Tourism director quits

Director of Tourism Ms Pilar Bush has resigned her post.

The announcement that she would vacate her position on 30 June came as Ms Bush and other tourism officials were in London attending the Chelsea Flower Show.

The resignation comes weeks after Ms Bush wrote a letter of apology to Aaron Chandler following his detention on 30 April for kissing his gay partner in public.

No charges were filed and Mr. Chandler, 23, was eventually set free and allowed to return home to Massachusets.

The letter of apology caused many writers to the Compass Letter’s to the Editor section and callers in to radio talk shows to demand a retraction of the letter. Some went as far as to demand Ms Bush’s removal from office.

It appeared that Ms Bush and Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford were at odds on the issue.

‘All of us in this room and most people in Cayman would agree that what happened in that incident at Royal Palms was offensive to most people in Cayman,’ Mr. Clifford told an audience of about 25 people at the Webster United Church Hall in Bodden Town earlier this month.

Ms Bush could not be contacted for comment and a press release from the Ministry of Tourism made no mention of the gay kissing incident.

Ministry of Tourism chief officer noted the director’s achievements in the press release.

“Since her appointment in 2005, Ms Bush has worked closely with the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector to facilitate tourism recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan,’ said Mrs. Gloria McField-Nixon, chief officer of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce. ‘Among her notable achievements has been the strengthening of the management team of the Department of Tourism including creating the positions of deputy director of international marketing, deputy director of product and general manager for the US DoT overseeing sales teams in the United States.

‘Ms Bush has established a strong and highly functional unit, which is a testament to her leadership of the department. I wish to commend her for her hard work and commitment as Director of Tourism.”

Ms Bush said, “It has been a privilege to serve as director of Tourism for my country for the past three and a half years and to be part of a talented team of committed tourism professionals in the public and private sector. While this is perhaps one of the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling times to be director of Tourism, this very hard decision has been made in the best interests of my young family.”

Ms McField-Nixon said Deputy Director of International Marketing Mr. Shomari Scott will be appointed acting director. The position of director of Tourism will be advertised in the coming weeks following established protocols.