Community Affairs Ministry names deputy chief officer

The Ministry of Community Affairs has appointed former National Drug Council director Joan West-Dacres as its deputy chief officer, as of Tuesday, 1 Oct.

As head of the NDC, she was instrumental in initiating and developing research methodologies used to develop programmes and policies, according to a ministry press release.

Chief Officer Teresa Echenique said of West-Dacres, “Her professional qualifications made her an out- standing and compelling candidate. She brings with her counselling, social work and strategic leadership competencies that will be invaluable in helping the ministry reach new levels of service provision and accountability.”

During her time as NDC director, from 2007-2019, she advocated for legal reform to ensure a preventative and proactive approach to drug and alcohol abuse. Most recently, this included providing feedback on the Liquor Licensing Law revisions and Bullying Policy and Legislation development.

West-Dacres has more than 20 years of related experience, mainly in the social and community-related sectors of the Cayman Islands, and holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

She said she is looking forward to working with Echenique and the ministry staff.

“I am excited about developing strategies to support our most vulnerable persons and ensuring they can contribute successfully to our communities,” she said, adding she applied for the key post because of the ministry’s focus on strategic and policy initiatives.

“This work is long term and you don’t always see quick results and I am looking forward to working with the team to ensure positive long-term outcomes to our communities,” she said.

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