Jennifer Ahearn remains ministry’s chief officer
Osbourne Bodden has been removed from his position as Minister of Health and Culture, but retained as Minister responsible for Community Affairs, Youth and Sports, the Cayman Islands government announced Friday.
Premier Alden McLaughlin will assume the role of Minister of Health and Culture with Jennifer Ahearn as his chief officer.
The switch follows revelations this week that Mr. Bodden had engaged in what was described as a screaming and profanity-laced encounter with Ms. Ahearn, the Ministry of Health’s chief officer, on Dec. 10.
Dozens of civil servants clearly heard Mr. Bodden shouting at Ms. Ahearn statements including, “You aren’t even Caymanian, you are like a piece of f&%king driftwood,” and “You know that I can make your life a living hell,” in a tirade that resulted in a security guard being called to the scene.
There had been growing pressure on Mr. Bodden to step down in the wake of the incident. In a statement released through his press secretary Tammie Chisholm at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, which made no specific reference to the incident, Premier Alden McLaughlin announced a Cabinet reshuffle for the new year.
The statement reads:
“As of Jan. 1, 2015, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin will assume the role of Minister of Health and Culture. His Chief Officer will be Ms Jennifer Ahearn.
“Minister Osbourne Bodden will assume the duties of Minister responsible for Community Affairs with Ms Dorine Whittaker remaining as Chief Officer of that Ministry.
“Councillor Mr. Roy McTaggart will be attached to the Ministry of Health and Culture while remaining Councillor for Financial Services. The Premier will remain as Minister of Home Affairs. Minister Bodden will now be in charge of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports.
“The Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service will facilitate the administrative re-arrangements resulting from these decisions.”
Previously Mr. McLaughlin had described the incident as a “personnel misunderstanding” and said it would be neither “helpful or appropriate” to discuss it in the press.
He added, “Sometimes, when you have strong personalities who are passionate about their work, differences in opinion will occur. There was such a variance of opinion between Minister Bodden and his chief officer, for which the minister has already apologized in writing to his chief officer and the ministry staff.”