Cuts could be illegal says CS

| 30/07/2012

bigstock_Torn_Contract_349847.jpg(CNS): The  Cayman Islands Civil Service Association has hit out at the government’s plans to cut its benefits and has warned of the wider implications to the economy, saying that essentially cutting public sector pay will not help the current situation. CICSA President James Watler indicated that his members had not been consulted in connection with last week's announcement that government workers would have to contribute to their healthcare insurance and pensions. He suggested that the failure to consult with the wider civil service meant his members were “saddled with unacceptable, unworkable and unsustainable recommendations”, which may be illegal.

In a letter to the Deputy Governor’s Office, Watler pointed out that in previous budget discussions government had been advised to take legal advice over the “legality of unilaterally voiding the mutually agreed contracts of thousands of employees,” and noted that it could expose the government to serious liability if it breaches the contracts held by a significant percentage of the service.

The president also pointed to the human impact of the premier’s proposals, which, he said, “significantly outweigh any potential legal implications”, and queried if any assessment had been done about the economic impact the cuts would have on civil servants and their families.

“The Management Council cannot ignore the realities facing its members, who are already struggling against the ever increasing cost of livingand for whom these proposals have already created significant uncertainty and anxiety,” Watler stated. “It is easily recognized that any reduction in purchasing power of public service employees will have an immediate and adverse impact on the economy.”

He noted that in the UK cuts to the public sector had resulted in a further contraction of its economy and pointed to the negative impact in Cayman when government rolled-back the cost of living allowance for civil servants, as people reduced their spending and the private sector bore the brunt, with falling sales in goods and services.

Watler claimed the civil service had done its part to support government during the economic crisis and was doing more with less. “For decades the hard, reliable and honest work of the public service has been the backbone of this society and our economy,” the civil servants representative stated.

“The public service has consistently throughout the current financial crisis done its part in supporting the government to meet the needs of the people. Every ministry and portfolio has added services for the public while at the same time reducing overall headcount. CICSA has in the past contributed effective revenue generating and cost saving measures to the government’s budget discussions. Public servants stand ready to do our part in finding sustainable, realistic, balanced and fair solutions,” Watler added.

There was still time to involve the civil service in the budget discussions, Watler suggested, but “unworkable proposals on civil servants’ remuneration” were not the solution.

He said the CICSA management council was willing to engage in open dialogue and asked for the release of all cost saving or revenue generation methods identified for transparent discussion to take place. He asked the deputy governor to address the membership directly and “explain the true position regarding the budget and any proposals that might affect them in order to alleviate the growing fear and uncertainty amongst public servants,” he said.

See Watler’s letter below.

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Category: Politics

Comments (111)

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  1. WestBayer says:

    All the Government has to do is to get rid of Boatswain Beach and put our road money into the Treasury, so we can use it the appropiate way, not the McKeeva way.  He is using that DART money like it was his own on Nation Building, just so it cannot be legalized. Can you imagine he is distributing that money to children that are studying for things that are not beneficial to our Islands? He should grant these funds for children that have chosen careers that will be public sector jobs in the future.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The leadership of the civil service must become part of the solution and not the problem. Common sense dictates that a small island government can only reasonably sustain a certain number of public employees. Professional managment ought to be able to determine the size of government that is reasonable and sustainable.

    Empire builders need to be identified and reined in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let in the Chinese to invest and work they have money to invest and their workers are very good, the money will stay here and we would not have to charge taxes or see other revenue measures.  Give about 5 to 10 thousand status/residency to Chinese people with investments of $500,000  or more and watch this economy grow without taxes

  3. youtube says:

    I suspect the vast majority of airlift to Cayman does not arrive on KX….it has way too many people for the size of the operation and its operated to the extreme of inefficiency…..if that validates its burden on  the people of the Cayman Islands when they are at a serious cross roads for the long term viability of this place then keep it…..if in fact the real net value to Cayman is positive then how about someone actually provide the public with the financial reports for cayman airways? hey now there is an idea…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Start off with the firing of everyone who stole gas from the Government – they are part of the problem. If you steal from your employer in the Private Sector you are fired with no severance pay. Its called gross misconduct.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible for CNS to find some data about the salaries earned in government compared to the privat sector for similar jobs.

    It appears that there is a general hate against civil cervants based on them being overpaid.

    I am a civil servant and the privat sector does pay better for my kind of work, but there aren't any oppertunities at the moment. So that shows the opposite.

     

    CNS: What you want is the "July 2008 – Annual Salary Scale for Salaried Staff". Perhaps one of our readers can help? (Update: ignore this CNS answer and read the response from a reader below)

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the reader wants something different that unfortauntely doesn't exist (average remuneration of public servant vs. average remuneration of private employee doing the same job). People tend to rely on anecdotal evidence when they discuss this topic, which isn't helpful in making an objective contribution to the debate.

      However, the 2010-2011 salary scale (when the 3.8% COLA was rolled back) and the "Unique Position by Grade Report" (i.e. every job in the civil service broken down by pay grade) can be found here: http://www.pocs.gov.ky/portal/page?_pageid=2721,5757611&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't forget when doing your figures to factor in the cost of pensions and healthcare insurance.  The latter costs private sector employees a fortune, so if you were to find a job in the private sector, you will lose a few hundred dollars of your salary paying for that.

      Good luck in your job search however.  Its hard right now with many private sector employers laying off employees rather than taking them on.  

       

  6. Anonymous says:

    What the CS are not thinking about is that the cost of doing business will increase for everyone.  This = higher prices and an even higher cost of living.  what they are unwilling to give up in benefits and wages will be heavily out weighed by the $20 loaf of bread in the future.  You can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but there is no way to please all of the people all of the time.  We have to think of the greater good here and not just of the civil service.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The CICSA is just a fake Union with no teeth. Become a real Union so you can order work stopages… aka strikes. Then you will be relevant. Till then, the CICSA is useless.

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      Clearly someone who has no understanding of the threat that is posed to the government by a voting block the size of the Cayman Civil Service. If they told bush to “jump” – his response would be ” how high ? “

  8. Anonymous says:

    For comparison purposes, my husband's employers pays half of his premium and he pays $500 in premiums per month for health insurance, plus a $500 per year deductible and a $1000 coinsurance for each family member. Then there are all the things that health insurance doesn't cover at all and anything that doctors in Cayman overcharge for. That means he pays around CI$10,000 per year. He works in the private sector and therefore our coverage means we can go to any doctor. 

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am a civil servant but not a member of the Assoc. Does anything that Mr. Watler or the Assoc say or do apply to me?

     

    If so, why?

    • Anonymous says:
       
       
      • Anonymous says:

        No. No they are not.

      • Anonymous says:

        No we're not. You have to sign up and pay $5/month to be a member.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, you are not automatically a member of the assoc upon employment with Govt, Members pay dues to the assoc, i think approx 5 dollars each month.

         

        I am not a member, but i know people who are. It would be interesting to know how many members the Association has, compared to the total civil/public service, to see if this group or union is really representative of the total Govt employees.

         

        Can someone please post the Member numbers?

         

        Also, what does being a non-member mean when the Association negotiates with Govt? Is the decision binding on non-members? Or would non-members negotiate separately?

  10. Anonymous says:

     

    The suggestion of the “Community Enhancement Fee”, AKA,  Income Tax, being charged to work permit holders earning over 20K per annum has left work permit holders “saddled with unacceptable, unworkable and unsustainable recommendations”, which SHOULD be illegal.

    “It is easily recognized that any reduction in purchasing power of ANY CAYMAN RESIDENTS, will have an immediate and adverse impact on the economy.”

    “These proposals have already created significant uncertainty and anxiety, WITHIN THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.”

     

    There all fixed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    i wonder if the Government, including Mr Watler might comment on the CS's that are still on leave (its been a few years now hasnt it) and are sitting at home on extremely high salaries!  This has to be irking to everyone in view of what the rest of the CS are facing.  In addition to the deadweight CS that remain employed and should have been terminated along time ago they need to address this situation.  It is not fair to the hard working CS among you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have been watching the Caymanians and Expats against Taxation Forum over on Facebook. And it's basically a potest against discrimation.

    What's are these comments over here? Discrimation!

    Why is the Civil Service being attacked? My husband works in the Civil Service collecting minimum wage, and to think this is okay to cut his salary with two dependants, is not okay?

    Granted we accept that if this what we have to do, this is what we have to do to save this island from drowning. Then fine. We will do it. But don't attack the Civil Service as if it's their fault the government, can't control their budget.

    Everyone will suffer one way or the other. Whether it's a civil servant, expat, private sector worker, retiree, our kids..

    Why because… rentals will be empty, people will start losing our homes, creditors will be calling, fees will go up, grocery stores will up their prices, and gas will go up again.

    We can bearly walk into to a grocery now with a hand cart, and fill that up much less a actual cart.

    Now, people are saying to get rid of civil servants? You know who is going to suffer? The people like my husband, who is already working on minimum wage, about to have his pay cut that has to kids to feed, a mortgage,house insurance, fees and much more like everyone else does.

    Ask yourself this question, how are "we" any less human because we are civil servants?

  13. Anonymous says:

    While I agree in theory that civil servants should contribute to health and pension costs because continued non-contribution of sizeable benefits is unsustainable, I can't support the current proposal at this time for implementation in the next month.

    There has been absolutely no consultation and information is sparse – which is insulting and shows the respect this current Government has for its people – but based on what has been reported in the Compass from anonymous sources this new proposal will be extremely inequitable. Mr. Watler raises numerous questions that need to be answered immediately.

    It's hard to give exact numbers since we don't actually know what the proposal is. However, a quick comparative breakdown based on the Compass numbers shows that a single individual would only pay $104 per month (25% of the individual premium of $416) but an individual with a spouse and children would pay at least $624 per month (conservative estimate of 25% of individual with children premium of $832 + 100% of spouse premium of $416 = $208 + $416). Add in an additional dependent offspring aged 18 – 30 (e.g. full time student) and that's another $116 (25% of adult dependent premium of $464) to potentially total $740 per month.

    Now imagine that the first individual (single person) has a salary of $5,000 per month and the second individual (married with two high school aged children and another 18 year old child at UCCI full time) has a salary of $2,500 per month. With contributions toward health care the first individual would give up 2% of his salary while the second individual would give up at least 30% of his salary.

    Dat can't wuk.

    Civil servants should NOT have gotten the 3.7% COLA back; we all knew Government finances had not recovered and that it was pandering. Reinstate the relatively low salary cut IMMEDIATELY so that the financial hit is proportionate to income and will not disenfranchise low-income civil servants with families.

    Then go from there with an open, honest, consultative discussion about public service benefits and where we go from here. Start the process now, but not in this fire, ready, aim way.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The crux of the matter is that all people in Cayman will have to lower their standard of living to support the current level of government spending (aka wastage and corruption).

     

    Getting less is a bitter pill to swallow but that is penalty to be paid for electing several generations of selfish and incompetent politicians.

     

    Caymanians and expats (those who choose to stay) alike will have to get used to the idea of less.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Here is a plan……

     

    Give all the Civil Servants a 20% raise. Woo Hoo!

     

    They will be very happy and vote for McKeeva again. Woo Hoo!

     

    After the election, decouple the Cayman Dollar from the US Dollar and let it float on the world currency market.

     

    Then, collect revenues in US Dollars and pay the Civil Servants in Cayman Dollars. McKeeva can then continue to buy votes by giving the Civil Servants generous raises as the Cayman Dollar tanks.

     

    Problem solved. Win-Win. Woo Hoo!

  16. Anonymous says:

    To cut the civil service, just get rid of all the people who stole gas. They are part of the reason we are here in the first place. No disrespect to all the other honest, hard working civil servants out there. We need you.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I work in the private sector, I pay 1/2 of my health insurance & pension. It is hard paying these every month, but I would rather pay them monthly than to not have a job to support my family. I dont see why Government workers cant contribute their share.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about the cries from the Civil Service. Do they realize that the rest of the working force in Cayman have to contribute to pension as well as insurance. I work for an Authority for the Gov't and have to contribute to pension as well as heath. Why should they be excluded from this!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Strictly speaking he is probably right about the Government not being able to unilaterally amend their employment contracts.  I know the CS operate under a different set of regs because the Labour Law doesnt apply to them but it is true that the Government cannot change the contract without the agreement of the other party to it.  I do think that CS shoud contribute to their own health insurance like the private sector does, are CS earning so much less than those in the private sector that they cannot afford it?  That is an honest question, not a sarcastic one by the way.  I know the salary ranges vary amongst the ministries but they also vary in the private sector from CEOs, Managers down to clerical staff to labourers and still contributions are made by those employees.  I will say this though, if CS must contribute they must have the same choices as provate sector employees in terms of health care choices, Gov't can't expect CS to contribute and then only offer them HSA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some government jobs do not have a private sector counterpart in the Cayman Islands. It might be hard to determine if prison guards, customs inspectors, firefighters, and certain other functions are paid at a proper level when there is no private sector point of comparison.

      Of course government could implement changes on a rolling basis as contracts are renewed rather than unilaterally abrogating contracts. It might set a better example for how the Cayman government handles contract matters.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Govt. implemented a freeze on new hiring until further notice.  Should this not have been  extended to statutory authorities and other government bodies, who continue to take on new staff???

    • noname says:

      James Watler,
      You should know better. Civil servants all over the world must contribute to their health insurance coverage.
      Who do you think you are to expect the citizens of this country to pay health care coverage for civil servants who do not deserve to be treated better than those in the private sector who pay their own insurance 100%?
      This is so unreasonable. Government must make decisions and the civil servicecan not dictate whether the country stays afloat or not.
      I'm much afraid you won't get a better deal in the private sector where private insurance sharks are concerned.

      The Premier can not be hinged to civil service decisions but must make hard decisions which the civil service must concede. You got off really well as the premier is trying very hard not to lay off civil servants at the mercy of the privae sector that DOES NOT HIRE CAYMANIANS, so be very careful who you are defending you may find your expat subordinate being hired before you as you are a Caymanian. Don't stick your neck out too far for fear of losing it.
      Caymanians are still waiting for people to protest on their behalf for jobs to be created and go back to work.

      The premier did well in his decision in order to save the country from disaster.

  21. Anonymous says:

    DEAR CIVIL SERVANTS – WHY DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PAY ALL OF YOUR HEALTHCARE AND PENSION??? PLEASE TELL US WHY. Because you know something, you are considered being on welfare just like those unemployed people who receive governemtn assistance.  YOU ARE ON WELFARE TOO. BECAUSE half of you sit round on your duffs all day doing sh*t while the other half are out running their own businesses.  My country is being RUN INTO THE GROUND because of your continuous demands for hand-outs while the Government CANNOT sustain itself any more in this manner.

    Come out here in the REAL WORLD. Get a job in the private sector. Let's see how fast you lose your job, your health insurance that you have to pay part of and contributions to your pension. I pay $1000 a month for my health insurance for my family of 5. I contribute to my own pension. Maybe my wife and I dont drive 2012 cars or live down Governors Harbour in a 5 bedroom house. But we are happy and health and productive citizens, NOT draining the coffers of Goverment expecting Government to pay everything.

    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE REAL WORLD

    • Anonymous says:

      i am in the real world with what i make i would be on the streets if gov took 1000 out of my salary. Gov gave us the contract with pension and medical thats is part of our benefits for the low salaries.

    • Lenny says:

       

       
       
    • CS says:

      I am a CS…

      My plan..send away my wife and children..next few months

      Rent out room in our apartment..

      Fix up our apartment….(children made it a mess)

      Get a job overseas and rent my apartment…

      How is this going to help Cayman??…Caymanian & British

      I spend my  90% of salary in Cayman since I was born as most Caymanians…If you just cut CS you will cut many families who will leave and might be replaced by single persons from overseas who will then send money home…

      Since Gov has a hiring freeze they won't replace me….

      The only cure is to send home the expats in the CS and merge departments such as fire/police and customs.  Or secure employment for the many accountants in CIG in the private sector.

      You think it is a joke but I am dead serious…my wife is gone by Jan (she is out of work past 2 years) …My children are going to  overseas with family starting this September for school….

      …PS I always voted with my mind not with my wallet so I know I did my part..No hard feelings and Cayman will always be my homeland and if I can't build it up here I will go abroad and build it while away.  My grandfather did it this way so I don't see why I can't

      I hated buying that apartment but thank the Lord as I would never be able to rent a house in Lower Valley and cover the mortgage

       

    • Anonymous says:

      "WHY DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PAY ALL OF YOUR HEALTHCARE AND PENSION??? PLEASE TELL US WHY"

       

      Because, like the private sector that signed contracts expecting a bonus each year, we signed a contract stating that CIGOVT would pay our health insurance and pension.

    • Anonymous says:

      So if you read below poster 7:44, you are the person my dear that I have total sympathy for and I apologize if my rant above offends you. How you can get along at $1,600 a month with one child, I applaud you and your resiliency. Renting a place, taking the bus…that is not the norm for a large percentage of civil servants. It is the workers such as yourself that will be hit the hardest by having to pay health insurance and part of your pensions yourself.  Government gave you that lower salary with the bonus that your benefits would be paid. Now government has dug itself deeper into its grave because the lower paid civil servants will be the ones hit the hardest. And that is a damn shame when you look at Big Mac – such a fat cat riding hihg on $12k a month, so fat that he had to have a medical procedure to slim down while the lower civil servants can barely put 3 meals a day on the table for their familes. Big Mac is an embarassment to my country and should hang his head in shame.

    • Anonymous says:

      For that reason we (cs) make 1000 less a month than you do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well first of all I am sure that the GT Hospital is NOT the only place you can use your insurance card. I am positive you have the options of using private clinics/doctors.  

       I too would have NO problem paying half of the cost of insurance if I was going to be allowed to use it somewhere other than the hospital. Example:  At the beginning of July I tried to make an appointment for my child to get vaccinated… sound simple enough…… earliest appointment I could get was in the first week of September. (Phoned Dr. Smith's office, appointment for next day.)   Then tried to make an appointment in the Women's Health Clinic….earliest appointment…. end of November. (Phoned Dr. Meggs office-appointment same day)    My daughter was sick, phoned GP Clinic 6 times — no answer.  Had to go there in person to make the appoinment which was then for 4 days later. (Over to Chrissie Tomlinson, seen and out in under 1.5 hours.)  

      That my dear is why I will not pay half of the Cinico insurance.   

      For the record I do have my own health insurance which covers my family because of the examples stated above.  When you pay for something you expect to get value for your money.  With Cinico being limited to ONLY HSA, that is next to totally impossible. 

      If your insurance from your private sector limited you to only the hospital, I am sure you  would be reluctant to pay for it.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      "My country is being RUN INTO THE GROUND because of your continuous demands for hand-outs while the Government CANNOT sustain itself any more in this manner."

      I beg to differ……  this country is being RUN INTO THE GROUND because the Minister of Finance spends, spends, spends!

      The last time he was in this mess, the 3.2 % COLA was rolled back.  Did he stop spending? No! he continued to spend spend spend. 

       

       

       

       

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        16:07

         

        Can you give us a list of the line items that the Minister of finance wasted money on, which you claim, ran this country into the ground? please!

  22. bobo says:

    once again…just get rid of kx and boatswain's beach…it will hurt but that is your 50 million right there….why is it that these two entities are never spoken about?

    • Anonymous says:

      cyaman airways is the sacred cow……..the national flag carrier and all that nonsense….

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes to Boatswain's Beach but KX stays. It needs to be streamlined though.

    • Anonymous says:

      The idea of getting rid of KX is just a small step below the level of idiocy behind this proposed Tax.  The problem with traditional accounting is that you only see the direct cost vs direct revenue of KX.  The operational loss posted is minimal compared to everything that is gained in room revenue, dining out, shopping etc from the airlift that KX brings in.  Saying that KX should be cut or sold is like saying that we should get rid of the DOT because they don't create any direct revenue toCIG.  KX needs to be run more efficiently yes, but it is one of the main arteries for the life of these islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        absolute nonsense…… governments should not be running airlines…..

        it could be sold with lot of conditions attached…re emergency airlift, min number of flights, brac service…..

  23. Anonymous says:

    It is shocking to see how most people talk about the civil servants.

    These are people with names, they really excist.

    But you talk about them as leeches. Is this Caymanian ?

    Salaries of civil servants are generally (lower income bracket) lower than in the privat sector, since health insurance and pension are included.

    The negative view on civil servants is caused by the way it is managed and the political influence on day to day operations.

    A decrease of several hundred dollars per month will result in home foreclosures and demotivation and loss of commitment.

    I have never seen so many expensive cars on the road as in the last few years. THAT is were the money is. Developers making millions, by not having to pay duties, import taxes etc.
    Houses are built in the millions, gated communities for the rich.

    It are the expats AND the civil servants who are going to pay for it.

    This WILL have consequences . . . .

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Rather than whole job cuts (although some will definitely have to be made) take on a full review of salaries across the board.  Some CS positions make over $200k a year.  It only takes a quick look at the classifieds in the Compass to realize there are hardly any private sector positions available with pay in that range.  Take back the 3.2% (which was only taken the first time around after a 10% avg increase) as a start and we're on our way to the savings needed.

  24. Doaz says:

    Cuts illegal cuts illegal civil service association boy you guys are clearly part of the problem and not solutions and handout specialist every thing must free so you can slurp at the public trough.A general clean out of this body is badly need to get this place back on track .

  25. Anonymous says:

    Spoken by a true representative of the cause of the problem

    Either the Governor or Bush must commission  an intependent  study of  the Cayman Government.

    We desperately need to find out whether or not a government of  this size and expense  makes any sense for this small area and  population .

    Has anyone ever computed the cost per capita of the Cayman Government?  Has anyone ever compared this cost to that of a small city of 50,000 residents?

    We feel the cost of government whenever we purchase anything, because every dime the government seizes has to be recovered in the price we pay for any goods or services.

    You would think this fact should be of much more concern to the Cayman people than what it seems to be.  Is pricing yourself out of the market and causing your industries to leave for friendlier shores what you really want?  Do you want the economy to shrink or grow? Do you want layoffs or growth? 

    These are crucial questions.  Cayman could live or die depending on which way it answers them.
     

  26. Anonymous says:

    CI gov need to stop giving away there money to those people who are contract, like free place, cars, food, they even have free gas cards! all of these things add up! The govt need to look at social service that is also killing cayman! Over them jobs before giving away our $ that we don’t have!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Civil Service = Selfishness – no conscience thinking only of self. Think of your young children's future. if we don't fix it now, dog eat their supper. For once put country first and let's try find some solutions to our problems, bend a little please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just selfishness, In Cayman, Civil Service=Socialism, cronyism and outright political corruption. I have spoken to Caymanians who won't vote unless they are promised something in return. This type of thinking has gone on for generations and will be hard to overcome. They don't see votingas a right or a privilege or a duty or a way to make positive change. They see their vote as having only an immediate dollar value. Very Sad indeed.

       

       

  28. Anonymous says:

    Simple solution – if you can't cut the benefits you have to cut the staff to cover the costs. You can't have it both ways Mr Watler.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cuts!, and please, start with my useless director.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a point that deserves discussion. What services should government be responsible for providing? How should we prioritize government expenditures in a time of low revenues?

      I cannot, for an example, imagine that it would be acceptable to outsource the courts to the private sector. I would not want a private company to be able to judge someone guilty of a crime and deprive him of his freedom. I believe that such a role must be reserved to the public sector.

      But conversely certain other functions currently carried out by government have been outsourced in other jursidictions. Garbage collection and solide waste landfill services is such an example. 

      There are always plenty of hands outstretched at budget time. And there is never a shortage of ideas for how money could be spent.

      But rarely, if ever, have I heard a serious discussion about what services government should spend money on. And certainly no discussion of what services should be prioritized.

      • Anonymous says:

        No taxes, no cuts in expenditures this is a recipe for disaster.  I see austere times coming and no relieve.  The hand writing is on the wall….. be penny wise and pound foolish.   Back some decades ago there was a saying "I here to stay and you here to go" now I say we will all be here to go if a balanced solution is not taken sooner than later.

      • Anonymous says:

        The government, cs and expats obviously cannot find a solution to the budget crisis of this country so the only alternative is for the UK to take over and run this show, enought of this foolishness.  Let the UK come in and straighten this mess once and for all.  If it's taxes, reduction in the cs or community enhancement fee then so be it.  I for one is sick and tired of this now.  This has got to stop.  Either the Premier put down his foot and do what has to be done or the UK take over. 

  29. Anonymous says:

    Cost of fuel to fill my car each week – CI$25.  Cost of nice dinner for 2 out on the town in nice local restaurant – CI$75 – $100, if trying to impress the little lady.   Cost to private sector employers for breaking legally binding employment contracts with employees by implementing Government's proposal (if passed), to discontinue pension contribution benefits promised to employees and commence deductions of 10% from their employee's pay to pay Government's coffers instead – PRICELESS.

  30. UH UH UH! says:

    XXXXX There are many in the Civil Service who I know would be willing to take a small cut to help sustain the viability of our economy and continued operation of  the Government! Yet you immediately get up in arms  not wanting to contribute or try to help get us out of this situation that the Greedy Politicans have gotten us into. This little Island is home to all of us, thus we should all  do our part by contributing to the cause!  I remember in  the recent pass when Mr. Bush suggested that Civil Servants all take a 3% reduction in salary, "so as to help balance the budget" you were the first to come out against it. So it is no surprise that  you now balk at another opportunity to help once more!Seems to me that no matter how small this reduction in salary or otherwise you do not want to give one red cent to help!  Maybe you might change your mind if you'll stop and realize that your attitude is exactly what caused workers in Greece to go under and now they are crying because they find themselves without jobs and in some cases even without a home. Remember these were people who thought they had some power and that their  jobs were secure.

     

    So think about what I just said, and talk to you members stressing to them that there is a time when workers must play hard ball but this isn't the time!           This is the time when           "WE MUST ALL CONTRIBUTE!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. As usual. The 3% was offered by the Service during negotiatins with the Government. The government then went and gave it back because the economy was doing so good. The Service didn't ask for it. If you actually read, rather than thinking you know anything, you'll see all they are asking for again is to be at the table for discussion on all options. No have unsustainable and possibly illegal ones thrown at them. – Or we could have a cut that doesnt' work and then next year we're all worse off because the budget is completely broken.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should CS have to make all of the sacrafices?  What about the Nation Building Fund, home repairs. Hurricane Hilton, MLA's perks plus salary and pension?  Why is it always CS?

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right, look at Greece with natural resources… Caymanians had better educate themselves as to what can happen here literally overnight and then what? Run to England live in cold climate and pay taxes, yes this is better than taking a pay decrease and having a job where you don't have to pay taxes or wear winter clothes.  Caymanian need a hard lesson because some are too unwilling to do the right thing, many have become too greedy.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well, it is probably also very illegal to remove my pension benefits and take a 10% cut of my salary, which was mandated to me by my employer by a very binding, legal, employment contract.  This Government seems to be encouraging employers to break their existing, binding legal employment contracts to their employees by proposing that employers no longer have to contribute to pensions and employers are not required to pay 10% tax, only employees.   I bet I could also go hire a lawyer and sue for my employment contract rights, or easier, just simply resign and go back to my country.  I will not throw away money on an expensive Cayman lawyer, so I guess the latter option will just have to do.  But guess what?  Cayman will be on the losing end, because my skills and experience will be appreciated elsewhere, along with my money that I will be taking with me.

    • Anonymous says:

      BYE! *waves enthusiastically*

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope you also say BYE to your current way of life, because it is also leaving with me, and you will revert to tatch weaving and fishing for a living and keeping ice in the old ice box when you can't afford your electricity bills.  Good luck, you will surely need it then, while I will be prospering elsewhere where I not only pay tax, but get the benefits from it along with security of tenure.  Cayman is not the only place in the world – you will soon realize this.

      • Anonymous says:

        waving from the sinking ship……. hahaha ..not so smart!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are spot on.  I will also be going in short manner if this occurs.  

  32. Anonymous says:

    Is there a lawyer who can please answer the following question: Is it possible for the people to initiate a referendum stating "No Confidence" toward the Premier and to have him relieved of his Ministries and title of Premier as well as removing his access to money like the National Building fund etc? If so, how would such a referendum be initiated? Also, do you know if our constitution provides for "Recall" where the people can vote to remove someone from office entirely?

    Thank you.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. A people initiated referendum can ask any questionor request approval for any proposition including the removal of a Premier. If it receives the support of 50% plus 1 person then it is binding. Unfortunately the Premier gets to set the timing and is unlikely to do so before May.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually no it is not possible to hold a referendum on the removal of the premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. The Constitution does not provide for referendums to be held to remove the premier or his government from office. People initiated referendum are for matters of national importance, i.e. issues, rather than the removal of persons from office. Our Constitution does not provide for recall of elected representatives

      This makes sense since the electorate as a whole did not elect him as an MLA and did not appoint him to that office. Our constitution does not provide for recall of MLAs at all.

       

      Of course there is nothing to prevent a petition being started asking for his resignation from office. That ought to get his attention.  

  33. Anonymous says:

    CS’s employees give up, we pay your salaries and remember that!!!!!!

    I give over $500,000 plus a year in Government fees. I have had to make cuts in my business I wish I didn’t have too, this includes laying off staff and purchasing on new vehicles for my company and reduce health coverage for my staff, they now have the option to have the Gov stat plan or a better coverage (which I use to pay).

    Now I don’t think that the police, teachers and hospital staff should have these cuts, but the rest of you, most definitely.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a civil cervant and have not had a raise in 4 years.

      I make 1600 a month and have one child.

      I can just make it every month.

      A serious cut in my salary, would mean the end to me.

      I don't have a car, I go by bus.

      I rent a small apartment, I don't own a house.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        And you are probably doing a lot more work than the higher paid spongers. Good luck to you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well guess what, my staff has not had a raise in 4 yrs as well and guess what you are not entitled to a raise!!!!! I really hate to say this but in your salary scale it sound like you are a young lady with child, well this is one of our problems, we ahve young persons having children and the other partner is not around to support the other or thier child.

    • anonymous says:

      I pay your salary too smartie-pants.  Its called an E-C-O-N-O-M-Y!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 2052 lets not forget that we also collect ALL of the money that Government collects.

      You and many others go on as if you can just cut the cs. Well the cs has been cut again and again. The cs budget has been cut the staff has been cut. The problem is that everyones solution to caymans problems is to cut the cs. But what of all the jobs the cs carries out.

      When you want to travel the cs is the one that makes sure that can happen whether it is air traffic or CAL or immigration or customs.

      When you have a hurricane coming it is the National Weather Service and radio cayman and hazzards management that warns us and looks after the safety of the people.

      and there are many more fuctions that the cs carries out. The big problem is that you dont see these jobs as a career but more as a servant to the people.

      PS I noticed that a number of the expats have voiced their ideas saying that they had a specific contract coming into the country well the cs have specific contracts as well.

      legally it would seem that if you cant touch one then you cant touch the other. This puts the island in a big bind whereby sacrfices have to be made and everyone has already made their own share. But we need more.

  34. Anonymous says:

    While I agree with the sentiment that it is really crappy and communication is awful.  The CIG will get around this issue simply by either changing the law (which alters contracts) or asking us all to sign new contracts to continue and if we don't sign, then we can move on.

    There is no question something is coming, but the million (or multimillion dollar) question is exactly what it is?  CIGis always short on details, which only frustrates civil servants, understandably so.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I am a civil servant with more than 10 years service  and I will advise Mr. Watler that he cannot speak on my behalf. This Caymanian is willing to contribute towards health insurance costs. I will go even further- apply the payroll tax across the board  and I will contribute also. We seem to be living in a bubble. The world is  in an economic crisis and we see no need to sacrifice for the public good. Mr. Watler go way with your posturing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you willing be one of those made redundant?

    • Anonymous says:

      You shouldn't have to take a major cut, if Mr. Premier will give up his nation building fund and the rest of his vote buying giveaways we wouldn't be in this mess.  The economy ran well before the doubled work permit fees and duty increase of 2%.  With those increases alone it should have been easy to balance the budget with a huge surplus.  He doesn't want to give up his spending, and just like those that were carrying 8 different credit cards in the US and living above their means…its time to wake up and smell the coffee.  The free ride is over and we're not going to pay for it anymore!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good for you! 

      But make sure that pay roll tax applies to only you! 

      I am a teacher in the Primary school,  teaching for 20 something years and just barely making 4000.00 for the last 8 years with ABSOLUTELY no hope of ever making any more.

      And yes!  I probably work more hours than you! 

  36. Anonymous says:

    What a load of…

    The sacred cow that is the civil service already costs the country over half of the govt's annual budget just to pay it's salaries.  So the 3500 employees are kept in place by the other 50,000 of us.  That seems fair.

    Then the 20,000-odd non-govt workforce has to pay part or all of its own health care costs, and the CS doesn't contribute a red cent.  That seems fair too.  Especially as the private sector has also had contracts in place to document benefits, and these have had to be re-written in order to keep our jobs.

    Then the CS gets free health care.  There''s not even a deductibe, a co-pay, or a limit on benefits.

    The culture of entitlement with merit continues with the ongoing free gas scam.

    Then the CS is over-staffed with non-performers, hangers-on, and overpaid executives, with no risk of ever being sacked unless they kill someone in office during office hours; while hard-working, dedicated staff, local & imported, lose their jobs just because their employer can no longer afford them.  Reasonable don't you think ?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      It is malicious to say the CS does not pay. It is part and parcel of our package.

      In our contract, it is clearly stated what the terms are and this is shown on our payslip.

      If anything is changed without the consent of both parties, this is a simple BREACH OF CONTRACT and the party causing the breach is liable to being sued.

      In order to avoid a suit, the government must increase our salaries to offset the deduction.

      PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        It's actually rather simple, when the contracts come up for re-newal, the new terms will be added. If you dont like them…SEEEEEEE YA! one less moocher off the government's payroll.  Go to the private sector where you will actually have to *GASP* work for your pay, along with pay your portion of your benefits.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually to be honest, if this goes through, along with the pension contribution, you will have expats leave when their renewals come up, many with qualifications that most Caymanians won't have (IE: Qualified Caymanians are probably in Private Sector).

          You ask Civil Servants to start paying theirshare, that is fine, but some of us took a 10K paycut to come to the CIG for the simple benefits of healthcare and pension in our calculations.  To change the game is par for the course, but it doesn't mean I have to finish the round.  If you honestly think that expats won't leave due to this change you are mistaken, and again many will have qualifications that no unemployed Caymanians have at this time.

           

      • Anonymous says:

        I would suggest you go and read your contract again before making such statements.  It clearly states that the terms and benefits of employement are defined in the personnel regulations which are subject to amendments from time to time and since you signed the contract you have acknowledged the possibility of changes that may not be in your favour.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for those in the CS that are hard working and will be impacted by these cuts. I really do. In fact there are large numbers in the CS that are on very low salaries that will be badly affected. Unfortunately there is far too much dead weight in the CS who should not be employed let alone at the handsome salaries they are on. The proper evaluation and cut of those CS’s should have been done a long time ago in a fair and transparent manner Unfortunately the good will have to suffer for the very bad in this case.

  38. Anonymous says:

    You guys still don’t get it. Your unrealistic benefits are dragging us all down.

    • Anonymous says:

      You said it like it is …so true. If this island goes down the tubes you civil servants can take the blame and, guess what, there wont be money to pay you when that happens. Why don’t you get rid of the dead weight high income civil service employees who don’t come to work or run their own private companies from government offices. We all know this has been going on for many many years but no one ever does nothing about it!!,

  39. Anonymous says:

    And once again we get held hostage in the private sector to support the bloated civil sector. How about equality for all Caymanians, that means civil service you pay 50% of your pension and health care OR from your salaries you pay for the same benefits you reap for those of us in the private sector. You want to talk equality STOP MAKING US PAY FOR ALL OF YOU you start paying for us for a few years because without us most of you are not needed!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you please elaborate on how YOU ARE PAYING FOR US?

      Thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Taxes pay your salary and benefits.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ummmmm, civil servants pay the same taxes you do…. If the cuts go through as McKeeva proposes it will be more than the 10% percent tax proposed for the expats in the private sector for many civil servants. Not saying that changes should not be made, but I know a lot of families barely holding on, and this will swamp them. I also think that it is unfair that civil servants are being demonized. The vast majority of civil servants are not the fat cats who make high level budgetary decisions. The true issue is government spending, on all things, not just civil servant benefits. I find it typically Caymanian that we are looking for quick superficial changes, instead of dealing with the deeper systemic problems. The upper level civil servants who make budgetary decisions and overspend will not be affected by this paycut. Their salaries are large enough that it will be a drop in the bucket. However, your lower level cs, who have basically no power, well those poor “sufferahs” will struggle.

          Large scale restructuring needs to take place in order to effect true change. Actual budgets need to be created and followed. COs need to be penalized for going over budget. The CI government is an archaic system that needs to revamped to get rid of inefficiencies in the system. Taking the money from its employees does no fix the issue. It just gives the government more money to waste.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, we all pay taxes but the difference is you don't have to pay your healthcare and pensions from your own salary – we do – so effectively we're paying twice so you guys can get a free ride at our expense.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its frightening to think you don't understand this concept and that you might have a responsible position in the CS  very frightening.

        We pay taxes, taxes go into the Government purse – you know – the one that Mr Bush likes to spend so much.  The public purse, or CIG money, that is made from the taxes and government fees that everyone here pays, is where my dear, your pay comes from.  So we get the luxury of not only paying towards our own very expensive and rather useless healthcare and pensions directly from our salary each month, but in addition we have to pay you, from the money we all contribute to the public purse from taxes and fees as stated above.  Double-whammy.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with poster 8:23.  How actually is everyone in the private sector paying for all those in the public sector ("STOP MAKING US PAY FOR ALL OF YOU"). What do you mean? What are you actually paying for, private secortor , forthe civil service? Because the Government is paying their health insurance, pension, gas, office space (for those running their own businesses during their civil service job) Just wondering….cant figure it out.

  40. Oh Well says:

    If only more people including Civil Servants had just come out and voted "Yes" to One Man One Vote, we would already have this tyrant running for the hills. I have just about had anough of the crap that goes on here. Im either going to leave or become extremely vocal and radical. Its time for Bush to go and if the friggin people of this island do not see it now we are hopelessly lost forever. Viva La Revolution or get me the hell out of here.

     

     

  41. Anonymous says:

    Only one comment:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….

  42. Philip says:

    Wow, did not see this coming:)

  43. Anonymous says:

    You’ve gotta be kidding me…the civil service has once again avoided the cuts that the laws of ecomomics would have imposed decades ago…and they are complaining about having to pay for healthcare?…just for Mr Watlers edification, the civil service is not a part of the economic machine as he alludesto in this article…it sucks off the productive part of caymans economy…it’s not the backbone of the economy as it produces nothing to sell to the rest of the world…it is a parasite, and when the parasite becomes bigger than the host the host dies…then what will the civil service do?…we have an oversized government and it is a structural issue in our economy…either we take the pain now and heal or the wound later on will be so large we won’t recover…and no I’m not an expat

    • Anonymous says:

      What 'laws of economics'? If you have more work and your employer is runing a budget surplus (by his own statement) then what natural law suggests a pay cut is in order? You confuse your pain at your personal financial problems and a desire to lash out and see others hurt with a lack of rastionality. Oh, wiat, it is irrational.

    • Anonymous says:

      NEXT STEP ???? We will end up in the same position as Turks & Caicos. MARK MY WORDS….just wait….UK will soon come in and take over. Then Big Mac can just sit back and live easy with the huge pension payment he gets every month. Maybe this is what he is actually leading us into….

  44. Anonymous says:

    the civil service…its like the live in some sort of detached alternate universe……..

  45. Anonymous says:

    James is probably correct. It will be hard to cut Civil Service benefits.

     

    However, the cuts can be made to the expat Civil Servants when their contracts come up for renewal.

     

    That would be fair considering the hit that the private sector expats will be taking with the proposed income tax.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not fair!  But it is "Honorable"

      In Grand Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. It is fair!

         

        Treat both the private sector and public sector expats unfairly.

         

        Now that's fair!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 1742 it seems that we cant cut the CS salaries.

      Moreover now it appears that we cant tax the salaries of the expat workers either.

      Afterall at any point in time there is somebody new coming in as an expat or as a local.

      Therefore at any point in time someone is be giving a contract to sign without taxs or salary cuts.

      Welcome to the world of law.

      Moreover what evere suggestion is made to generate revenues is stepping on somebodies foot. The church complains about lotteries and casinos, the cs complains about salary cuts or increased fess for them, real estate opoeraters complain about land taxs.

      In the end you cant win.

      Maybe we should say this

      5% salary/benifits cut for the cs, 5% tax for expats, 5% land tax and a referendum be setup for the election for a lottery and consideration for casinos.