Civil servants board proposed

Government officials confirmed this week that applications for key employee status made by government workers will be handled by a separate board, once a term limit policy for foreign civil servants’ residency in Cayman is put in place.

The Civil Service Term Limits Advisory Committee will be created to decide on all key employee applications, said Deputy Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks.

The civil servant term limit policy is expected to mirror the seven-year limit on residence for foreign workers now in place for Cayman’s private sector. However, specific details of that policy and an implementation date have not been given.

Key employee applications made by companies for private sector workers are handled by either the Business Staffing Plan board or the Work Permit Board.

Mr. Ebanks said the governor is reviewing a comprehensive report from the Portfolio of the Civil Service which assesses the anticipated effects of the rollover on government.

‘Each chief officer and head of department will be asked to undertake a detailed business continuity exercise in relation to the potential impact of the term-limit policy on their business, to enable them to maintain their current standards of service,’ Mr. Ebanks said.

Any private sector employees granted key employee designations are eligible to stay on island and work an additional two years, giving them a total of nine years. The extra years allow those workers to file applications for permanent residence after they have lived here eight year. Permanent residence gives non-citizens the right to live in Cayman for the rest of their lives.

It’s presumed that the key employee certification would function the same way for government workers.

The impact of a seven-year term limit on government could be significant.

It’s estimated the Cayman Islands civil service has somewhere between 3,500 and 3,800 employees. Immigration documents obtained by the Caymanian Compass in July showed that there were roughly 1,350 workers here on government contracts. Those contracts are only required for non-Caymanian workers.

Opposition lawmakers asked questions Monday in Legislative Assembly about whether term limits, often referred to as the rollover policy, were in place for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. The RCIPS is expected to be one of the worst-affected departments once term limits are implemented since roughly 40 per cent of its overall staff is non-Caymanian.

Mr. Ebanks said no government departments were being affected by term limits yet since the policy has not been implemented for the civil service. He acknowledged that the police had submitted a report in March which asked that police officers be exempted from such a policy.

No decision on any exemptions from the civil servant term limits has been made by Governor Stuart Jack.

‘The RCIPS has been proactive in researching the possible impacts of such a policy,’ Mr. Ebanks said. ‘That is a good thing,’

The Compass reported earlier in the year that 11 RCIPS officers, all foreign-born, had resigned since the beginning of 2008. Overall department staff had dropped from 365 police officers in mid-2007 to 350 officers in mid-2008. No cadet recruiting classes have been hosted by RCIPS so far this year.

West Bay MLA Cline Glidden Jr. also asked questions about turnover of foreign officers, particularly from the United Kingdom in the past year. Although the RCIPS has provided figures on officers’ resignations, it has not said how many have simply chosen not to renew their government contracts.