Customs and Border Control director Charles Clifford has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List. The award, which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II, celebrates Clifford’s contributions to customs and border control in the Cayman Islands.
“I humbly accept this honour and sincerely thank those who nominated me for it,” Clifford said in a government statement issued Friday. “My extensive public service career has been diverse and rewarding and I am very grateful for the opportunities which it provided for me.”
Clifford’s career began in 1980 as a 16-year-old police cadet. He progressed through the ranks of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and reached the position of Chief Inspector in charge of Police Administration. In total, Mr. Clifford served 17 years as a police officer.
He went on to study law and earned a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Degree from the University of Liverpool in 1995 and a Professional Practice Certificate from the Queen’s University of Belfast one year later.
Clifford was appointed senior assistant secretary in the Ministry of Tourism in 1997 and was promoted to permanent secretary in 2001. In 2004, after 24 years of public service, Mr. Clifford resigned from the Cayman Islands Government and joined law firm, Quin & Hampson before being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Bodden Town in 2005. He was subsequently appointed as the Minister of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce and he served in that post until 2009.
Mr. Clifford was called to the bar in the Cayman Islands in 2012 and was admitted as an attorney-at-law. In that year he opened his own law firm, Clifford Law Associates, and partnered with two other local attorneys. In 2015 Mr. Clifford was appointed as Collector of Customs and subsequently became the Director of CBC.
“Charles Clifford and I have been friends since we were boys,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said. “I am proud of his achievements in service to the people of the Cayman Islands.”
Mr Clifford earlier this year led the merger of elements of the former Immigration and Customs Departments to form CBC.
“Many congratulations to Charles Clifford,” Governor Martyn Roper said. “This award recognises a very long and distinguished career in service to the Cayman Islands. The work Charles has begun to transform CBC is of vital importance to the safety and security of the territory and we have come a long way in a short space of time.”
“I also wish to thank my colleagues in the Customs and Border Control Service for their unwavering support,” Clifford said. “The successful merger of our Customs and Immigration Departments would not have been possible without their contribution and so I accept this honour recognizing the very important role which each of them played in my nomination for this award.”
What is an MBE?
An MBE is an order of the British Empire award. It is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award, behind CBE which is first and then OBE.
It stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire (as opposed to Commander or Officer).
It is also awarded to someone for making a positive impact in their line of work.