Tribunal breaches statutory timelines

| 10/06/2020 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service
Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston

(CNS): Almost a dozen cases before the Labour Appeals Tribunal (LAT) missed the statutory deadline, Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston has found following a maladministration investigation by her office. Despite breaching the statutory timeline for cases to be heard 11 times, there will be no consequences for the tribunal but officials have agreed to implement the directions of the ombudsman.

The inquiry was triggered when a complaint was filed by a Cayman resident with the ombudsman after he had waited more than six months to have his employer’s appeal heard by (LAT). The investigation then turned up another ten appeal cases that had been delayed beyond the statutory three-month timeline set in the Labour Law (2011 Revision) for the hearing of such matters.

According to a release from Hermiston, the delays ranged from just a couple of months to almost two years in some cases. As a result she determined the LAT’s actions amounted to maladministration, defined as ineffective or inefficient management of public affairs.

“To delay justice is an injustice,” Hermiston said. “It is simply not fair to
make workers or companies wait so long for a hearing. It defeats the original purpose of the tribunal. On a positive note, the LAT and DLP have agreed with our findings and have pledged to resolve the situation

However, there appears to be no consequences for the LAT. The ombusman said that staffing played a part in the delays but it is not clear why the labour department did not raise that issue after the first case was delayed. CNS has contacted the LAT for comment on the issue and we are awaiting a response.

Meanwhile, the ombudsman said the Department of Labour, which helped with the investigation alongside the LAT, has suggested that the tribunal begin hearing cases via Zoom or other virtual meeting technologies, making it easier to assemble the parties involved and continue the work, despite the current shelter-in-place orders relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first such virtual appeal hearing was conducted on Friday, 5 June.

The ombudsman has also recommended that the LAT be staffed properly to ensure such a backlog in hearing cases does not occur again.

“The Labour Appeals Tribunal operates independently of the DLP in order to hear the appeals of anyone aggrieved by the decisions of the Labour Tribunals,” the DLP Director Bennard Ebanks said.

“The staffing challenges identified by the Ombudsman will be addressed, as DLP will now be directly involved in measures to ensure the LAT is staffed properly to address the backlog in hearings. I value the input of all of our stakeholders in order to make the DLP, and independent tribunals system better,” he added.

Hermiston said the cooperation of DLP and LAT with the investigations was appreciated and would help improve public administration in Cayman.

“The goal of our office is to promote good governance,” she said. “This is rarely accomplished by simply identifying problems or mistakes without making positive and constructive recommendations which entities then act upon.”

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    But…but…we keep being told our civil service is “world class”.

    That’s THIRD world, then.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sub-Saharan Africa countries have better government than we do! And less corrupt!

    • Anonymous says:

      But but it is private sector employees that sit on these boards. But but get it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you do not know what makes up the Civil Serve … a Tribunal is appointed by the Governor from the POPULATION .. if no one is interested in serving on a Tribunal … how is that a fault of the civil service that provides secretariat duties to the Tribunal … just open the Law before you comment

      • Anonymous says:

        I am quite sure if you are not on the voter list then you can’t be on any board or tribunal. So, people are not chosen from the “population” because the population is more than 50% expat. You are trying to fill all these boards from a tiny subset of the population and do not realize that there is no way such a population can provide all the necessary expertise and, as we see from the report, motivation. To alleviate the problem you could allow permanent residents, spouses of Caymanians, and in some cases, work permit holders to be on these boards and tribunals but that’s far too “radical” for most Caymanians. What you need to do is get rid of all these boards and tribunals. They are a total waste of time yet it seems all they have is time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Tribal system wins yet again. In the tribe and break the law….there will be no consequences. Not in the tribe but get beat up by a tribal leader…..Your in trouble but he is still King. Cayman Culture. Get used to it. It just gets worst.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Private sector boards and tribunals continue to be a disaster. Our dedicated civil servants takes the blame for the private sector incompetence.

    Nothing new here move on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hard to believe these people are paid handsomely to sit on these boards and tribunals. The gravy train is wonderful here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I dont know why they bother with a Tribunal or an Appeal process they will always find in favor of the Caymanian employee no matter what the circumstances of their dismissal may be! And I am saying that as a Caymanian employer with experience of this totals biased system!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Paid for paper shuffling, waffle, indecision, and dictating multiple standards. Same old hallmarks of some CIG departments. Seems it’s systemic!

  6. Anonymous says:

    ”…….there will be no consequences…….”

    That should be the motto of the Cayman Islands Government and the Cayman Islands Civil Service, for that is what they live and get away Scott free, by.
    Too many blatant examples to recall over the decades,,,,..the latest being the threats made to a Journalist and the fact that wives of ministers are held to a lower standard than the rest of us.

    The Lord of West Bay’s turn next……..

    • Anonymous says:

      The Lord of West Bay will get a slap on the wrist. Bet on it.

      • Say it like it is says:

        8.35am We should change the name of the L.A. to the House of Lords, far more appropriate.

    • Anonymous says:

      He was made what he has become by the fat cats who keep giving him, you know $$$$$$ and they are not from the West. The same the world over $$$$$$ rule. You can stop that if you refuse handouts and asking for favours. Vote sensibly for country and not self. Self will be ok if country is run properly and Laws are enforced.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alas, speaking as a deputy chair of another tribunal, there are grave problems with hearing appeals at a date and time convenient for every party, every party’s legal advisors, the tribunal staff, and tribunal members. We rarely see firms or practitioners of any note appear before us. So we get sole practitioners who also do criminal work saying they will not be available for six weeks and by that time the chair assigned will be away for medical treatment and then there will be the possibility of settlement and then another attempt to set a new date etc……

    All tribunals should have the power to extend the time within which they may make decisions for good reason or by agreement of the parties, with appeal relief always available to the Grand Court in the case of undue delay in the form of a mandamus injunction application.

    You either know what those words mean or you don’t – so won’t be entertaining any replies evidencing ignorance of adversarial legal matters.

    • Anonymous says:

      How much does it cost an unemployed Jamaican Labourer to seek justice from the Grand Court where a tribunal has unnreasonably delayed (or allowed to be delayed) their claim and prevented it from being heard?

      Given that you claim such people have options…

  8. Say it like it is says:

    Until we introduce accountability in Government and the Civil Service (comprising 99% Caymanians), we will always be a Banana Republic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your views on the percentage of Caymanians in the Civil Service and their responsibility for the mess we are in are waaay off.

      • Say it like it is says:

        8.36am Please explain exactly where I am way off in the percentage.. As for accountability give me some examples out of the 6,000 or so we are talking about.

        • Anonymous says:

          Try the government legal department (the agency most directly responsible for the rule of law in the Cayman Islands).

          What percentage are From Cayman?

          • Anonymous says:

            How is the GLD involved … do they chose the Tribunal members … No, … do they sit on the Tribunal … NO … do they represent a party before the Tribunal … NO .. Blame the PRIVATE SECTOR .. thats where the Tribunal members come from

          • Anon says:

            3.19pm That is not even 2% of the workforce and it needs qualifications and ability.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t take it anymore. Please can we have direct rule to sort this place out. We have become a Banana Republic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your bean counting is incorrect, indigenous.

      • Say it like it is says:

        12.18pm “beans’ is an appropriate description but what do you mean by “indigenous” in this context?.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Ombudsman’s soft approach has failed. There is no accountability, or even embarrassment when long-standing and well known breaches have the spotlight finally shone on them. What is the point of even having laws around here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Took me 13 months to get my labor matter dealt with and that only happened because of my threats to report. Lets not talk about my pension matter, 19 months now and ZERO progress.

      • Anonymous says:

        You should try being a Jamaican labourer owed overtime…

        • Labour Union Needed says:

          Nationality isnt relevant but I do hear your plight. All I can say is, good luck getting your matter dealt with. Cause there is no one in that office of Labour who will assist you. Bunch of wasters. We need a labour union!!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            Nationality is important here. Good luck if one is a Jamaican or Filipino getting your matter dealt with. So many are owed money they never get from their Caymanian employers. Exploitation of the worse kind.

            • Anonymous says:

              Same to get my issue heard fairly. I am US and was cheated out of 2 weeks pay (my employer lied). Was not allowed to step out to my car for 3 minutes to get evidence of those 2 weeks that slipped out of my paperwork. Yet the ‘legal’ person ‘sitting’ took a phone call for 3 minutes in the middle of my tribunal.
              It took her company another 8 years to go under because of illegal practices. She has been in business cheating her staff for over 40 years, now retired in freedom land.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow. That’s criminal. So many people with unpaid pensions on this island. And not much gets done about it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, they get their trade and business licenses renewed, get new work permits whenever they want, and drive nice cars, so….

          Don’t even bother to ask about health insurance and overtime, let alone legally required paid vacations.

        • Anonymous says:

          Last year in September I was promised a follow up by the director and deputy director in regards to a pensions matter, and to this day June 11th no call. World class my arse.

        • Anonymous says:

          Of course it is criminal, but even when it gets reported to the police they refuse to even investigate. The theft of pension monies has been going on for decades. It is well known and there is yet to be a single arrest.

    • Anonymous says:

      shut up, this is Cayman and we do it our way. Don’t like it leave!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What’s the betting that these departments are staffed by Caymanians only earning very good salaries and getting away with doing very little?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The legal system is irreparably broken. Look no further than the infusion of Lodge into the critical positions.
    Apart from a mighty judgement at the hands of Almighty God, Cayman is lost to the darkness.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How about we tell every government agency to start acting lawfully, and after 3 months notice, actually start holding people accountable?

  13. Lord have Mercy says:

    I know the Ombudsman has ONLY been on island a couple years now but surely she gets what certain words mean here. To say the “DLP have agreed with our findings and have pledged to resolve the situation forthwith” means the same as “soon come” or “we’ll get back to you in due course”. Those phrases are a god send to government because it means there is no timeline so really they can take as long as they want, i.e. it will never happen. A lot of these complaint cases involve expats and the answer Caymanians always give expats when they have a complaint is “go home!”…they just don’t give a damn.

    I like how the Ombudsman emphasized the cooperation they got…as if that makes it all better…the DLP don’t really have a choice but to cooperate because there is a law enabling the investigation and everything is on paper…treating the offending body like a child and giving them a time out won’t help…they are lazy adults not 3 year-olds.

  14. Anonymous says:

    These useless tribunal members should hang their heads in shame. What other committees are they on?


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