CS gets petition rights

| 22/02/2012

signature%20gathering.jpg(CNS): After many years of ambiguity about whether civil servants can or cannot sign petitions, the deputy governor’s office has released new policy guidelines that allow regular civil servants the right to put their names to petitions of most kinds. The new groundbreaking policy also provides a way for key civil servants and sensitive or senior post holders to sign petitions designed to trigger people-initiated referendums. The policy decision means that registered voters who work for the government and support the principle of one man, one vote will be able to sign the latest petition aimed at triggering a people’s referendum.

In what is fast becoming a new era of transparency at the deputy governor’s office, the policy document was released not just to civil servants on Tuesday afternoon but the press as well, outlining the arrival of democratic rights for the civil service. (See document below.)

In his memo to all government’s workers setting out the new policy, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said that when it came to people-initiated referendums, under the constitution the “preferred policy would be that public servants should enjoy the same freedoms of expression, including the freedom to sign petitions as persons outside the public service.”

There are certain caveats, especially for those working in the top echelons of government with ministers, and all public sector workers will be expected to maintain their positions of neutrality, but the vast majority of public employees will finally be able to partake in the right to support causes and issues they believe in without fear of losing their jobs. Those in senior or more sensitive positions will need to notify their ministers and chief officers of their intention so sign up to a petition, but once they do so they too will be protected from unfair action against them.

Any civil servant who believes action has been taken against them because they have legitimately signed a petition will be able to take the matter to the deputy governor. Any action taken or harassment against a public sector worker who signs a petition legitimately is now liable to disciplinary action, turning the tables on the current state of affairs where civil servants fear for their positions when they sign petitions.

The policy, which breaks up petitions into different categories of civil servant, seeks to strike a balance between everyone’s democratic rights, which is enshrined in the 2009 constitution, and the need for neutrality and objectivity in the civil service. The new policy holds that public employees follow established codes of conduct and values and keep their political opinions separate from their work.

This means it will not be possible for some top government employees to sign a petition which conflicts directly with the view held by their political bosses, and as a result Manderson said in his policy guidelines that there had to be some restrictions.

The guidelines ask all civil servants to consider when signing a particular petition whether doing so would impact their ability to discharge their normal duties and whether it would affect any of their direct dealings in the course of their work.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Uncivil Servant says:

    This is great news for my career. Get signing everyone, I'll be moving up the ladder much quicker than planned!



  2. Anonymous says:

    Goodbye all them tag along! every monkey on his own limb, everyone have to prove themselves. I am so excited to see the results for next year lmao!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. CI Gov't Mind Games says:

    To 10:56 and 18:04 if you only knew the truth you wouldn't be so eager to elevate certain people.Will leave you with this clue however, try and find how long ago a ruling was given on this matter? As for you 19:34 from your demeanour its clear that you object to people having certain rights and see them as an obstacle to not being victimized by persons just like you. You always do ok until it affects you? then you cry out louder than everybody else merely in disbelief."Cant happen to me Star"

  4. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that Mr Donnie prepared this policy but never issued it but I am happy to see that Franz acknowldged that it was Mr Donnie who had crafted it. Some how I suspect that some "little persons" probably preferred that Mr Donnie not get the credit for doing it but I'm so glad that Franz didn't play into the "little persons" plan. I'm impressed Franz; Mr Donnie thinks a lot of you and wasn't afraid to push you to be his replacement. I think more of you after I see how you handled this too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ". . .petitions of MOST kinds."  What does that mean?  

    "This means it will not be possible for some top government employees to sign a petition which conflicts directly with the view held by their political bosses, and as a result Manderson said in his policy guidelines that there hadto besome restrictions." 

    So Civil Servants have freedom of expression, but only up to a point? What utter BS and a total cop out!  ". . .there had to be some restrictions. . . [on people's freedom of expression]."  Really, Mr. Manderson?

    • Rose says:

      Yes that is very correct. Let me ask you a ques if I strarted a petition to close down or boycott your place of employment and you signed it. Do you think that would be correct? Let’s see how fast you would be down at the DER complaining of your dismissal. This policy is sound.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This democracy still uses the spoils system whereby people expect favors based upon the support given to assist those politicians in power. The members of the civil service know this and will judge this when considering to sign a petition.

    Why are most of the CNS contributions with some adolescent nom de plume or anonymous?

    It is a no brainer for me, to approach honesty it must be anonymous to protect myself from retaliation.

    With all the mouthing done on CNS, I would guess there are less than 500 different authors on the entire web site. Just like the radio talk shows that have less than 100, I would guess. Mostly the regulars who like to hear themselves on the radio believing it makes them celebrities.

    One must be careful not to read too much into the comments written on CNS.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My God, I had to go and lay down after reading this. It's classic civil servicespeak. I wonder how many "ordinary" "average" civil servants will be able to follow this. If they can, they should be on Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, hopefully this will end all the bitching done by the civil service for the last ten years about this issue -abuse of human rights blah blah. Now, can someone (Franz) tell them to get back to work and focus on their outputs rather than their working conditions which include a non contributory pension scheme and a non contributory-everything-is-covered medical scheme.

  9. Just in time says:

    Just in time for 1 man 1 vote!!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to both Deputy Governors (past and current) and others involved, for providing this.

    Some persons won't like it of course. But it's past time for "Real" "Accountability, Transparency….Good Governance" to grow!


  11. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy that the Civil Servants can now freely exercise their democratic rights in signing petitions, like the rest of us. Their hands has been tied too long and thanks to the constitution for giving them the right to express themselves on issues of importance. If the Deputy Governor didn't change this 17th century old policy, they might have a bigger issue on their hands when the bill of rights comes into play. Kodos to Mr Donovan Ebanks for taking the lead on this and also Mr Franz Manderson for fast tracking this policy for the Civil Sevants, they really deserve it. This is perfect timing because there's alot of petition going around and it's fair that they have an equal opportunity to sign anyone they choose or all.

    • Anonymously!! says:

      Long over due,    glory be,the funks on the big hot air blowers.   Another shout out to Ezzard and Arden also, whose like a bull dog when they get a hold of something. Well done Donnie, Franz, Ezzard & Arden.Kudos to all of you 

  12. Dred says:

    Now things are going to start to get interesting Mr Bush.

    I would like to see a referendum to stop the following:

    1) West Bay Road closure

    2) BT Dump relocation

    3) CHEC Cruise Berthing

    These should all be struck down under the grounds these are not within the long term desires or financial interest of the people of the Cayman Islands.

    1) West Bay Road Closure – The first issue is that this is in effect a gift as no REAL BENEFIT is gained by the people of the Cayman Islands. Mr Dart wants to do the road across his land ANYHOW IRREGARDLESS of whether we give him something or not because it increases the value of his land. By us closing a portion of the West Bay road we only add importance to the road thru his property making his property that much more valuable. Why would this be in our best interest to give him land and not just any land its propably our MOST PRIZED LAND for something he wants to do and will do anyhow. NO. This madness needs to stop.

    2) BT Dump relocation – I spitefully threw in the word relocation because I know how much UDP hates and especially the two BT Clowns we call MLAs hate it. It is a relocation because anything that can be done can be done where it is at. If Mr Dart REALLY wanted to do something FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS he would do it where it is. The simple fact is this Mr Dart wants it moved because its next to his property and it will increase the value of HIS property. So in effect we are wanting to move the dump simply because Mr Dart wants it moved not because really of anything else. NO. Not in the interest of the people of the Cayman Islands just in the interest of one man, Mr Dart.

    3) CHEC Cruise Berthing – We do not need the upland development. What we need is the berthing and that's it. We do not need to be giving our docks away for 49 or 51 years. Again NOT in the interest of the people of the Cayman Islands. This company has also had far too many issues whereever they have gone for us to SERIOUSLY consider doing ANY BUSINESS with them PERIOD.

    I believe this needs to be addressed before he moves to sign an agreement. I also believe the governor needs to step in should he attempt to sign an agreement before the petition for it has done its due course.


    ***People of the Cayman Islands we are being played by a pide piper. Our Premier has caused many of our problems and now he is coming with solutions hoping we will jump at it. We need to step back and be logical. If not for the massive increase in fees many small business owned by Caymanians would not have closed down causing people to go unemployed. Many bigger businesses would not have opted to consolidate their business interest elsewhere if the cost of doing business had not risen. Don't believe me look around at how many Plazas and Centres are left with vacant spots. People the recession was one thing but what a recession does to a business is bad enough. It generally means less customers and lower average sales per customer as people simply don't have the money to spend as things are getting more expensiive. Throw in now that this same business cost of doing business is increased many businesses simply could not hack it any longer. So in effect when HE, Our Premier, opted to jack up the cost of doing business he caused many to go unemployed. Do you think this was an accident? NO. It was done for a reason people. Nothing he does is by accident. Now he comes with all these SCHEMES to bring in money to the country and PROVIDE JOBS. Remember who caused the job loss to begin with. So he made you desparate for work now you will bite on ANYTHING he feeds you. So is he doing something for us REALLY? No. He caused your employment to be lost to begin with. He and only he is to be held accountable. BUT don't allow him to play you into GIVING AWAY OUR COUNTRY. I know many of you are being led like mindless sheep. You are so use to not having anything to call your own that you are willing to give it up now. Think about your children, at some point one many want to own a business of their own. Do not kill their dreams because of your shortsightedness. Think about the bigger picture.


    What we need to  do is show him we can stand up and be counted. We need to show him that we do still have power even though he has the money we have the numbers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really understand what the word recession means? It is the reduced economic activity that is being experienced world wide. As you write these contributions do you believe that Cayman is different than the rest of the world.

      The western world is struggling in this recession don't you read the papers or watch the news other than the Cayman Islands news?

      Do you expect Bush to wave a magic wand and fix what is a world wide situation? I personally give Bush credit for not initiating a direct tax either payroll or property tax on the people of the country. Don't you realize how bad things have been?

      Forget the road, the dump, the dock this country was and is on the brink. England was recommending direct tax.

      If you think another government or Ezzard will wave a magic wand and fix the country then you are sorely mistaken.

      No politician will deal with the core problem of cutting the size of the civil service ask Ezzard or Alden about it.

      Go beyond personalities.

      • Caymanian born and raised says:

        I don't know what's wrong with Dred. I know I read some of his previous comments on the last article, suggesting readers boycotting Dart companies. I definitely am against the way this system of government operates in terms of democratic representation, but I in no way condone boycotting a business establishment or place. Dart is a private entity. He is not the government. He is here to invest and make money, and his investment is very important for the future of Cayman. He has done alot of charitable deeds for us and has brought tourists on the island. Why in the world would you want to go against Dart's investment here on the island?  Dred needs to focus his energy on the right cause and not on destroying investment here. Careful now, we are looking at a possible second global recession hit in the near future. People are leaving our islands, and of course, we can never do the radical thing by reducing the civil service size and making more people unemployed, because no one in the private sector will be willingto employ them. We can't follow people that say government is bloated and we need to lower fees and help the private sector!  Tell me, when government reduce its size and relieve the civil servants, will the private sector hire them?  What happens when we cut police size as well, will the private sector fight the crime??? Of course, they are hiring their own people from overseas, and want nothing to do with Caymanians!  Many of them, brand Caymanians like they do in other countries to the native people there, "lazy, lazy, lazy."  The other option was when the Uk was talking about we implementing a direct tax because at least it would have a socalled sustainable revenue measure, but that would do us more harm than good. The only feasible option to take is for governement to create its own revenue. Government has no fund to create revenue through engaging in projects; hence, governments only choice is to ally with any Caymanianwho has the money to spend on a project and at least help them create revenue for the country. The UDP found Dart, and Dart was the only one (sorry to say) that is called Caymanian that was willing to spend and invest here.  The rest of the private sector were on their own. Although, I hate the system of government where MLAs are not representing the people like they should, I don't blame the UDP's decision with their deals with Dart. 


      • Dred says:

        WOW. Did you think of this all by yourself or did Mr Bush help you write it??

        Let me help you understand because its really you that has no clue at all.

        Economics . a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.

        In a recession businesses find it hard to sell their products because money is tight for consumers as some of them have either lost their jobs or have had theirpay lower in some way. This leads to local business sales dropping off. This can lead to businesses cutting staff and in some cases closing.

        This is the REALLY short version without going into great detail.

        So cost start to soar. Businesses find it hard to meet their cost with sales falling. It's kind of a viscious cycle really because for some businesses to stay open they raise their prices in hopes of surviving but this tends to lead to more customers going to other businesses.

        The last thing that is needed in a recession is for the government of the day to increase expenses to local businesses.

        To get out of a recession or survive a recession governments need to:

        1) Attempt to stimulate growth by lowering business expenses hoping they will pass these incentives on to their customers in sales etc

        2) Attempt to drive sales into increasing their own sales by working at creating volume.

        The way to accomplish these things is to:

        1) Cut duties on selected products at the very least targetiing various industries such as hardware to stimulate construction business which would lead to more items being bought and higher volumes

        2) Create incentives to get higher volumes such as scaled duty reductions by volume.

        This is a much better plan than hiking work permits sometimes 2 and 3 times original prices. Increasing duties across the board, increasing fuel.

        Where in all of that do you find 1 iota of logic. By his own hand he killed many small businesses and its silly people like you who can not see it. Then he feeds you a cheap line and you all come running not for one moment realising HE CAUSED YOUR PROBLEM.

        WOW. It's Economics 101 buddy.

        YES. PPM did not help but it was not all their fault. Their finance dude told them one thing and told the world a next. But at some point it becomes no longer PPMs fault and the blame rest on UDP for how they handled it. A blind idiot without kindergarden could have done better.

        • Johnson says:

          Dred those suggestions are great, but to get us out of debt and bring substantial revenue into government coffers to maintain the essential services, cutting and reduction of cost is not enough. And this is why the government has engaged in promoting large revenue-making projects. The dart deals, the deals with CHIC, the Economic zone, the deals with Doctor Shetty… you have to give concessions in order to get something back in return!  Yes, the economy 101 stuff like you said is logical and will help the economy, but think big for a moment, before you shoot down the UDP. A deadline was given to us by the Uk to balance our budget and stabalize our economy. PPM did not receive such a treatment and deadline from the Uk. The UDP must meet it; or else, the Uk has indicated that they will either tax us or impose arbitrary measures on us. So UDP inherited a downturned economy from the PPM with no money in government coffers. How do you get money to jump start the economy? I see your approach Dred, I see it very well, but it is not enough. Whereas alot of businesses may benefit from your logical approach, it will not benefit government services, which the private sector need as well in order to thrive. UDP is trying to "massively" jump start the economy!  It will take making huge deals that people will criticize and say it is corrupt deals, but these deals are necessary in order to get huge profit or revenue. Please before you tear down, look at the whole picture and not just a republican or conservative point of view, which can never work in Cayman because Cayman is an island and people leave the island and take their investment elsewhere, leaving those behind to fend for themselves. The Uk or Us is not like that, there is always people around, a full and active market to stimulate the economy. You can shrink the size of government with no harm done. But not in Cayman. It is a different situation. You have to understand our situation and not push a view upon us, thinking that it is right. I guess, like they say, you have to be in someone's shoes to really know. I am not a politician, but I do know that the UDP are working hard, very hard to bring things back up running again. They are not perfect. Later  

          • Anonymous says:

            "And this is why the government has engaged in promoting large revenue-making projects. The dart deals, the deals with CHIC, the Economic zone, the deals with Doctor Shetty".

            As I understand it the government will get very little revenue from either the SEZ or the Shetty hospital because of the massive concessions given. It will lose revenue on the CHEC deal as it has to give up most of the landing fees to CHEC. The trouble is that when too much is given away in concessions the government and the country do not benefit in the end although it may seem to be doing something.

      • Natural Mystic says:

        A recession! and your granting million $$$$$$  in concessions!!!

        The real question here is do YOU know what a recession is?

        How can anyone in their right mind do that, MadMac praises himself on all the business from investors that he is CREATING, all the jobs that will help the unemployed,  how does he really expect to balance the countries economic problems in this way?

        The constant raising of the cost of everything,  and in the same breath stating that the country needs MORE people! which really means more grants on the way!!


        Do you read or watch tv other than Cayman News?  the statics on crime here in cayman because of the recession are horrendious,our native caymanians can't find work in their own country how is any of the "hard work" that he has done benifitted anyone except him and DART????  

        Your drinking the same DART juice as MadMac…..    

    • Natural Mystic says:

      Great Post!!! I agree 100% with everything that you have said…. 

  13. Knot S Smart says:

    Its beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

  14. Peter Milburn says:

    Wonderful news and NOT before time.

  15. One small step for Franz.......... says:

    Well Bush will say CNS spreading lies"Nutting go So" Power to the people.

  16. The Crown says:

    There is a god! Incredible how long CS's lived in the same system but could not vote yay nor nay on matters they were equally affected by. Thank's CNS.