Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has named Frank Cornwall Jr. as his new political assistant, replacing Kenneth Bryan, who was fired Friday.
Mr. Bryan had been on paid suspension following criminal allegations filed against him in December.
The announcement regarding Mr. Cornwall was made public via a government email sent Monday afternoon.
The new political assistant is a longtime behind-the-scenes backer of the People’s Progressive Movement who has worked in the construction business, as well as in the Department of Environmental Health and Department of Health.
Mr. Cornwall is also a community volunteer. He was a goalkeeping coach for the Cayman Islands Under-15 team that competed in last year’s CONCACAF regional tournament, and he also works with students at Savannah and Prospect primary schools.
“I welcome Mr. Cornwall,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “I have been without a political assistant since December. My constituency work is being neglected and the needs of the people I was elected to represent are not being met.”
Mr. Cornwall’s appointment, like all the premier’s office staff apart from his personal assistant, is on a contractual basis. He is considered a political appointee, not a civil servant.
He is described by Premier McLaughlin as a “grassroots George Towner” who “knows the district inside and out.”
The premier said earlier that his decision to fire Mr. Bryan was one that he regretted “had come to this point.”
Mr. Bryan said Saturday that he was fired over politics.
“[The premier] admitted to me that I’m a liability to him,” Mr. Bryan said. “He could care less about what’s happening to me. If it’s going to affect his reign, then he’s going to get rid of me.”
Mr. Bryan said that while he still supported the PPM political party and what it stood for, he could no longer back Mr. McLaughlin as its political leader.
A number of other high-ranking positions, not in the premier’s office, but in Mr. McLaughlin’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Health and Culture, remained without full-time managers as of press time Tuesday. Acting directors or department chiefs are currently staffing those jobs.
The hiring process for those jobs is handled by civil servants and managed under the Public Service Management Law, not by the premier.
A decision regarding suspended Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans has not been made. She is on “required leave” – suspension with pay – until at least March 24.
The Immigration Department’s director of boards, Kimberley Davis, also remains on paid suspension while various allegations related to the approval of a work permit are investigated against her.
Meanwhile, the Cayman Islands government is still in the recruitment process for a new head of the fire service, a process that has dragged on for two years following the retirement of former Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden. Various acting chiefs have filled the role since then, but none has been appointed on a full-time basis.
A new full-time head of the Cayman Islands London Office has not been appointed, despite the departure of Lord Blencathra a year ago.
In addition, the Cayman Islands government is searching for the sixth time since 2012 for a collector of customs, who operates under the Ministry of Finance.