‘Caymanianisation’ moves slowly

Despite its introduction into Cayman Islands law nearly a year ago, it seems many government departments do not have formal plans for succession training to promote Caymanian employees through the ranks of the civil service.

Succession training or succession planning, as it is often called, is included in the personnel regulations of the Public Service Management Law (2007), which took effect 1 January.

‘There are very few departments at the moment who have succession plans that meet this new requirement as laid out in the law,’ said Mary Rodrigues, chief officer designate of the Portfolio of the Civil Service. ‘That’s not to say there aren’t practices going on and different agencies doing different things. What we’re trying to do is bring a common understanding…about what is the best practise for succession planning.’

The newly formed Cayman Islands Civil Service College held its first course last week on succession planning and competency based talent management. Ms Rodrigues said the course should help government managers with the creation of those plans.

Ms Rodrigues was one of 45 students in the class.

‘In this course we’ve targeted our HR professionals and managers who have a significant responsibility for human resources,’ she said. ‘There needs to be guidance and support for people…and that’s the idea behind the course we’re offering now.’

There are approximately 3,500 employees in the Cayman Islands civil service, and another 1,000 who work for statutory authorities and government companies. Exact figures on how many are Caymanian have not been released to the public, but those numbers have been compiled in anticipation of a seven-year residency term limit for government employees, similar to what is now done in the private sector.

Chief Secretary George McCarthy declined to release the figures when asked about them last week because he said he didn’t want people to panic.

Earlier this year Education Minister Alden McLaughlin guessed that ‘close to a couple thousand’ civil servants would require work permits if two-year government contracts were ended.

Final decisions on how the civil servant term limit or rollover policy will be applied are expected to be made sometime next year by Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack.

Even with the enactment of the civil servant rollover, Ms Rodrigues said she believed succession planning was unlikely to give government a 100 per cent Caymanian workforce.

‘This is not an anti-expat initiative,’ she said. ‘The reality is that there will always be…areas of need where we can’t home grow people. I think that may continue to be a reality, but as far as possible we have to work toward the idea of not being over-reliant on that approach.

‘We must, wherever possible, build and grow our own people. But always you have to balance the richness and positive things that are brought with a workforce where you have people from other countries bringing different skills and experiences.’