Chamber: CS can’t cut itself

| 01/10/2014

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is calling on government to partner with private sector experts to implement the rationalisation of the civil service. In a long statement supporting the Ernst and Young report and the recommendations for government cuts, the Chamber Council said that it was concerned about conflicts of interest and suggested the civil service team wasn’t capable of carrying out the rationalisation. Chamber President Johann Moxam fell short of supporting all of the report’s recommendations, such as the privatization of schools, but the business representatives appear to be backing the idea put forward of a government fire sale.

“The Chamber supports the rationalisation of the public sector. Education and health care are large complex systems delivering services to various members of the public and are closely connected with multiple related services,” Moxam said. “Parts of education and parts of health care could be more efficient, outsourced or rationalised. However, without a full, specific and detailed privatisation model to consider, the Chamber cannot say that it categorically supports the wholesale privatisation of either health care or education. At this stage, more research and analysis will need to be undertaken.”

While the Chamber urged government to consider the 55 recommendations in the controversial EY report, the Chamber did not specify exactly what government entities should be the first on the auction block or how government should go about making the first transition. However the Chamber criticised government for putting civil servants in charge of implementing the changes.

“The Council questions the decision by government to assign a team of civil servants to lead the implementation of the recommendations that are to be accepted,” The Chamber stated in its long response to the report. “We are concerned by the potential conflicts of interest and whether the team will have the requisite change management skills required to carry out this challenging process. We would have preferred to see some independent private sector involvement that can offer relevant expertise in, or oversight of, the implementation process.”

The Chamber said creating a new department rather than simply outsourcing the implementation contradicts the aim of the report. “The implementation phase should not be led by bureaucrats who may lack the objectivity to guarantee the success of this initiative,” the Chamber stated.

A month after the report was delivered to Cabinet the government remains silent about the recommendations and early indications are that the PPM members of government are less than impressed with the $150,000 report. Despite claiming in-depth analysis and research, some of the suggestions appear vague and have little justification. Sources tell CNS that government is unlikely to adopt more than a few of the recommendations.

Nevertheless, the Chamber said it would be pressing government to find the political will which has been lacking in the past to implement the changes.

“We want a government that is fiscally responsible, accountable, and transparent with a clear plan for the future. We also want to ensure that we have the financial resources and reserves to invest in key infrastructure projects and to prioritise them accordingly,” the Chamber stated. “The Council supports measures to reduce the cost of government, improve performance and relate efficiencies, increase enforcement, privatise non-essential services, introduce and apply reasonable regulation and eliminate waste and unnecessary bureaucracy.”

The Chamber asked Cabinet to “be brave and bold” in the selection of recommendations to adopt.

“Evaluationof the recommendations should not be hindered by internal forces that may attempt to sabotage reform, to protect old and antiquated systems or to centralise power or to build up internal empires,” the Chamber added in its response to the EY report. .

But with significant numbers of civil service jobs at risk, many unrealistic recommendations and significant unintended consequences associated with them, government is likely to find a lack of support not just in the public sector, but in the wider community for the vast majority of the 55 recommendations. Privatizing schools, giving health care debts to collection agencies, charging full fair for Cayman Airways flights or selling crown land may not all find favour with the public and selling the Turtle Farm or Radio Cayman may be easier recommended than done.

See Chamber response in full below.

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  1. Anonyanmous says:

    All Cayman need is one strong leader with an entire compliment of like minded individuas who are not afraid to serve just one term.  People who will enact fair legislation which will benefit natives first and foremost but will be fair to non natives as well.  A government who will not accept bribes or special favours from anyone and will not be the puppet for local or foreign lobby groups.  It is then and only then that this country will see change and real change, I pray for that day and hope that it will come soon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Johann applied for a Chief Officer position in government a year or so back. If he had gotten it, would he feel the same way?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I fear it will end up being a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face .

  4. 4Cayman says:

    Mr. Moxam we sell government then what? If that happens why would we need politicians? We could just run the country ourselves. Every law firm and accounting firm partners would have a piece of each essietial services and you included which would further place this country in a downward spiral?

    I look back at when our government made the world richest man on earth a caymanian. He built his own city which sucked the life out of George Town and many businesses. Yet we sit back and  complain at what is going on. We gave 3000 status grants to every person who was on permit some years ago, we accepted it and look at the social issues we are faced with today.

    Mr. Moxam when you see a government that wants to sell off assets and send civil servants home you know a country is in problems. So privatizing and sending people home are your stance on a brighter economic future for these islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      That rich man you mentioned is done yet. When the Government sell off happens  wait and see which pieces he or his many companies purchase.  this is falling into his hands.  soon all the control will be his and we will simply be his pawns.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was on a permit and I didn't get status. I got kicked out. Of my home. Of my business. 

    • Anonatymous says:

      Dude who created the Pacific Ocean’s devastating “pollution soup”? Look it up

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government is totally unnecessary. Think about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very mysterious. Are you saying this was item #1 on the original draft from E&Y or something?

    • Dread On Dread says:

        Welcome to PIRATEDICE

      The crux of the matter is some wolves in sheep clothing are standing by ready to get government companies because they are on the in. Get the cash cows and then you have your own little monopoly game on the back of the Cayman people, lot to share around eh. Certainly any cutting can't be done by the same people who have been trained to be wasteful and who in some instances did nothing to improve their space. I want to tell YA this is is just another day in Piratedice

    • Anonymous says:

      So who do you think coordinates disaster relief, roads, public lighting, runs schools, puts laws in to protect citizens bla bla bla

  6. Anonymous says:


    And the Chamber can't introduce minimum wage itself??

    And Chamber members can't control prices themselves?

    And Chamber employers can't hire deserving Caymanians by themselves?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It would only take one term of a decent government to fix many problems in this Island, including crime, unemployment, indentured slavery, bloated civil service etc. however, every singled elected official for the last 20 years has been more interested to keep their job and their fingers in the cookie jar, rather than doing right by its country and people! What a shame!

    • Peter Milburn says:

      I totally agree with you but we all have the power to change this but never seem to do it.Cheez!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And where are you going I get this decent government?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm just curious about politicians who are swayed by the civil service voting block they represent half of the voting public the other half is represented by the private sector and yet we are continuously ignored put upon and asked to carry the weight of the civil service doesn't seem quite right one of these days the politicians are going to wake up and realize that the private sector is as valuable a voting block as the civil service more so because we pay for the civil-service our vote should count for more.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It will always come down to the civil service votes and the politicians wanting to keep their place at the trough.

    The tough decisions will never be made which is why the dump will remain a problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      What the Chamber should have added is that they should not be involved in it either as they are clearly biased in believing that we can just dump everything called the CS. The CS did not create this problem but they provide services that are critical to this country. Has the Chamber found someone that will run the prison or is it just the parts of Goovernmentthat makes money?

      The reality is that there are a lot of sections of Government which are critical to every day life in the Cayman Islands but at the same time raise to money. The prison is only one such entity. How the Government works is that it uses sections of Government that makes money to finance those that dont.

      • Anonymous says:

        Members of the Chamber and partners at EY are highly motivated to see the privatization of government companies because this will further line their pockets.

      • Anonymous says:

        How in the world does the prison make money ?

        • Anonymous says:

          I always thought it was on numberplates. They use a crappy paint that fades and falls off so you get stiffed for $50 or so down at licencing for new ones. It's all part of the public/private partnership deal, I guess.

      • Anonymous says:

        They (the Chamber) are not "involved in it" and did not ask to be!  What release were you reading?!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree about the trough. Once the snout goes it it's well nigh impossible to pull it back out.

  10. Uncivil Servant says:

    I beg you to let me do it. Heads will roll and I'll even let the plane door hit me on my way out. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    A Chamber headed by a member of the C$C. No surprise that it would generally support the E&Y report.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed.  No thank you Johann.  The private sector has taken the issue as far as they can in terms of the E&Y report.  The question of who/what gets chopped is now a political decision.  I would much rather the persons who were voted in under a democratic process make this decision, as opposed to the unknown C4C.

      • Diogenes says:

         I would much rather the persons who were voted in under a democratic process make this decision, as opposed to the unknown C4C.    As opposed to those who pay the majority of the duties, fees and taxes that pay for the gravy train, eh?  Turkeys voting for Christmas.  No civil servant is going to vote for the privatisation of his department and exposure to private sector pay and benefits, no statutory authority employee will vote for having to compete and make a profit (or at least not make a loss) and be accountable to shareholders who actiually care what the performance looks like, and no politician has the cojones to take unpopular decisions that are in the fiscal interest of the country but may offend the voters, a significant proportion of whom are either employed by the civil service or authorities, or the 1900 who dont have a job at all. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The Chamber release said that.  "The Cabinet should make bold decisions".  They didn't say the private sector should make the decision.  

        The point is that without effective implementation the decision is irrelevant.  The Cabinet can decide whatever it wants.  What will actually happen is whatever the CS is capable of delivering.

        Why?  Because as we have read recently, there is no realistic sanction for non-performance in the CS… apart from public shame, which has worked real well so far.

        I must say I know lots of civil servants that can barely sleep at night because of all the shame.  I don't know how they cope.

      • Anonymous says:

        If they don't, then get them out. Do not wait for the next election.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Chamber is right we cant have the foxes guarding the hen house and expect positive results

  13. Anonymous says:

    e&y report will go the way of the miller shaw report…..

    the spineless gov have not got the guts to implement anything or make tough decisions….

  14. Anonymous says:

    More consulting fees for private sector!!!

    "We would have preferred to see some independent private sector involvement that can offer relevant expertise in, or oversight of, the implementation process."

    Sure, let's engage another one of the private firms for more consulting services! What a joke! Who's running the Chamber?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Chamber of Commerce and President Moxam for courageous leadership again saying precisely what the vast majority feel about this project. A detailed response but well worth it. This governement will go through the motions but are not interested in doing the right thing so this report like the others is an example of exepensive smoke and mirrors.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is interesting that the President of the Chamber has supported this report without checking into the assumptions and objective input that was considered by EandY. there are glaring mistkes in some of their recommendations as they are based on flawed and incorrect assumptions, shows how gullible and shallow the chamber can be in their assessment of what to support.this is merely another attempt to smear the civil service (no I am not a civil servant). what is needed is objective review of the core civil service to refine improve efficiencies. theres a role fr overnment to povide services for the greater good of the contry. trust me the same chamber will be screaming when government sells off core assets and service is not what it should be or is twice as expensive. then the scream will be 'why doesnt government do something about these core serviecs. the chamber should intelligently review and research before making these broad statements of support. just because the report is conducted by EandY does not mean its accurate or correct. in fact it is a shallow broadsweep and should be provided to the government free of cost. the people should not have to pay for such errors.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rubbish. That stance might have been correct 10 years ago. But not today. Have we not seen the difference in the CS.

      A travel policy for CS and elected officials
      No more Wasting of our money on drivers etc
      No huge jolly trips for ministers and supporters
      Surplus budget
      Accounts submitted on time
      Quality of accounts improving
      Tremendous improvement in performance management
      Publication of credit card and travel costs
      Better procurement on major capital projects

      Who has achieved these things? The Chamber? Noooooo the CS and Ministers. So if they can do all of that- they can certainly implement the EY recommendations.

      • Dread On Dread says:

        Hold on unemployment not solved, crime not solved, minimum wage can't make up de mind, cost of living highest it ever been, roadworks that glow in the dark not hearoff again etc, so what the  i!??xx is your point.