Minister confirms troubles with employment relations

| 26/02/2010

(CNS): The minister for education and labour has confirmed that the director of Employment Relations has been placed on required leave. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning , Rolston Anglinsaid that as a result of an on-going investigation in the department, the director, Lonny Tibbetts, had been placed on one month’s required leave from Thursday 18 February. The minister said that as it was a personnel issue it was inappropriate for him to comment and that Jennifer Smith would continue as acting director.

CNS reported earlier this month that a long standing dispute in the department appeared to have come to a head and at the time Anglin made no comment, stating that administrative issues were the responsibility of Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues.

Tibbetts has offered no comment on the situation despite requests and the exact nature of the complaint against the director is unclear, but CNS understands the dispute concerns long standing allegations of paralysis between senior management and staff at the Department of Employment Relations which pre-date Tibbetts’ placement in the department’s top slot.

The DER is divided into two units: one which deals with placing Caymanian employees in jobs and one that deals with complaints against employee’s bosses who are reportedly breaking the employment law in regards to pay, annual leave or working conditions, and it is this unit where the complaints against Tibbetts are understood to have originated.

According to annual reports from the OCC, the office has dealt with a considerable number of complaints against that unit and has found maladministration on a number of occasions. Besides the Immigration, the DER is alleged to have generated the most complaints to the ombudsman’s office.

Tibbetts took over at the DER less than two years ago in May 2008, replacing Walling Whittaker who left in 2007 and went on to work for HSBC. At the time of his appointment the ministry described Tibbetts as a “well qualified, highly experienced individual” who was well versed in both policy and procedure and “ideally placed to provide the high level of leadership and guidance required to direct the department through the implementation of various key initiatives.

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  1. Annoymous says:

    I know this, if Mr. Tibbetts is not vindicated and returned to his job really soon, many Caymanians that are unemployed will have their supper eaten by pigs and dogs.

    Lonny Tibbetts is the best that Dept has seen in years, but typical of Govt. don’t want a good person doing their job or making sure they don’t waste Govt. money.  They want the crooks and corrupt persons in charge who is just like them and can steal, rob and rape the country’s assets.

    I hate to see when good people are put in such jeapordy because of the corrupt ones.

    I know this if Chuckie march was cancelled, I can assure you one coming up if he is not restored and then they will have something to worry about when they see the thousands standing in front the GH condeming their actions against Lonny Tibbetts.  People are just sick and tired of corruption in teh Govt so leave them idiots up there alone and see what happensshortly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If DER is the second largest department to have complaints logged against them, why aren’t they under investigation by the OCC?  Any ideas??

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is the key part of the story:  "Tibbetts has offered no comment on the situation despite requests and the exact nature of the complaint against the director is unclear, but CNS understands the dispute concerns long standing allegations of paralysis between senior management and staff at the Department of Employment Relations which pre-date Tibbetts’ placement in the department’s top slot."

  4. Anonymous says:

    I do not know the Director of DER personally but we all know that there has been a whole lot of trouble in that department long before he went there. We do not know what is going on but it might be that some of his disputes with the staff is because he is trying to make changes that are necessary and they are resisting! Usual story in government … someone new goes in and tries to shake up the old guard and they get attacked. Nothing new .. same old, same old.

  5. Twyla Vargas says:

    YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS, Caymanians tend to $%$·"& up them selves all the time when they get a position.  They let it go to their heads and will not do the right thing.

    Of course that department should have been shuffled up long time, because there has been and is still too many  I wish I could say the word.

    I believe Jennifer will do what she has to do.   Oh my, what a tangel web we weave, when we ourselves, we must decieve.

    Why cant we learn a lesson. …..   Curse me as much as you like, but any day I would prefer having an expatriate for a boss, because one thing with them in the beginning if you let them know where you stand, then you have no trouble with them.

    • w says:

      Twyla you only speak from how you see…

      Do you know for a FACT what is going on???

      There is also a saying:  Life and death is in the power of the tongue.

      That means if you don’t speak the facts (the truth), you may also get yourself "tangled in a web that you weaved for yourself."  So all I am saying is to be careful. DER hasn’t provided us with any information, so we shouldn’t speculate, carried off by every wind of doctrine.



      • Twyla Vargas says:

        Hello W,

        Greetings,  my friend You know I only speak of what I know.   Although Some people may have a problem with that, but so what.  That is their democratic right to respond, just as well.

        To be a commentor on CNS  or any other,  I suggest consider being like a duck in water.  Where Nothing sticks to your back. Blessed.


    • CNS Addict says:


      Welcome back we have missed you!


  6. Anonymous says:

    @ John Evans perhaps you should have complained against the previous Secretary of the Labour Tribunal she did absolutely nothing as far as I’m concerned, I filed my initial Labour complaint & I must say the Labour Officer dealt with it very expeditiously and got my vacation and notice paid paid to me I think that team is very professional, my Officer consulted with the head of that particular unit and I got a quick resolution HOWEVER since 2008 my complaint has been sitting with the Labour Tribunal I got a call last week about scheduling the hearing and guess what its a new person in the Tribunal Section now…maybe your case took so long to be listed because the old Sec never did her job! That Department needed revamping a long time ago!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ok, lets see how much the newly Acting DER Director will help Caymanians! This should all be interesting.

  8. Tabitha Piercy says:

    It’s about time that top management at the DER be investigated. There are so many unresolved issues and totally silenced matters pending with this department that it makes one wonder how it took so long. Mr. Tibbetts is not the only staff member that should be under investigation at the DER and I hope the inquiry will not die on his doorstep, but will expand to incompass many others. I feel that even the former head of the DER has many answers to give a good number of persons in this community and he, unfortunately, was never brought to investigative questioning. Too many unfair employment practices are being condoned by this department for far too long. May justice finally be served.

  9. Annoymous says:

    @ John Evans,

    I suggest you get in line like the rest of us who have had complaints over the years long before this Director took over.

    How can you claim the DER refused to handle their complaints?

    That is a rubbish statement.

    If your complaint was not dealt with, then get in line like the rest.


  10. John Evans says:

    I wonder how many of these complaints came from the group of former Net News employees who were forced to go the the Grand Court for justice after DER refused to handle their complaints?

    This turning a blind eye (or a deaf ear?) to complaints against certain employers seems to be part of the way DER do business. It took a complaint to the OCC to get my grievance listed for a Labour Board hearing and that date will be nearly two years after the complaint was filed.

    • Annoymous says:

      Yes and that is why there is a problem to date.  This is why the on required leave Director was trying to fix, the sores of the Dept.  But he can’t do it alone, so when the powers that be don’t want the sores cured either they decide to put the Director on required leave.  All a load of hogwash, and tossing the blame around. 

      People pick sense out of nonsense, if this Director Lonny Tibbetts is the first in history to place 25+ Caymanians in jobs monthly, then how come he is the one suspended?

      The problem is those in that department been there for years, and oozing with corruption.  One man walks in to clean up the mess and this is what he has to face.

      I can assure you either they clean up this mess and restore the Director, or there will be an army marching downtown soon in support of him and wanting those sores up in there causing a fuss OUT!!!!!!

      You can’t keep a good man down!!!


      PS: John Evans, keep pursuing your dream to get justice my dear, if they keep them ole sores causing a ruckus up in that DER employed you will NEVER see any justice for you either.

    • Shut up says:

      Why should the govenment waste time and resources dealing with non-Caymanians who don’t live in Cayman when there are Caymanians looking for jobs?  Let’s get our priorities right.

  11. JN says:


    All those who breach the Labor Laws to diss Caymanians, I assume, are now REJOICING when they hear such glorious news!

    • cOOlio says:

      Diss Caymanians, how about the number of Caymanains that have actually gotten jobs under this Director.  There are 25 placements per month, the most in the history of this department, so tell me how you can say Diss Caymanians.

      Please try make sensible comments.

      If a Caymanian get DISS he or she is obviously not employee material, check the employers, they will tell you how many they go through weekly to try and avoid a work permit.  They try until they can’t try no more.

      Caymanains better start putting some effort into working because very soon employers is going to kick against this and demand that they cannot continue on this road with changing staff every week. 

      If you have an employee on a work permit, they are committed to you for that time, whereby a Caymanian has no obligation to the employer and can leave anytime they please.  Because they can go to Social Services and get a cheque each month for free!

      What DER and Social Services should do is connect and after so many referrals, cut them off, no more cheques.  That will certainly make those lazy ones stay on the job.

      The Director is a good person, he has been given a raw deal here, and as a supporter of this Government I am ashamed it has come down to this.  I hope they fix this soon because many people out here is not happy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow really?