Governor to stay for extra year

Term to run through late 2017

Governor Helen Kilpatrick

Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick has confirmed that she will “opt” for a four-year term as official head of state in the islands, meaning her time in office will extend to September 2017.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick
Governor Helen Kilpatrick

Ms. Kilpatrick, who arrived in Cayman to take up the governor’s post in early September 2013, had the option of taking either a three- or four-year term, according to U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. If she selected a three-year stint, she would have been departing this fall.

The governor’s office will be losing its current chief of staff, Gary Benham, who is departing Cayman in July this year, and Cayman’s local government is entertaining the thought of a general election anywhere between the last quarter of 2016 to May 2017.

Ms. Kilpatrick’s term extension means, barring unforeseen circumstances, she will be present through the next government election cycle and will welcome in Mr. Benham’s replacement with some time to spare.

The four-year contract extension has become fairly typical for Cayman’s last few governors, replacing the previous trend of a three-year stint prior to retirement from the U.K. government service.

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Former Governor Duncan Taylor received an extra year on his contract, but departed several months early to take up the Mexican ambassador post for the U.K. government. Former Governor Stuart Jack served between November 2005 and December 2009.

Prior to that, four Cayman governors – Bruce Dinwiddy, Peter Smith, John Owen and Michael Gore – served between three- to three-and-a-half-year terms.

Governor Kilpatrick’s term extension means she will also likely preside over the appointment of the British Overseas Territory’s next commissioner of police. Current Commissioner David Baines recently announced his departure from the police service at the end of May.

The governor was also expected to announce the appointment of Cayman’s next auditor general. Former Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick left Cayman in October 2015 and an acting auditor general has been filling in the role since that time.

Also uncertain is the future of the other independent offices appointed by the governor, which have been functioning with acting directors since the retirement of Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert and Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams. The governor’s office has said it is awaiting a Cabinet decision on the proposed merger of those two entities and appointment of a “super ombudsman” to shepherd both offices in the future.

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  1. Hoping Madam Governor will stay for another term. We have lost our auditor general, police commissioner, complaints commissioner and now Governor possibly after fall 2017? God help us. We speak about self governance but we are just not ready for it. Crabs in the barrel mentality plaguing the nation and based on the poor NWDA scorecard- another blow that most of the unemployed are not work ready. We all need to come together- locals and expats, roll up our sleeves, get to work and make Cayman a better place. All this divisive talk is getting us nowhere and sometimes our local politicians need to shut their loud mouths and behave like true leaders. Do what’s best for Cayman before we become a 5th world country like most countries in Africa at the bottom of the UN poverty list. Let’s aspire to climb the ladder as a nation but of course it starts with the right attitude (so no more pointing the fingers at EXPATS for peace sake!!!!!!!!!!!!), and a PLAN, PLAN and PLAN— something not seen since Vision 2008 got eaten up by the garbage monster.

  2. Biting the hand that leads us is a policy doomed to failure. So long as the Cayman Islands wish to remain a British colony as Clarence Ebanks points out, locals and expatriates need to work together for the advancement of all. It seems that ill advised politicians, certainly from one district of Grand Cayman and one particular party, display a strong aversion to the mother country (although I bet they all have British passports) and the resulting conflict should these people be elected to govern, will only make things much worse. If they can come to their senses then they need to seek a mandate based on co-operation with Her Majesty’s Government and if they feel this is not possible, then the only alternative is to seek independence.