Major civil service meeting to address financial crisis

| 06/08/2009

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Civil Service Association is holding a meeting this afternoon to discuss the way forward in difficult economic times. All emplyees of government departments, authorities and government businesses are invited to the meeting, which will be held at the George Hicks campus at 4:30pm today (Thursday 6 August). Also attending will be the CICSA President James Watler, Governor Stuart Jack, Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks, Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson and Chief Officer of the Portfolio of the Civil Service Gloria McField-Nixon.

While rumours have been circulating about a 20% pay cut for civil servants, Watler told CNS that the association strongly opposed pay cuts or job losses for members. He said a number of measures had been discussed to reduce costs but he would be most surprised that such a decision would have been made without notifying CICSA.

He said that government employees would be encouraged to put their questions and concerns to the panel and that there would also be a drop box if people felt intimidated about speaking up themselves.

Watler told CNS that a meeting for government workers on Cayman Brac is also being arranged. Both that and the meeting this afternoon would be closed to the press and public.

With a deficit of around $76 million last year and the prospects of an even greater one for the next financial year, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush has said on several occasions that there will have to be cuts and the cost of the Civil Service is by far government’s biggest outlay.

Last month both the chief secretary and Watler wrote to all government workers pointing out the seriousness of the situation. Watler has said the association will be doing all it can to encourage civil servants to make cuts in the course of their duties such as reducing the use of company vehicles cutting down on utility usage and overtime demands to help reduce the deficit as he has said the association is opposed to cutting jobs.

All government offices, including statutory authorities and government-owned companies, will have temporarily reduced staffing levels this afternoon from 4 pm until close of business to allow members of the civil service to attend the meeting. The public is requested to schedule their business before 4 pm, if possible, in order to minimise any delays.

Chief Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Donovan Ebanks apologises for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciates the public’s understanding so that this extraordinary meeting may be facilitated.

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  1. anon1 says:


    Why does some stupid ass, ignoramous expatriate ( and in this case stupid ass ignorant Caymanian because I am replying to all unna) think it is appropiate to comment on a Caymanian posters English or Grammer every chance they get. Even further they always have to equate a Caymanian speaking on this site the way they speak to fellow Caymanians as uneducated or ignorant?

    Please don’t preach to me about how the way I speak, will prevent you from offering me a job because if I spoke and wrote the proper English you would find another excuse to keep Caymanians out of the same job. I can hear the argument now ….. well my young chap, that thing you call English is not real English at all, that is American English. Or if you are American that want to keep a Caymanian out of a job you would prove that my Queens English was incorrect, because your computer that has it’s spell check set to American English, is proof positive that I do not know how to spell the word CHEQUE. Just one example of how Expatriate bosses continually move the goal posts to keep Caymanians out of jobs they have earmarked for their buddies from their hometown when they have a work permit application pending at immegration. 


    I am not an English man nor an American so get used to the words I use and the Caymanian translation that Caymanians understand all too well. When I am in your country I will speak your language and your dialect if necessary (I am fluent in 4 languages, 5 if you consider Caymanian as a foreign language as these piss ass grammer and spell checkers seem to think) WHEN IN CAYMAN, HAVE THE DECENCY TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE CAYMANIAN INFLECTION ON THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.


    Sorry for the rant but dat is how i feel this ya morning. ( Yes dat is wit a small i ya stipid ass so don’t correct me, correct yourself) 

    • Anonymous says:

      "If Ya miss the way etc"

      Dear Jesus. This is sad and pathetic. Is this what Cayman has come to?

    • 1anon says:

      Unfortunately Anon1, in order to run any decent business in Cayman one has to communicate with those outside of these islands, and out there in the real world they are expecting intelligible literate communications.  So while I am perfectly able to understand you, my customers will not be able to, nor should they be expected to.  I think the obvious chip on your shoulder and your clear prejudices would be good reasons not to offer you a job even if your writing was dramatically improved.

  2. P. Issant says:

    P. Edant:

    I believe you have an appointment with the spelin natzi.

    P. Issant

    • Anonymous says:


      I think in your posts-especially Fri 12:06- you are very effectively proving the points made by the poster at Thu 17;22.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What?  Americans are unable to detect sarcasm?  Well, that explains a lot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Its easy to empathize with persons who are affected in a bank or accounting firm because we all know that everyone in those IVY towers are ALL hardworking and diserving of a job…rubbish!!"

    The fact that we come here to do that high-level professional work is what brings money to your little island.  Further, it’s not like you could do those jobs yourself.  You can’t even tell an Ivy League from an ivory tower (or spell, for that matter). 

    If we leave then those industries end and, as you would say, the canine shall consume your refection. 

    Peace be with you.

  5. Thankful says:

    It is astonishing, terribly revealing and utterly depressing how many of these posts like "Thankful’s" , even though they contain truths, are expressed in literate terms that one would be severely criticised in a 12 year old. It’s not just modern texting language-it’s just plain ignorance and perhaps the reason for the non employment of Caymanians in managerial posts.

    I beg you pardon?!  The literate terms used are purposeful and am sorry that you see it as ignorance. 

    I am managerial; but, I suppose, given your, assumed Ms degree, would perfer me to express myself with questions? Would it help you if perhaps I use queen’s english?  Are you suggesting in your response that Caymanians are ignorant to the use of grammer?  Do you understand that this is a readers’ write site/semi-blog and expressions are personal?  Does the use of unna or wex (vex) indicate ignorance?  Would it be reasonable for me to suggest that your "contribution" is perceived as devious and maleficent (for us common folks – hateful)?  How about if i suggest that this style of writing is desolate (again us commoners – lifeless!) and does not go well with my dialect?  This dialogue is over.  Thanks.  

    • Chiasmus says:

      "I suppose, given your, assumed Ms [incorrect form] degree, [poor syntax – no subject] would perfer [spelling – prefer] me to express myself with questions? Would it help you if perhaps I use queen’s english [Queen’s English]?  Are you suggesting in your response that Caymanians are ignorant to the use of grammer [well spelling grammar correctly would be a good start, so your are not helping the cuase much]?  Do you understand that this is a readers’ write site/semi-blog and expressions are personal?  Does the use of unna or wex (vex) indicate ignorance?  Would it be reasonable for me to suggest that your "contribution" [cliche/hackneyed use of quotation marks]is perceived as devious and maleficent (for us common folks – hateful)?  How about if i [capitalise "I"] suggest that this style of writing is desolate (again us commoners – lifeless!) [incorrect use of a thesaurus methinks, one would not use desolate in this sense in] and does not go well with my dialect?  This dialogue is over [just downright infantile – the written equivalent of the talk to the hand line so beloved of the guests on Jerry Springer].  Thanks."

      Well "this style of writing" (and I am using quotation marks because I am quoting) may not "go well with your dialect", but dialect is spoken not written.  Your style of writing, if it is not too much of a stretch to call it a style, "does not go well", to use your ghastly  turn of phrase, with employers or anyone who reads your prose. This one paragraph is littered with the errors and poor expression one would expect from a middle of the road 11 year old.  Please do keep this dialogue going, it is wonderfully entertaining, while at the same time proving the point under discussion.

      • Thankful says:

        Thanks again for reminding me to have a second look at the submission before hitting the send button.  There is no argument here.  Honestly, your Ivy league or Ivory Tower (both fit) arrogance comes accross nicely.  In fact, I am SPELL-BOUND!!  I will be sure to recommend you for the annual Queen’s Birthday honours list…maybe a SBE?  I am sure you will make a fine paladin.

        I do disagree with you that dialect is spoken and not written.  I suppose literature in its’ broadest of forms has somehow escaped your MSc degree accomplishment. 

        Also, desolate was "dead-on" (pun intended even with the cliche/hackneyed quotation marks).  It adequately describes what I think about its use on this site.  Further, my goodfellow, the dictionary is full of words that became mainstream after doing the cliche rounds.  Certainly, its a paradigm shift in the word usage for you "friendly" expats.

        But guess wha now: I been entertaining your challenge on my "style" and don’t intend to prove anything further to you…so look ya now you going to have to deal wid it padna.  I am not planning to change anytime soon from my style on this ya site to please you or anyone else for that matter.  Unna rest my case!

        Okay…you have a good afternoon ya hear. Til next time mi lil- SBE friend.

        • Chiasmus says:

          Thankful, we can agree that a spell check function would be nice to save all of us from the Spellin Natzi!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, while we are on the topic of cutting costs… I’m wondering why the Speaker of the House is raking in no less than $12,000 a month and yet being given a gas allowance of another $200? I mean, I would think that buying her own gas is the LEAST she can do. What other ‘benefits’ / costs does the job come with? I know some persons may be wondering why Ms. Lawrence is being paid so highly, but I wonder about ALL of them. The Leader of the Opposition seems to be making a pretty penny too but honestly I haven’t been seeing much of him. But then maybe that’s the Opposition’s role- to work behind the scenes. It sure would have been nice to see Mr. Tibbetts and Mr. McLaughlin down in rock hole the other evening discussing crime amongst their "fellow" GT representatives. I hope that you will see that I am not chosing sides but I try to stand for what is justified.

    My intention is not to get political but my only hope is that the salaries of the deserving will not be cut to help accomodate expenditures that are not necessary.


  7. Anonymous says:

    How about hiring more expatriate senior civil servants with off island experience of tendering and negotiating public works/government contracts?  The stories where inept ignorant politicians tried to take control and the result was soaring badly targeted spendin are legion – all I need to say are helicopters (oh it has to reach the Brac because we need votes) and school kitchens (you don’t get as fat as I did eating food from a normal kitchen).  These civil servants would be value for money in the savings they would produce – the posters who say otherwise know the cost of everything and the price of nothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about having all civil servants start paying for at least a portion of their health care and opening CINICO up to the private sector so that all companies on island can participate and bring down the cost down.  Everybody else has to pay for their health insurance why not civil servants? A good start would be to have all of the expats start paying for these services. It is ridiculous that every civil servant, Caymanian or expat and their families can go to the George Town hospital, receive services and not ever have to pay a cent.

    Stop the gravy train! Stop treating civil servants like they are better than any other members of society. They have no roll over policy, free health care, free pension and some of the best salaries. Enough is enough!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    How can you continue to pay managers and "Heads" of units with two, one or NO employees?Give me a break, someone paid $80k a year to "Head" a unit with no emplyees. Time for some contracts to run out and for folks to head home. Top heavy in rough seas is no place to be! Time to thin the herd.

  10. Thankful says:

    You know it is easy for many persons to throw easy blame and cast broad sweeping nets of aspersions and use nice "fluffly" semanics such as "cut the frills", "cut the fat", "deadwood seatwarmers"  etc. at government employees/civil servants because many of us dont put a name or face to GOVERNMENT or CIVIL SERVANT when you make these remarks and statements.  Its easy to empathize with persons who are affected in a bank or accounting firm because we all know that everyone in those IVY towers are ALL hardworking and diserving of a job…rubbish!!

    I am going to defend public servants and the work that they do.  And I believe that the threats they are and have endured under this government is truly deeper than trying to correct the deficit. 

    There are so many apsects to this, I scarely know where to begin.  First let me address the "touted" percentage of 40 – 50% of income go to pay salaries.  Well I would suggest that most firms/companys or businesses’ salaries are the big-ticket line items in the expenditure colums and usually range between 35% – 65% of incomes (depending on the model and objectives thereof).  The government is the largest or one of the largest employers of the country and it would not be unreasonable to expect this.  Further, in the last 20 years, the country has seen tremendous growth in all sectors – tourism, financial services, POPULATION, CARS, PATIENTS, WORK PERMITS, IMPORTS, CRIME, CRIME, FEES, INVESTOR QUERIES, GARBAGE,  BUILDINGS, BUILDING PLANS, …I could go on but I suppose unna catch my drift – conversely this growth has meant more service offerings and ultimately more staff needed to manage this growth and provide the services.  To run efficiently means also having optimum levels of staff to do the jobs…I know everyone is an expert now and will likely suggest that you only need two immigration officers at the airport (as an example) instead of ten…well you ever tried departing at peak hours with only only two officers at the outbound line (I have) it was a NIGHTMARE and many people almost missed flights…point taken.

    Next, how many of you would want to work for a company, where you are gaged, threatened yes threatened (I have heard about it),boss changes every four years (potentially), usually underpaid, certainly to counterparts in the private sectors, (the MLA salaries in the papers the other day are not reflective of the average civil servant’s salary – keep perspective here folks), made a football in everyway?  Well that is what I believe those civil servants endure.  I must say that I have heard the rumblings of political victimization since this new government has been elected.

    That leads me to my final point (I have many more but will reserve).  Whenever we have heard in america for example of CEOs making bad decisons that threatened the survival of corporations and businesses, we here of them being sacked and replaced to save jobs and the companys.  I believe the civil servants are being blamed for the bad decisions of our leaders.  This government is WEXED (vexed) because they cant have there way and sway and potentially may have to modify their travel junkets and deal makings oh and we cant forget concrete "PROGRESS" that we all are accustomed to.  So now, suddenly the civil servants are all at fault.  No, I believe its all about I am chief now AGAIN, do as I say and watch out because our "MANDATE" oh thats the new buzz word for this government is to "Clean up" the service and become energy effiCERS 🙂 – rubbish.  Do not get it twisted, profit maximization should be optimal for business so those things go without saying; government however, has that balance it will always have to play and those maximization efforts well they sometimes pale away.  All that to say I believe our focus and terrible decision to strike out at Civil servants is wrong. 

    I will duly warn: If we in this country want to see problems – keep affecting the morale (any further than it is now) of our hard working public servants…then dog got our super ya hear.  Talk about MASS corruptions and the likes (look at our neighbours)….yes belt tightening is necessary but it should be on projects and keep our Caymanians employed. 

    I am still waiting on the expansion policy this government promised – which would entail job creations and not reductions.  God bless unna (our) civil servANTS…all unna.  hang in there…there is a GOD.  I pray for our leaders that they do the right thing (I believe on some levels they want to do the right thing)…just wish they would and stop scaring our caymanian public servants half to death.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is astonishing, terribly revealing and utterly depressing how many of these posts like "Thankful’s" , even though they contain truths, are expressed in literate terms that one would be severely criticised in a 12 year old. It’s not just modern texting language-it’s just plain ignorance and perhaps the reason for the non employment of Caymanians in managerial posts.

      Did anyone listen to the talk today on Radio Cayman with Mr James Watler, the Head of the Civil Service organisation, yesterday? He works in the Education Department and his grammar was ALL over the place! What the hell do we expect???

      • P. Edant says:

        Get back to your IVY towers.

        • Anonymous says:

          "IVY towers"


          Do you mean "Ivory Tower", as in to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are considered disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life, or "Ivy League" as in the athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States, or do you mean "IVY towers" as in you don’t know what the fxxx you are talking about?

          Just curious…

          • Ivy Towering Inferno says:

            "Its easy to empathize with persons who are affected in a bank or accounting firm because we all know that everyone in those IVY towers are ALL hardworking and diserving of a job…rubbish!!" 

            As indicated form the quoted passage from the orignal post, I was making the same point through the use of sarcasm.  Obviously by your inability to understand this, I will assume you are an American until proven otherwise.

            • Anonymous says:

              Oi!  What’s that! 

              I’m British actually. Well, 3/4 British and 1/4 skank picked up from Berryden Retail Park, but we all deny that part.

              You’d better show some respect because I’ve been to Oxford, Cambridge and 3 other university towns!

              "…form the the quote…" Harrrummph!

            • Anonymous says:

              As an American, insulted by your reference, all I can say is this. I know what you’re thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Belt tightening in the civil service is undoubtedly necessary. However what is outrageous is the hundreds of thousands of dollars in untendered contracts for "consultants" and "advisors" being given to political cronies over the past couple of months. Civil servants are told to tighten their belts while the "advisors" are loosening theirs to the extent that their pants are down around their ankles. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cut out Gov employees from getting gas after 5pm from Public Works.  It’s a shame to see what is happening up there………

    • A Concerned Caymanian says:

      Gas is sold by Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services (right beside Public Works) and not from the Public Works Department.  However, I believe that the National Roads Authority (and many others) needs to stop with having so many vehicles leaving the compound after 5 only to be found at places other than the employee’s homes.  Also, you should use your own vehicle to get lunch and not government gas and vehicle.  Only persons needing a vehicle to do their jobs should be allowed vehicles.  For example if you are a Head of Department then you don’t need your own vehicle.  Too much of this is going on and it should stop giving the financial crisis government findsitself in.

  13. Anonymous says:

    A major problem with the civil service is the mind set. We have to first change our mindsets no more gimme gimme take take but contribute contribute work work. For far too long we have been spoilt because we had so much, no competition for our jobs and no real level of accountability for our actions. We take our phones off the hook, we get into work late , between our personal calls and personal emails we are too busy to attend to our real jobs. We use our insurance card like a credit card even if we really do not need a service we still do it because it is "free". Now the thought of actually working for our money scares the crap out of us and we are going to be shouting at the top of our lungs how this is unfair yadda yadda. But how many of us can truly state that the above is not true?? How many of us give our 110% when we go to work? The slackness has happend for far too long and it becomes a part of the culture which has to be changed. We have to realize that we contributed to this crippling deficit as well because all of the above actions scream no productivity and increased costs for our country.

    From hereon we have to take stock of our actions and think how is this really going to affect me and my family in the long run? We are broke plain and simple and we have to rethink and retool and be efficient productive civil servants or we will lose our jobs. It is just that simple. I am actually looking at this in a positive manner and I know I for onewill be tightening my belt and stepping up to the challenge of having pride in my job and my country and doing what I know is right. No whining, no excuses- just get the job done right!!

    As a team I think the sky is the limit and we can turn this situation around. It is going to be a lean 2+ years, a lot of the extra frills will be cut out and if I have to get a second job – I will. We have to change our mindset- it is just that simple!

  14. Caymanite says:

    My suggestion, as a civil servant is in regards to the health care coverage that civil servants and dependants get from government. Put an end to the dental and vision care, it is not provided in the private sector so why do government offer it? That alone would save a small fortune.

    Yes so people would have to start paying for dental and vision care (myself included) but so what? If private sector employees have to pay for it then why shouldn’t we?


    • Anonymous says:

      Wea re not the private sector thats why we dont have to pay for dental and optical. It is part of a civil servants remuneration package and may private sector companies provide insurance coverage at the expense of the employer that carries dental and optical. Civil servants have taken less wages over the years compared to their private sector counterparts and we have accepted less pay because our benefits have been more ie. dental and optical. Why the hell should we now have to take less. If thats the case take it away and give us the same pay as our counterparts in the private sector. Furthermore, if we have to pay for dental then we would have the choice to use a private dentist and get far far better dental care than we presently get from the substandard dentists that the government has and also not have to wait such along time to get an appointment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the best saving to be made would be to hold the meeting after working hours, as it is, are government departments going to close early today, so that all civil servants can attend the meeting and waste a few more thousand dollars in unworked hours?

    While I’m on the matter, perhaps preventing the Police and Government employees from using official cars to do the school run or being dispatched to collect urgent takeaway food and essential shopping, might also save a few dollars!!!

    But hey what do I know, I just pay for it

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to stop changing out their office furniture and computers every time they feel like. Just he other day a department got rid of perfectly good desktop computers and gave all employees lap tops. These lap tops were not needed and there was nothing wrong with the desktops that they had. All the time you see on the government intranet office furniture available – if it is available for theuse of another department then why the hell are they getting rid of it for new furniture – obviously there is nothing wrong with what they have they just want to change it out. No accountability from the heads of department as to how and more importantly why they are spending the money – the usual thing is that if they dont spend it then they will lose it back to the government coiffers and so they just spend spend spend to get rid of money they had allocated to them in the budget. THIS NEEDS TO STOP

    • Anonymous says:

      How about all the civil servants from other countries that are here on contracts and government is footing the bill for thier housing, transportation etc.  The Caymanians pay their own mortgages, rent  etc out of their salaries and most of the contracted foreign employees make a larger salary than Caymanians do.  Let them pay for their own accomodations just like the unskilled labor who make $100 per week do.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just by agreeing to pay a normal standard contribution to their health care and pensions and retiring dead wood seatwarmers as soon as they reach 60, civil servants would save the Government many millions per year. All other suggestions are either worthy but not too effective (turn off the lights, work an extra half hour etc) or totally undoable in many cases (replace all expats by Caymanians-step forward, Caymanians, and jump on the garbage trucks of the Dept of Environmental Health to replace the expats now there).