Changes put premier in charge of massive ministry

Chief officer Ahearn keeps responsibility for landfill

A partial Cabinet reshuffle announced in late December puts Premier Alden McLaughlin in an oversight role of most local law enforcement/public safety functions, all government-run healthcare services (with the exception of its insurance company), the George Town landfill, computer services and the Cayman Islands London office.  

In addition, major boards and commissions, such as the immigration-related boards, the national hazard management council, cultural organizations and health services and health insurance boards will fall under the premier’s remit.  

In exchange, former Health and Culture Minister Osbourne Bodden will take over the government Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Counseling Services that formerly fell under the premier’s Ministry of Community Affairs. Mr. Bodden will retain the Department of Sports, Department of Youth Services and the Cadet Corps from his former portfolio.  

According to government organizational records made public this week, the following ministerial responsibilities are assigned to Premier McLaughlin under the direct responsibility of Ministry Chief Officer Eric Bush: the Immigration Department, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service [budget], the 911 center, Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the prisons service, the fire service, the Department of Community Rehabilitation, the Computer Services Department and the Cayman Islands London Office.  

Responsibilities assigned to Mr. McLaughlin under Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn include: healthcare regulatory services, mosquito control and the Department of Environmental Health [waste management].  

Boards and commissions for which the premier will have oversight in the new Ministry of Home Affairs, Health and Culture include: the Business Staffing Plan Board, the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Immigration Board, the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, the Work Permit Board, the National Hazard Management Council, the e-Government Advisory Committee, the National Drug Council, the Health Services Authority, the Health Practice Commission, the Medical and Dental Council, the Council for Professions Allied with Medicine, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Pharmacy Council, the Cayman Islands National Museum, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, the National Gallery and the Health Insurance Commission.  

Departments assigned to Minister Bodden in the new Ministry of Community Affairs, Sports and Youth under Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker include: the Department of Children and Family Services, counseling services, the Department of Sports, the Youth Services Unit and the Cadet Corps.  

Boards and committees included under Mr. Bodden’s remit are: the Adoption Board, the Children and Youth Services Foundation, the National Sports Council and the National Youth Commission.  

Premier McLaughlin has offered no explanation to the Cayman Compass for a sudden decision in late December to switch ministerial responsibilities after stating that Mr. Bodden’s well-publicized Dec. 10 office tirade, heard by some 20 to 30 staffers, was a “variance of opinion” between Mr. Bodden and Ms. Ahearn.  

Mr. Bodden has not responded to repeated attempts to contact him for comment following the Cabinet shuffle.  

The full extent of Mr. Bodden’s cursing and berating of Ms. Ahearn was revealed in a report sent to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson on Dec. 12. Some of the contents of that report were made public in a Dec. 17 article in the Compass.  

According to the description of events that was given to Mr. Manderson, Minister Bodden’s statements were referred to as discriminatory, profane and threatening. The shouting was clearly heard by staff members of other government ministries that share the same office floor.  

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  1. I know one thing, the premier will have his hands full. Another thing I cannot understand is this. If you do not belong to a party you will be kept out in the cold……. Is that working together for a better Cayman?……. Those positions could have been spread around. A few could have even been shared with others, even to Al Suckoo, who acted in a few Ministerial capacities. What about Mr Arden McLean or Mr Ezzard Miller. These men are Old Vetrans in the house.
    In your home if you and your wife is sleeping in separate rooms, does that also mean she cannot use the kitchen?
    Anyway una must know wha una doing. And not because Mr Bush is an opposition that he would not do the right thing. We will never get anywhere because we are definitely not working for the better Cayman, but for individual ourselves.
    Commenting on Minister Bodden’s new position, I believe it was in the best interest to be removed because communication had been broken down to a serious degree in that department. I am sure he is quite aware of much cleaning up needed in his many new assignments. Besides consideration is needed by all parties to stop hogging up two three positions and allow more sharing. Everyone is already getting a big salary, so there should be no need to want more money, just work for it.

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