More than one in seven people in
the Cayman Islands labour force are working
for the government or one of its owned entities.
That figure came to light when
Auditor General Dan Duguay revealed that 2,355 people work for statutory
authorities and government companies, in addition to an estimated 3,682 people
working for central government.
“So between central government and
statutory authorities, you’ve got about 6,000 people working in government,”
Mr. Duguay said.
A report issued by the Economic and
Statistics Office in November showed Cayman’s workforce at 37,450 through the
end of 2008. If that figure were still
valid now, that would mean that more than 16 per cent of people employed here
derive their income from government revenues.
service size static
A slight decrease seen earlier in
the number of Cayman Islands civil servants appeared
to halt in the last part of 2009, according to figures provided by the
Between 30 September, 2008 and 30
September, 2009 the number of employees in central government, often called
core government, fell from 3,833 people to 3,682 – a decrease of 151 workers or
just less than four per cent of staff.
However, in the last quarter of
2009, the number of core government employees stayed roughly the same, ending
on 31 December, 2009 at the exact same number – 3,682 workers.
Central government does not include
employees who work in statutory authorities or government-owned companies,
entities that operate outside direct daily control of government and which
often generate fees through their own sources to support at least a portion of
According to Portfolio of the Civil
Service Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon, numbers for core government
employees will fluctuate somewhat. Any figures provided will be a “snapshot” of
who is employed by government on a given day.
Since last year, government has
been operating under a soft hiring freeze, meaning hiring of new staff or
filling vacant positions is determined based on a number of factors including
whether the government department met its expenditure goals, how crucial the
job is to the government entity’s core mission, and the length of time a
position has remained vacant, among other considerations.
However, core government public
servants are not the only employees government must pay.
There are roughly 30 statutory
authorities or government-owned companies in the Cayman Islands.
Counting up employees in the
separate authorities can be more of a challenge, Mr. Duguay noted at the recent
Stuarts International Funds Conference.
“I got a call from a reporter the
other day who [asked], ‘how many people work in government?’” Mr. Duguay said.
“Well, (it) should be a relatively simple question.”
Mr. Duguay said while the core
government maintains a report tracking its employees, the various authorities
don’t keep such an organised list in any sort of summary.
“The short answer when we did the
research is, unless you want to go back to each one of those budget submissions
and add up what each one has, there’s no document that tells you that,” Mr.
Duguay. “It actually took my staff more than a day to come up with an answer.”
Some of the statutory authorities
are self sustaining and in fact, earn the government revenue.
For instance, the Cayman Islands
Monetary Authority – which according to the auditor general’s count employs 168
people – is being counted upon in the current year’s budget to supply central
government with $10 million from a portion of its profits.
Similarly, the Cayman Islands
Airports Authority is budgeted to provide $8 million to central government this
year, with the Cayman Islands Civil Aviation Authority providing an additional
Other authorities or
government-owned companies such as the Cayman Turtle Farm, Cayman Airways, and
the Health Services Authority have typically reported large operating losses and
must be subsided by the government.
In recent years, the statutory
authorities and government companies have tended to end up in the red.
In the previous 2008/09 Cayman Islands budget, the net loss from all public
authorities funded by central government was $11.3 million. This year that figure
was projected to fall to $6.7 million.