Alden talks serious CS reform

| 24/08/2012

GOAP (243x300).jpgCNS):  The opposition leader has revealed a taste of what might be to come  if he is to lead a future government. In the legislative Assembly Wednesday evening Alden McLaughlin spent a considerable part of his reply to the premier’s budget address on what he said were the fundamental underlying issues relating to the size of government, which he said had to be a priority for any new administration. Although he acknowledged that the size of government had been an issue for several administrations, he still criticised the UDP for neglecting to at least start addressing the problem during the last three and a half years.

McLaughlin said that he was not advocating immediate major cuts in numbers and salaries or removing existing benefits. He said the government had to develop a medium term plan to deal with this issue, otherwise it would continue to haunt each administration and could eventually lead to something far worse than the premier’s community enhancement fee.

He spoke of the need to engage the civil service and gain their support for public sector reform, which already had the backing of the private sector. He said he was pleased to see in the memo circulated by the deputy governor that there was some focus on the issue but he said he had seen little government buy-in of political will from the current administration to lead policy changes that would help cut the size of the ever-growing public sector.

For four budget cycles, he said, the present government had adopted “band aid approaches” and refused to take any action towards the fundamental problem.
“There has been lots of talk about changes in the civil service but very little action,” McLaughlin said.

He pointed to the memo the premier had circulated earlier in the year at the start of the budget process asking the civil service to keep total core government spending down to $497 million, which turned out to be totally unrealistic since civil servants cannot cut budgets very far without policy changes from the elected ministers.

“Expenditures are driven by government policy,” he noted.

He said government had to identify the optimum size of the civil service and pointed out that the problem had grown because there had never been a master plan devised to address the unchecked growth. McLaughlin said the PPM had envisioned the need for a plan to deal with what is a huge and growing problem.

“This administration has demonstrated no will, no desire, no initiative, no ability to put together any such plan,” said the opposition leader. “If these issues are not addressed and we continue down the road of the band aid approach that this government has adopted to fixing government’s fiscal problems, we are going to finally reach the point, in very short order, where radical decisions, even more radical than the payroll tax, are going to be employed.”

He said it was clear with an election only ten months away the governmentwas simply not interested in any long term issues but it was critical that those in charge of the country think about the medium and long term.

“It is plain to us that the unsustainable cost of government and the unfunded pension and health liabilities are a huge problem for the country,” he said, as he pointed out that if public sector workers wanted to see their pensions and have access to health care in the future it was a problem for them too and in their interests to play a part in the reform.

In addition, he said, they have an interest, like everyone else, in ensuring that the local economy doesn’t collapse. As a result, McLaughlin said, he and his party were confident that if the service was led by the right kind of elected government the reform could happen without pushing them into poverty.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We need new leadership!

    The only Civil Servant capable of running this country is the Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.  He is proven to be trustworthy, honest and hardworking.

    Let us all make a public call to him to step up and help direct our beloved islands.  He is Zaphenath-Paneah, our "messiah".


    • anonymous says:

      Being hardworking and trustworthy does not make you or give you intimate knowledge of Accounting and Finances.  Pray God he soround shimself with people who not onl have the qualifucations, but also experience i n managing financial affairs, otherwise Dog eat our left overs that we now have.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Steps to cutting government unecessary expenditure:

    1.cutting off the political hangers on. All those "unqualified" consultants who are allegedly being paid healthy sums of money to advise the Premier on matters that they are not equipped to advise him on;

    2. make it a criminal offence for polticians to influence decisions on who needs welfare;

    3. set back up a type of public service commission to advise the DG on Chief Officer's applications to hire staff;

    3. tax private sector through the indigent fund to cover all f the health insurance tabs that government picks up for their employees. this may encourage self regulation within  the private sector and reduce freeloading off of government;

    4. anyone who receives aid from the State, in particular any amount over $5000 must have a charge on their land for repayment and or sale if they default after a period of time;

    5.debt forgiveness in government must be considered by the LA;

    6. Remove all security guards from the GAB GAB, let us be real, this is a "gift" to some crony. Why are they on every floor acting as receptionists. There are at least 25 to 30 guard there, Has anyone tried to get into that building. Itis absolutely laughable.



  3. BornCaymanian says:

    Mr. Alden deserves a chance at leadership, instead of condemning him for schools, give him a chance at the leadership and perhaps the Premiership, as I know he will bring honour to that position. Can't youall see, Cayman needs reformation! Jeez!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Alden would go after civil service jobs. Excuse me, but does he ever think to discuss his "ideas" with anyone before opening up his mouth to receive his foot, again and again and again. The mouth opens, the size 10 goes in, like clockwork. It's all so predictable. Does the man never learn? Ever the dramatist,  fueled with a hugely misguided sense of his own abilities (some might call this arrogance, but I reckon it's more to do with wanting to be "famous" for something), if ever someone needed "handling" it's this hapless fellow. We all know the loud-mouthed, childishly tantrum-inclined Bush needs to go, but for crying out loud is Alden the best alternative Cayman can produce? (Not that Cayman's alone in this. Ever scratched your head in wonderment over, for example, the choice of presidential candidates in the U.S.?) I do hope we see the emergence of some credible persons before too long. Not much of a choice presently in my humble opinion.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Enough with using the CS as a social security net…I see lots of tourism jobs which are taken up by expats which could easily be filled by the CS extras.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Whoa thats serious…not…

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it!

  8. BornCaymanian says:

    Alden, here is a faster way of cutting the CS, first step is to Privatize the CI Health Services(Hospital) and clinics. Sell Boatswain Beach and cut the hogs that are always at the UDP Trough by retracting some of their perks by association. Right away  in the first year of the new Government, you will be cutting about 500 persons out of the Public Sector and entering them in to the Private Sector.  Despite all your critics, do not be afraid to state the obvious that is needed.

  9. SKEPTICAL says:

    Make many more comments like this McLaughlin, and you might as well resign yourself to a life outside politics after 13 May 2013. Why on earth would you discuss a sensitive issue like the CS, knowing that you may already be losing votes.

    • Anonymous says:

      He right, the CS needs to be down-sized.  There are a number of posts created for friends and associates, who are contracted, so, if those posts were made redundant or if they are needed they can be fiiled by Caymanians.  Too many times we push the locals to the back of the room to make way for new comers.

      I don't think Alden is saying, get rid of Caymanians, he is saying the CS needs to be reduced/down-sized and the locals would remain in government or when work permits are up for renewal, the board should consider placing Caymanians in those positions.  He would be stupid to say get rid of the locals.  I would credit him with more intelligence than that.

      Wise old OWL.


    • SKEPTICAL says:

      Unfortunately the cat is now out of the bag. You needed to wait until you hopefully were in power, before you started talking , about taking action on the issue of reducing the cost, to the island, of the bloated CS. I reckon that your budget address probably lost you several thousand votes in GT, BT , and WB. You may be an honest and honorable man, but I don’t think you understand the game ofPOLITICS.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Alden talks serious crap more like it…

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is high time that “2nd Class Caymanians” be allowed to run for office so that we can make some REAL CHANGES!

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Medium Term” means he will propose some measures that will not take place during his term and try to drop it on the subsequent government!

    Don’t be fooled by this empty rhetoric, I have heard administration after administration fail to deliver on countless “promises”.

    What a load of crap…WE NEED NEW BLOOD IN GOVERNMENT!!!

  13. Truth says:

    As the "honorable" premeir Bush has shown everyone "Talk is cheap".  It is worth nothing.  The average person can see what needs to be done.  They can also see that from what has been shown in the past the current crop of what is called leadership here do not have the ability to get it done.  If there is to be no "NEW" style of Caymanian leadership then Cayman has failed itself and its days are numbered.  Come  Soon.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Don’t loose focus here my friend udp/ppm got us is this mess why should we repeat history? To sink ourselves? I say get rid of party system and let every man stand his 2 feet ( one man one vote)! Let everyone be responsible for their actions, if you fail or don’t give results get rid of you!!!!!!

    Caymanian ( Bracer)

  15. Anonymous says:

    I would take Alden over the premier any day……..sick and tired of being embarassed for my country!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! yeah, you just go ahead and put him in the driver's seat and see how that goes.

      Not saying what we got is perfect mind you, but Alden?!!!

      I don't think so. Arden perhaps, at least he you can talk to without him looking down on you.

    • Anonymous says:

      The CS identified many areas of wastage, but due to croonie mentality nothing was acted upon.There are companies that are raping the public purse. But if you try to touch em, the first thing you hear from them is "100% Caymanian owned companny" yet they using cheap foriegn labor to do the work.

      I always wondered about these companies, for instance the one at the airport that is responsible for screening passengers.


      • Anonymous says:

        I can just imagine how the foreingers/tourists laugh at us.  They would have to be wondering why foreign nationals are screening outgoing passengers and there isn't one local person in sight.  I wonder if I went to the P……… if I would get a screening job at their airport?

        Cheap labour, supporters of the government, so what can we expect.  It is time for the contract to change hands.

  16. Anonymous says:

    One CAN NOT trust ANY politician, especially in the Cayman Islands.

    Maybe Mr. Miller, but then he is not really a politician in my opinion.

    Politician are focussed on their own ego, wealth and well beiing.

    We the people are merely a tool for them to get what they want.

    Together with wealthy developers and entrepeneurs they make US the people pay.

    If you don't see that, then this is what you get.

    Next election:  Just stay home, untill the political system is changed into a mature system with three or four parties and independents, who are in NO way related to any business.


    • Anonymous says:

      This is the end… this is the end of the innocence.  Cayman done! time to move on.  BVI here I come.

  17. The X Factor says:

    Now the PPM are starting to step up. Glad to see their not afraid to say the the truth about what needs to be done. Why the UDP does not want to deal with this issue, I don’t know. PPM, the people are watching.

  18. Janet says:

    I commend Mr. McLaughlin on his last statement, "he and his party were confident that if the service was led by the right kind of elected government the reform could happen without pushing them into poverty."  How can he honestly make such a statement taking into consideration that it was "his" administration who got us in this mess to start off with….XXXX  Does he really believe that we the people will once again trust his administration to deal with our finances, the next time around we will definitely have the UK come in and take over because PPM will only bury us in the hole that we have been trying to get out of for the past 3 and half years…..  Words are so cheap Mr. McLaughlin, why don't you work with the current Govt to find solutions, isn't that what we pay you for?

    • Anonymous says:

      Which world are you living in?  Didn't your "Honourable" leader tell them to shut up, he had all the answers?  Ignorance is so blissful!

    • Anonymous says:

      …. isn't that what we pay you for?

      No – he was elected as a member of another party – you pay him to be in the opposition.

      He has every right to criticise the current administration. In fact, not only a right, but a duty. That's what the opposition is there for.

      It's also not the opposition's job to do the Government's thinking for them –  that's what the Government is there for. If the Government get's itself in trouble it's not up to the opposition to rescue them.

      And of course, if the opposition agrees with a Government policy, then you rarely hear about it, because it's uncontentious and therefor rarely reported on.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Premier is only lip service, saying he is open for suggestions and when he gets suggestions he turns around and castigates/chastises the messenger.  Limited intelligence cannot take us out of the deep deep hole.

  19. Conspiracy Theory says:

    As I listen to Ms Juliana give the message to the Cayman Islands People, which I include those who have residence and status too.  You are Caymanian, so behave like you care as she put it this morning; I can only vision a conspiracy somewhere between UK and Cayman.

    To Caymanians I say stick together, because there are worse days coming.  It is entirely up to you if you do not heed these warnings for your children and grandchildren.  Live good with each other because when it is all said and done we will still be here looking each other in the face, and wondering where we went wrong.  Ms Juliana is a woman of integrity, and she is not going to lie to you.  Heed her words, show patience with the Premier, and dont think for one instance that the UK really care that much.  Sit and give it some serious thinking and honestly see what you come up with.   UK never had any interest in Cayman before.  We do not get a dime of help from UK, but all of a sudden she wants to call the shots.   Caymanians you need to stand up like old times.  Remember those days when we marched.  What you think UK can do if we take a stand.  Put the Island in jail?  What the UK need to realize is that if we become her trash, then we can become some other country's treasure.

  20. Anonymous says:

    "Alden talks serious CS reform"


    The 800 million dollar question is will "Alden WALK serious CS reform"?


    I sincerely hope that he is sincere and that he puts his money where his mouth is.

  21. The lone haranguer says:

    What about the 9000 getting money from the social services, how many of them are on the scam, you need to break that little party up to.

  22. anonymous says:

    Well up jumps the Devil.  How can this Mr. Mclaughlni have the nerve to publicly state"that the size of government had been an issue for several administrations and he still criticised the UDP for neglecting to at least start addressing the problem during the last three and a half years", without qualifying that during his administration and in 2001 he and the then Leader of the Country went and implemented an accounting system which in their latter term became an unmanageable monstrosity requiring a miriad of reporting which nobody understood. This indeed was the genesis of why we dont have proper financial statements today. It also seems to escape this so called Leader that it was through his and his colleagues stewardship that the numbers of accountants per ministry and related staff as well as thedecentralization of HR services was implemented , creating the bloating in many respects of what we face in theC ivil Service today. 

    Less Mr. Mclaughlin forget, he has to b e reminded that he has a big share of the blame for the financila condition that this country is in today and really he did it all in a short four years; imagine if he were to be allowed to hold the purse strings for 12 more? Hello, HELL NO!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said at 10.55! There used to be tight but practical controls on the size of the civil service, new jobs could not just spring up at the whims of managers. Yes, itwas his administration that began the system that destroyed that, removed the central controls, increased the size of the service by creating new departments of HR and accounting to do what had been done by central government. No more central control or consistent application of salary assessments. Can Cayman ever recover from all the mistakes of the last decade! Why didn’t he admit this was a major major mistake and fix it four years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 10.55 and 10.51. The civil service had effective central control on the growth of the service. It also had other good systems that kept down cost . Who deformed it? The new laws and systems created more jobs – 400 to 500 I heard- and removed controls. The financial “reform” left us without audited accounts. Why couldn’t they admit it was one of the biggest blunders ever made in civil service reform and try to fix it when they were in power. NOW you talk about reform, please we can’t handle another failure.

  23. We didn't start the fire says:

    Alden talks. Yes he did. And here's what he had to say:

    "There are some hard decisions to be made. We have looked into them and discussed them amongst ourselves. And after much serious discussion we have decided that they have to be. And we might make them."

    "Someone, and it might be us, should ask the CS very nicely if they would possibly be interested in participating in some type of reform sometime. Which would be gradual so as not to upset them."

    "We will find ways to do all these things if we are elected. Which I am not at liberty to discuss at this time because they are still under discussion by us."

    "We have changed our ways and examined everything and we can see clearly now where things might have been done differently last time."

    "As you can see we are the only real alternative."

  24. Unison says:

    Hopefully the next government that sit, will be conservative and focus on the development of its own self than developing the economy. Leave the development of the economy with the private sector. Government should be focused on what they do best:  enforcing the laws of fairness, justice, and equity. I say abolish a government-run tourism sector and break away from alliances with other private entities like Dart. No more quick-fixes even if the UK pushes you with a spear. Before you can help Cayman, you must help yourself. You must patiently clean your own house, downsize what need to be downsize, and get it in order.

  25. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    Bla bla bla bla ……………

  26. Anonymous says:

    Not a bad start Alden. What I'd also like to see is a role back of a number of the outsized fee and duty increases to help the businesses to recover. These businesses are the backbone of Cayman and it is these businesses that you rely on. HELP THEM.

    1. Role back some of the huge fees which are crippling these local businesses.

    2. Review the many layers of red tape that many of these businesses suffer with, and see what can be done easier, more efficiently, what can be automated, and frankly…what can be dropped. Have government departments actually TALK to each other. Nothing is worse that having to get a piece of paper from one government department simply to take it to the next government department. (for example).

    3. Get the GT cruise ship dock built! – the cruise ship-related attractions are all dying a slow death – drop the Chinese and get on with the original Plan A.

    You really have to energise local businesses. This is how you will move people from government dependency to private sector.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Alden you didn’t do it when you had the chance either but at least you are pushing the right solutions. I agree we need to reduce civil service voer time not all right away.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I read this article with great interest as I have called out for Alden to give some solutions to the civil service problem for a while.

    After reading the article I was disappointed as there were no real solutions offered here. A line or two calling for changes and help from the civil service and then a quick shift to attacking and blaming.

    At this point I do not believe Alden is up to the task of dealing with this issue. Until he gives details of a planned stragedy in dealing with the civil service then the voter will have no option but toturn over their support to the Independent option.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It was so good to hear intelligent, sensible, well thought out and informed dialogue from Alden McLaughlin instead of the usual accusations, blaming, and ranting we have become so accustomed to from the UDP.  Well done Alden.  Please step up to the plate and become the leader that you are well qualified to become and lead this country out of the mess it is in.  I do believe you have the ability to do this.  I am not a PPM member but I am so sick of the absolute rubbish that comes from the UDP.  I know the PPM were not perfect the last time but I did appreciate the fact that someone tried to do something for education even though the expense was high.  If the recession hadn't come along, I'm pretty sure we would all be thanking the PPM for upgrading the schools.  OF course, in the 3+ years the UDP has been in power they have not even been able to finish one school and have gotten us into yet another law suit with one of the parties involved.  Well done, UDP give yourselves a pat on the back for all the imaginary things you have accomplished during the last 3 years.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, Alden you had your chance to tackle this and blew it. Why should we trust you now?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, but I would give Alden and the PPM another chance in a heart beat than to vote for any of the UDP!!!!  UDP had their chance and they more than blew it! 

      • Anonymous says:

        The thought of either of these parties, PPM or UDP, winning the next election gives my heart many fluttering beats! Neither party is worthy of my vote. I sure hope that people of integrity, with a good brain and who can be trusted, will declare as candidates in the General Election next year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because he is your last\\only  Caymanian chance?