EDITORIAL – Running the country: Cayman’s new ‘management team’

Being in the news business, we understand a thing or two about assignments. And, as is the case with the governmental responsibilities given to Cayman Islands ministers, we know daunting ones when we see them.

In the Compass newsroom, our assignments are typically of a daily nature. (“Go to the scene of the fire and bring back a photo,” “Profile that young scholar from Bodden Town,” “Write the editorial for Thursday,” etc.)

The ones doled out to the seven members of Cabinet on Tuesday, on the other hand, are four-year commitments. While that may seem like a lengthy tenure – given the complexity, range and diversity of each minister’s portfolio, encompassing many hundreds of personnel and millions of dollars – a mere four years seems hardly time enough to get one’s bearings, much less to create, issue and carry out most executive decisions, not to mention visionary initiatives for these islands.

Arithmetically, with about 6,000 public employees spread across ministries, departments, authorities and government-owned companies, and with government’s revenue approaching $900 million per year, each of the seven Cabinet ministers, on average, oversees a staff of nearly 1,000 employees and an annual budget of about $125 million. (Think about that. There are very few CEOs in the entire country charged with running operations of that magnitude.)

On top of the ministerial responsibilities, add in the lawmakers’ general obligations to provide constituency services, caucus in order to produce policies, discharge ceremonial functions, and – don’t forget – meet in the Legislative Assembly to make laws, it seems there are very few people anywhere who could perform all of those duties to a satisfactory level.

We understand there is a line separating ministers’ responsibilities for “policy” and chief officers’ (and other civil servants’) responsibilities for executing those policies, and that this Progressives-led coalition government intends to carry on the practice created by the last Progressives administration of deputizing certain other lawmakers as “ministerial councilors” to assist the ministers in specific subject areas.

However, with everything stacked up on the ministers’ plates, and with ever-present political pressures, they might want to seek out – in addition to “councilors” of the ministerial variety – “counselors” of the psychological type, for their own mental well-being. We want our legislators in peak mental and physical condition.

The sheer magnitude of the public sector – and the policy and management oversight it requires – seems to be an inevitable product of Cayman’s system of government and the vast number of functions and services it has accumulated. It also seems inevitable that, with so many responsibilities, ministers will be compelled to prioritize their portfolios and where they will allocate their time and deploy their available resources. The challenge requires managerial acrobatics worthy of the Flying Wallendas.

We, along with the rest of Cayman’s public, will be in the seats below, watching the show, eating peanuts and popcorn, and hoping our elected ministers execute their high-wire performances with precision, skill and success.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. My first comments on this report is that, if all Ministers concentrate on working for a better Cayman, while putting God first in everything; they will succeed in plans. Although we all will be expecting our legislators to be in peak mental condition, and prioritize their port folios; working together in unity is a must.

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  2. The last thing I will want is to see is a division in the Bodden Town Independent Candidates; because I will be the first person to call them out.
    We have always had some political division in this district as we reflect on years back, and we got crumbs from the table. Since the past four years we did not even get crumbs, we starved to the point that if Christopher Columbus returned, he would surely recognize Bodden Town. Four years ago we had a full PPM team who looked after PPM and personal interest, nothing for this district and its concerns.
    This time we have four independents; and of course I will be monitoring them all. We have One Minister, Mr Dwayne Seymour, One independent who is an all around guy Mr Saunders and we have two other independents Mr Eden and Mr Suckoo. who are on the opposition bench.
    They all ran with a purpose, to unite and achieve much for all four Bodden Town constituencies. I will be looking forward to see all of them working together for a Better Bodden Town. I will be hoping to hear they are communicating on a regular basis, I will be looking forward to hear they all will be sharing a District Council Office under one umbrella. However if each wants their own district council so be it, but it will definitely show a division. Folks lets not go south on matters of interest that will have us fighting before year end. I have every faith in Minister Dwayne Seymour, and will support him as promised; and I am looking forward to developing that same faith in the others as we go forward. Lets do it.

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