Editorial for 12 February: Still too many civil servants

It sounds almost too good to be true.

We learned over the weekend that the civil service is going
to get a trim.

The Caymanian Compass has long opined that there are too
many people in the civil service, putting a large dent in the government’s

There are about 6,000 people in the public service; that’s
more than 10 per cent of the entire workforce in the Cayman Islands.

The Miller/Shaw report, which was handed down in 2010,
recommended that only 3,100 people should be in the civil service, not counting
those statutory authorities and government-owned companies.

Before anything can be done, a panel of three local people
and one unnamed expert from the United Kingdom will review those employed in
the 13 ministries, 25 statutory authorities, 75 departments as well as
government companies, board, commissions and committees.

The meeting minutes from a 21 January civil service chief
officers meeting said some functions and responsibilities of those entities
being reviewed may be duplicated, obsolete, misplaced or require structural
adjustments to better serve the needs of the territory.

The report is due in April, a month before the general
election on 22 May.

We hope it doesn’t get delayed because of the election.

In the past, elected officials would not come out in support
of nixing civil servant jobs because they feared they would be punished in the

In fact, the government has continually ignored the various
recommendations made in the Miller/Shaw report.

If this election is like any in the past, we can expect new
faces in the civil service as elected legislators find jobs for those who
helped them successfully campaign. It happens after every election.

The Miller/Shaw report didn’t hold back. It concluded the
only real savings within the Cayman Islands government budget would come in the
area of personnel costs. The report said at the time the matter was urgent. It
still is. Hopefully this won’t be another exercise in futility.




  1. the Miller/Shaw report did not take into consideration that although 3 under educated and unmotivated still can not accomplish the work of 1 educated and skilled person, it is still better than one under educated and unmotivated person. And that is why even over filled this service still can not accomplish its goals. Due mostly to the lack of any TRUE educational reform Cayman can not both hire Caymanians and perform with any real expectation of accomplishment.

  2. 6,000 civil servants must be far more than 10% of the workforce.

    The entire population is approx 55,000. Take out children, students, elderly etc and your % increases significantly.

    Would like to see somebody accurately work it out and compare to other similar size islands. Look forward to seeing if you agree.

  3. bananabread

    The editorial used the term workforce, not the total number of employed.
    Workforce implies the total number of people that can be put to work; a resource that can be used, when and if necessary, regardless of age or capability.

    6,000 (or 10%) civil servants would be representative for the current population per the use of the term ‘workforce’.

    And, unfortunately, its extremely top heavy no matter how we do the math.

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