Employment opportunity questioned

The Cayman Islands government is legally allowed to curtail applications for certain jobs based on where applicants live or who they work for, according to officials in the Portfolio of the Civil Service.

Deputy Head of the Civil Service Peter Gough said last week that there are essentially three types of job applications the government sends out.

Mr. Gough said certain jobs are posted internally, which means only those currently working in the Cayman Islands Civil Service are eligible to apply. Some civil service jobs are available only to citizens or residents of the Cayman Islands. Other positions are made available to job-seekers throughout the world.

The issue of job eligibility was recently raised by Opposition MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly during a meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s finance committee.

Ms O’Connor-Connolly questioned whether employees of statutory authorities or government agencies would be forbidden from applying for internally posted civil service jobs.

Mr. Gough said if the job application specified ‘civil service employees only’ then employees of government agencies or authorities would be prevented from applying.

Mr. Gough said the case Ms O’Connor-Connolly referenced involved an application for Deputy District Commissioner of Cayman Brac. He said applications for that position were limited to civil servants.

‘When there is a vacancy, the chief officer (of the Ministry or Portfolio) can decide whether he thinks he can fill it by advertising it just within the civil service,’ Mr. Gough said. ‘They make that decision based on the job and where they feel they can recruit from.’

In the case of the Deputy District Commissioner, Mr. Gough said it was possible a government agency or statutory authority might have received an internal job posting from the civil service and the applicant simply didn’t notice it was an internal posting.

‘That’s the first time it’s happened that I know of where someone (from outside the civil service) has applied for a job and the advert was only internal,’ Mr. Gough said.

Employees of statutory authorities like the Health Services Authority or the Cayman Islands Airport Authority are considered public servants, but not members of the civil service. The same goes for government agencies such as the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau.

Statutory authorities and government agencies have more operational autonomy than ministries or portfolios under the direct control of central government. Their workers are also not held to the same pay scales as civil servants.