Travers asks Mac to cut civil service costs

| 09/02/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman business news, Anthony Travers, chair Cayman Finance(CNS):In a short letter to the Cayman Islands’ premier, the chair of Cayman Finance has askedMckeeva Bush to cut the costs of the civil service and contingent pension liabilities to balance government revenues. Praising Bush for his bold moves regarding immigration policy changes and offering the full support of the financial industry, Anthony Travers said the changes would be even more effective as part of a two-pronged attack which included addressing the benefits of public sector workers. “In our view this will require immediate legislative amendment to revise public sector pension and medical entitlements to real world levels,” Travers wrote in a letter sent today (9 February).

“We now know that the historic financial modelling is simply wrong and is creating an unsustainable liability. It is the view of Cayman Finance that balancing the budget through a process which boosts income from the financial services industry and effects public sector cuts is the only way forward for Cayman.”

Travers offered his full backing to the recent revision of the immigration policy directions for Cayman’s financial services sector. “These bold initiatives to remedy issues with the financial services industry in Cayman place it once again on a path to expansion," the chair of the financial association stated. ‘This is exactly the short term medicine we need to restore health and vitality.”

He said the changes should see an increase in interest from leading global financial organisations who will find the Cayman Islands increasingly attractive as a place to live and work.

The letter comes while the country is still awaiting the outcome of an internal civil service review and an independent review of potential new revenue sources for government finance. Although both were originally set to be completed by December the two reviews are not scheduled to be completed before the end of February.  

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Category: Business

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How dare Concerned Reader implying Travers trying to take away from poor Caymanian Civil servants, this gentleman has made more contributions to Cayman in his 30 plus years than most that are of our soil.

    He is absolutely right when he asks Mac to cut CCS costs they are too high, and in these hard economical times all avenues need to be explored. Civil Servants should be no different than the private sectors, they should be made to contribute to their own pension and insurance, government has long outgrown the free loading and cannot continue.  God help us all if they should continue to bleed the country they way in which they have all become accustomed to.  It has to stop retirees need to remain retired or seek part-time employment elsewhere instead of remaining with government, as trainers/consultants. If they did not pass this on during their 30 to 35 year tenure then it certainly won’t happen now, as they will be suffering from alzheimer’s which contributes to CRS (can’t remember shi*t), only preventing the younger ones that are on the street starving and looking for jobs. 

    Incidentally Travers son is competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics and guess which country he choose to represent?  Not guessed yet?  Well it is the Cayman Islands.  Good luck Dow cheering for you all the way.  Tony continue to make recommendations for the betterment of our beloved country even if no one listens, you tried.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Under the FOI just write to each government department or authority and ask them to list all their positions and to list who is filling each position ie. permit holder or non permit holder – you may just be surprised at how many foreigners they have filling positions that Caymanians could be filling.

    Check out the HSA – oh my goodness – they have soooo many positions filled by foreigners that can definitely be filled by Caymanians. Dont comment negatively on this because I am not talking about the skilled positions like doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists. I am talking about positions like cleaners, security guards, billing clerks etc. too many to mention. And dont listen to the BS from them that Caymanians dont do this type of work – the pay is good so that is a bunch of crock and I know many Caymanians who have applied for these positions and not been successful.

    The minister responsible needs to be addressing this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re getting list of employment details – A great idea but it should not be  necessary to write to individual Govt departments to get their info. Where is the civil lis that used to be published annually with these details? This kind of list from government authorities would probably hold surprises.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So as I understand this: Travers is saying "good going Jolly Premier" for allowing more ofus expats to be able to get through a legal loophole down the road and attain status(immigration reform), AND, by the way, now cut the jobs of some of those Caymanian civil service!!!! Ummmm.

    • tired says:

      yes that it what it seem like to me!

    • anonymous says:

      Mr. Travers, the premier and everyone else need to realize that touching the civil service is like shaking a beehive!, it is like troubling the nation of Israel. It could cause a world war !  The civil service knows too much dirt on the government, the dirty back door and under the table deals, so they are very careful not to upset them, because they will start "singing"!

      At the same time, the private sector does not hire Caymanians, and therefore to cut civil servants from the government service would be a little bit too much persecution for Big Mac at this time. How they plan to cut back I do not know, but do not look for any kind of exodus because there’s nowhere for these people to go.

      Stop day dreaming.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good Idea lets start by letteing all of these civil servants that has the age and the years to leave and those that claim that they have retiered stay that way becasue Government is the only place where someone can retier and can go back claiming that they are advisor/consultant or training officer if you couldnt advise/consult or train while you where there all of those years surely hell they dont need you back now. RETIREMENT mean stay home enjoy doing something that you always wanted to do. Not work thirty odd years and then go back on the payrol.

  5. slowpoke says:

    I have to agree that there are opportunities for cost savings within the Civil Service and that some things have to change soon. However, I have issues with both the current suggestions and to some degree this messenger. He has undoubtedly done good things for the financial sector specifically and Cayman in general. He has been rewarded handsomely for his abilities and activities. However, I find it ironic that much of his work has also helped his friends in NY and London that through their greed, avarice and poor judgment led to this economic meltdown. Now, shortly after a huge public bailout, they are already screaming that they need their bonuses back. A large part of the responsibility for all the under-performing pension plan woes, can be clearly attributed to these psychopathic financial risk takers. At the same time these individuals,XXXXXX do not have to worry much about their retirement income or their medical insurance plans. But, they are quick and happy to suggest cutbacks and reductions for others. The medical insurance plan in Cayman has been an utter disaster since day one. It does not require cutbacks or tweaking. It needs to be thrown out and redesigned completely, for both the private and the public sector.

  6. Just Sayin says:

    If we start with the dead weight, the unemployment rate is going to rise dramatically.

    If we start with the Foreign Nationals, the Caymanian condo owners, business owners, etc are going to lose out on a significant amount of income.

    Sounds like a win-win to me

  7. Thankful says:

    Cayman’s official non-elected member…1st Official member who calls the shots….what a mess we in.  Honest to the God Lord.  We in a mess.  Thumbs down thumbs up…I could not give two hoots.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians loudest cry? Give me the JOB!

    Caymans biggest problem. Caymanians have jobs.

    Why doesn’t it work out?  Jobs not getting done or not getting done efficiently.

    How to fix it.  Stop paying for Privilege.  Only pay for actual service rendered. No sevice?  No pay!

    Cayman has plenty of money coming in.   It is just wasted on everything but Grand Cayman itself.  Please listen to common sense and allow those on the privileged list to take responsibility for themselves.

  9. a brother says:

    I must agree that Donavan should go, but then I thought that from the Henderson fiasco he help create. However, he is not the only one, he has a number of deadwoods and persons unqualified for the position they presently hold in his very department, but I guess that "secret society" is protecting them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Travers didn’t say anything new, and if this is the first time that the Premier is hearing it then that can only be because he is not listening to the people.

    Everyone agrees that drastic measures need to be taken, the problem is where and how to begin.

    My suggestion is for the politicians to first look at themselves and set an example for the rest of the country to follow. Here are a few things I would like to hear the politicians stand up in the LA and say:

    1. Salaries for members of the Legislative Assembly are way out of line for the amount of time spent on the job. We will immediately introduce a new pay scale for MLA’s which will reflect a 25% reduction from the current salary.

    2. We will no longer accept the additional $3,000 per month for "expenses" that we do not have to account for. If we have expenses that should not be covered by our normal salary then we will submit receipts to Treasury where they can be scrutinized, and we will be reimbursed if they are reasonable. We could even pass a motion saying what expenses will be reimbursed to avoid doubt.

    3. We will revoke the law that gives MLA’s a government pension for life after serving just two terms of office. Same with free medical for life for MLA’s. In fact, to set an example MLA’s will immediately begin to pay for half of their medical and pension schemes if not already covered by a private scheme. 

    After that session of the House is over, you go to James and tell him the same is expected of the Civil Service. Give him two weeks to come up with something, or something similar will be imposed upon them.

    A 25% reduction in salary for every Civil Servant would be too drastic, but they should immediately begin contributing to medical and pensions. The Civil Service then needs to be reviewed (NOT BY THEMSELVES) and pay scales created for each job whereby each Civil Servan can be paid fairly for the value of their job. In fact, the LA should IMMEDIATELY remove all "Private to Holder" salaries within the Civil Service to ensure that everyone is only being paid according to job performed.

    Actions such as the above would require true leadership, so I guess none of it will happen. So much for my dreaming.

  11. Concerned Reader says:

    Travers comes from a privileged Oxbridge background and has made his millions here. What is he trying to do, take away the little that poor Caymanian Civil Servants have? Shame on him.

    What has he done for Caymanians?

    • CaymanLover says:

      Concerned Reader….its this mentality of entitlement that is stifling a lot of us Caymanians.  If Mr. Travers grew up in the slums, ghetto, the hood, on the estate or whatever and went to a ‘normal’ Uni (or no Uni), was an everyday fellow earning everyday wages would it really make his suggestions more or less valid?  No, the fact that he is Oxbridge, privileged and wealthy should show you that his motives are not for personal financial gain or any other form of upward mobility.  He is obviously concerned about the issue of the civil service expenditure and is doing his job by offering ideas.

      He doesnt have to do anything for Caymanians, he has to do what is in the best interests of the Financial sector of our country so it is sustained and not depleted to the detriment of all of us.  He doesnt have to do anything for you, you should be damn well doing for yourself. 

      Civil Servants do have certain ‘perks’ that the private sector does not.  I don’t blame civil servants for taking advantage of them but clearly if it is affecting the ability of our country to run properly then it must be addressed.  Mr Travers would be doing this country a grave injustice by ignoring the red flags. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Name one poor civil servant?

      See, you can’t.

      • Broke & Busted says:

        Me!!!!!!

        Every month i am still short of $600 to pay my bills, cause i cant get credit at the Gas station, Fosters, or Free school lunch for my child!!!

        My pay goes towards CUC, CWC, Land loan, life insurance, etc……..

        i dont even have enough left to get my CRUSTY FEET pedicured!!!!

        and better yet, i have never in MY LIFE ask any of the polititians for money or help, maybe i need to now!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Well join the club then.  Because you are no different to most of the rest of us trying to make it by here.  And if you are a civil servant consider yourself lucky because you’re likely getting paid more than the rest of us do, yet we all have to meet similar commitments.

          Do you go out, ever have a holiday, go shopping to Miami, have a car?  If you have any or all of these and more, then you are far far better off than me.  And I dont have any loans/credit cards or any form of debt – just pure bills, ridiculous rent, and ludicrous health insurance.

          You poor thing you!

        • Anonymous says:

          Then, darling, like so many of us Caymanians you are living WAY beyond your means-one of our national diseases which is going to bite us big one day soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now you are showing your ignorance – if you need to ask what Tony Travers has done for Cayman then you clearly have had  your head stuck in the sand for the past 30 years 

      As an aside Tony worked extremely hard to get where he is today it was not handed to him on a plate – so please get your facts right –  

    • Anonymous says:

      Jeezus, even though he don’t have to do anything for Cayman, this is one man who never stops protecting Cayman’s interests, how can you be so blind? 

      And as for the overbloated, overstaffed, civil service, you would rather the entire country go completely broke and be taken back over by the UK than see a few civil servants lose their jobs?

      Ignorance mussi bliss, yes?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think it really matters if he has come from a privileged background or not. At the end of the day he has still had to work hard to where he is now.

      He has lived in Cayman from over 30 years – he is CAYMANIAN, whether you like it or not.

      He has helped build Cayman’s financial sector to what it is today.

      He has put his children (3 of them I believe) through school in Caymanfrom nursery, through to when they, like other caymanian students, went abroad to University.

      You are obviously one of the few % of caymanians who are putting shame on the Caymanian name, by trying to blame others for your ignorance

      Yes I am caymanian, I have a caymanian passport, I was born on island and live and work here.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If given the choice of service provider than Civil Servants would  be more than happy to pay their share of medical insurance.

    If Gov’t was to clamp down on the private insurance companies so that they didn’t deny everyone for a simple cough, thereby putting the cost on Gov’t by them having to operate CINICO to provide insurance to all these people, medical insurance wouldn’t cost Gov’t $1000 per Civil Servant – or whatever ridiculous amount of money it does!

  13. Annoymous says:

    Thanks Mr. Travers, may I now suggest that we start cutting with the small group of disgruntled employees making a ruckus over at the DER against the Director, as it is clearly obvious they are all wasting time and money thatcould be put to better and more productive use.

     

  14. Civil Servants Stranglehold says:

    PRIVILEGED CASTE = Civil Servants…

    Here is the proof:

    In last Friday’s Compass there was an ad for a garbage truck driver: salary CI$16.50 to $18.00 per hour…

    Not a pleasant job you may say?…

    Then compare to what the private sector is offering:

    Truck driver to empty septic tank and portable toilets, shift and weekend work: salary CI$9.00 per hour!!…

    I wage that if Civil Servants with similar qualifications were made to work in the public sector, they would lose at least 30% of their paycheck and ALL of their PERKS costing hundreds of millions…

    If the current situation continues, the Civil Servants, like a parasite vine,  will strangle Cayman to DEATH and there is nothing the politicians are willing to do about it because they won’t take any cuts in salary or benefits themselves!…

    As Travers said, NEW CIVIL SERVICE LAWS have to be passed urgently to loosen the death-grip that the union-like Civil Service have on their welfare – exemplified by the ongoing INTERNAL REVIEW – as  the islands’ economic viability and future is at stake…

    Here are a few facts to bear in mind:

    – Not counting the Statutory Authorities, which make a LOSS in the aggregate, there is 1 Civil Servant for every 14 residents, consuming ~55% of the entire Cayman Budget in perks and salaries.

    – Including the Authorities owned by government, the number climbs to 1 in 9, based on 6,000 total Civil Servants and 55,000 inhabitants…

    http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2010/01/26/Duguay–About-6000-working-in-government/

    – In California, Civil Servants number 1 for 120 and Puerto Rico is the next most bloated Civil Service location in the Caribbean with 1 Civil Servant for every 23 residents: thankfully many have been laid off recently, as funds run out to pay them…

    Here is how we can save around $130 million and balance the budget in one fell swoop:

    – For starters, make Civil Servants pay their 1/2 of pension and health contributions currently forked out by Cayman’ citizenry…

    – Reduce their numbers to be more in line with other islands in the Caribbean, say no more than 1 Civil Servant for every 20 residents, or a ~25% reduction…

    – Bring their salaries down a notch – say 10% – more in line with the realities of other sectors of the economy that have had to tighten their belts in this recession…

    – Stop guaranteeing their pensions: there is great inequality in having the citizens of Cayman obligated to make up any shortfall for any reasons – including recession and mismanagement – in the Civil Servant pension funds, when their own funds are going down the drain…

    – Stop paying them to do nothing: there is no reason why they should be guaranteed a life-long salary if they no longer have a job to do. However, neither should they be dismissed at the whim of politicians  without good reasons…

    Don’t expect McKeeva to do anything about it, as he’s scared of Donovan: the UK will have to take control if we’re ever to see a fair and balanced Civil Service, instead of one that’s eating Cayman alive!…

     

     

     

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       Massive civil service + authorities = huge voting base= politico’s look for other ways to cut costs…..

      The same thing happening in the USVI in the mid 80’s. The C Service was 45% of the working population and the local economy could not sustain and the economy collapsed for several years.

      I continue to believe that Cayman has the ability tochange and adjust…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Reply to Privileged Caste…

       

      Very well put…..Couldn’t agree more. Looks by the ”thumbs up”

      icon  others feel the same way.  Caymanians who do not work in

      the civil service are being discriminated againgst.  Not fair!!

    • Anonymous says:

      YOU MISS OUT 1 THING:

      To cut the numbers of the Prevelege Caste (or Civil Servants), my friend, is one thing – well done! 

      But to priviatize certain sectors of government is even better – excellent! Responsible privatization would difinitely ensure we have a balanced budget.

      • tired says:

         

        Hmm, because CINICO, HSA and Turtle farm (these were sold as attempts at privatization of government services) worked out so well?!
         
        What I want to see is the projected overall increase to cost of living increase with further privatization.
         
        I guess doesn’t matter if you could afford a million dollar residency fee!

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. Just a couple things to add…..the 55,000 population includes children, elderly, dependants not working. Would be interesting to know the % of Gov’t employees : working population. Secondly, heard Ezzard this morning on the radio….cudos to him for making it clear that he cannot be bought. Too much of this is now common place in Gov’t at the highest levels (where they are already being paid well). Are we a 3rd world country or what? Shame on the civil service, you are the ones robbing the country! For those of you who are in the civil service for the right reasons, hang in there and lets hope someone will do something right for a change.

    • tired says:

       

      Bring whose salaries down? Across the board?!
       
      Cut someone whose is making 1600 by 10% and some one who is making 7000- 10,000+  by 10%.
       
      This was batted around last fall.  civil servants for the large part agreed  with a graded  pay cut with those at the top taking the highest  pay cut.
       
      Apparently those at the top did not agree as nothing happened.

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Wed 15:52:

        Could you give us a link or a quote from James Watler to substantiate your claim that civil servants agreedto a "graded pay cut"? It’s important. Because I-and many others-were never aware of that. Get rid of expats-yes we noticed that but not this one.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wed 10:02 -18:15:

          OK, I’ve given you enough time to come up with what I requested and you can’t. As most of us knew. So don’t say such things as we will call you to account for them.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Anthony

    Sounds like a beneficial suggestion!

    However, can not government do better like privatize certain of its sectors, providing there are government regulations enforced protecting the Caymanian worker, consumer, and environment. We only need to pay fees and duties for those sectors and parts of government that are “essential to human survival and protection.”Am I wrong?

  16. Anonymous says:

    An internal civil service review! Can you imagine anything less likely to come up with the root and branch reform of staffing levels and benefits that are needed? Mac needs to forget about poor old James Watler and the votes supposedly controlled by the civil service union and take drastic action NOW. If he doesn’t, financial ruin will stare us ALL in the face-including civil servants both productive and unproductive alike.

    • Civil Servants Stranglehold says:

      Donovan should resign!

      The way the Civil Service is operated is nothing short of a SCANDAL…

      Since when can the Fox do an audit of the Henhouse?…

      This is totally SHAMEFUL and some top Civil Servants should be BOOTED OUT!…

      It’s time for all non-Civil Servants to unite against this Privileged Caste and form their own UNION to fight this growing SCOURGE!…

      Salaries and Perks of the politicians should also be reviewed down in light of the new economic reality…

      Aside from the ministers, all the other MLA’s are working on a part time basis: let their salaries and pensions reflect this fact!…

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

         Mr. Donovan has nothing nothing but do what the politicians and voters have allowed him to do. He is doing his job …..if you want change then do something about it……we all need to pay attention to what our elected leaders are doing and allowing to happen….

    • Anonymous says:

      As brave as Mac thinks he is, I bet you he will not draw the ire of James Watler and CICSA by taking him on. I feel sorry for Mac though, he’s in a really bad position, cut the Civil service benefits and you are guranteed to loose a huge portion of the largest voting block on the Island. Don’t do anything and ride the Country into inevitable financial ruins and you are guranteed to loose the votes of the rest of the Country.

      If I were you, I would leave the benefits for the existing. Hand out a few pink slips for the dead wood everyone admits is in there and then hire new Civil servants on a new set of terms and conditions. This is similar with what was done in regards to Pension benefits when the Government grandfathered those existing at the time on the defined benefit plan, then made everyone who joined after go on defined contribution.

      The advantage of the above, is that you may loose the votes of the few you cut loose, but you will gain the approval of the wider community for finally doing something. The ones who were not cut because they were pulling their weight and actually doing some work will respect you and appreciate you bringing back the pride that was once enjoyed by Civil servants.

      It’s worth a thought.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jesus have mercy! Does anyone know James Watler? Lovely guy, affable XXXX. Don’t make him into a monster-ignore him and his fellow unionists; they are not going to help us in this present crisis.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Mac doesn’t do something ……The British could come in and clean up the

      civil servant problem…..Ok then he would be in the clear..could say it’s not

      his fault and still keep the votes of the civil servic block.!!!