CO moves ministries amid controversy

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Chief Officer Eric Bush, Minister Andre Ebanks and DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams

(CNS): Director General Eric Bush is moving from the Department of Investment, Innovation and Social Development (IISD) to the Department of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PAHI). Bush has recently been in the spotlight over controversies over his role in the previous government’s plans to open overseas offices and Cayman’s participation in Expo Dubai. An internal investigation cleared Bush of any wrongdoingin contradiction with results of the Office of the Auditor General.

In a statement released late Monday by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, he made no mention of the recent scandal involving Bush, who has been in public office for two decades and is no stranger to controversy.

The DG skirted the reasons for the decision, but the CNS understands from sources close to the Cabinet that the Minister for Investment, Innovation and Social Development, André Ebanks, had concerns about the issues raised by the OAG at the subject of the ministry activities before the general election and its immediate consequences.

But in the press release, Manderson described the move as recognition of an “area of ​​need” within the civil service to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the department’s former chief officer. plan, Alan Jonesin July 2021 after a career of 31 years of service.

“Through my role as Head of the Public Service, I am committed to maintaining the agility of the public sector to continuously assess and adapt to the needs of government,” Manderson said. “The investments of our key leaders help us effectively achieve strategic outcomes that advance government business in the most efficient and responsible way. »

Manderson added that it was “undeniable” that there were “many distinguished leaders throughout the service,” and Bush was one such leader with high-level experience who can be placed where needed. “It is essential to the success of the service that we remain open to new ways of working while continuing to achieve high levels of performance as we serve the people of the Cayman Islands,” he said.

Bush will take over as head of the Department of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure next week, alongside Minister Jay Ebanks.

Manderson said the Planning Department is running several projects of “critical importance” to the government, such as the roads, which are largely run by the NRA, and the proposed undersea cable, which is in full swing. first steps. The ministry no longer oversees the PlanCayman project and the rollout of the National Development Plan as these have been handed over to the Prime Minister’s ministerial team.

Since Jones retired last yearthe Ministry of Planning was led by Chief NCOs Tristan Hydes and Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, who will now resume their duties as DCOs.

Tamara Ebanks, who was third DCO in the Planning Department but seconded last year to the Department of Social Development to work on some of the key projects initiated under Bush, will take over as PAHI’s interim chief executive. She now leads the ministry overseeing the ongoing transformation of social protection.

This sideways move for Bush is outside of his previous roles in public service, where he started as a police officer. He rose through the ranks and led the Home and External Affairs portfolio, then the Home Office, before serving as the Cayman Islands’ representative to the UK between 2016 and 2019.

He returned to Cayman and served in the executive position at the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs (ITIAMA). This was a new department created by then Prime Minister Alden McLaughlin, but after the 2021 election these portfolios were transferred back under the Financial Services umbrella and the new Department of Investment, Innovation and Social Development.

According to the press release, staff at that department had some of the highest scores in the 2020 and 2021 Public Service Engagement Survey, which “deeply reflects how Mr. Bush’s distinctive attributes in strategic thinking, leadership ability and commitment to empowerment translate into managing people and delivering results”.

Bush said he was honored to continue serving people in this new job. “As the world around us changes, the public service must continue to be dynamic and innovative to achieve the vision of our elected leaders,” he said.


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