Cayman Islands Governor-designate Helen Kilpatrick has a fairly busy schedule during her first few days on the island chain that she will administer for at least the next three years.
Ms Kilpatrick is set to arrive just before noon Friday on a Cayman Airways flight at Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman, where she will be met by an honor guard of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, as well as Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin and Acting Governor Franz Manderson and other dignitaries.
A brief trip to the governor’s home on Seven Mile Beach won’t give Ms Kilpatrick much time to settle in as she’ll be whisked off to the Legislative Assembly at 2 p.m. for the official swearing-in ceremony, where she will officially become the Cayman Islands’ first female governor.
Later in the evening on Friday, a welcome reception will be hosted for her at Pedro St. James. A brief program for the event will begin around 7 p.m.
Over the weekend, several internal meetings are scheduled with the governor’s office staff. On Monday, Ms Kilpatrick will be back on the road again for a tour of the government administration building late in the morning.
Ms Kilpatrick was in Cayman about five weeks ago for a short visit, described as a “personal familiarization” visit. She didn’t have much to say about the task ahead at the time.
The governor-designate said her first impressions of the Cayman Islands were “absolutely fantastic.” She said everyone she’d met was friendly, but added that she needed to do quite a bit more meeting-and-greeting when she returns in September.
“My priority has got to be to listen and learn when I first arrive,” she said in July. “One-and-a-half days is not enough. I’m definitely going to be spending my first four to six weeks getting around, meeting everybody, touring the island and making sure that I understand where everybody’s coming from and what the issues are.”
The governor-designate declined to talk about specific initiatives or policies during a brief meeting with the media. Reporters also asked about her appointment, given her financial accounting background, at a time when Cayman’s local government finds itself in fiscal difficulty.
“A background in financial accounting will help anybody in this sort of role. It’s an important aspect of government, it’s an important aspect of business life in Cayman,” she said.
Her professional background is in sharp contrast to former Governor Duncan Taylor, who is a career diplomat and was British High Commissioner to Barbados prior to his service in the Cayman Islands. Ms Kilpatrick, since 1982, has worked largely in London, serving between 1995 and 2005 as West Sussex County Council deputy chief executive. Subsequently, she was named director-general and, in 2012, acting permanent secretary in the Home Office.