Miller: Block foreigners from civil service college

Job training and further education courses offered to government workers through the Cayman Islands Civil Service College should be made available to Caymanians only, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller said last week.

Mr. Miller’s comments were made during a review of the government budget in Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee during which he questioned the costs of training and educating non-Caymanian government workers who would eventually “take their knowledge with them.”

“Why are non-Caymanians allowed to take advantage of the civil service college?” Mr. Miller asked.

“They are civil servants. This is a civil service college,” Deputy Governor Franz Manderson replied. “I don’t see how I can stop someone from trying to upskill themselves while they’re here.”

Andrea Fa’amoe of the Portfolio of the Civil Service explained during the committee’s hearing that Caymanians made up about 75 percent of the students taking courses offered at the civil service college, including those offered through UCCI. Registrants for the associate-level degree courses in public administration this year – taken by more than 400 people – were about 62 percent Caymanian, Ms. Fa’amoe said.

“We’re doing our best to ensure that Caymanians take this opportunity,” Mr. Manderson said. “[The courses] are free [for civil servants], you can do most of this online. There’s really no excuse for anyone not taking up these courses.”

The deputy governor said he planned to make it mandatory in the government’s upcoming budget year for Caymanian civil service managers of a certain rank to take customer service and leadership courses through the college.

Mr. Miller objected to the idea of government spending $200 per non-Caymanian civil servant to take a civil service college course, especially if they were “pushing out” Caymanians from taking the class. Mr. Manderson said Caymanians were given first opportunity and that most of the courses were held during non-work hours.

“A lot of those persons are already skilled up for their jobs but they want to acquire new skills, additional skills in other areas,” Mr. Manderson said.

“Does the deputy governor not see that as unfair competition for Caymanians who are competing to move up the ladder?” Mr. Miller asked. “We brought one here in 1990 for [a] six months contract and he’s still here. And he’s been moving up the ladder, his ladder is long as Jacob’s [referring to the staircase to heaven described in Genesis].

“I have great difficulty when we are using our limited resources to provide training for people who are going to take their knowledge with them. That is a wasted investment, by any stretch of the imagination.”

Mr. Manderson said he was uncertain it would be legal to exclude non-Caymanian government workers from taking civil service college courses, given the anti-discrimination clauses now within the Cayman Islands Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Finance Minister Marco Archer did not support the idea of banning non-Caymanians from taking the courses, but wondered whether basic math and reading courses could be expanded to Caymanians who do not currently work for the civil service and who wished to improve their lot in life.

“It would be a wonderful opportunity for people earning minimum wage or something out there if they could upskill themselves via the government’s program at a significantly reduced price,” Mr. Archer said.

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  1. I have great difficulty when we (expats) are using our limited resources (duty, fees etc) to pay for schools that we (expats) are not permitted to use. Don’t be so small minded Mr Miller, it is not becoming.

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  2. I must say for the past 2 weeks, the stories and quotes from Cayman’s leaders are very upsetting for those who emigrated here to try to make a home in the Cayman Islands. From Archer to Miller all we hear is expats shouldn’t do this, shouldn’t have access to that, should no longer own businesses and so on. In a country in which 1/2 of the population are "expats" there’s little reason to cause more of a wedge between us. Both communities benefit each other, it should be a symbiotic relationship; however, more and more the rhetoric is to divide us, not unite us.

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  3. More divisive garbage. So, it’s about Cayman’s finances now? Okay, how about EX-PATS subsidizing Cayman’s healthcare system from Caymanians who refuse to pay their health bills to the tune of $70 million?
    So, while Mr. Miller argues against using several thousand dollars on educations for ex-pat workers he
    does not hold his own people accountable for $70 million of unpaid medical bills. Jacob could buy the world’s largest ladder manufacturer for that kind of money.

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  4. The next comment will be, why are we allowing those Non Caymanians to breathe our Caymanian air..I don’t understand it, on one hand I hear this CaymanKind edict that suckered a lot people into investing their hard earned money to try and make a life here thinking they will be welcomed and on the other hand I hear all this hatred for anything Non Caymanian. The scary thing about it is that the hatred is sprouting from those that are in charge of the country.

    Caymans True colors are really starting to shine through. It worries me what the future will bring from those of us that fell for the dream.

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  5. Not quite true Michael.

    Ezzard Miller has always been first in line to bash non-Caymanians in any way he can.

    He was elected to power in tiny North Side by a tiny number of people who have mostly been passed by as Grand Cayman has expanded.

    Luckily he does not represent the views of the average educated Caymanian.

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  6. I think that these politicians are playing one side against the other side, and dividing the people. The same time creating a big problem for the Islands by over population . What happened to the good old immigration laws , when you don’t have the money to support yourself or commit a crime you had to leave the Islands. I agree that the program should be open to everyone to make a better hospitality product. I believe that they should have to graduate and seek employment or pay the cost back to Government.

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  7. Let’s set the record straight. At some point EVERYONE living here came here from somewhere else! There were no indigenous people here. So a "true Caymanian" has generations of family dating back. So, someone who moves here in 2015, by some miracle gets PR, has a family and their sons/daughters stay and have families and so on for just as many generations…are they not Caymanian? Will they be considered "drift wood?"

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  8. Thanks Ron..Understood..

    @Brian, In my opinion they will not be considered Caymanian by those that consider themselves Caymanian. Use Kenneth Dart as an example. He came to Cayman fell in love with the place and went through the proper channels to gain status over 20 Years ago. He is one of the richest people on the island has contributed a great deal to the island and its people. He also has hundreds on Millions of Dollars invested into local businesses that happen to be one of the largest employers of Caymanians on the island. Yet the Caymanian People will still consider him Driftwood, at the most they may accept his status ranking and refer to him as a paper Caymanian. With this I ask, why go through expense and trouble to become a part of a community that will never except you as an equal.

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  9. Just imagine if the UK or the USA stopped accepting college applications or transfer credits from our Caymanian children because they did not want their limited resources enriching the Cayman Islands. Imagine how much scholarship money we could save, Ezzard- far more than the paltry $200 per non-Caymanian civil servant. That would make a difference to our budget.

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  10. Out of interest I went to this site https://careers.state.gov/work/civil-service/current-openings and under who may apply it says:Potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Information to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position before applying. Applicants must be United States Citizens and at least 20 yrs old to apply. They must be at least 21 yrs of age to be appointed. By law, all career candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach 60. (preference eligible veterans excepted). For full details on Who May Apply CLICK HERE
    If one will take the time to also look at this site:
    http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/professional_supplement.htm
    In some cases you can’t take the exam and it is also different by state.
    The following is a partial list of restrictions on employment of foreign professionals in the United States. Check out the site

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  11. No doubt MLA Mr. Ezzard Miller cares deeply about Cayman and Caymanians. Sometimes in his zeal he gets it very wrong though.

    If you take the opportunities to talk to sensible Caymanians or listen to conversations between sensible Caymanians, you will realize that MLA Miller is not infallible and does not always talk like a sensible Caymanian. So it is fallacious foolishness to characterize Caymanians in general on the basis of what the individual MLA Miller says and does.

    Furthermore it is foolhardy to expect that MLA Miller would be the most enlightening lecturer on how to treat employees of a large entity such as the Civil Service. Let’s face it, in terms of size of employees the Civil Service is the largest "enterprise" in Cayman. If you take the opportunities to talk to people who are responsible business executives running large enterprises, you will realize that MLA Miller does not always talk sensibly in regard to matters of properly running such an enterprise, managing its employees, providing them leadership and developing their skills so that they as individuals and in turn the enterprise as a whole can perform at a higher level. IF what I have been told about MLA Miller is true, he has never been the executive responsible for the successful operation of a large business, or for the skills development and performance management of a large number of employees, or for running such a business in such a manner that it can make payroll to reward a large number of employees with the full amount they are due every payday. (If my information is wrong about MLA Miller’s career path, I stand to be corrected.)

    Being able to understand and execute those responsibilities demands extensive training and coaching and experience in the practice of business management and enterprise leadership, and if an MLA has not had that training and experience we should not be surprised if he does not speak sensibly about those things. Would it be beneficial for MLA Miller to attend the civil service college to develop some skills in that regard? Is the civil service college accessible to MLAs?

    Anyway:
    It is nonsense and ultimately self-defeating for any employer to put up roadblocks to the development of any employee if and when that employee attempts to avail themselves of accessing resources the employer makes available for employees to develop themselves to perform at a higher level. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible in the use of human capital and worse yet, is divisive and unnecessarily discriminatory. Good, successful employers understand the importance of developing their employees, upgrading their competencies and enhancing their performance, regardless of the employees’ individual nationality.

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  12. A question for the Compass, why do you censor comments even though you also require posters to give their names?

    ***Editor’s Note: We reserve the right to exercise our discretion as publisher according to our standards. For example, we do not publish comments that are potentially libelous or defamatory, nor do we publish comments that contain ad hominem attacks or that do not contribute constructively to the discussion at hand. We also do not publish "spam" or links to outside content that is not germane. We do not, however, censor comments just because the viewpoint expressed may be contrary to the editorial position of the newspaper, or that are critical of the newspaper.***

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