UCCI still needs new president

Roy Bodden a possible candidate

The search for a new president of the University College of the Cayman Islands is underway, but the university first needs to fill vacant positions on its board.

Chairman of the board, Conor O’Dea, confirmed that a committee had been established to appoint a new president

He said the committee had been formed but was ‘not at [a] stage of any permanent appointment being forthcoming’

There are four vacancies on the board of governors. Each member is appointed for three years and members of the current board are due to sit until 28 February 2010. The four board positions have been vacant since last year.

‘We will meet with the new Minister when his schedule allows,’ Mr. O’Dea said. ‘The board vacancies will obviously be on the agenda at that time, but the board continues to work effectively.

‘No shortlist of candidates [for university president] has been drawn up and indeed the process is ongoing. I am unaware of any names of potential candidates at this stage,’ Mr. O’Dea said.

Brian Chapell has been the acting president of the university since Hassan Syed left the island in May last year, just before the auditor general revealed allegations of financial irregularities at the university.

The whereabouts of Mr. Syed are unknown. An investigation by the police’s Financial Crimes Unit is ongoing.

It is believed that one of the forerunners for the post of university president is former education minister and author Roy Bodden.

Asked if Mr. Bodden was likely to become the new president, the new Minister of Education Rolston Anglin replied: ‘That would be a great choice. That would an excellent choice. But I would not presume to tell the management who to appoint.’

He added: ‘When we have formed a new board, they will be working on that. They have a few gaps in the board.’

Mr. Bodden said he had heard the rumours that he was in the running to become president, but insisted he had not been approached to take up the role.

‘I am completing my second historical work, which I hope to publish by the end of November or beginning of December. That has been my commitment for the past several months. I have had no time to speculate about the [UCCI] presidency.

‘Would I accept it? That would depend on the terms offered… I am an educator, that is my first love,’ said Mr. Bodden.

Under the University College Law, the university president must sit as an ex officio member on the board, and Cabinet appoints the other members, which include the financial secretary or his nominee; six members from the financial, industrial, commercial or other professional bodies; two honorary members from outside Cayman who do not have a vote on the board; and two other members, including one from the college faculty.

Cayman Free Press reporter Shurna Robbins contributed to this article.