50 years ago: Cumber declines third term as administrator

“In the June 27, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story regarding Administrator John Albert Cumber appeared:

“His Honour Mr. J.A. Cumber, C.M.G., M.B.E., T.D., Administrator of the Cayman Islands since 1964, has declined to serve as Administrator of the Islands for a third term.

“The offer of a third term as Administrator was made to Mr. Cumber by the British Secretary of State but Mr. Cumber, who has hinted that when he leaves the Cayman Islands at the end of July he is going to retire from Her Majesty’s Civil Service, would not re-accept the position.

“Mr. Cumber made these disclosures when he replied at the banquet held at the Galleon Beach Hotel last Friday night. The function was given by the Civil Service Association to honour His Honour and Mrs. Cumber before they leave on July 31.

“Mr. Cumber gave four basic reasons for not continuing as the Islands’ Administrator and in the first one he echoed his perpetual desire for change. ‘These islands NEED a change,’ he said, ‘at the top.’ Continuing, the Administrator told the very large gathering of civil servants and their spouses that after nearly five years here, he thought ‘a fresh mind is required to attend our remaining problems and development.’

“Mr. Cumber said he considered carrying on for a third term but afterwards decided against it for the interest of the islands. ‘I was tempted to accept the Secretary of State’s offer of a third term of service,’ he disclosed, ‘but I refused because after the pressures of the last two tours, it would be only too easy to relax and turn this into a sinecure of a job. This would not be in the people’s best interest,’ he said.

“During his fourth reason for leaving ‘These beautiful Islands’, the Administrator gave a broad hint that he is quitting the public service.

“‘After 30 years as a solider and civil servant,’ he said, ‘I yearn to be my own master instead of everyone’s servant.’ Mr. Cumber said as he … wants to make his home somewhere. ‘This is the time to do it,’ he pleaded.”