Deputy governor defends civil servants from critics

| 09/11/2009

(CNS): After 35 years in the civil service, Donovan Ebanks, who became Cayman’s first deputy governor on Friday, has said that he has not encountered many of the public servants to whom the major criticisms have recently been aimed. He said that during the current economic stress civil servants had become the scapegoats, widely accused of being overpaid and underworked. However, Ebanks acknowledged that in an environment where the public expects to be treated as valuable customers, the bar must continually be raised. (Photo: Franz Manderson and Angelique Howell 2 of the 5 FACE Award recipients)

Speaking as the recent FACE Awards (4 November), which acknowledge public servants that have gone above and beyond, Ebanks paid tribute to his colleagues. “I have had the privilege of working with many dedicated people who truly labour to serve their countrymen,” he said, adding that being a civil servant was seldom easy. “I have been in the civil service for close to 35 years now, and I must say that I have not encountered many of the public servants to whom the critics refer. There is an awesome amount of commitment, experience and skill in our civil service — a fact that gains special visibility whenever we work our way through national crises such as hurricanes Ivan and Paloma.”

He said that while there was much to be proud of, public servants worldwide suffer from a poor customer service image and Cayman couldn’t claim to be exempt from the problem.

“We cannot rest on the laurels of efficiency and experience either; today, we must also include quality customer service as a daily job requirement,” the deputy governor added, challenging the civil service leadership to continue to tackle the issue head-on.

“Just because people need to access our services anyway, we must not shy away from understanding, developing and enhancing the customer-focus element. We must make every effort to get to know our customers and their needs; we must learn to empathize, and we must strive, always, to improve our service delivery.”

If public sector workers respect their clients, they will receive similar levels of respect in return, Ebanks observed, and said that Cayman could in time succeed in defying the worldwide stereotype of incompetency, inefficiency, and indifference towards civil servants.

Governor Stuart Jack also noted that it had been a turbulent 12 months for civil servants. “You have found yourselves in the midst of a global financial storm, intensified by a rapid decline in government income. I believe we still feel amazed at our survival, even in the face of continuing budget cuts,” he said. Every savings measure and every position left unfilled had translated into civil servants doing more and managing with less the governor observed.

“This year’s FACE campaign operated on a shoestring budget and has come to fruition largely because of numerous volunteer hours from the planning and nominations committees. And yet, even confronted by the trials and stresses that affect us all, we managed this time to receive 131 valid nominations for 93 civil servants,” he told those gathered for the awards.

He said the night’s list of nominees reminded everyone that customer service was not a forgotten art and that it never fails to make a positive impression. “Although the customer is not always right — and sometimes they are downright wrong — we must never lose sight of the fact we are here to serve, both the country and the public,” Jack said.

Selected from 93 nominees, this year’s winners were Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell, Environmental Health Officer Sydney Moore, Biohazard Waste Collector Clive Bennett and Cayman Brac Department of Sports Harold Sanford.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This story is too revolting and disgusting to comment on.   Mr Jack,  please do not make anymore decisions in respect of anything involving the Cayman Islands.  You are an embarassment.   Depart in peace.

  2. John says:

    Great winners this year- I am delighted to see that the Immigration Department lead the way again. I hope the Complaints Commissioner is taken notes.

  3. anonymous says:

    First off, I believe congratulations are in order for Donnie. He has risen to the top in carefully orchestrated steps to take the position as the first Deputy Governor. His father, long time Legislator from North Side, Mr. Craddock Ebanks, would be proud to see the recognition of His son’s years of dedicated service. From his excellent results at University in Scotland, his years at PWD and years of stewardship at the Hurricane committee he has shown a dedicated service to this country. While at times I have thought he has acted too slowly in his decision making that characteristic will do him well in his new position.

    Regarding the FACE awards. I support the concept however I believe that many civil servants are in the service for a job, many are in for a job they cannot loose. We need to get the service back to where those in it would come to work even if they were not paid. It is only then when the Civil service will again be truly effective, efficient and regain the public’s full support.

    Congrats again Donnie.

  4. Anonymous says:

    a civil servant complimenting the civil service????…. wowsers….

    he also speaks or recent budget cuts? what cuts? the gov expenditure will actually go up next year from last year…

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but I have to agree 100 % with 21:29! Further to some of the Comment from the Deputy Jack A.., back to be more efficient; I really don’t recall when the heck that was the case ever, do you? I do recognise that there is a fair amount of good efficent People in the C-Service however, there is an equal or larger amount of just plain lazy, non caring with a large dose of bad attidude or I do you a favour menatality kind of Personel (local and expats a like)! The problem here and in other Countries is, the Civil Service is not operated like a private enterprise, no accountability to anything and they actually think they run the Country and since they can vote the don’t get fired! We need to stop promoting the bad Eggs and fire them instead. Did you by any chance ever see a complete incompetent person get a promotion in a private Operation,  promoted for doing as little as possible (reading Newspapers and surfing the net mostly after a 3 hour Lunch), then the little bit they do is usally a complete f… up! Me neither other than in the Civil Service here  and in other Countries as well. That’s why it so much fun to deal with the "higher up’s" and that’s why some of the good ones leave since they can’t get promoted due to be given a hard time for been smarter and more efficient then their Bosses ! I rest my case and enjoy the ride!