The Cayman Islands government service is bringing back to work some employees who were suspended as a result of suspected criminal activity and instituting internal disciplinary proceedings against them for “gross misconduct” after they return.

“I believe that we have no choice but to take this action, given that three years is the average time it is taking for criminal cases to be concluded.”

The internal proceedings were initiated as a way of potentially removing the workers from the government payroll for certain unrelated incidents of administrative misconduct, even if their criminal court cases continued to drag on, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Saturday.

Mr. Manderson said the move was made in response to public concern over the dozens of civil servants who remained on “required leave” – fully paid suspension – for years, in some cases, without court matters being resolved. In June, there were 31 active required leave cases, according to reports made to the Legislative Assembly.

An email Mr. Manderson sent to civil service chief officers in November 2015 stated that the Ministry of Finance, in particular, had “a number of customs officers on required leave as a result of [suspected] criminal activity and it’s our intention to use their cases as a test case.”

“I believe that we have no choice but to take this action, given that three years is the average time it is taking for criminal cases to be concluded,” Mr. Manderson wrote. “Moreover, this action sends all the right signals to the public and staff.”

The deputy governor indicated that legal advice from the solicitor general was obtained before taking the decision.

Asked last week for more information about the paid suspensions, Mr. Manderson said the number of government workers on required leave has been reduced by at least five since the November memo was sent and that the number should shrink further shortly.

“Our goal is simple – reduce the use of required leave across the civil service,” he said, adding that government managers are also looking at ways to reduce the length of time employees who must be suspended and removed from their jobs can continue to receive full pay.

“Right now, a devoted and high-performing employee of many years who suffers a serious illness, such as cancer, can only count on receiving extended sick pay for a finite amount of time,” Mr. Manderson said. “A person who is before the court facing criminal charges has no end date for when their pay may cease. This cannot be right.”

Cases requiring suspension and ultimately termination of civil servants will not always require the employees to be placed on “gardening leave” and in some instances, Mr. Manderson said, it might not be in the public interest to remove someone from productive work they could perform in another office or department while their matters are settled.

He said civil service managers would have to consider a number of factors, including whether the employee’s removal is needed to facilitate a criminal or disciplinary investigation, whether the employee involved is considered a threat to others, whether the alleged misconduct would “erode public confidence” in the civil service, or whether the person would be disruptive if they continued to work.

The deputy governor said senior civil service managers are aware that in some cases, the employees under investigation will be exonerated. However, he questioned whether many government workers on suspension are truly “motivated” to bring their matters to an end, since they continue to receive full pay.

“We are considering amending our laws to introduce gradual pay reductions and finally, to terminate pay for employees who are on leave and facing criminal charges before the courts over prolonged periods,” he said.

“We are purposely tackling this issue so that the alleged misconduct of a few does not compromise the reputation of thousands of hard-working, professional, passionate and honest men and women within the civil service.”


  1. Mr. Manderson why don’t you just have the civil service firing law amended so that when a employee commit a crime, that the decision must be made and heard and finalized in Court within 3 months of the offense .

    As we all know what some of these employees are accused/ suspected off , and why would you want to put them back in same work place . I can understand putting a Immigration Officer to work at the dump to earn his / her pay at dump pay . I would not suspect one of doing wrong in my house , and let that suspect back any where near my house after that .

  2. Why is it that civil servant cases in particular take so long to resolve?. An average of 3 years is ridiculous, as that means all those accused have been enjoying full pay for that period for sitting at home or taking another job all at the taxpayer’s expense.
    What proportion of these suspended workers are actually prosecuted, and how many are found guilty, I suspect the answer would surprise many. Too often there is insufficient evidence due to lax internal procedures/supervision.
    I would be interested to learn how may customs officers are suspended for suspected criminal activity, how long they have been on holiday, and exactly what jobs they would be given if allowed to return.
    Why has it taken decades to reach the point of considering reduction/termination of pay in these cases. I have commented before, if prosecution is initiated, pay should be suspended, and reinstated from the date of suspension if there is a not guilty verdict.

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