Thirty-one Cayman Islands civil servants are on suspension with pay over various issues, including criminal allegations, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson confirmed Wednesday.
The longest period of suspension in any one case is about four years, Mr. Manderson said. It involves a case that has been pending before the court for some time, he said.
“There are some persons who have been suspended just recently, there are some who are before the court,” he said.
The deputy governor was responding to questions from Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush in the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee. Mr. Bush asked what was the “worst case scenario” regarding any of the suspended employees.
Mr. Manderson said, if convicted of a crime or of a serious administrative violation, civil servants can be “separated” — terminated — from the government.
With regard to one specific case, an investigation at the prison involving video recordings of a prison employee authorized by a senior staff member, Mr. Manderson said one senior officer remains on paid leave while the other employee involved has left the government service.
Mr. Manderson said the contract for one of the prison employees involved, a non-Caymanian, had expired and that person had left.
He said the other, a former deputy prisons director, still has a civil case before the Grand Court as of Wednesday, and declined to comment on it.
“I don’t want to get into the details of what negotiations we’re having,” Mr. Manderson said.
East End MLA Arden McLean asked which prison officer had been fired, and whether the chief officer who did the firing had the authority to do so. “We take this place too lightly,” Mr. McLean said. “I expect answers. That is my job.”
Finance Committee Chairman Marco Archer intervened and cautioned Mr. McLean that the government’s meeting “should not be taken as a substitute for the courts.”
Mr. McLean argued that lawmakers have asked questions over and over about some of the government’s employment-related issues and have not received answers — at least not in public — regarding what steps government had taken to address labor issues. Mr. McLean said previous private meetings with the deputy governor on the subject produced few “tangible” results.
“There [are] no tangible results coming out of those, other than for [Mr. Manderson], it gives him the opportunity that we don’t question him in [Finance Committee],” Mr. McLean said.
As the discussion grew heated, Mr. Archer suggested: “You can do what you always do, go on the radio and say what you want to say … even though something different has been said in the Legislative Assembly.”