The Progressives-led coalition government has divided responsibilities for different law enforcement agencies among two government ministries, one led by Premier Alden McLaughlin and the other by Minister Tara Rivers.
Under a newly created Ministry of Human Resources, Premier McLaughlin will take Minister Rivers’s former Employment Ministry, along with the Immigration Department and financing responsibility for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Minister Rivers will take the remainder of the Ministry of Home Affairs, including responsibility for fire services, prisons, prisoner rehabilitative services and drug treatment services. She will also take over former Minister Wayne Panton’s role as Minister for Financial Services.
Mr. McLaughlin said Tuesday that the division of responsibilities under Home Affairs and Human Resources ministries signals the new coalition government’s intention to enact wholesale immigration-labor reform this term.
“[We intend to] create a human resources department that deals with all aspects of employment in Cayman,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “I don’t expect it’s that difficult an exercise … I certainly want it done before the end of this calendar year.”
Mr. McLaughlin, who will also oversee the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Community Affairs, said he has essentially taken on three government ministries in what’s expected to be his final term in local politics.
“I think all of the ministers are happy with their new roles, except me,” he joked at a press briefing in the Government Administration Building Tuesday morning.
Minister Rivers, in addition to the new law enforcement responsibilities she now holds, must steer passage of the proposed Legal Practitioners Bill during the first Legislative Assembly meeting of the new government – expected to occur sometime in September.
The bill is one of a number of pieces of legislation the previous Progressives-led coalition attempted to pass, but it failed in the 11th hour due to intense pressure from Caymanian lawyers and special interest groups.
“We obviously just can’t go back to the House with the same piece of legislation,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “It is critical we get this done for a number of reasons.”
The main reason is the pending territorial assessment for Cayman’s financial services sector and other business sectors, under the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that will take place later this year, the premier said.
Minister Rivers’s former Education Ministry has been handed to Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, along with the ministries of Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands.
Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged that Ms. O’Connor-Connolly had been given a significant number of responsibilities and would likely receive two backbench MLAs to assist her as ministry councilors.
New Minister Dwayne Seymour was given responsibility for the Health Ministry and the Environment Ministry, as well as Housing and Culture.
Mr. McLaughlin said a number of recently passed bills that touch Mr. Seymour’s areas of responsibility, including the National Conservation Law, would be reviewed and amended during this government’s term.
“A number of pieces of legislation that have been passed … are going to be subject of a review,” he said. “The National Conservation Law is certainly one of those.”
Mr. Seymour also will have the George Town Landfill as part of his responsibilities. Residents of Midland Acres east of Bodden Town, who once feared the landfill would be moved to their area, can likely rest easy, as Mr. Seymour represents that neighborhood in his constituency.
Another new minister, Roy McTaggart, will take over former Minister Marco Archer’s responsibilities for government finance and economic development after what the premier termed the “incredible loss” of Mr. Archer in the May 24 general election.
Mr. McTaggart, the former managing partner of KPMG in the Cayman Islands and an accountant with more than 30 years’ experience, will also oversee the Customs Department as part of his ministry.
Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will see no change in his own ministry from the last government – his areas of responsibility include tourism, district administration and transport.
New Minister Joey Hew will take the ministries of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure.