The planned improvements to the Planning Department’s efficiency announced last September have taken longer than expected, Minster of Planning Kurt Tibbetts said at the Cabinet press briefing on Friday.
One of the reasons things have not progressed as well as anticipated is that the hiring of new personnel has not occurred as quickly as planned.
Nine additional posts were approved, but have not all been filled, Mr. Tibbetts said.
‘We were hopeful that within 30 to 60 days we could have addressed the problems and that we could have gotten these nine people who were approved.’
Mr. Tibbetts said the hiring process was ongoing. ‘We’re battling through it,’ he said.
Cayman contractors have reported that several functions at Planning have slowed down considerably, especially getting inspections.
Mr. Tibbetts said he was well aware of the problems.
‘I face the calls daily myself,’ he said.
The staffing problem has been exacerbated by the tremendous workload of the Planning Department, which Mr. Tibbetts said they were not prepared to have to handle.
The Minister of Planning did have some good news for contractors needing electrical inspections.
‘One of the local contractors has signed a two-year contract to do electrical inspections,’ he said.
Charles Alberga, who was formerly with Androgroup Ltd., will be the new electrical inspector. It is understood he will commence work on 1 February.
Mr. Alberga had already been helping the Planning Department with some electrical inspections on a part-time basis.
‘I have every confidence in Charles,’ said Mr. Tibbetts, explaining that Mr. Alberga already knew the ropes of the electrical contracting business here in Cayman. ‘He will be a good addition to the team.’
Mr. Tibbetts said he would have another meeting with the Planning Department soon to assess the situation.
As for correcting any other possible problems at Planning, Mr. Tibbetts said he would have to wait until all the new staff was on board before assessing if there were other problems that needed addressing.
‘It’s hard to determine (if there are other problems) while there is this issue with staff,’ he said.
Mr. Tibbetts said he was taking the problems at Planning seriously.
‘It’s not taken lightly,’ he said. ‘Eventually, we’ll get there.’