Civil servants salaries still in question says Ebanks

| 14/03/2010

(CNS): The deputy governor has said that civil service salaries remain under urgent consideration, despite the fact that government is not cutting pay for March. Confirming the contents of a memo circulated from his office by Franz Manderson, which contradicted an earlier memo circulated by the financial secretary Ken Jefferson, Donovan Ebanks has said that adjustments are still to be expected and may be cut by April. On 4 March Jefferson circulated a memo stating that there would be a pension freeze for the public sector, civil servants would begin paying 50% of their health care benefits and that salaries would be cut from March. On 10 March a memo stating that neither salaries nor benefits would be cut was circulated by Manderson.

The second memo also asked civil servants to submit their ideas for the 15% cuts in operational budget by Monday. Following a meeting with the Civil Service Association’s membership, the president, James Watler, had said that while the civil service was a reasonable group of professional people, they were being asked to “bleed three ways” and was hoping to present alternatives to the government over what is a pressing need to cut benefits following the news from the premier that the country is facing a budget deficit of over $62 million unless dramatic cuts to operational expenses can be made before 30 June.

The premier is expected to return this weekend from Londo, where he has gone to discuss the Miller-Shaw report and the budget crisis with the FCO. McKeeva Bush has called a press conference for Monday, when he is expected to report back on those talks as well as reveal the content and recommendations made by the Miller commission.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In response to the person that wrotre, "Dear Mr. Donnie,", you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. "Throwing away our money" is not what is happening. Why arent you commenting on all the departments that are buying new equipment and once they are done with it…it is jus sitting there? Instead of doing what they used to do and what other countries do and lease equipment and when you are finished it is return. IS THAT NOT WASTING MONEY? You people just look for someone to blame and point the finger at. It is not Donnie that hires every single person that has contributed to the CS being over staffed.

    So please, you please grow some balls and learn to react to situations in a more mature way. Also you wake up and smell the coffee and while you are at it look at the whole picture and if you are going to point fingers at one thing….point it at all!!

    How are we suppose to get through this be playing the point the finger game?




  2. ... says:

    I am a civil servant and I am prepared to make sacrifices. But not when the government has squandered millions of dollars on investigations that led to not one conviction, and numerous lawsuits for wrongful arrests and dismissals.

    I’m also not willing to take a salary cut when foreigners hired by government receive a housing allowance, a government vehicle, school allowance for their children, and free tickets to fly them and their families home for vacation each year. 

    I’m also not willing to sacrifice when the government spends money in the  figures for reports and consultants and committees to do nothing.  We are now using a report that was written in 2006 regarding crime prevention in Cayman as the basis for the solutiont to crime in Cayman now???  Really???  I think we can all agree that given the crime/violence situation in Cayman now….it’s a little late to be using that report.

    I’m also not willing to have my salary cut when I know that one of our ‘Commissioners’ used government funds to pay for his many overseas ‘training’ sessions…’s a bit of a coincidence that each of these training course just happened to be in places he wanted to visit, Costa Rica, Eurpore, different states in the US. So who do you think paid for his plane tickets to these places….and the time taken….was never vacation time….it was always official business. 

    Let’s start with getting rid of the Blackberrys for non-esential staff, if the bill goes higher than $100.00 you pay the difference.  No more company vehicles….you use a government vehicle when you’re at your job…not driving up and down and sitting at Governor’s beach lazing the day away. 

    When I see government willing to look beyond salary cuts and truly come up viable ways of cutting expenditure..then I’ll be willing to take a cut in salary and contribute to my health care.

    But simply cutting salaries without any other idea of how to cut expenses elsewhere…just isn’t going to work.  

    One idea that springs to mind….charge people for dumping garbage at the dump, actually charge people for picking up their garbage…or don’t pick it up.

    Do some government departments really have to have their offices in George Town right across from ocean…seriously…government office on oceanfront property??? 

    I think we can come up with a few cost saving devices besides just cutting salaries. What then happens when people can’t pay their mortgage, electricity bill, water bill, school bills and have to put food on the table.  What do you think the result is going to be?  More crime and corruption.

    From the comments from those in the private sector they appear to be taking extreme pleasure in seeing civil servants knocked down a peg or two.

    Who picks up your garbage every morning for free???  The Fairy Garbage Man??? Who cleans your roads??? The Magic Fairy Road Cleaner…who fixes those roads, what hospital do you go to…seriously, before you make any more derogatory remarks about government employees being lazy, entitled, and not worth a job….you should seriously give consideration as to who would be providing these services to you if you had your wish.

    I’m sick of hearing the civil service doesn’t contribute to health insurance….would you want to contribute to health insurance where you have no choice but to go to the HSA.  I do not visit  the HSA and pay all of my medical bills because I choose to go to a private doctor.

    So when you can give me just one example, and I think we all know that we’re not talking about store clerk/entry level positions, where an ex-pat is paid less than a government employee.  I’ll eat my proverbial hat!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You know, some people actually avoid working for companies who are "corrupt."  You’re making excuses for your (company) so you can continue to work their and receive the same benefits.  In the real world, if you don’t like it you can leave – no room for error and no room for suggestions.  But really, if one is so upset with how their employer operates they find a new job. Stop whining to "us" and do something about it.  I’m sorry the garbage fairy picks up my trash but I didn’t tell him to and I’m not piling it up in my yard until they start charging me a fee.  They SHOULD have garbage fees. just like they SHOULD have recycling laws and penalties but how is this "our" fault and not your employer’s.  Maybe all the civil servants should strike together and demand change if that’s what you really want.  But I’m pretty sure you just want to keep things as they are and a collaboration of your efforts would be nonsensical.

      And as for health care – you not using your provided health care the government is still paying for it and is still a waste of money! Maybe they should look into taking your 50% and upgrading the HSA.

      And as mentioned by a previous poster you should look in the classifieds and see for yourself.  I think there was a serial-poster who was comparing jobs and their salaries in the weeks past.  I think it’s a good time for them to re-post AGAIN since you CS have a hard time hearing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tues 00:27.

      You just HAD to bring the ex-pat thing into your otherwise fairly sensible post. Pathetic. What are we going to blame things on when they all leave?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. Donnie,


    The future of our country is in your hands to some degree by you having the intelligence and the balls to start running the civil service like a private sector business. You have run out of time for your wastefulness in throwing away our money. Cayman has 110 civil servants per 1000 population which is absolutely outrageous and still the civil service cannot do what they are paid to do. Just call any department and see if anyone even answers the phone or ever gewts back to you.

    Cayman, our indirect taxes are being wasted in over staffing, operating inefficiencies and over paid/over benefits condiitions of employment which are the responsibility of our Deputy Governor Mr. Donnie Ebanks to correct to save this country from financial ruin.

    We have lost our faith in you Mr Deputy Governor when you pay Martin Bridger CI$27000 odd per month salary for what.

    Wake up and smell the coffee Mr. Donnie because you actually work for the people of the Cayman Islands and no one else and are responsible to them as a pubvlic servant employee so get to work and make a difference in our future.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Even prior to any cuts there must be an immediate halt to new recruitment, job creation (it’s still going on), overtime, duty allowances and salary upgrades. And trips overseas involving piles of civil servants (like the recent Cuba trip). Plus all of this must apply to Statutory Authorities as well as the civil service; they are big money wasters too and no one has any control over them.

  5. Beachboi says:

    I am too tired to go back and check, but as I remember the majority of the savings through cuts to the civil service salaries was either the pension or health contributions.  Why dont they have to pay the 50% contributions like the rest of us???

    Oh and while I have my keyboard handy I have to ask Mac how his vacation was in Cuba.  I am sure that all of the European and Canadian tourists are so excited about coming to Cayman.  My question to Mac is why do they not come here in the first place???  Cuba is cheaper and has so much more to offer i.e. casinos.  Cuba is also a much more beautiful country.  Im sure they have nice friendly locals etc but lets face it Cayman is now  "the land that criminals have found"!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    All of you all that are doing the bashing to personal people need to stop. All of the comments like: "Can someone please us whether Donny and Franz know what the hell they are doing? and others like "Lets save money and get rid of Ken Jefferson and Donovan Ebanks. They dont seem to know what they are doing." You all need to STOP. This whole island is in financial problems and this is not something that no one has asked to be in. Ken Jefferson and Donovan Ebanks are not the two that got us into this situation. In my opinion at the meeting last week at the Mary Miller Hall, Donovan Ebanks had the best speech and outlook on why we are in this situation. Just because the memo came from their office…does not mean that they are the ones that started this.

    Thanks to those that commented after those ridiculous bashers and said, "Thanks to Donnie and Franz for putting all the rumors to rest….." and "This is the first time that Donny and Franz have commented on the ridiculous pay cut. Hopefully you will do some research before bashing. Shame on you"

    And that is exactly what you need to do…all you bashers. DO YOUR RESEARCH! You all just throw the brick at whoever you can. If you have ACTUAL EVIDENCE to show who doesnt know what they are doing, then please present. Or you all could take your "GLORIOUS RESUMES" and apply for their positions because I guess you all are sooooo much more educated and have the right decisions and thoughts to do. If you dont, then shut up and stop going on with your ignorant ways!

    There is no way that we are going to get through this if we are acting like 3rd graders and just playing the pointing the finger game!! GROW UP!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I really wish all of you private sector workers who have so much to say about Civil Servants pay would donate a little of your pay to the country instead of talking so much bull, of course you all can talk, you make more money than Civil Servants.  Everyone in these Islands has benefited from the governments extravagant spending, so why should Civil Servants alone pay the price.

    • Anonymous says:

      a prime example of how civil servants are out of touch with economic reality

    • Young.KY.female says:

      Please give me an example of a comparable position whereby the person in the private sector gets paid more than in the public??!

      We give back to our companies because it’s who we work for and you should do the same! We’ve experienced the same hardships, have always paid for our healthcare and our pension and work overttime when necessary.

      I worked part-time for the government as a teenager and got paid more than entry level in a private firm except I got no experience whatsoever – I ground my teeth having towatch "Days of our Lives" and cricket matches. 

      There are obviously hardworking, dedicated, professional and necessary civil servants out there but not too many. And this is coming from a Caymanian who has family and friends working in the civil service – I’m glad they have a job etc but just ’cause you love ‘um, doesn’t mean they’re worthy of this lazy opportinity.


      • slowpoke says:


        Crown Counsel vs. private lawyer.

        Chief Justice vs. partner at Walkers.

        Doctor at the HSA vs. private practice.

        • tortoise says:

          Economics one-oh-one, huh?  These are jobs that if you don’t do well you can’t get away with keeping them (okay, well it’s a lot tougher, I guess) and jobs that in any economy, any country holds true to this comparison.  I think young lady is pointing out an obvious problem here in the Cayman Islands; too many are employed and not qualified and still get paid even when they are not necessary.

          Somehow, I think if it were a doctor they wouldn’t be too worried enough to post the above.

          Crown counsels/lawyers examples don’t make much sense – when have you seen, say a celebrity who committed a crime, request a top public defender? Government’s don’t call these worthy investments. An oil refinery on the other hand? Somehow even the "premier" of the CAYMAN ISLANDS thinks this is a good investment.  Once again I think the poster is talking about problems here, not in general. Open the classifieds and compare for yourself. I think you’ll find it particularly interesting as to how much garbage collectors are getting paid.

      • CS says:

        RCIP v’s expat security guard

        recently advertised accounts supervisor for immigration (CI$70,000) only an ac’g degree needed v’s an audit firm for a newly qualified ACA (US60,000).

        recently advertised secretary for immigration (need at least 5 O-level passes) (CI$70,000)v’s fully qualified and experiences legal secretary for Campbells (CI$32-40,000)

        Jesus, since I actaully took the effort to look I now understand how insane CI CS salaries are!!

        Thank you for pointing me in that direction

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think they need to start paying Caymanina Police Officers more than the expacts that are here on contracts. This has been and ongoing thing for a long time good Caymanian Officers has been in The Police Service for over 23 years and making less than new contracted Officers with the rise in crime i do not think it is a good idea to cut Police Officers pay because they put their lives on the line each day to protect our beloved Cayman Islands. Take some of the pay from the contracted Police Offficers who get pay for doing nothing.


    God Bless the Cayman Islands and our hard Working Police Officers!

  9. Alice says:

    Thanks to Donnie and Franz for putting to rest all the rumours that Civil Servants was subjected over the past few weeks- it was so terrrible having to read about put cuts in the press.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please tell us if Donny and Franz know what the hell they are doing – one minute a pay cut the next minute no pay cut and the next its still on. The civil servants must be terribly confused as to what is going on – also thought there was a minimum one month notice period to employees if any changes to be made to an employment agreement??? XXXX

    • Rob says:


      This is the first time Donny and Franz have commented on the ridiculous pay cut. Hopefully, you will do some research before bashing. Shame on you.
  11. Anonymous says:

    I am sure that if Ken Jefferson sent out the memorandum referred to it was because he was given the authority to do so. Ken is nobody’s fool. My guess is that this is another caseof one hand not knowing what the other is doing in the civil service with newly overinflated egos promoted to positions for which they are ill equipped.

  12. slowpoke says:

    I may not be the brightest lawyer in the shed, but on what legal basis does the Government think that they can unilaterally renegotiate a mutually agreed to/signed contract?  Are contracts not binding and truly enforceable in Cayman?  This may be a little disconcerting to our financial investors.

     If Government thinks that it can be done, any CS could also walk up to their friendly HR person and announce that they have decided to increase their salary by 20% and will now have another 5 days vacation.

    I wonder if the UK Labour Government is contemplating such a plan at home with their own CS? (HAHAHAHA).

    • Anonymous says:

      Just fire every single CS and then offer to rehire under a new salary and benefits package. If a CS does not like the new offer then he/she can go find a job in the private sector; it’s how they are dealing with CS/unions in the US. Do it now before the gov. goes bankrupt.

      • slowpoke says:

         You are right BUT, you have to give them due notice (as far as I understand, at least 3 months for ExPats – B&B????).  

        Also, the UK (or other EU/Can) unions have a lot more to say about this than their US counterparts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah and make sure you have a nice little bank account to pay the severance package for 3,600 people too.

  13. Anonymous says:

    James Watler is complaining about civil servants being asked to "bleed three ways". Well, Mr Watler, you are being pampered by Government three ways – good salary, free health care and free pension contributions. So do the math……….

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s save money by getting rid of Ken Jefferson and Donavon Ebanks.  They don’t seem to know what they are doing.  Ken especially keeps giving out wrong projections.  Not that he should be making projections because how can government know how much money they have without an audit or  appraisals of their assets.  Please do that before any of you start making suggestions again.

    Any news on how Ezzard is coming along?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Just how many "advisors" and their companies and those related to them does the Premier employ at the people’s expense?

    In another article posted on CNS it says that there is going to be a new anti-corruption law at some point. Why was the new anti-corruption law delayed in its implementation and will it apply to contracts signed off on by chief officers prior to the date that this new law comes into effect?

    Is it the case that the cuts to incomes being talked about by government will apply to everyone except political cronies?

    Is it not the case that "advisors" to the government are still being given contracts at payment levels far higher than civil servants ever received for performing the same functions, particularly when civil servants are still being paid to do the same functions? 

    Is this fundamentally different to the "free gas", and the personal servants at the public’s expense? 

    I wonder if the chief officers who are signing off on "advisors" contracts will be questioned on these expenditures by the Auditor General or someone on the Finance Committee of the LA?  

    We cannot afford to waste money on political cronies, no matter what promises were made prior to the election. Surely somebody will step up to investigate each and every waste of the people’s money.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would love for the Chief Officer of Julianna’s Ministry to be asked about the past retirement age former long serving English member of the Personnel Dept who is pulling down $120,000 plus as an HR advisor/consultant working off site for the Ministry when there are Caymanians complaining that this man is keeping them from developing and eventually being promoted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re Sun 17:58.

        This doesn’t surprise me – it’s rampant in the civil service and the thing to note is the employing officer -the chief officer – is a born Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        Another xpat hired when there are so many Caymanians with good HR experience.  I do not remember seeing any advertisement for this, it would be interesting to know how this person was selected for the job or consultancy whatever.

        • Anonymous says:

          "I do not remember seeing any advertisement for this". That’s because, Tue:07, it was not advertised. The Chief Officer concerned doesn’t feel he has to follow government regulations he doesn’t believe in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, we are getting hit two ways with this, first by the so called "consultancy" fees,  and also when the Premier gets bad advice from these so called consultants and we find ourselves in the position we are now. I can’t wait to hear this come out in Finance Committee

  16. Anonymous says:

    I still can’t believe the Financial Secretary would put out a memo like that which was obviously not thought through, was without consultation and which caused so much anxiety and stress in the Civil Service. Civil Service matters are not even in his domain. Sometimes his actions boggles the mind

    • Joe Average says:

      I’m not really boggled.  We’re in deep trouble and I wish they’d stop treating the deficit like a pinata and make some clear decisions.

      Look out!!!  They’re going to swing again!!!