Customs staffer is government's employee of the year

Nearly 30 year ago, Gidget Powell applied nine times for a job in Her Majesty’s Customs in Cayman. Her persistence landed her the job, and her subsequent hard work in the department earned her the title last week of the Cayman Islands Government’s Employee of the Year. 

Ms. Powell, who is assistant collector of customs, has spent 26 of her 29 years of government service in the Customs department. 

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson presented her with the award Thursday night at the event hosted by Governor Helen Kilpatrick at Government House. Ms. Powell was chosen from among the 12 Employees of the Month, who have been recognized throughout the year. 

“All of you are winners and have made us extremely proud,” Mr. Manderson told the Employee of the Year candidates. “I thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, in serving the community.” 

Ms. Powell is the third recipient of the award since the deputy governor introduced the scheme to “encourage every employee to go the extra mile in providing service,” the statement noted. 

This year’s candidates included “a remarkable set of nominees for whom excellence is the norm,” said Gloria McField-Nixon, chief officer in the Portfolio of the Civil Service. “These civil servants occupy the 90th percentile among their peers.” 

Ms. McField-Nixon said, “Gidget [Powell] is known for her professionalism and proficiency, whether interacting with staff, colleagues or the public. She exemplifies an extremely high work ethic and strives to lead by example.” 

In determining the winner, Mr. Manderson looked at nominees’ annual performance assessments, their impact on the workplace and the “cooperation, confidence, respect and optimism they embed within their workplace as well as convey to their clients.” 

According to the government statement, Ms. Powell was awarded for her commitment to excellence and to the Customs Department’s customers and clients.  

“Above all, she ensures that the lines of communication with her colleagues remain open, thereby encouraging them to similarly deal with their clients and colleagues,” the statement noted. 

She also ensured that over the years government’s resources were “not squandered but put to the best possible use, demonstrating her solid stewardship and, consequently, her value to the entire service.” Her warmth, compassion and concern for her colleagues also resulted in her championing their causes, including better working conditions, the statement noted. 

At Thursday’s ceremony, Ms. Powell said she enjoys her job and pledged to continue doing her very best. 

“I’m elated, overwhelmed and honored at receiving the award,” she said, thanking the Customs management team for “their valuable, continued support, guidance and for believing” in her, the training manager, fellow assistants, senior and junior staff. “Because we are a team,” she added. 

At Thursday’s ceremony were, from left, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, Premier Alden McLaughlin, Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Employee of the Year Gidget Powell, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Collector of Customs Charles Clifford and Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon.