Don’t cut CS pay, say MLAs

| 11/03/2010

(CNS): Inflicting hardship on civil servants is no way to help Cayman out of the recession, the PPM has stated and called on government to cut operating expenses and downsize the public sector over time. Moses Kirkconnell pointed out that cutting pay will be disastrous for Cayman Brac’s economy, which is dependent on public sector workers, and called on the government not to take the money from the pockets of his constituents. During the public meeting onTuesday evening, the PPM team all spoke in support of a need to reduce operational expenditure but said cutting salaries was not the way forward.

Kirkconnell said the reduction in salaries for civil servants on Cayman Brac would have a direct detrimental impact on the livelihoods of everyone else as the small economy of the Sister Islands only had tourism and government to rely on to generate their income.

Alden McLaughlin admitted that there was a problem with the size of government, which he said had grown significantly during the previous PPM administration. The former Cabinet minster said that, while they had to take some share of the blame, the introduction of the Public Management and Finance and the Public Service Management laws had decentralized government systems and was the root of the growth. McLaughlin explained that the changes resulted in an increase in the number of accountants, human resource staff and other posts in order for each department to manage its own finances and personnel matters.

“This meant we had to duplicate and triplicate the staff as the central body of government was removed to meet the requirements of the new laws,” McLaughlin said, adding that while the elected government is always blamed it did not have control over how many and who was hired in the civil service.

McLaughlin said that the PFML and the PSML may both need to be reviewed to help reduce the constant growth. But he said that to simply cut the salaries of hardworking people was not the way to resolve the problem.  The former education minister warned of future unrest if the government suddenly cuts 400 or 500 Caymanians from public sector jobs when there are more than 20,000 work permits. McLaughlin called for a long term carefully structured reduction. The decision to cut civil service pay was as a result of whatever was contained in the Miller report, he speculated, and said although the opposition had not been told what was in it, the government needed to reveal its contents and discuss the problems faced by the country with the opposition.

The PPM leader agreed with McLaughlin when he took to the podium and said that the government had to consult with the opposition given the dire circumstances. He pointed out that there were four former experienced cabinet ministers on the opposition benches as well as a talented and very experienced businessman. “We don’t want to be in a constant fight with government but if things are not right then we as the opposition must speak out,” Kurt Tibbetts said. “All 15 MLAs should be involved in these discussions.”  

Tibbetts acknowledged the call for solutions from the PPM but he said that without the information they could only offer so much, which he said all along had been to take a longer term approach to dealing with the deficits and to borrow more in the short term. The opposition leader said his team had not supported the last budget because they knew that it would not balance and that there was a serious problem with the government’s long term economic predictions as the revenue had been over estimated two years in a row.

Tibbetts said the country needed to extend its borrowing to give government time to make sensible alterations in expenditure and examine the revenue. Tibbetts said he agreed with comments made by the government’s education minister in the Legislative Assembly recently when he said you cannot save yourself out of a recession. 

“If you say you want to improve the economy, how in the next breath can you take money off the people?” Tibbetts questioned, and warned the government that frightening people and saying the country would go belly up without the cuts was unreasonable. Government, he said, had no choice but to negotiate an increase in the net-debt ratio until the economy was back on track.

Category: Headline News

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s unfortunate to have to take a pay cut but for crying out loud, our government is broke! Frankly, I think some civil servants (not ALL) are overpaid. Take a cut, curve your spending and lead by example.

  2. Anonymous says:

    IS it The Cayman Island or is it The Cayman Islands including Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

    It seems that the residents of Grand Cayman regard the Sister Islands as a foreign land.

    OH I forgot Little Brac where you seem to be puhing people to go out on a rock.

  3. Disappointing says:

    "Moses Kirkconnell pointed out that cutting pay will be disastrous for Cayman Brac’s economy, which is dependent on public sector worker"

    A great example of why the civil service is way too fat.  The rest of the Cayman Islands is subsidising their whole economy.  Or what there is of it.  The Sister Islands represent only 3% of the Cayman economy, probably even less when one works through the net fiscal transfers.

    We hear how the Brac is the home of all Cayman’s finest entrepreneurs (You go CNS!).  Well let the unnecessary civil servants go and give these business geniuses someone to employ in their next great business.

  4. A W says:

    Who work in the public sector?

    Mr Tibbets said to down size the public sector overtime!!! that means a loss of jobs for CIVIL SERVANTS. How will those families manage in these hard times if they don’t have an income ???? Come on Mr Tibbets, haven’t you heard the term that HALF A LOAF IS BETTER THAN NONE? Stop critisizing the UDP for the sensible decision they made because if you were in power now ,( by what you said) you would send people home to go hungry and can’t send their children to school, can’t pay rent or mortgage. It was a blessed day when God bring down the PPM Government.

     

    • anony says:

      The civil servants should be required to make contributions to their health insurance. Its only fair. The public has their own insurance to be paid for themselves and their own families. This is not somthing that should require any debate or long term discussion. It is only faior to tax payers that each civil servant make at least a 50 percent contribution to his or her health insurance coverage. What part of that does the civil servants not understand? Its not like the civil servants are any special angelic host from the world beyond, they are people like me and you. they take out loans with the credit union and go on expensive vacation trips shopping until they drop and why would the premier act so weak in not imposing a 50% contribution to be paid by each civil servant for his  own insurance coverage. this is how its done everywhere in the world. They are too rude some of them and I have a problem paying the insurance for them when I can not even afford to pay my own insurance. this is ot fair to the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      oh yes Anon 23:41, I suppose you would be saying the same thing if you were one of those people that is getting their pay cut? It’s easy to criticize when it’s not you, but I bet if you were told that your pay was being cut you would have a different attitude. Now grow up, or shut up

  5. Call it like it is says:

    You know what. Thank God for the Internet. I have read this and happen to know a little bit about it.

    "Kirkconnell said the reduction in salaries for civil servants on Cayman Brac would have a direct detrimental impact on the livelihoods of everyone else as the small economy of the Sister Islands only had tourism and government to rely on to generate their income."

    Kirkconnell is one of the few who will lose drastically because of this because the Brackers will no longer spend as much in his shop, buy as much insurance, purchase building supplies as before.

    This MLA is tremendously wealthy and yet he squeals about his constituents. Sorry, sir. You have been tried and found wanting. Give the Brackers a better reason.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr . Tibbetts, thanks for suddenly appearing vocal on matters. It is sad you did not show these qualitities of leadership when in government– you might have become the first Premier.

    For heavens sake, stop finger pointing and  give practical and workable solutions.

    • Anonymous says:

      the ppm don’t do solutions….. apart form ‘lets just borrow some more’……

  7. PPM still has no solutions says:

    Everytime these people get on the air i have to sit back and wonder what planet are they really on? I mean they just don’t get it…with all their long speeches wich by the way is 80% criticising the premier and 20% nonsense they simply do not have a solution to the problems this country is currently facing. A few days ago the president of the Young progressives was on radio cayman along with the YUDPS, and I heard this young woman say on the radio that she does not believe that Cayman is broke? that sums up for me the PPMs mentality, they are just coasting around playing politics while this countries future is at stake. their motto is borrow, borrow, borrow..well borrowing is fine but what happens when the banker comes knocking on the door looking for his money? what happens when Moody downgrades our credit rating? this path is nothing more than a shortcut to taxes or in more simple terms financial ruin. We must divest assets, reduce the civil service and find more innovative revenue streams…The premier has my respects, sure he hasn’t done everything right and the administration has made some mistakes but I will take Mckeeva over Kurt anyday…period

  8. inside job says:

    atta boy Kurt. Thats a nice safe stance you are taking for your electorate. Dont do anything, fence sit, and offer no solutions.

  9. Anonymous says:

    1.Lobby the UK about our borrowing guidelines.

    2.Reduce taxes on everything to stimulate growth

    3.Temporary salary cuts for civil servants and other non essential spending

    4.Government must divest of assets to raise cash.

    5.Consoladate all borrowings

    6.Pension holiday is good, but should only be done for 2 years

    7.Request all statury bodies to be run at profit and pay over the same tothe central government.

    8.My assestment is that around 800 civil servants should be cut.

    9.Stop the wastage on all these goverment lawuit

     

    • Truth and Honesty says:

      10. Promote spelling in school.

    • Anonymous says:

      "My assessment is that around 800 civil servants should be cut".

      Fair enough, Thurs 14:53. Where should we begin? We have a huge number of teachers to fill the classrooms created by the 2003 status grants. Hmmm – better not go there.

      We have way too many cops for such a small place thanks to Commissioners always asking and getting more cops and cars. And now a helicopter to be staffed with civil servants too. Hmmm – better not go there.

      For a country with hardlyany fires we have a colossal number of firemen. Can you imagine what they have to do all day-especially on the Brac? nothing! But they’re terrific when we have a hurricane so better not go there.

      And all these social workers for such a rich (bankrupt) country? Better leave them alone too. Prison guards? Well no, the place is jumping with crime now so better not go there. Protocol Office? Who would organize the Premier’s car and trips and all these dignitaries flooding into Cayman each week? Better not go there. London Office? Overseas tourism offices? But we need them don’t we? No one knows why or what they really do that is any use but, well, you know, they’ve been around a while so let’s leave them.

      And GIS? They have had such a poor reputation in the past that ministries hired their own PR people. Fair enough, but the corresponding posts in GIS should have disappeared shouldn’t they? Hmmm, well, er we don’t do it that way, you see.

      But of course we could undo the Public Management and Finance Law and recentralise to Treasury and Personnel. Might be about 35 posts to save there (or 700 if you are the Brain of North Side, Mr Miller), except who would do the jobs in Treasury and Personnel? We would recruit more staff for these places, silly!

      It is of course possible to cut 800 posts – anything is possible – but not without economic, social, service delivery AND POLITICAL consequences. It is not as easy as those posters who think "civil service" just equals typists, file clerks, admin assistants, policy and human resource advisors (ripe for getting rid off as are posts with "corporate" and/or "learning resource support"in their title).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Did PPM really say don’t cut pay?

    I attended the meeting and don’t recally anyone explicitly say not to cut CS pay. In fact what I remember they said was that there will be real pain and that the pain must be shared equally.

    Clarification please.

  11. Anonymous says:

    One observation that he has made here which is correct was the added expense to go to decentralized Gov’t. Well that should be one solution on the table….go back to centralized Gov’t. All those accountants and HR mgr’s and their assistants should have qualifications and be able to get a job in the private sector….qualified and caymanian…..but then they would have to work and produce accounts!

  12. Anonymous says:

    ENOUGH with the political grand standing, make a $^%&$* decision!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    What is happening here didn’t start yesterday, it all started in the early 1980’s. The Government was raking in buckets of $$$ and it was being shared up amoungst the social service, sorry, civil service. It was common practice to hire someone then create a post for them to fill. The more money the Government took in the higher salaries went. It got to the stage where we became drunk on all the extra cash. All this made everyone want a bigger house and more expensive car than their neighbours’, which of course we really couldn’t afford. Now reality is setting in and no one wants to accept it. How in the world can anyone pay more taxes (property, import duty, etc) with money that they simply don’t have or do the Government expect us to borrow to pay these taxes? If only we could develop a system where we pay our politicians and civil servants according to output.

    We need to bite the bullet and cut both salaries and bodies and it needs to be done yesterday, otherwise the end is near if it isn’t already here.

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    Start here….

    Start with cutting Northward prison benefits ! Turn off the a/c , make them cook their own food, cut out free education, dental, medical and optical (they should be only on a emergency basis only). Take the TV’s, Weststar boxes and DVD players away and donate them to the hospital – they don’t have any in the patients rooms. And for goodness- sake stop paying the prisoners a salary for spending time in prison !!! If they want to eat they should have to work, period !

    Social Services – should be for Caymanians / Stautus holders only!  We should not be supporting foreigners.  If they can’t afford to live here -send them home ! Chances are some of them are only adding to the petty crimes on the island anyway.

     

  15. Anonymous says:

    Moses Kirkconnell pointed out that cutting pay will be disastrous for Cayman Brac’s economy, which is dependent on public sector workers”

    This is the problem. Grand Cayman’s economy rides on tourism and financial services while Brac rides on Government employment. The government cannot afford to maintain the current volume of employees so unless additional revenue options are found, the quick easy solution is to either reduce your workforce or keep your workforce but reduce salaries.
     
    Cayman is like a company with four revenue sources – tourism, financial services, cay-brew and rum cakes. There is only so much money that can be squeezed out of these four and if you are not making enough off these, you cut your running costs in order to break-even.
    • Danger Mouse says:

      The Brac’s economy is 3% of the Cayman Islands total economy.  It is practically irrelevant in these troubled times.

    • Anonymous says:

      With all the hoopla about our (civil servants) wages being cut, can someone please tell me how I can join and become a close associate of the UDP as it seems that even with the economic downturn in Cayman, you will be "rewarded" with either, a top of the line Range Rover, a Mercedes SUV, a convertible Mercedes Benz and maybe even could have the mortgage on your house paid for.

      Please, someone tell me how can I become one of those "lucky" persons as I am well and truly down and out.

      If I could become so lucky, they can go ahead and cut my wages!

    • anony says:

      Where are the socalled big brains with Clllege degrees we elected to resolve these problems.

      Doesn.t Rolston anglin have a degree in economics? Why can’t he put a bill on the table that will create jobs and increase revenue for the C.Islands?

      This is proof that these elected officials donot work for the people, they can’t put a bill on the table to increase revenue because none of them knows anything about marketing and promotions. If they did, they would have already put all the unemployed people to work.

      Lets face it. these people elected donot have the education nor the skills to lead this country into the 21st centry.

      People get hired based on their skill, not their personality of how many gifts they can pass out!

      The same policy should govern our elected officials. they should be able to put on the table financial projections that include stretegy sthey will use to increase revenue, keep the civil service going and empower local businesses to get wealth. 

      All they are doing is proposing to sell off government assets and cut the civil service? What a lazy, lousy excuse for leadership. they havn’t a clue why they wereelected.

      We need successful business people in the hot seat!

       

  16. Bit of common sense says:

    Well done Tibbetts, so the full extent of your advice to the current government is ‘borrow more money’ to get out of this problem. Your expenditure is too high, your income is too low so lets borrow more money, that will solve all our problems. What do you suggest we do, if and when the British Governemt turns around and says NO to further borrowings, as anyone in their right mind would do.

    No one wants to cut the civil service (welfare service), BUT, we have absolutely no choice. It is either income/property tax or cuts, there is no third way. Would all politicians stop pandering to the voting block and start growning some …., say it like it is. It is unfortunate but the politicians have their hands tied and the sooner they all start singing off the same hymn sheet the better for the country as a whole.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you need to read the article again. The PPM are clearly saying more than that, e.g. there is a need to cut posts in govt. rather than reduce salaries for everyone. Re borrowing they are simply recognizing the reality that, contrary to what the UDP misled the country to believe in its October 2009 budget, i.e. that we would have surplus, we will have to borrow in the short term until we have time to make the necessary cuts.   

      You appear to think that cutting civil servants salaries is an alternative to property or income tax but if so you are gravely mistaken. The salary cuts would substantially help offset the existing deficit but would not by any means obviate the need to restructure our revenue base. This is where the Miller Report apparently falls short.    

  17. Frequent Flyer says:

    Other Caribbean countries have had to do it. What makes Cayman think they are above having to do what it takes??

    Government is going to make enemies no matter what. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    Da Bone – Poster 3/11 – 10:06 has it SPOT ON!!

    Very well said!

  18. what a mess says:

    I agree here with PPM’s solution. Almost all countries are having to borrow for the time being to help get through the current economic downturn. Mac needs to get out of the way if he is unable or inwilling to properly negociate with the UK, even if that means we "consider" direst taxes…let’s at least discuss the pros and cons…to help educate us all.

    Also the schools, roads, Govt. Admin Bldg are all needed infrastructure projects…that other past governments have neglected. While it is unfortunate that the economic crisis hit while these three needed projects were happening…we still need these projects…we just need to now spread this over a bit more time.

    Surely to sell off an asett like GOAB makes no long term sense. Sell "Boatswains Beach" Yes!…Mac should be made to buy it himself!…it’s his baby…that many good business people told him "could NOT work" and it is NOT an infrastructural need…it has always been a "political project".

    To tax the middle class and ruduce their salaries and other benifits during an economic downturn (while protecting the rich from property and income taxes) will ultimately complete the ruination of Cayman.

    I would like the PPM to join with Ezzard’s suggestion to go through the budget line by line and find line items that can be reduced or eliminated, there are many such line items! And let’s consider going back to centralized Govt. accounting…this new PMFL is NOT working…and Cayman cannot afford it…we are now paying more to recieve less…look at the state of accounts that are years behind.

    PPM has it’s faults (i’m the first to agree) but my goodness, what in the world is Mac/UDP thinking?…the many silly ideas that he keeps coming up with…mouth constantly in gear without engaging brain…and his consistant bullying attitude…this is the "Premier’ of Cayman…what must the World think when they see/hear this example representing us? I cringe with shame…

     

  19. Anonymous says:

    Countries around the world are cutting salaries in the pulic sector! In the USA cities are closing schools and laying off teachers left and right. Employees in the private sector have taken pay cuts or lost their jobs. The drop in work permits show that most of the people being let go are permit holders. That is confirmed by the mass "leaving island" sales. It is a hard pill to swallow, but 90% of something is better than 100% of nothing. The fact that Tibbetts is calling for MORE borrowing shows how out of touch he is, Bush is not to far behind him! I cut my expenses by not running my AC, it drops my bill by 60%. We all have choices to make and no one is entitled to a job, it is earned.

  20. Vincent Frederick says:

    During my run in the general elections last year, I made it clear that the Cayman Islands and Caymanians were going to face real economic hardship. All Caymanians, whether you’re young or old are at the cornerstone of losing everything because of greed and power. We need to face the truth about who we elected into office to represent us Caymanians, our needs and our children’s future and interest.

    In my campaign I stated that the civil service work force needed to be downsized and efficient targeting the foreign workers on contracts. Caymanians would not be facing a pay cut today if I was to have a say in cut-backs. Reality must be faced and the current administration is certainly working hard to ensure that direct taxes are not introduced into these Islands.

    I am not looking to blame any political party or person over what we are facing today. However, I think it is pitiful for the politicians to play dirty politics with people’s lives and livelihoods. The PPM and UDP and the independent candidate should form an alliance on behalf of Caymanian people and show us that harmony is possible amongst politicians during hard financial times.

    I encourage all Caymanians, Small Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ministers Associations, Ex-Politicians, and residing residents to put ideas into action. It is your right to have a say in how the government can cut cost and raise new revenue.

     

    Vincent Frederick

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Frederick, saying "I told you so" really does not help. Even a blind man could have seen what was happening then, and is happening now.

      I disagree with your comments aboutforeigners on government contracts being let go. They are there for their experience, qualifications and knowledge in very specialised fields. If you let them go Cayman will be considerably worse off, and the already poor quality Civil Service will become even worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Vincent, you say "work together"??? How on earth can that happen when the leader of one of the parties is one Mckeeva Bush? Mr. Bush does not even work with his own party, he is a one man show, a one man government, a dictator, so how do you expect him to work with anyone else, especially the PPM? It will never NEVER happen as long as Mr. Bush is leader of the UDP & government. It will NEVER happen.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank Goodness someone stood up!

  22. Anonymous says:

    The PPM don’t seem to understand how serious and dangerous the financial situation really is.

    Perhaps the civil service pay cuts will wake them up to the emergency the government is in.

    The UK want direct taxation in the Cayman Islands and the incredible level of debt created by the excessive capital projects have crippled the government in their options to deal with the financial crisis.

    I was wondering today what we would have done with no money in the reserves if there would have been another hurricane. Or if we have a hurricane in 2010?

    Was this possibility or risk analysis considered by the PPM when the various capital projects were started? I know the answer…

    • concerned says:

      Direct taxation would be no worse for the civil servants! Why make them the only victims, everyone should sh#HTare the brunt in trying to put the country back on its feet.

      • Bit of common sense says:

        Exactly, so far only the private sector has born the brunt with job cuts, salary cuts and massive increases in fees paid to the governement. Don’t you think it is about time this burden was shared with the civil service? Shouldn’t they do at least something towards helping the country out of the mess it is in? So far the civil service has rejected every single idea put forward and has not had to take any of the pain, the private sector has taken it all.

  23. Anonymous says:

    but it’s ok for the private sector to take massive pay cuts and job losses???

    wake up cayman, this is your opportunity to reform the the wasteful civil serive for good… its now or never….

     and moses, please  stick to the economic blackhole that is cayman brac… you are out of your depth talking about economic policy…

    • Fuzzy says:

      TO anonymous..Thu.10:20.How disrespectful to the people of Cayman Brac and their MLA.I hope this is not another attempt to stir up problems between Cayman Braccers and people in Grand Cayman.

  24. Anonymous says:

    "Tibbetts acknowledged the call for solutions "

    Sounds like more of the same.

    Let’s complain about the all proposed solutions and offer none of our own.

    What a joke!!!

    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem!!!

  25. Da Bone says:

    STill believe the PPM want taxes, they just the UDP to be ones that have to implement them.(what a great political win that will be)

    cuttingCS salaries is by far a better solution than cutting CS jobs and by far from increasing the slippery road of taxes.

    If 5% payroll tax is brought in, it’ll mean a 5% cut for CS anyway, adn mean it will be more expensive for businesses here, meaning may will leave, reduing revenue, increasin Caymanian unemployment who will then have to employed but the CS, unitl the only employer left will be the government.

    bye bye Cayman.

    Unfortunately there is little time to spread the deficit over, the UK has made that abundantly clear

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Hear hear!! If I could click the thumbs up more, I would.

      Da Bone, your fingers must have been flying over that keyboard!! Typos are easy to figure out what you are saying!

      Well said!