Civil service petition ban

| 25/11/2008

(CNS): Local activist Sandra Catron says that she has real concerns that civil servants are being told they cannot sign petitions that involve government policy. She thinks that many people who would want to sign her on-line petition to force government to establish an official paedophile register are being prevented from doing so because of their government jobs and their democratic rights are being denied.

Catron, who has been championing the cause of exposing those who commit and are convicted of acts of child abuse, is pressing for the establishment of an official register for convicted sex offenders. As a result she has created a website and a petition which has proved to be extremely popular. However, recent campaigns, including one to stop a road being built through George Town’s remaining indigenous forest and another campaigning for the right of women to carry pepper spray, have both reportedly produced official memo’s and letters from the Chief Secretary’s office telling civil servants they cannot offer their signatures.

“It is my understanding that civil servants have directly been told not to participate in petitions in general terms that are ‘controversial or involve government’. I’m surprised that a government that ran under openness and transparency would not immediately rectify this situation,” said Catron, who noted that there is nothing in the Public Management Law and Personnel Regulations that states civil servants cannot participate in the democratic process.

“As such, I would encourage the legal department to make a statement clarifying the position from a legal perspective. Civil servants are very afraid of being victimized and some have expressed to me that victimization is at its height,” she added.

Government is the largest employer on the island employing more than 3,500 people, and Catron said that they are being denied a voice in participatory government, which she says is not only morally butlegally wrong.

“The PPM government was given almost a unanimous mandate by the people to change things and nothing, in this regard, has changed. I recall back in 2003 when people wanted to sign the petition for the referendum – we were discussing these same issues and here we are 5 years later and this topic has still not been addressed directly.”

CNS contacted the Chief Officer in the Portfolio  of the Civil Service to ask what would happen to any civil servant who signed Catron’s or any other petition, and why letters had been sent to public sector workers telling them not to sign such things when there is no mention in the Public Management Law that they cannot. However we have yet to receive any comment.

However, CNS understands that there are letters in circulation signed by the Chief Secretary George McCarthy indicating that public sector workers should not sign anypetitions. Moreover, Catron also states that her website has been blocked to civil servants.

Catron points out that a long history of civil servants believing they are not allowed to have an opinion is being exploited, when really they have every right in law to sign petitions and speak their minds openly and publically. 

There is no doubt, judging by comments on the CNS site, calls to radio talk shows and correspondence to the print media, that Catron’s campaign to not only have sex offenders named once charged with an offence but to have them registered so residents know their whereabouts when released, is despite the  controversy a popular one.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sandra Catron says:

    Dear All,

    Please note that if your name on our petition and you did not place it on there you can email me directly and I will be happy to remove it. I am aware of one mother putting her adult daughter’s name on the petition. Once she brought it to my attention her name was quickly removed. Since there has been no further reports of this I can only assume this was an isolated incidence.

    As this would be a very serious allegation under the ICTA law s.90 I would wish for no one to abuse the online petition. Please act responsibly in support this topic.

    We are working hard here to make a real impact in the lives of the good citizens of the Cayman Islands. All of our hard work could potentially be tarnished if we do not act in an appropriate manner. The Cayman Islands Government will not be permitted to ignore this topic any longer because the people have made their voices heard loud and clear.

    Please do not be afraid – even as civil servants. We all know that May 2009 is right around the corner and most political actions are now being closely orchestrated to get votes. As such, but the pressure on the government very strongly and know that they cannot fire you for simply allowing your personal viewpoint to be known. You have a right to an opinion and to sign a petition!

    Dennie and I will continue to work on this separate but connected issue of ensuring that we get the a legal opinion on civil servants being able to sign petitions.

    However, report any further such issues to

    Kind Regards,

    Sandra Catron


  2. Sheila S. Smith says:

    Sandra, I am with you on this!

    As I fore mentioned to you earlier in our conversation…. "CORUPTUPTION BEGETS CORRUPTION." ie;

    What is happening now in Cayman now has been happening, what is different today with regards to what is HAPENING is that there are brave individuals LIke you who have a voice of Change and are not AFRAID to use IT.

    My Name is Sheils Sishan Smith, I am a mother of two of God’s most preciuos gifts, I live and work here in MY native Cayman….

    Put your name under mine if you see that change is needed. Together our voice in one accorded will not go unheard as it will be made louder!


  3. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry guys – this governments days are numbered!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am all up for people having rights but I can tell you I did not sign this petition and my name is there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This petition needs to go through validation process before people’s name are being posted all over the web.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sandra, as much as I totally agree with what you are doing… remember with all the dictatorship going around in Government now a days, the only how we will remedy their dictatorship will be to await 2009 elections and be sure to mark your "X"  for those who care about the Cayman Islands and it’s people.

       I insist that we take this thing to it’s fullest extent and get the job done. This Government is nothing more than Corrupted and wants to have "All" their way or no other way.

     They are "Ruling" on the Civil Servants to gain Control over them, and then they will take over the POPULUS and then "Rule" over them as they see fit.

  6. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    PFR is circulating a petition asking for a change in the Penal Code to allow persons to carry pepper spray, for example, for self-protection.  PFR wrote the Governor’s Office on Oct. 24, 2008 seeking a clear statement on the matter.  The email read:

    “Your Excellency,

    Given the response received from Civil Servants in relation to the Project Estella Petition, PFR is therefore seeking a statement from you as to whether Civil Servants may freely sign the petition in their private capacity.  It is our understanding that there is nothing in the Public Service Management Law (2007 Revision) or the Personnel Regulations, 2006, or in any other document which prevents Civil Servants from signing the petition.  Would you kindly confirm whether our understanding is correct?

    PFR has extended the time for collecting signatures until two weeks after the receiving a clear statement for the Governor’s Office.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t these "Civial Servants" mothers and fathers as well. Because they work for the Gov’t they cannot have a voice on the safety of their children and other family members. My people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    SHAME SHAME SHAME on the PPM and the Chief Secretary’s Office  !!!!!

    I bet if it was one of the PPM member’s wives or daughters or the Chief Secretary’s, that was brutally abducted, raped and murdered from West Bay Road or one of their young grand- children who was brutally raped, they would all be singing from the "same song sheet" today.

    What they fail to realize, is that our Caymanian Estella Scott- Roberts was a "random target" and there are many more wolves out there in sheep clothing looking for more "Estella’s to prey upon. They could very well strike again before May 2009 or even before the Chief Secreatary’s confirmed retirement next year 2009.

    I personally signed Sandra Catron’s petition on- line and down loaded the Pepper Spray Petition organized by Denny Warren Jr. and signed it as well. I tried to get a few "Civil Servants" particulary women and their responses to me was …………… I know your intentions and all the others including Sandra’s and Denny’s are good but we are "AFRAID" for our jobs particularly in such uncertain times, like those in Government today. I also took it to one gentleman who said to me, ………. If I sign my name whom everybody knows, Government officials will likely put pressure on my wife who is a top civil servant.

    Sandra and Denny, this is the kind of B – – –  S – – – that happens to your well thought out plan to try and help protect the public from these criminals who patrol our streets day and night in the Cayman Islands.  SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU, THOSE WHO TRY TO MUZZLE PUBLIC/CIVIL SERVANTS !!!!

    Hey Sandra and Denny, why don’t you guys strongly consider "teaming up" and put your names forward for the next general elections for the district of George Town. I’m sure both of you would do well against those clowns up there. 

    Ohhhhhhhhhh but don’t worry, the Chief Secreatary will soon retire and as for the PPM, we are ready to make a change in this country come May 2009. I am sure the intelligent people of my district of West Bay are "itching" for a change of government, I certainly am.


    I take some form of comfort to know that I never voted for the present government in the last general elections, so until May 2009, I patiently await to mark my "X" for change.