Immigration ignores OCC

| 26/10/2009

(CNS): In the wake of a particularly serious complaint made to the Immigration Department in February 2008, which the department failed to deal with in a timely manner, the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) has been monitoring progress at the department. In a special report submitted to the Legislative Assembly last week the OCC found that Immigration is still failing to deal with complaints in a timely fashion, which it says is both unfair and an example of poor administration. However, despite the findings the report was not debated by the members of the House.

By no means the first time that a report by the OCC has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly without comment or action, the report is now a public document (available at the LA, the OCC office or on line). As a result, the wider community are able to read and see for themselves the findings of the OCC in regard to the department’s continuingfailure to comply with recommendations when it comes to handling complaints fairly.

The report reveals that, despite a number of recommendations made by the Complaints Commissioner in 2008, the Immigration Department is still failing to address complaints in a reasonable and fair time frame, if at all. The former commissioner, John Epp, had made recommendations in June 2008 that the office establish it own complaints procedure and strive to investigate all complaints within one month and report back to the complainant the results of that investigation within one week.

“In an effort to monitor the Department’s progress in addressing complaints made using their Internal Complaints Procedure (ICP) the OCC tracked the progress made by the department in similar complaints,” the latest OCC report stated. “However, our monitoring efforts clearly demonstrated continued non-compliance with the recommendations made.”

Under the OCC law when a government department fails to comply with the office’s recommendations the OCC should report back to the Legislative Assembly. This latest report was prepared by the OCC in August 2009 and tabled in the House on 22 October by Cline Glidden, the chair of the committee with responsibility for the OCC. Glidden made no comment on the report as it was tabled and no date was set for the standing committee to meet and discuss the contents.

The report also demonstrates how the Immigration Department continues to ignore the OCC. Despite a request from one of the office’s analysts first made in December of 2008 to meet with the Immigration Department and discuss the failure to comply, the OCC said it is still waiting for Immigration to offer a suitable date. The report notes that DCIO Bruce Smith responded on 9 December 2008 to the request saying that he would consult the files and revert with a date for a meeting. “To date the OCC has not received confirmation for a meeting to review the progress made with the department’s ICP…” the OCC report reveals.

The original complaint which was reported to the OCC involved an accusation that the department had revealed private information about the complainant to an outside party, violating the Public Servant’s Code of Conduct. The individual in question had first made their complaint to the Immigration Department but after a month had passed with no action the person approached the OCC.

Following its investigation, which concluded on 19 June, the OCC found that there was an injustice to the complainant and it made a number of recommendations, which the office says have still not been addressed.

A number of subsequent complaints have also taken far longer than a month to address if they had been addressed at all the office said. “A failure to conduct appropriate investigations is unfair and bad administration,” the OCC report stated.

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Comments (46)

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  1. L says:

    Police is getting 50 more staff

    Why isn’t the department being supplied people?  Why is it still the lowest paid enforcement agency?  Police are making more than them and many of them are sitting on their salaries, and still crime is increasing!

    It is mindboggling how people can criticize the department yet are refusing to support the department financially. For the "whole" island, we have only 6 Immigration Enforcement officers. To become an officer, you start off with the same salary as a clerical officer. And you wouldn’t want to know how much the Police traineesstart off with!

    So… is it really "poor administration" like how the OCC says?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Immigration needs to get their act together and be pro-active rather then only react after the fact. Come on, stop relying on the community to file complaints etc. Why don’t you turn up on any given day during lunch hour at any of the Supermarkets to determine how many of the workers showing up there to buy their lunch do actually have a valid work permit for a full time job? Why don’t you randomly audit some businesses/corporations etc.? I am sure there are a lot of ways to pick out some of the systems abusers and deal with them. Showing that abusing the system has actually consequences will hopefully deter somebody else from trying, but you have to first make an example of afew.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it true that   a new post is created called AN ADVISOR TO MS EVANS THE IMMIGRATION CHIEF. If so, how muchthousands that is costing the Cayman Island  Government?  Maybe we have more money now than snake has hips!!!  A qualified [erson that was selected out of 7 applicants with the most degrees do not  need  an advisor, especially one that is much less qualified than she.

  3. Status says:

    I am glad that my adult children have status.  They really are not very industrious and probably could not hold down a decent job in the real world, but here they can waive a passport, turn up to work 30 minutes late, play on Facebook and leave at 5.00pm precisely with complete impunity in a job they could never get elsewhere.  They are living the Caymanian dream

  4. nobody's fool says:

    If the system is working for ALL of Cayman you could tell.  Of course its working for SOME.  Where do you think all that money is going?  All you people that think the currrent Goverment is doing well (including the immigration dept) are not seeing the BIG picture. The Cayman islands are failing big time in just about all respects.  Crime-rising every day with no end in sight and no good way to stop it.  Goverment spending -out of control,no accountability,obviouse missuse, And not even a plan to cut ANY of it.  Financial business-The very cournerstone of the Cayman islands lifes blood, actually being chased off island by the leaders of Goverment.  And NO ONE can stop it.  Its not even going to slow down.  Your current system of Goverment is Take, Take, Take, and it knows no other way. It does not know how to stop this even if it cared to try.  So what is going to happen?  Take your heads out of the sand and if you can’t see it now wait just a short time (a month at most) and then look again.  Yes its true this system is working very well for a chosen few and I expect you all to cry foul to the end.  But the end is comeing.    For all of Cayman.  SOON COME

  5. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, abuse of the systemss is not isolated to Cayman. This happens everywhere in the world, but in Cayman it is just much more "in-your face" based on the relatively small population. Problem is that any overseeing authority has not teeth and the rules and regulations will never be enforced for polictial reasons (like fear of loosing votes etc).

    I suggest that instead of complaining about it, stop giving work to those individuals who you know set up their little side business through finding loop holes or using their connections. This also means that you may have to pay a higher price when you are looking for someone to fix your car, build your house, or mow your lawn because properly set up businesses have to charge accordingly to maintain their employees.

    For the person who suggested to file the complaints, naming the highly influental individuals to the new Chief Immigration Officer, please understand that there is also a business staffing plan board, a permanent residency board etc. As long as these different bodies don’t communicate to each other effeciently and effectively, someone will always find a back door that has been left open. Even if someone would provide those names, what do you think would happen? Most likely, not very much at all.

  6. Sue says:

    The changes made in the Immigration Department in the past 5 years has been simply outstanding.Give the Dept 10 more Staff and you will see efficiency beyond belief.

    Its easy to sit back in your AC officers with no crowds infront of you, without your moblie and you desk phones ringing off the hook, without hundreds of emails flying in-  but with two PA’s and a sectretary and a $100,000 salary and say untrue things about the Immigration Department. You should be reminded that same department either allowed you into Cayman, gave you a work permit, status, permament residence, or a helper for your children, but I guess they go it wrong then too.

    Kudos to the Immigration Department. Keep you heads up and keep up the excellent work.

    • Anonymous says:

      People

      I don’t understand the government… why is all the attention on the Royal Cayman Islands Police, and the entity that deals with protecting our borders and screening people before coming on this Island, is left rediculed by OCC, financially drained, lacking staff and vital resources. Also, the lowest paid enforcement entity in the Cayman Islands…

      When will they learn that if this arm of government fails, then it will make the Police work more and more difficult. Increasing Police salaries is not the way, because you have many who are sitting on their salaries right now!

      Peace

  7. John says:

     

    The good old OCC is back at Immigration again.
     
    Remember the last time the Department went at Mr Manderson it becuase his officers refused a woman who had arrived in the Islands with $3.00. Thank God Mr Manderson stood up to the OCC and refused to reimburse the woman for her ticket.
     
    This is the same OCC that spend our money on advertising on golf balls and hockey events.
     
    I do hopethat the new Commissioner will put a stop to this waste of public funds. Only then will we take their reports seriously.
     
  8. the Facts says:

    Let’s look at the facts

    The Immigration Department handles over 90,000 customers a year at its user friendly customer service center complete with TV and seating and an excellent number system.

    The Immigration handles some 40,000 calls at its modern call center- where dedicated and well trained staff takes yours calls

    The department processes over 1mil tourists and residents each year

    The department processes over 20,000 work permits each year

    The department processes thousands of Cayman status and permanent residence applications each year.

    Our immigrations officers at the airport detect persons coming to the islands on fake passports and our enforcement officers risk their lives to arrest overstayers and illegal workers.

    How many of you know that cruise ships are cleared even before they arrive in Cayman and other countries are trying to model their computer system likes the immigration departments.

    And the same department is being torn apart because the OCC thinks that the department did not respond to two complaints in a timely manner. Get real and shame on you for saying such negative and untrue statements about the Department and Mr Manderson.

    Yes I am a former employee and proud to be a former member of one of the best departments ingovernment. No one outside can understand the pressure the Staff of the Immigration Department has to work under…no one wants to leave the Island and is constantly trying to find ways to defeat the immigration law. Caymanians too give the department a hard time by submitting bogus work permits so that a friend of a friend can get into the islands. Customers come to us looking for free legal advice and then complain about getting wrong information when they don’t like what we tell them. We are the bearer of bad news from the Immigration Boards although we had nothing to do with the decision.

    So before you say such negative things about the department, I suggest you spend a day with the Staff. I wonder what would happen to the OCC if they had ten customers in one day?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you!

    • also facts says:

      I suggest you spend a day at the other end of the stick.  If this scenario was happening for ALL there would be no complaints.  The department is supposed to treat EVERYONE like this.  I have been there many times and was treated nicely and with respect only once.  If it were reversed I would be happy with the dept. of immigration.  Some good does not equal all good.  Working for some dose not equal working.  Everyone would love to be in your shoes and have good things to say about this very important Dept.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Franz is not perfect, but he did the best that he could with what he had. He had to make many difficult decisions in the best interest of this country while you were asleep, and excelled at it. We didn’t always like them, but you have to respect him for making them with INTEGRITY, something that is very scarce right now.

    Ms. Evans has an opportunity to chose her management team, and new officers. Hopefully she can resolve some of these issues, and get the support she needs from her deputies.

    No, I don’t work at Immigration. .

  10. nobodies fool says:

    There is no doubt that there are a lot of people who now owe much to the immigration dept for "favors".  A lot of them very important and influentual people.  Good luck trying to get that system changed.

    P.S. He who cries loudest has the most to lose.

    • Anonymous says:

      You should consider providing those names to the new Chief Immigration Officer then, if indeed you know so much, so that proper investigations could be carried out and such corruption stopped. If you are not willing to do that then you should keep such comments to yourself as it will only cause more rumours but nothing else. Realise that to know these things and choose not to  report it makes you an enabler and in effect no better than the perpetrators you refer to.

  11. Alice says:

    I have read the many posts and the total lack reality and common sense is truly amazing- one poster can’t tell the difference between the Protocol and the Deputy Chief Secretary’s Office and the others seems to simply take the OCC word as gospel. Come on folks it’s a Report that was not even debated in the LA- the report which I have read- have any of you? – seems to imply that the Immigration Department has nothing else to do but deal with frivolous complaints. The Department, one of the best in Government, how dare you compare Vehicle Licensing with the Immigration Dept, (what planet are you living on?)- is charged with protecting the security of our Islands and doing a darn good job at it.

    Come on folks, I know you are upset that you cannot live in the Cayman Islands as long as it is convenient to you and you will have to return home in 7 years. Oh, when you get back I suggest you visit your Immigration Department; chances are ours is light years ahead of yours.

    The OCC need to stop drinking coffee and get to work dealing with some real cases of maladministration.

    Oh and lastly the Immigration Department has more nominations and wins for the Governor FACE awards (Customer Service) than any other Government Dept.

     

    • Makam says:

      Er…you don’t happen to or have worked in Immigration by any chance?

       

      just asking and no I am not an Ex-pat

  12. Anonymous says:

    All

    The OCC is a separate entity from the Department of Immigration, and thus, looking from the outside-in, the OCC knows little of what is going on and what issues we are dealing with. How can they make a judgement without hearing from them first?

    The OCC report leaves out the SOLEMN FACT that the Department of Immigration lacks the necessary sufficient staff and financial support from government.

    History:

    After HurricaneIvan people saw the need to increase Police salaries and numbers. Check out the LA records at the time: No "special" attention was given to the other enforcement agencies like it was given to the Royal Cayman Islands Police. And today, we have Police officers who are doing little, yet making salaries way above 4000

    All, it is mind-boggling how little support is being given to the Immigration Department which deals with the prevention of crime and protection of the Island’s borders. I sense that since the time, the department was replaced by Cabinet to grant so many statuses, it has, by government, been considered – a not so important arm of government

    If so… this is a fatal mistake!

    So you all can criticize, but please, before you criticize, remember our history and how government has treated the department. When the OCC delivers their report to the LA, it would be interesting to see the governments response and recommendations

    Z

  13. Uncivil Servant says:

    Tee Hee Hee. Did anyone really think that the OCC was going to be taken seriously? Until there are real consequences for actions (or inactions as the case may be), the status quo is of course going to continue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly – its the same across the Board with all government officials and departments.  They need to be held accountable and there need to be consequences for their actions.  Until then – nothing will change.

      • nobody's fool says:

        You are dead wrong.  Its getting worst daily.  More Crime.  More Goverment abuses. Less tourist.  Less financial business.  Look back on today in a just week from now and tell yourself nothing has changed.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Everything that is being said about the immigration department is absolutly true. Yet nothing is done about it. Instead the officers continue to drag their own Caymanians down with their "crab in the bucket" mentality whilst using the system to advance their own businesses and grant favors to their friends. I think that 50% (if not more) of the department needs to be fired and a completely new set of people hired, thereby making it difficult for the remaining "above the law" individuals to get by with their dirt.

    The place has more leaks than a sive. I have heard that some expats and overstayers know more about the intricate workings of the department, enough to obtain what they need. Whilst you have legitamate Business owners fighting to survive and are left at the mercy of these self serving individuals who make up this governing body.

    I am sick of talking about it, I want something done about it. And stop promoting the pillars of the corrupt. Everyone knows who these people are, we have heard about them for years. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. I guess the problem is here no one has the guts to do something about it. Problem is I have the guts just not in a position to do so.

     

     

     

  15. Helen Reid says:

    As an Expat i would like to say that i personally have nothing but good things to say about immigration. I have not had a bad experience other than a bit of a wait at there offices to get a stamp ( but i expected this, where else in the world do you not have to wait in similar circumstances!)

    I believe that if you know the system, the paperwork required, always keep copies and get receipts you really can’t go wrong. PS- Never use Drop Box!

    So far i have not had to wait very long for a permit approval and the ladies at the front desks have always been polite, curtious and one in particular was extremely helpful – which i made a point of telling her ( which she appreciated, because she said all she ever got was people coming to her to complain about the system!)

    I have however many expat friends who have had nothing but terrible experiences, rudeness and many many documents lost by the department ( which they say were never submitted – despite receipts to prove the contrary), this resulting in having to leave island and being away from loved ones over christmas etc and lots of heartache and stress in general.

    There are definately some clitches and i believe more qualified staff is the only answer!

     

     

     

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think if Government would retire or demote all the Immigration Officiers that have been in the Immigration Department for the past 15 – 30 years and start hiring all the school leavers who have nothing to do and there are many who want to work but no one is giving them a chance and I am sure that the school leavers are smarter, more polite, and efficent then the ones that are there now we would have a better running Immigration service.   Besides I don’t think that the school leavers will be bias against anyone that comes in for assistance.

    I have had a complaint with the Immigration Department (in writing to the hirer ups)  from the first part of September with two Immigration officiers (one of them has a business) who abused the Immigration law and up to now no one has had the manners to even call me to advise me what the out come was on these two officiers and the business and the person who they had working there illegal.

    Please lets bring in the school leavers and train them (don’t train them by the old Immigration officiers) to be the right person in the most important department in this country the Immigration Department.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think if government would invest more in the Immigration Department other than the Police… yeah… I think, we would get somewhere!  And I believe crime would even go down!

      Firing people is not the answer!

  17. Anonymouse says:

    Problem is: Anyone who gets into a Government uniform automatically fabricates their own set of rules and enforces them accordingly.

    It is as simple as having a civil service that is out of control. These people do as they like and the departments operate as if they dont have any leaders.

    It all boils down to who you know or who knows you if you are to succeed in getting anything done.

    Unfortunately this way of dealing with the Public also opens the system for corruption.

  18. Dan Dan says:

    Immigration just sucks that’s all, lol.

    Seriously though Immigration sucks. Even though I am Caymanian I am so sorry for all the people that have to dealwith Immigartion whether once a week, month whatever!

    Local companies that go out of their way to hire Caymanians still end up having to fight Immigration to hire one expat and the companies that bring in only expats it seems have no trouble whatsoever!
     

    What are you guys doing, why are all of our Government offices so horrendous? Why isn’t government working on making the workforce smaller yet training them on how to be good customer service representatives? Why not hire someone (locally obvioulsy) to work on making these departments better? People who aren’t afraid to step on whose ever toes to make the necessary changes.

    MLA’s, all of you are just mouth pieces. Why don’t you ever do what you promise without trying to line your pockets first? Bit of advice, maybe if you made the changes that Cayman so desperately needs people will look the other way when you start making deals with the devil…oh sorry you’ve been working with him for years haven’t you!!!!!!!

  19. not an ebanks says:

    The only thing sadder then a goverment bureaucracy that is so very biased against the very people that they are ment to serve is the fact that in this day and age they continue on in the face of public recognition of their complete incompetence. The old adage That power corrupts and absolute power corupts absolutely Is very apparent here..  As in the past they (immigration) feel that they can and will do whatever they want and to hell with anyone who might tell them otherwise.  And here is the kicker…….NOTHING has changed.  They only enforce what laws they want against only who they want.  The fact that they have not been enforceing the immigration law has been a matter of fact for many many years and is well known to everyone.  The only reason they have been in the news lately saying (but again not reallydoing much) they will now be out there actually finding the many people that are breaking immigration laws and also saying that they will prosecute the Caymanians that have taken out permits for all the people that have no jobs is because of the crime wave the island is currently experiancing.  Are you watching? Now that there is OFFICIAL OCC certified complaints watch as the immigration dept. once again shows everyone whos really the boss.  And showing the rest of the world how Cayman is really run.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is typical of our "governments of the day". They implement these checks and balances by creating these positions and pay big bucks to the big shots to run them and then quite proudly call themselves a "transparent government" and then they fail to comply with what the law requires them to do. The government thinks they are above the law and they get away with it – so whats new.

  21. Don't worry I wont stay says:

     As a regular customer at the Immigration office I can say that I have witnessed some pretty poor service.

    However from my standpoint, I have always found the ladies at the front counter efficient, courteous and helpful.

    With the exception of the acknowledged length of time it takes for a Work Permit Grant (waiting for one since January), and an unexpected rejection (now in appeal) I feel they are holding there own in a very difficult environment.

    Learn the systems, follow the rules and your experience will be relatively pain free.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I want to share with you a very deep concern I have about immigration. For openers, many people are looking for a modern-day Moses who will split the sea of boosterism and hone in on immigration’s faults with laser-like precision. I can’t claim that I’m the right person for the job, but I can say that immigration insists that its debauches are the result of a high-minded urge to do sociological research. Sorry, immigration, but, with apologies to Gershwin, "it ain’t necessarily so." At first blush, it appears that immigration’s quips are not an isolated case of passive-aggressive, vindictive demagogism but a typical example of how quixotic immigration can be. However, immigration’s hypocrisy is transparent. Even the least discerning among us can see right through it.

    There is good reason to believe that if you don’t think that it’s not uncommon for immigration to speak with authority on subjects it clearly knows nothing about, then you’ve missed the whole point of this letter. Contrary to the Rousseauian ideal of the transparency of the general will to itself, immigration’s secret passion is to retard the free and natural economic development of the countries’ indigenous population. For shame! Immigration is hooked on designer victimology but fails to notice the real victims: the entire next generation. Let me end by appealing to our collective sense of humanity: Few people realize that immigration’s homilies are precisely the kind of thing that will deny the obvious when you least expect it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for summarizing things for us in a couple of words……

      Something tells me you are trying to prove how intelligent you are by writing a load of self fulfilling, poncey philosophical cr@p. Only a handful of people will understand your words and those few people will agree with me that they aren’t really helping add to this conversation.

      Leave your Rousseauian deals and vindictive demagogism back in the classroom and start talking sense boy. Perhaps if you drop the chip on your shoulder you will notice less people staring and pointing at you and you may even get some friends.

  23. What a mess! says:

    No surprise here!

    Govt. especially Police, Customs, Immigration tend to see themselves as above the law i think…and they probably see the OCC as more of a nuisance than that of an office attempting to assist them with sound and fair business practices.

    And let there be no mistake…if Cayman goes the way of Independence we will see offices/establishments such as OCC, HRC and others thatfunction to create and maintain Democratic Priciples either become completely non-effective or disappear.

    Things na lookin well!

  24. Anonymous says:

    The OCC needs enforcement teeth. 

  25. Anonymous says:

    Ignore the complaint and promote FM.  What’s new?

  26. Anonymous says:

    The Immigration Department is one of the poorest run administrations in the Civil Service. Of course I took quite a while to come to that conclusion, seeing as how I had to also evaluate the Vehicle Licensing Dept. and Customs Dept., among others. Anyway, let’s see how long it will take Mr. Manderson to mess up the Deputy Chief Secretary’s Office. What do they do there anyway, now that a Protocol Office has been established?

    • Anonymous says:

      Notwithstanding its shortcomings Mr. Manderson improved the Immigration Dept. No doubt he will also improve his current office as Deputy Chief Secry. from that vantage point help further improve Immigration. Let us give him our support instead of badmouthing him.  

  27. Anonymous says:

    I  am currently facing the same issues with the dept and my small business is in jeopardy.  What can I do?

  28. caytriot says:

    another well run government bureaucracy.

    I have an idea lets give the department head a promotion.

    Isn’t that the way its always done

  29. Anonymous says:

    Is there any information as to how many w permits , Residencies Cayman Status that has been given since May 2009.  The Public realizes that since the Ivan Hurricane that alot of folks came to cayman. Would be a good idea to employ a few extra staff who can sit to a computer all Day and check on who is here illegal.Just seems as if cayman is sinking with folks going around and looking work.

    • not an ebanks says:

      That would take actual take.work like writing things down, filing them away in such a manner that one could find them again and being able to add and subtract and then to give actual numbers and not just write down what the boss tells you.   Never happen in our lifetime.

      Immigration department…If I am wrong prove it.

      They should fire everyone in the Dept and put in some of the many new up and comeing Caymanians that have an education and want to work. Your not helping out Caymans image.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh I forgot to ask why is it that when you walk into Immigration that it smells like a Restaurant,and you ca see the caterers in and out with trays of food. Bet that cost should add up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Prob is that government is not hiring at the moment remember?

      Pretty pathetic that the country does not have money to hire sufficient staff to run its law enforcement agencies, including Immigration, but everyone continues to complain and badmouth the staff.  Soooo, the basing of each department continues primarily with gripes about poor service but not acknowledging that shortage of staff is a big reason for it.  Typical, complaints without solutions.

      On the other hand, I do agree that Immigration, and other department too, would do well to get rid of some of the old hangers on who are set in their ways, some of which are questionable. Thank God we have read of some retirements from Immigration though so this might be a good sign of improvement in the future.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is sufficient staff but there we go again , not qualified. Years do not qualify one. Mr Manderson who was very qualified did his very best, but it takes every one to be qualified. It should have been made mandatory that the staff went and did part time courses . Do you realize how many of the older Caymanian  Civil Servants has held and still holding HIGH POSITIONS  without no qualifications. Jobs was given in those days according to who you were related to and so forth.