‘Mr. Donnie’ named Chief Secretary

Long-time Cayman Islands public servant Donovan Ebanks will be promoted to lead the civil service in July, upon the retirement of current Chief Secretary George McCarthy.

Mr. Ebanks was named to the position Wednesday afternoon by Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack.

‘I’m obviously grateful for the confidence and the opportunity,’ Mr. Ebanks said in an interview with the Caymanian Compass. ‘There are clearly some challenging times ahead, but as I have always had a weakness in avoiding challenges, I am grateful to be able to get my feet on slightly higher and firmer ground to better make my contribution to addressing those challenges.’

Mr. Ebanks said he was anxious to begin working with the new government following Wednesday’s elections.

‘We all know what the economic situation is,’ he said. ‘It’s a different economic environment than we’ve been accustomed to. Certainly it’s a question of what we’ve been doing and what we’re going to be able to do.’

The Chief Secretary is the head of the civil service in Cayman, working directly for the governor, and is responsible for leading some 3,800 government employees.

Mr. Ebanks currently serves as Deputy Chief Secretary under Mr. McCarthy. He is also a member of several crucial government committees such as the advisory committee for the independent police investigation team from the UK Metropolitan Police force, and the national hurricane advisory group.

The vacancy created by Mr. Ebanks’ departure from his current job could possibly leave a critical post within Cayman’s Immigration Department empty as well. Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson has been mentioned as the next deputy chief secretary.

‘I would hope that Franz would apply,’ Mr. Ebanks said. ‘But there will be an open recruitment process.’

Mr. Ebanks said he was ‘deeply indebted’ to Mr. McCarthy who he has worked under the past four years. But he said there was another person toward which his gratitude ran deeper.

‘If I could dedicate this moment to someone it would be my father, the late Craddock Ebanks who also gave 34 years of his life to public service, but always sat on the east side of the Legislative Assembly,’ he said.

Donovan Ebanks’ public service career began in 1975 at the Public Works Department, where he became chief engineer in 1983 and was eventually promoted to Deputy Chief Secretary in 1994.

He was a founding member of the National Hurricane Committee and was the head of operations for that committee during and after the arrival of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.