(CMR) Deputy Governor Franz Manderson confirmed that currently people are naturalized and sworn in via a Zoom session thanks to available technology. He noted that this month marks one full year that the British Overseas Territory Citizenship (BOTC) online portal was launched; which allows the naturalization process to be done entirely one. Speaking for several hours he noted the various accomplishments of the civil service over the past budget year and some of their goals for the upcoming 2022 year.
He noted that previously people were required to take between 3-4 trips to the government building in order to complete the process. The remarks were made on Friday's meeting of the House of Parliament where DG Manderson reminded the public that despite the pandemic his staff was still working hard and it was business as usual in many respects.
Naturalization ceremonies may return to being held in person shortly.
Manderson also noted that the secretarial services provided to various boards in 2021 allowed for them to run more efficiently and promoted good governance. The Audit and Risk Committee (ARAC) delivered its first annual report and is on track to hold its targeted four meetings per year. The Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy held three meetings to date and dealt with applications for 13 persons; 11 of those were approved for early release – mostly due to COVID-19 related circumstances.
Between January and October 2021 some 36 persons benefited from “the fresh start” provided by the expungement of their criminal records by the Expungement Board under the Criminal Records Spent Convictions Law. He explained that the purpose of that law was to give people with convictions who had satisfied a crime-free period to have their records wiped clean from the older convictions which then allowed them to be able to obtain job opportunities etc.
“Those persons are given a real opportunity to get jobs – some of those persons had been prevented from getting employment for years although they had reformed themselves and although they were of good character for many years that one conviction was preventing them from getting employment, that is now gone, Mr. Speaker.”
He also spoke to some of the professional training opportunities made available to various civil servants including project management training. 50 persons received professionals certificates in project management fundamentals, change management and better businesses cases with some 17 persons advancing and achieving practitioner level certification in change management and better business cases. He noted that this fit well with the Deputy Premier's comments that he would like to see a lot of government projects done in case. Manderson that that this required the civil service ensuring that if they are not using consultants that internal staff are trained up to be able to provide that work with making sure the teams are trained to the appropriate levels.
He also shared how the civil service was instrumental in the deployment and support of the Program Board which has been supporting Cayman's transitions through the various phases of the country's COVID-19 re-opening.
He also noted that the government had funded the anti-gang strategy with an anticipated rollout in 2022.