New acting fire chief, deputies named

From left, Brevon Elliot, Tina Choy and Roy Charlton have all been selected for internal promotion by the Cayman Islands Fire Service.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service has new leadership.

Brevon Elliot has been named as the acting chief fire officer and the deputy chief fire officer for aviation.

Mr. Elliot will replace Witney Tatum, whose term as acting fire chief expired on Friday. Mr. Tatum was named acting fire chief in February following the exit of David Hails at the end of his three-year contract.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service also announced last week that Roy Charlton is the new deputy chief fire officer for domestic and Tina Choy is the new deputy chief fire officer for administration.

The service will begin a search for an interim fire chief shortly.

Mr. Elliot will lead and provide strategic direction for all aerodrome fire services. He has worked primarily in fire safety and inspections over the last few years.

The new officers, all of whom are Caymanian, took up their new responsibilities on March 4.

Chief Officer Dax Basdeo announced the promotions on Thursday, and he said the internal promotions will create stability and support for the Fire Service staff.

“As the Ministry continues to recruit qualified persons to fulfill other essential roles within the Fire Service,” he said in an official statement, “we will ensure that officers continue to be provided with a variety of professional development opportunities so that they are well equipped to compete for promotional opportunities and can take on the same with pride and confidence.”

Mr. Tatum, who served as acting chief fire officer for a month, will return to working as a divisional officer on Cayman Brac.

Audit company PwC released an organizational review of the Cayman Islands Fire Service in 2018, which found that five of then-Fire Chief Hails’s six senior officers were operating in an “acting” capacity, which led to significant uncertainty in the department’s organization.

The Fire Service set out to iron out those problems, and Mr. Charlton, Mr. Elliot and Ms. Choy all participated in the first round of coaching administered by RESOLVE, a local company the ministry tapped to assist in grooming future leaders.

Tara Rivers, minister for home affairs, issued a statement regarding the new officers.

“We are extremely pleased to have three experienced and highly capable Caymanian officers fill these critical senior management roles within the Fire Service,” Ms. Rivers said. “I am confident that they will continue to work hard, strive for excellence and be the ambassadors of our mission to develop and promote the highest quality of fire officers and create a world-class fire service.”

Mr. Charlton’s new role will see him providing strategic direction for all domestic operations, as well as managing and supporting operational personnel. He will also assume the role of incident commander as required and will be responsible for provision of inshore marine search and rescue. He has worked in the service for 31 years, primarily in the domestic division.

Ms. Choy has served the Fire Service for more than 21 years and has worked in areas including domestic operations, fire prevention and investigations. She most recently served as the deputy chief fire officer in administration, where she monitored the budget and helped deal with provision of officers. Ms. Choy also presided over training and the development of policies and procedures that guide the fire service.

Franz Manderson, the deputy governor and head of the civil service, said in the statement, “I commend the three officers for answering the call to serve in these key leadership positions within the Fire Service.”

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