DER overhaul planned

The Cayman Islands Department of Employment Relations will soon come under the microscope of government managers.

Though a consultant visiting the islands this week is studying minimum wage and Labour Law provisions as part of his review, Samuel Goolsarran is mainly expected to focus on the DER.

‘We believe that the department essentially needs an overhaul,’ said Employment Minister Alden McLaughlin. ‘We need to look…at what it is that department is achieving, and what it ought to achieve.’

Mr. McLaughlin said the study will consider such issues as strategic direction, structure of the department, and the level of employee skills which exist there. Mr. Goolsarran will make recommendations on how the department’s work can be improved. No timeline was given for when those recommendations would be completed.

Department Deputy Director Philip Scott said he’s looking forward to the review, particularly if it provides any recommendations in the area of occupational safety and health.

‘Whether we have the right support to deliver that; it should provide some kind of idea where we go from where we are now,’ said Mr. Scott.

Department Director Walling Whittaker recently left his job to take a position in the private sector, although Mr. Scott said he is technically on a combined study and vacation leave and has not officially been replaced. Mr. Whittaker had openly criticised government over the implementation of a performance based pay policy for its workers.

In a previous interview with the Caymanian Compass, Mr. Whittaker said he thought such a system would ‘never work in the civil service.’

Mr. McLaughlin said last week that the consultant’s review had nothing to do with Mr. Whittaker’s departure. He also said Mr. Goolsarran’s review would not consider Civil Service Law reforms which took effect 1 January.

‘Mr. Whittaker’s remarks, I think, represent his own view, certainly not the government view. In fact, it runs contrary to the government view. I don’t think I want to say anymore about it.’