Ministry names two new deputy chief officers

Two new deputy chief officers are taking up roles at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands.

Joel Francis

Joel Francis, who has been an assistant chief officer in the ministry since 2005, will be responsible for adult education, youth, sports and public libraries, while newly appointed Wilbur Welcome will take on agriculture, lands and administration.

Francis, a management graduate of the University of the West Indies, has worked in the Civil Service for 22 years. Before moving into the ministry in 2005, he worked at Radio Cayman as a news editor and host of Talk Today.

“I am today as motivated about the development and strengthening of the Cayman Islands community as I was when I started out as a broadcast journalist many years ago,” Francis said in a statement. “I am extremely excited about the possibilities of improving the lives of those we serve.”

Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly welcomed Francis to his new role, saying in the statement, “Mr. Francis’ track record and extensive experience are aligned perfectly with the vision of the Ministry, and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

She added, “Attracting someone of Joel’s calibre into the deputy post is a great endorsement of our strategy and ambitions. He brings with him incredibly strong knowledge and experience which are vital to be successful in the role.”

Wilbur Welcome

Welcome, a former senior policy analyst who was instrumental in helping to set up Cayman’s recently introduced Non-Profit Organisations Law (2016), holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a concentration in finance from North Carolina State University and a master of business administration degree from Campbell University.

He is an alumnus of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Cayman programme and was a 2018 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards finalist.

“We are delighted that Mr. Welcome has joined our Ministry,” said Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho. “During his recruitment, Mr. Welcome demonstrated his competency and ability to develop and implement a range of policies and strategies and displayed a sound understanding of the role and the responsibilities that come with it. He has good knowledge with the development of legislation and has the ability to be public facing, given his previous experience with public speaking, as well as representing Cayman internationally.

“In addition, his appreciation and familiarity with local agricultural practice and priorities also helped. All of which made him stand out amongst other applicants, ultimately making him a great fit for the role.”

According to the government announcement on his new role, “The former senior policy analyst is an expert in financial services, policymaking, legislation development and implementation.”

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said Welcome’s appointment came as no surprise, noting his dedication in assisting with the Non-Profit Organisation Law.

“Mr. Welcome, working with others, was very instrumental in coordinating the necessary consultation with numerous interest groups, including attorneys, trust practitioners, charitable organisations and the crafting of instructions to the drafters of the legislation.

His assistance with this initiative was invaluable.”

Welcome said he was “elated” to begin his new post. “I look forward to the hard work that is to come to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the important sectors under my remit,” he said.

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