Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes you just may
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson issued a memorandum to all
civil servants Monday ahead of the 2012 Throne Speech and budget address
telling members that, in order to help the country balance its budget, the mark
has been put back on the forehead of the largest employer of people in the
Cayman Islands – the government.
Just as civil servants were digesting the idea that they
would have to start paying for their own health insurance and other measure
including pensions and certain housing allowances, the memo said no changes
would be made.
Instead, the 3.2 per cent salary cut is back, as are other
budget cutting measures.
We feel empathy for those in government who have been on an
economic and emotional roller coaster in the past year. Many must be wondering
if this round of cuts aimed at civil servants is going to stick.
The memo went on to let civil servants know that some of
them are going to have to take on extra duties to cover vacancies that won’t be
filled and that more vacancies can be expected. Those filling those vacuums
will still work for at the reduced salary rate.
What the public must remember is that it has been calling
long and hard for a reduction in Civil Service. If the warnings of the memo
become reality, the public will have to realise reduced resources will impact
on the services they receive from government.
Mr. Manderson’s memo tells civil servants that they’ll have to
work at educating the public how reduced resources are going to take a toll on
service. There are, honestly, some duplications of efforts within the Civil
Service that can be trimmed without too much negative impact on the public. In
reality, we shouldn’t be at this point. Successive governments should be held
accountable for letting the Civil Service become too unwieldy and letting
spending get out of control. At the end of the day, the fix of the budget is
going to come on the backs of real people who may eventually find themselves
looking for work.
At the end of the day, cutting civil servants’ pay isn’t
enough; this is just the start.