Accountability, senior civil service & statutory boards

| 10/03/2013

The disclosures of the past few weeks have made me wonder whether senior civil servants and members of government boards have ever heard of the concepts of honesty, accountability and the rule of law. In theory, the civil service falls under the responsibility of the Governor, but the present reality appears to be that crafty and less than scrupulous politicians have a different idea.

The unscrupulous have learned how to ensure that those willing to do what they are told, and to turn a blind eye to what is being done, are the ones that are fast-tracked for promotion, appointed to certain board positions and given very lucrative positions after retirement in return for these ‘services’.

Civil servants who do as they are told, irrespective of the law, are particularly sought after by certain politicians. Those selected and promoted primarily on the basis that they will ‘wuk wit’ the unscrupulous in turn use their ill-gotten positions to ensure that those who will also play along and won’t ‘rat’ are hired and promoted. Those that won’t ‘wuk wit’ the unscrupulous are cast aside or are forced to leave the civil service in order to make room for more cronies.

And so the cancer of corruption spreads in the civil service, each bent unit protecting the next, remaining in their jobs to undermine the efforts of honest politicians once the less scrupulous are out of office, awaiting the return of their benefactors. No one from the highest levels of the senior civil service on down shows sufficient interest in confronting and ending rule bending and law breaking, and so lawlessness grows and grows.

I have no doubt that the great majority of those in the civil service, as well as those serving on government boards (at least those who are not greed driven cronies), are honest, conscientious people. I am under no delusion that they all are. I am therefore very grateful for the work of the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner's Office. I am also grateful for those that use our Freedom of Information Law and publish evidence of wrong-doing, and for those that resort to drop boxes in pickup trucks and other measures to drag the rot into the light. I give my thanks to our still free press and those that blow the whistle on corruption and cronyism, and I hope that they continue and increase their efforts, as it seems that these days just about everywhere an audit is done or questions are asked, something very wrong is discovered.

It may be that some senior civil servants and members of statutory boards simply don’t have any idea of what is right or what our laws require of them. It also may be that they simply don’t care and will do as they like. Unlike most countries, there is no requirement for senior civil servants to formally demonstrate even the faintest knowledge of the rules governing the civil service in order to be hired into, or promoted to, management positions. The same seems to be true for appointments to statutory boards.

Another critical flaw in our civil service is that it is essentially self-policing. There is no penalty for failures of internal oversight and there is no formal external oversight. The highest levels in the civil service simply aren’t accountable, and in turn they impose no accountability on those at lower levels in the civil service. Senior civil servants are under no obligation to report or correct unlawful activities they observe or otherwise learn about. In general, this means that senior civil servants are free to completely ignore our laws in going about their jobs in any manner they choose, even if that manner is unlawful. That complete lack of accountability needs to change.

We need whistle-blower protection laws and published annual external compliance audits of the highest levels in the civil service, specifically to determine whether they are enforcing the standards, procedures and rules they are supposed to. Every hint of wrong-doing should be thoroughly investigated. Every hint of a failure to apply or enforce the rules should be thoroughly investigated. Every senior civil servant or board member found to be breaking the rules or not enforcing the rules should be fired, and prosecuted if possible. Nothing will improve until there is full accountability at the highest levels of the civil service and at the board level of every statutory authority and every government company. 

Meaningful external audits will require meaningful standards. The standards of performance that the highest levels in the civil service presently accept and apply are so low as to be subterranean. The standard of lawlessness that the highest levels in the civil service appear to be prepared to accept is frightening. The highest levels of civil service management need to be held accountable for ensuring that there are serious consequences for every single thing done by any civil servant that does not meet a high standard or otherwise comply with the rules.

Think of what has come to light in the past few years and ask yourself, when was the last time a senior civil servant was fired, demoted or disciplined for either incompetence or negligence in doing their job, or for deliberately or carelessly not following the law? From the highest levels in the civil service on down, there is a need to ensure that every civil service boss and every statutory board member is held accountable, and by that I mean fired or at least demoted for any failure in supervision.

Whatever respect for the law still remains in the civil service will not remain if the perception persists that cronyism trumps both competence and performance, and that civil servants performing abysmally or breaking or ignoring our laws face no consequences.

There is much talk about reducing the size of the civil service. Let us start with those civil servants who don't obey our laws and those senior civil service managers who don't enforce our laws. Things need to be fixed now.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The current Fab Five cabinet we have is aware of the corrupt behavior of the Board members and Chairmen but will not address the issue. Speaks to how difficult a problem we have that those in power are too afraid to do anything because of how it might impact their votes in May! Good governance should not be seasonal bear that in mind when you decide who to vote for.

  2. Anonymous says:

    3 questions for any civil servants out there or anybody else that knows how the civil service actually works; first – what ongoing monitoring currently takes place to ensure that senior civil servants obey the laws of this country, and second how well does this monitoring work, and third what is the current protocol if you see some illegal activity going on?

    • Anonymous says:

      Contrary to popular belief there are a number of very hard working civil and public servants they rarely get any recognition as this is saved for the bosses who have way too much power and rule with an iron fist.  They are politically connected and very powerful.  They get away with many things.

      They enforce multi layered bureaucratic procedures for the staff that they do not follow themselves and the biggest problem as I see it is that they have the 'entitlement' attitude and go 'unchallenged' in their ways.  Morale among servants is low because they are powerless to bring about any correction.  The standard strategy for maintaining power is to enure their deputies are also in their pockets, thereby forming a protective shell.

      The statutory boards are weak at best and have no idea how staff are abused

    • Anonymous says:

      Good questions.
      The answers:
      1 there is none.
      2 you have this answer
      3. Well it depends. The protocol is to start a process of investigation to makesure that there is a real issue etc. however, in real life it’s more of …….well it depends…….maybe this person treats personnel poorly themselves so will not see similar acts like their own behaviour as a problem. Or, this person sees no real problem with some one misusing funds as they travel when they want to on govt funds and buy new office furniture because they feel like it. This stuff is real and happens. Escalate this up the chain and bigger abuses take place and folks grumble under their breath about it and turn a blind eye. It’s all in the name of keeping the pay cheque coming each month.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would like to thank Mr. Dan Duguay for his comments below posted yesterday. Our best hope for fixing our civil service and our statutory boards is to hold them accountable at all times.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So it seems that everyone understood 2 things in relation to your comment, first that the poster was clearly referring to the Public Service MANAGEMENT Law, and second that instead of countering any of the observations made in the Viewpoint or by other posters, you chose to attack the posters.

    • Anonymous says:

      The viewpoint makes some very good and valid points, unlike your comment.  Speak for yourself, or better still, to yourself.  You don't speak for me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don't know who you are Aristophanes but you are right on the money as usual. Perhaps next time you provide more on the fixes as the political candidates sure aren't.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Amazingly, JuJu is going to bring legislation this week that is directly opposite to the legislation she brought in 2009 which was of great assistance in screwing everything up!

     

     

    Official Hansard Report Wednesday, 22 July 2009, Page 64.

     

    Electricity Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2009

     

    The Acting Clerk: The Electricity Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2009

     

    The Speaker: I recognise the Minister responsible for Communications, Works and Gender Affairs.

     

    Hon. Juliana Y. O’Connor-Connolly: Madam Speaker, I beg to move the Second Reading of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2009.

     

    The Speaker: the Motion has been duly moved and is open for debate. Does the Honourable Minister wish to speak thereto?

     

    Hon. Juliana Y. O’Connor-Connolly: Yes, thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise to render the Government’s comments and position as it relates to the proposed Amendment now currently before this honourable House entitled A Bill for a Law to amend the Electricity Regulatory Authority Law (2008 Revision) to make further provision in respect of the composition of the Board of Directors of the Electricity Regulatory Authority; and to make provisions for related matters.

     

    Madam Speaker, this Bill, as all and sundry would quickly recognise, seeks to amend section 4 of

    the principal Law, whereby it would increase the membership of the Board of Directors of the said Electricity Regulatory Authority.

     

    Clause 3 seeks to amend section 5 of the principal Law to provide that the directors shall hold office at the pleasure at the Governor in Cabinet, and to remove the requirement for directors to have substantial knowledge in specialised areas.

     

    Clause 4 of the said Bill amends section 6 of the principal Law to enable the appointment of a managing director from among individuals other than the appointed directors.

     

    Clause 5 amends section 7 of the principal Law to confer upon the Governor in Cabinet discretion to terminate the appointment of a director, or directors. This discretion would be exercisable in addition to the existing power to terminate a director’s appointment for a specified cause as already contained in the substantive Law.

     

    Clause 6 amends the first Schedule to where there’s a quorum required for meetings of the board.

     

    Clause 7 deals with the savings in a transitional provision.

     

    Madam Speaker, in a bit more detail, one would see from a cursory look that clause 2 of the

    proposed amendment would delete the words “four and not more than six”, and substitute the words “eight and not more than ten”, in section 4(1) of the Electricity Regulatory Authority Law. That would give the Governor in Cabinet discretion to add more members to the Board and therefore [have the possibility] to increase the knowledge available to the Board and spread a much better representation throughout the entire three Islands.

    It is also deemed necessary in this regard, Madam Speaker, to prevent inherent conflicts of interest by specifying restricted categories of specialisation, as is currently the case in this Law and few other pieces of legislation, including the one to come to the ICTA (Information and Communications Technology Authority).

    Further, Madam Speaker, it is also proposed to repeal section [5] subsection (6) by inserting after

    the word “Governor” the words “; but directors shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor”. As it currently stands in this and other similar legislation (not that many, thankfully) directors are appointed for a specified period, and this, certainly in the respectful view of this United Democratic Party Government, is much too restrictive. As a matter of policy, we will be seeking with these two pieces of legislation to move across the board that all appointments are done at the discretion of the Governor in Cabinet.

    In [section 5] subsection (9) by deleting the words “and subsection (2), (3), and (4)” and substituting the words “and subsection (2) and (4)”.

    Further, Madam Speaker, we are seeking to amend the principal Law in section 6 by repealing

    subsection (1) and substituting the following subsection “(1) The Governor shall appoint any individual to be the managing director; but, if a managing director is appointed from among individuals other than directors appointed under section 5, he shall by virtue of his office be deemed to be a director appointed under section 5.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Joey Ebanks? oh I just realised you have alot ot time on your hands now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cockroaches do not like light or cleanliness.

     

    The auditor general and FOI commissioner are doing a great job of lighting our home and getting it clean.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Reforming the civil service to make sure that our laws are followed should definitely be a topic that all candidates in the May election are asked about.

    • Anonymous says:

      May will come and May will go and no one will say anything about anything. So tired of our "saviours."

      • Anonymous says:

        Nah, they actually might say plenty, but you can be assured that they will do nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. It’s more than that. Reform must include a genuine effort to restore pride and commitment among those who work there as well as restoring the confidence of the community at every level in the organization itself.
      Lets not take this as a witch hunt, rather going forward it is important for Cayman that it really does get the benefit from the tremendous latent capacity which is housed within the public service.
      We need to see a climate which finds bright young people pushing to get in the service where they seethat innovation, collaboration and multidisciplinary working groups are prized. Not a place where it is automatic that they get a job for life.
      Break down the walls of fiefdom and promote a culture of service and value. Sure this takes years, but it’s the first step and a commitment to the agenda which will make the difference.
      And in all this get real public service and welcome social media as a valuable part of engagement with your stakeholders. Learn about the community you serve and develop content relevant, timely and useful for them. Serve……..
      Stop doing things for the community a la ‘we know what is best for you’ rather, meaningfully engage the community (read not the private sector only! ) treating the rank and file with respect.
      And yes when you mess up inside the organization, let the process be transparent to deal with the issue appropriately. Not what exists now which skillfully turns a blind eye to a range of poor performance. Stealing is not the only reason to review an officer’s performance.
      Where it warrants, don’t politicize it, let the process relieve the organization of folks who are not able to align themselves with the new reality. Change won’t be easy, but what we have now is just a few inches from the bottom. Not good.
      And in keeping with the expression flying every where. Everything all about” Putting Cayman first”

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don't think that it would be fair to just fire people because they have not been obeying the law if not obeying the law has been business as usual in the civil service. Maybe there just needs to be some type of classes or something so that the senior civil service can understand that they are supposed to obey the law. If politicians don't need to follow the law then you can't blame the civil servants.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please tell me that this is a joke

    • B. Onneste says:

      Would you think it O.K. if a mugger took your money?  It would be business as usual for him.  A thief is a thief whether he is on the street or in a government office. 

    • P A Rody says:

      To follow your logic, if the Politicians and the Civil Service don't follow the law why should the public? Let's just scrap the courts and send armed robbers to classes with the uncivil servants

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems from the 3 thumbs up that 3 worried senior civil servants have read this.

    • Anonymous says:

      And, the Nazis were "just following orders". I think not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously? You jest? Wrong is wrong! Why, does not change that fact! Morals anyone ?.
      The public service is in a very bad place right now. It was spiralling into a dysfunctional state for years, then 4years ago McKeeva came into power and bull dozed through a lot of people’s lives in a cruel and inhumane way all the way thru his tenure. That gave way to serious fear and disillusionment system wide. People circled the wagons and unspoken said….I need my pay I can’t allow this to happen to me so, I will do whatever I have to do to survive, now my survival may mean I stand on some one else……such is life.
      Over time people accept less than reasonable treatment on the job just to keep the pay cheque coming in. And the beat goes on. All this ugliness simply compounded the problems which had been longstanding in the Civil Service of poor performance and rampant politicization.
      No one challenges the amount of capacity in the Service. That is a fact. Are the Islands getting best value….. That is another story. Are there seriously committed folks inside there? Yes! Sadly now they are in the main worn down to just surviving.
      The next government has some unforgiving tasks to lay the foundation for a new era in the Cayman Islands Civil Service.

      1. Take back the role of policy setting and outcomes authority in the Public Service from Senior Civil Servants. . Yes, don’t allow Senior Civil Servants to hold them hostage as has been common place. Sad, but true.

      2. Hold the Governor accountable for operational services which meets international Performance management, HR and Finance standards. Why? Because he is the head of the Civil Service.

      3. Be bold enough to tell the people what they are doing and stick to the line.

      All the things you want to hear politicians say they are going to do -create jobs, improve education ya da yada yad a are great but to achieve them is close to impossible, if the civil service culture and style of operation is not addressed. Its the vehicle which does the implementation of policy, Or, not depending if a key officer does not want a particular thing to be done…….it just does not happen. Sorry Minister.
      We have to stop pretending that things are OK the way they are, doing this will truly be putting Cayman last.
      When something is wrong, it’s just wrong, no matter who is doing it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. That was really well stated and needs to be repeated. Please consider putting up your own viewpoint as you are able to express youself much better than most of us. I support what you say 100%.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Clearly what we need is something like the Crime Stoppers TIPS line for civil servants and members of the public that see things that are suspicious or just plain wrong. I am not sure that it would have to be answered in Florida but it definitely should not be answered in the Government Admin building.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is there anyone reading these comments who knows what type of audit process the Auditor General uses and whether the Auditor General looks beyond the book entry accounting to see if there is any evidence that government departments are not following the law?

    • Dan Duguay says:

      Good afternoon all

      First allow me to congratulate Mr. Duckpond on his excellent post. He raises many good points and I think I would like to write my own viewpoint to discuss in detail some of his issues. But on to the specific question.

      Anonymous asked a good question and one that needs to be addressed. The AG of the Cayman Islands is a legislative auditor as are all AG's and therefore has an extra component to his or her work compared to a private sector auditor.

      I can tell you that when I was AG (and I am certain that this process continues) during the planning process for the annual financial statement audit, all of the Acts and regulations relating to an entity are reviewed. Those that have a financial implication such as the PMFL etc. are included in the audit program and are checked during the audit.

      So any financial law or regulation is automatically checked and a proper audit should bring such violations to the forefront. This certainly seems to be happening since it was the AG that found the current problems re the ERA and took the appropriate action.

      But what is the process when there is no law per se? Then the auditor has to apply his or her professional judgement. To explain this, I suggest that people may want to read a report that I prepared a few years ago regarding salary advances and hospitality expenses at Boatswain's Beach (interestingly also with Mr. Ebanks at the helm)

      In that case, Mr. Ebanks had numerous salary advances that he had not disclosed to his Board of Directors. Interestingly, there was no law or regulation that forbade salary advances (even though we specifically recommended that). So no law was broken. But we reported it anyways because we applied what we often call "the reasonable man" approach. When we find something like that, we ask "Would a reasonable person be upset with that?" In the case of the salary advances, we obviously answered Yes.

      Most situations that the auditor faces fall into the later category. An example ripped from the headlines today is about the Barker Rangers. One person has already commented that the Auditor General should investigate. All well and good, but what specifically? I sincrely doubt that there is a law or regulation that prohibits this (I could be proven wrong ) The more important question is whether the residents of the Cayman Islands are receiving "value for money" from this. THe AG may decide to do thisbut right from the start he has to consider whether this is where he wants to spend his scarce Value For Money resources.

      In a better world, things like this come to the attention of the public and the AG need not get involved. After all, his is only one man's opinion (but a highly trained and professional one) and ultimately it is the public's opinion about whether this is a valid use of scarce taxpayers dollars. I am glad to see that this, and other issues, continue to be brought to the attention of the public.

      A long winded answer but I hope it helps to get into the mind of the AG Office.

      Best wishes to all in the Cayman Islands

       

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Thank you for your response Dan. However there is still no explanation as to why there are serious deficiencies in the internal control procedures in the statutory authorities. This area is the responsibility of the board not that of the AG’s office. The buck stops at the top not in the AG’s office.

        There is however no doubt that following yourinvestigation of Boatswain’s Bay and the mismanagement that action should have been taken to ensure those responsible should never ever have been appointed to another statutory board.

        Nepotism and cronyism have continued to ruin the Cayman Islands over the past twenty years ormore.
        I dearly hope that this will cease in May. Otherwise you will inherit a TCI situation which is getting worse each week as time goes by.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you and Dan are so correct but why do we not hear from the other financial experts? Jude and Roy where are you? We need hear from you.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, where are they? They have been working hard in our community over the years, for themselves. What we need to know is what they really think on the ‘difficult issues’. Platitudes and flashing education is not what Cayman needs in 2013. For the record many of us have solid education backgrounds. That is not enough.
            These Folks choose to put themselves on the platform towards May.
            Now To all YOU INDEPENDENTS I ask on behalf of Cayman- Tell us what you plan to do about this significant issue. This will help us to know what we are likely to get and, what we can hold you accountable for.
            To simply show up now and trade on your family name/ education/ how successful you have been won’t cut it. Don’t insult the rest of Cayman like that. Mind you, IF you all are bringing more than that, problem is, we don’t know what you think PUBLICLY.
            This vote is not About you, it’s about your Integrity. Your commitment to Cayman. And by the way, use big words, talk, say something meaningful, we are, like you educated. We will listen. We can think so give us something to think about.
            Stop bashing others. Stop working so hard to convert us from Party to Independent. Tell us what you and you ALONE will deliver for us in the LA. Let us become convinced by what you bring and your vision of how you can deliver that vision. Do that we’ll be able to have an intelligent conversation with you. Right now the game is being traded on emotions and racking up points in who has the slickest language to make the other look bad. So far the scorecard is empty. Give us hope, if that is what you bring.
            This is what we need to hear right now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I seem to recall that a number of years ago there was a legal case that went all the way to the top appeal court in England because the civil service bosses did not want to follow Cayman law. The civil service bosses lost in the end but it took years and cost this country a fortune in legal costs. That seems to be an example of why some kind of local oversight of the civil service bosses is definitely required.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I see two problems. The first is that the top level of the civil service is not likely to be in favor of having anyone checking to see if they are obeying the law or enforcing it. The second is that there would have to be some type of independent office to do this which neither the top level of the civil service nor some politicians would like even though an independent office would probably pay for itself in terms of eliminating waste and corruption.

    • PaperCaymanian says:

      There is a dept. it is called the complaints commissioner. I have had civil servants investigated and fired by submitting a written complaint. Requires a small amount of bravery but I found it very gratifying:-)

      • Anonymous says:

        You are completely and utterly full of excrement PaperCaymanian. The Complaints Commissioner has no -I'll repeat that – NO jurisdiction over civil servants so your boast about getting people fired is a load of bull.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Somebody needs to make sure that the new committee of chief officers set up by the Deputy Governor to make recommendations of which civil servants to cut does not end up cutting the civil servants who follow the law. Who is taking a look at them?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am writing in for a civil servant who says this is true but is afraid to agree with what is said on their own computer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Let's look at an example reported today about the Ministry of Tourism putting the  "Barker's Rangers" on the government's books as 'consultants'.  If that is true then the Auditor General needs to look into it to see if it was misleading.

     

    If it was misleading in terms of the government accounts then whichever civil servant signed off on it should be investigated by the police and the Governor's office. If it was misleading then it is a perfect example of why an annual external audit of the senior civil service is required as clearly there are no adequate internal controls.

    How many more things are going undetected because no one is sending in an FOI request and publishing the results?????

  17. Anonymous says:

    If we got rid of all the senior civil servants that don't want to follow or enforce the law there would be plenty of vacancies.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You are so right that some senior civil servants don't know anything about our laws. As someone who has attended classes at the law school and read the Public Service Law I can say that some definitely don't they know anything about that law. I can also say that if you do know what the law says that you are likely to be seen as a threat to the big shots in the civil service that don't want to have to follow the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:13: There is no such law as the Public Service Law. The standard of posting on this site is absolutely abysmal and it is doubly worrying since you claim to have attended classes at the law school (sic). No wonder we are in a mess.

      • Anonymous says:

        So it seems that everyone understood 2 things in relation to your comment, first that the poster was clearly referring to the Public Service MANAGEMENT Law, and second that instead of countering any of the observations made in the Viewpoint or by other posters,you chose to attack the posters.

      • Anonymous says:

        So it seems that everyone understood 2 things in relation to your comment, first that the poster was clearly referring to the Public Service MANAGEMENT Law, and second that instead of countering any of the observations made in the Viewpoint or by other posters, you chose to attack the posters.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Whatever respect for the law still remains in the civil service will not remain if the perception persists that cronyism trumps both competence and performance, and that civil servants performing abysmally or breaking or ignoring our laws face no consequences.

    Wow you hit the nail on the head. You must have been observing my department.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It is true that there is almost no internal oversight. There is a civil service Appeals Commission but it is next to useless as it cannot do anything to make sure that chief officers and other senior people follow the law. We need some kind of independent review process that can force chief officers and others to follow the law.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Well said! In addition to being accountable for the money senior public servants and members of statutory board must be accountable for following the rule of law.  We only have to look at the many times that politicians interfere with the decision of the board.  All decisions must be lawful and rationale failing which those with oversight must be require to take action or they too should be removed.  

  22. Anonymous says:

    With a majority of PPM candidates on the left and in front of me together with the occassional independent candidate here on CNS, the only bright spot in my mornings is knowing that http://www.caymanitepink.com is always there with real solutions to the people of the Cayman Islands.  I hereby vote for http://www.caymanitepink.com

    • Anonymous says:

      Even the Caymanite Pink movement has regressed recently.  Entropy increases.

  23. Anonymous says:

    "when was the last time a senior civil servant was fired, demoted or disciplined for either incompetence or negligence in doing their job, or for deliberately or carelessly not following the law? 

    I can't tell you the answer to that, but I can tell you when and how many got kicked off boards, marginalized, cast aside and black balled under the former Premier. As your article rightfully pointed out, you are sanctioned for doing the right thing and rewarded for going along, I didn't go along, hence I was taking off 2 Boards during his short reign.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As a civil servant, I can't agree more with your statement below, "Those that won’t ‘wuk wit’ the unscrupulous are cast aside or are forced to leave the civil service in order to make room for more cronies."  

    Most civil servants want to do the right thing, the ethical thing, the things that make government work better.  However, those above who are strictly watching their own back are the ones who seem to get promoted, be in positions of power.  Even the smart educated ones become this way it seems.  And then when you get a group of them together, there is little to no chance you ever make it to the top without buying into the clan.

     

  25. Anonymous says:

    cig civil service is one big glorified social welfare scheme…… that the private sector is forced to pay for year after year……..

  26. Anonymous says:

    the civil service is an anchor around caymans neck…..and unfortunatley one that will never be cut loose……..

     

  27. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Viewpoint. From my own observations many of the top civil service managers have probably never even seen the Public Service Management Law or the Public Management and Finance Law. A lot of them have probably not even heard of the Bill or Rights, and I doubt that any of them think that they have any reason to apply it in the way they do their jobs.

    I like the idea of testing civil servants to see what they know about the laws they are supposed to work to before they are appointed to management positions. Our elected governments pass these laws but no one checks to see whether the civil service understands them let alone implements them. Clearly the Public Management and Finance Law has not been implemented yet there is no accountability. 

    Someone, perhaps the Governor, needs to motivate our top civil servant to identify and remove from office those civil servants that don't implement and follow our laws, includling the Bill of Rights. From where I sit that motivation should include a floor plan – showing where the exit door is.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I couldn't read this because I am in shock at the amount of weight Ms. CaymanitePink has put on. 

    • Anonymous says:

      She is not putting on weight – she is just absorbing a lot of hot air from being so close to all those political ads.

    • Rorschach says:

      Nothing wrong with  how the new one looks…remember Meat is for the Man..Bone is for the dog…

  29. Anonymous says:

    A  book published in the 1960's popularised the observation known as the Peter Principle, "Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence."

    For some connected people in our civil service, incompetence is no barrier to promotion.

    Why don't we have standardised tests for each level of management so that only people who know what they are supposed to know before taking on the job can be given a level of management responsibililty.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Aristophanes. Having seen it in action over many years I agree that the civil service needs an external audit system that regularly checks to see if civil service managers are actually complying with financial control functions, general and personnel management functions, as well as customer service functions. The reality is that people with the right connections are regularly appointed to civil service management positions, including positions as chief officers and deputy chief officers, when they have no clue about any kind of management and no idea of what either the Public Service Management Law or the Public Management and Finance Law require them to do. Those same people will be promoted through the civil service and retire 30 years later still having no clue about either law and no clue about management.

  31. Gordon Barlow says:

    We could do worse than revisit the Vision 2008 Report, published in early 1999. The Open & Accountable Government Committee (of which I was a member, and the Secretary) recommended a Whistleblower Law, among other reforms such as open meetings of statutory Boards. The present Boards will be not allowed to reform themselves, as long as they are designed to be run by political cronies. I don't think we ever actually recommended audit committees, but Chris Johnson (below) is absolutely correct in saying they should exist.

     

    The new emphasis on independent MLAs (i.e. non-party) should result in more responsible appointments being made to government Boards and Committees,but I think Chris is being too optimistic that this will happen. My latest post on my personal blog ("Barlow's Cayman") ended with the following despairing comment. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

     

    "The replacement of Party hacks without proper policies by independent amateurs without proper policies will not improve the quality of our governance one little bit. Except for the MLAs’ faces, nothing will have changed. Such a waste!"

  32. Anonymous says:

    hear, hear!

  33. Chris Johnson says:

    A well contracted article but years too late. Statutory boards have been full of political cronies for years where more often than not the chairman of a board cannot get a quorum because its members are too busy or disinterested. The particular board I sat on for sixteen years had this problem at least until my departure brought about by our beloved former premier, rather prematurely, I thought. Perhaps I attended too many meetings.

    Corruption can be minimized if proper systems of internal control are introduced. Whilst the Government’s accounting departments may have this or not remains to be seen but clearly Boatswains’ Beach and then Civil Aviation and the Electricity Authority fell far short. We must also not forget UCCI with it’s highly skilled team of bankers, lawyers and accountants who filled the board positions. How on earth did the CEO manage to steal all that money? Moreover why was the culprit not extradited and forced to repay his ill-gotten gains.

    The directors of these Statutory Bodies and Government owned companies need get wise and implement proper accounting systems and controls to protect the public purse and perhaps themselves from any potential negligence claims. After all they are chosen for their skills, not their potential negligence. Larger boards and companies need also appoint audit committees.

    In May we enter a new era where I do see some fresh intelligence minds who are no doubt readers of CNS and hopefully will be cognizant of the public’s concerns and will be proactive in choosing responsible persons to replace those board members who have strayed from the paths of honesty and integrity.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is an excellent Viewpoint and I agree that cronyism has been around to long. However, I have to say that while proper internal accounting controls are important, they are not enough. Human resource functions and service delivery functions also need audits and at the moment no one does that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Johnson came here many years ago – the sixties, I believe – XXXX I find it hard to believe that he is so "green" as to think that things will be any different after May. Of course he is sore at Mr Bush for personal reasons, that is understandable. But as he realises ("years too late") this has been going on in Cayman for a long time. But what is "THIS"? It isa combination of things  but it all means something like this: Born Caymanians are the only people to be elected to power in Cayman and they are there because of local "village" interest groups they have to respond to (eg, no one will stand up for a dump in their community unless they are stupid or  have a death wsh). It also means we have to have born Caymanians in very senior roles in the civil service to show that we have grown and developed as a "nation". It does not matter whether they have experience for the job or even the intellectual competence for the job. They must be born Caymanians and that is the main criterion. So we have decent well meaning but inexperienced young people in their 30s holding down posts that in any other jurisdiction would be filled by 45-60 year olds And they will not generally be fired unless they really mess up and get into the criminal activity area which of course most of them dont.

       

      As for statutory authoritories, they have fought viciously against any law governing their activities.Of course they would. The more "secret" they are the better. Several Chiefs of these authorities are rumoured to be on nearly $200,000 a year, even those whose bosses are complained about by their employees as not showing up to work regularly. Can you shine some light on this Mr Swarbrick?

      • Chris Johnson says:

        I have been called a few thing but green is not one of them!

        I stand by my comments regading the new breed of politicians and you will see that I am correct in May.

        As to rumours of several chiefs receiving $200,000 I think we should stick to facts rather than rumours but thanks for your comments anyway.

        • Anonymous says:

          By using the word 'green" I did not mean to insult you, Mr Johnson! No way! I recognise and respect your optimism about the new breed of politicians, as you call them, and I hope you are correct. There are some very fine candidates. But they have to get elected and that is nothing like a certainty!  I am not hopeful about there being a dramatic change in the way politics operates here as the "system" (poor word, I know) is so deeply ingrained. Time will tell. Time will also tell as regards the salaries of some of the chiefs of the statutory authorities being around the $200,000. I would name four but I doubt CNS would print it. But in these days of FOI and an increasing desire on the part of many people to REALLY know where the public funds are going, this information is going to come out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps Chris you made the mistake of saying your piece, and worse still, making some sense. Not wanted on this voyage!

      It seems to me that the policing of these Statutory Boards lies with the Auditor, but of course much of what he does is rendered sterile by the lack of proper recording, and the vested interest in the ministers not to hear his message. The other contributory factor is the publics apparent acceptance that people in such positions and the politicians are there to make a buck, and the notion is that this is acceptable and does not constitute corruption. It starts at a mundane level, giving out employment opportunities to good buddies, and goes onto wrongful business practices, its all corruption.

      As you say, let us hope that the next batch are more honest, but I suspect it is all a bit late!