of the two military ships was that they were docked in Barbados which is kind of strange because they cannot dock here, yet they can dock in Barbados. I guess our Covid is more infectious than theirs?

    Frankly, this situation stinks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very interesting.

      • Anonymous says:

        You may be interested to know that the core group of soldiers here right now are Commando. They are tough, veterans of combat and supremely fit.
        These are not the sort of people that will help in the event of a hurricane, but they will assist to ensure that everyone will be lined up to get their vaccine.

        For sea-based invasion, choose Royal Marines. For airborne invasion, choose Paratroopers. For land operations, the British Commando are unrivaled.

        These people are not to be trifled with. Mr. Roper knows what he needs and has chosen accordingly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its just left Barbados and heading our way. No doubt to provide the helicopter cover when the police chopper leaves mid June. Current speed should be here in 5 days. As for why it was in Barbados, probably something to do with the fact that Barbados was already open, so the crew could go ashore, unlike the BOTs.

    • Anonymous says:

      And please do tell us what you think they plan to do?

  17. Just me. says:

    Cayman islands does not have a socialist regime regime and never really has. It’s more Tribalistic. Easy to see who is in the “tribe” and who is not and why. In a socialist island every one is the same and I am sure everyone here understands that they might say that is so but there is much more proof that it not that way here. If it were so Bush would not still be getting paid and double dipping while waiting for the never to be trial. Government workers would be in the same boat as private workers. Government leadership would actually work for the people instead of off of the people’s taxes while actually ruling like Kings, Queens and princes and princesses. Maybe it’s just the way I see it but look for yourselves and tell yourself what you see. The future where CIG is Cash poor and can no longer afford to rule like this is coming and nothing anyone can do will stop it. Unfortunately what this means is that leadership here will not know how or what to do in an environment where they and their people have to earn their own way to participate. What do you think they will do then? They can no longer comprehend a world where private business will tell them what and how to do things. A small and very short war is coming. Get ready. Choose your side wisely. The island in the future will not be the island that was.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I came back to correct my KK typo, Should have been MK…
    Good to know I am not alone in my thoughts.

    Thanks CNS.

    CNS: No problem. I’ve corrected the typo.

  19. Anja says:

    Are there any confirmed stats as to how many civil servants are currently not working? I understand not all areas of the civil service are operating but people have been redeployed so hypothetically one could assume that the entire workforce is being put to use somewhere across the wider civil service unless it has been confirmed otherwise.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Caymankind – what a joke

  21. Anonymous says:

    The entire shutdown has been reactionary. A bunch of over-reactors.
    Not one person treated in hospital. The one death was brought in from a cruise ship AFTER they were not allowed to stop here (thanks MK). XXXX
    I actually don’t expect this comment to be posted but at least I got it off my chest. It is what a lot of us are kind of thinking though…

    CNS: I’ve actually approved dozens of comments that express this view. I’ve only deleted the part that is an accusation and I have no way of knowing whether it’s true or not.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is the Cayman Islands and that’s how it’s done here!

  23. Anonymous says:

     

    The only reason they are taken care off is because 98% are registered voters and can get them back into power so the rigged games can start all over again. It’s a never ending story of abusing democracy. Some are more equal than others, we are all in this together-ish

  24. Edgar Poe says:

    Re: Postal workers. Which mail would you have them put in boxes ??? If the majority of banks, utilities, insurance companies etc. were closed where is the mail going to come from ??? BTW, many postal workers were also working remotely FYI.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you worked in the real world you would know that many people still pay by cheque and a number of businesses experienced cash flow struggles because they couldn’t receive their cheques in the normal manner.

      I imagine your salary got direct deposited (and earlier than normal at that) so you cannot relate to the rest of us.

      • Anonymous says:

        All this just to teach the tender boat owners a lesson.

      • Right ya so says:

        @ 01/06/2020 at 1:30 pm – now that we’re in the 21st century most people and businesses pay online and no longer use cheques “in the real world”.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve been waiting for a substantial check from a govt entity that was delivered to the post office 3 weeks ago. And it’s still NOT been delivered to my PO Box.
      This is a disgrace.

    • Anonymous says:

      How does a postal worker do their job remotely?

    • Anonymous says:

      So beyond the obvious observation that you are making the point of the poster (crash the economy, lock down the companies who make the economy run, then pay all the people who are supposed to work in service to such economy for doing nothing), you perhaps did not hear when Ralph from Caymanian times asked the Premier about the Post Offices.

      The Premier’s response was that the activity was “too risky”. So it goes back to the point, the Government in all its wisdom and might could not find a safe way to stick paper into metal boxes behind a wall.

      For the record, the Government itself still pays by cheque, I know businesses who are still owed by said Government for over 5 months now, and are still not able to get paid.

      I personally collected a letter in my mailbox on Thursday (May 28) , which had an Airport Office Stamp of May 14. That means two weeks to get a piece of main from one part in George Town to the next. But we are all supposed to believe that everyone is “working hard behind the scenes” according to the Guvna.

      It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    • Say it like it is says:

      12.19pm I am getting mail from my bank, but my car licence posted to me 2 weeks ago by the DVDL has not arrived. Why can’t I buy stamps at the GT central post office

    • Anonymous says:

      And in the real world, where you don’t have a job that you can do anymore – even if its not your fault – you get made redundant or furloughed until the job is doable. Do you think all the water sports operators are getting paid to sit at home, even though its not as if they would have any tours to take out.

  25. Anonymous says:

    You are dang right. Should have furloughed government workers not providing services starting April 1. Then they would be in this with the rest of us. Maybe they can go two months without pay.

  26. Anonymous says:

    If they wanna be a civil servant so bad, they should apply.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This wins the award for G.O.A.T viewpoint.
    I raised this point albeit bot so eloquent in relation to KX staff and was shut down.

    Thank you CNS for posting this thought provoking yet accurate submission.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? Because the civil servant form the majority of the electorate and would vote out any government strong enough to be economically prudent.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why?
    Because bullshit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.