Cayman Islands Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has urged the territorial governor to confront issues raised by a government minister’s Dec. 10 expletive-laced tirade against a high-ranking civil servant.
Minister Osbourne Bodden’s behavior during the incident involving his former chief officer Jennifer Ahearn was one of a number of matters discussed between Mr. Bush and Governor Helen Kilpatrick during a closed-door meeting Monday. Mr. Bush said he believes Ms. Kilpatrick gave him a good hearing, but said she believes her hands are largely tied in the incident.
“She said the commissioner of police would investigate [the incident] if he gets a complaint.” Mr. Bush said. “I said that was a bunch of nonsense. What other complaint do they need?”
Mr. Bush’s comment references a Dec. 12 report sent to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson by the then-Health Ministry’s acting chief officer based on the recollections of a number of civil servants who were on the fifth floor of the Government Administration Building and who heard Mr. Bodden shouting and cursing at Ms. Ahearn.
Mr. Bodden has never commented to the Cayman Compass regarding the incident, despite numerous attempts to reach him over the course of a few weeks in December.
The report to the deputy governor, sections of which were published in the Compass on Dec. 17, also made reference to what staff members perceived as potential violations of the Cayman Islands Penal Code, as well as human rights concerns. The Compass has not reported the specifics of those statements for legal reasons.
Mr. Bush previously urged Mr. Manderson to make public the report he received from civil service staff, but that has not occurred. The opposition leader said he also had received reports of demands made of civil servants to disclose who might have “leaked” the Dec. 12 report to the Compass.
“I have to be concerned that such a situation took place and that staff were being watched to find out who spoke to the press,” Mr. Bush said. “The civil service of this country deserves much better than that.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin also has not commented on the matter following a partial Cabinet reshuffle announced in late December that puts Mr. McLaughlin in an oversight role of most local law enforcement/public safety functions, all government-run healthcare services, 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 now fall under the premier’s remit.
In exchange, former Health and Culture Minister Bodden takes over the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Counselling Services that formerly fell under the premier’s Ministry of Community Affairs. Mr. Bodden retains the Department of Sports, Department of Youth Services and the Cadet Corps from his former portfolio.
“The premier has still not said what [Minister Bodden] has done to warrant the Cabinet shift,” Mr. Bush said. “He should still explain that to the country.”