It took several months, but the Cayman Islands government Department of Labour and Pensions has received several new staff members that will assist in monitoring of labor codes and practices.
The new appointments include a new deputy director for labor matters, Loval Linwood, new head of inspections Gene Hydes, senior pensions officer Leticia Goring, senior labor officer Dwayne Forde, and labor and pensions inspector Angela Madourie.
“Even with the pressures to contain costs and headcount [in the civil service] … I am pleased that the government is supporting the department with additional resources to ensure that it can better enforce the labor and pensions laws,” said Director of Labour and Pensions Mario Ebanks.
Mr. Ebanks noted the five recruits still left the department with “less than optimum” staff levels.
The former private sector accountant criticized government leaders earlier in the year for leaving the department “hamstrung” and forcing him to perform not only the director’s job, but also that of acting superintendent of pensions.
The department had been without a deputy director for labor since March, when former deputy Marlon Bodden joined Her Majesty’s Customs service. Mrs. Linwood has replaced him. Mr. Ebanks has been acting pensions superintendent since December 2012, when the pensions superintendent, Amy Wolliston, left that role.
According to officials in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, Ms. Wolliston has been reassigned to that ministry “working on special projects” that deal with pensions-related matters. The ministry has oversight responsibility for pensions matters.
The special projects include the redrafting of the National Pensions Law that governs private sector pensions. The new law is expected to be presented to the Legislative Assembly sometime in 2016.
As of June 30, 2013, a total of 1,144 business were listed as delinquent on payments to the private sector retirement system. Those businesses owed a total of $13.7 million to their current or former workers, according to Mr. Ebanks. Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams called the situation “a national crisis” in a report released to the press and the Legislative Assembly last October.
Nearly a year since that declaration, instances of pension violations being resolved through the court system appear to be few and far between. According to records released by Mr. Ebanks, some 15 cases where pension violations had been alleged were currently before the courts, while only four had been brought to a conclusion.