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Acting chief fire officer appointed to replace Hails

Divisional Officer Witney Tatum has been appointed as the acting chief of the Cayman Islands Fire Service effective Friday.

Fire chief departs; ministry searching for replacement

The Ministry of Home Affairs said it will announce on Friday a new acting fire chief to replace David Hails, whose three-year contract expires on the same day.

‘Ritch report’ makes ministry poor

An immigration consultancy report, penned at a cost of $312,000 and kept from public view, put the government Ministry of Home Affairs over budget during the year it was commissioned, according to an evaluation done by Cayman’s auditor general.

UK will bring in ‘interim’ prisons boss to replace Lavis

Outgoing prisons director Neil Lavis will be replaced by another U.K.-based corrections manager early in the new year, the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement released Tuesday.

EDITORIAL – Fire service review: Shouldn’t Chief Hails be the ‘first responder?’

If the Ministry of Home Affairs has concerns about the fire service, the first call should be to Chief Hails. Ask what resources he needs to do his job, and then provide them.

Prisons boss gets new contract

Prisons Director Neil Lavis has been awarded a new three-year contract, keeping him in charge of the local prisons service through mid-2020. The contract for Mr. Lavis, who came to Cayman in June 2013, was renewed upon its expiry last month.

Fraud hotline reports ‘anonymous,’ gov’t says

The Cayman Islands government has set up its own hotline for reporting fraud or wrongdoing by its employees, separate from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service or the soon-to-be-formed independent ombudsman’s office. The ombudsman’s office will be assigned responsibility for fielding whistleblower complaints, once the law giving it those powers takes effect in February 2018.

Fireman loses job 2 days after being jailed for firearm offense

Two days after being sentenced in Grand Court to five-and-a-half years in prison for a firearm offense, Fabian Oliver Thompson lost his job as an officer with the Cayman Islands Fire Service.

Ministers’ plan splits law enforcement roles

The Progressives-led coalition government has divided responsibilities for law enforcement agencies among government ministries, one led by the premier and the other by Minister Tara Rivers.

Ministry investigates prisons overtime payments

The Cayman Islands Ministry of Home Affairs is investigating overtime payments to prisons officers working at the Immigration Detention Centre after allegations of favoritism were made regarding some of those payments.

Investigations continue into Fire Service vehicle crash

Police and the Fire Service are carrying out separate investigations into a road traffic accident in which a fire rescue vehicle collided with a bicycle and a utility pole in West Bay on Monday morning. According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday evening, the ministry is working with the two departments to ensure the incident is “thoroughly investigated.”

MLAs demand answers over prisons debacle

Cayman Islands opposition lawmakers have asked that Prisons Director Neil Lavis and the acting chief officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs appear before the Legislative Assembly next week to answer questions about a burgeoning scandal in the prisons service.

Work permit applications rarely refused

About 5 percent of the work permit applications submitted to the Cayman Islands government were rejected during the previous budget year, according to records made public last month by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Darren Ebanks awarded Chief Officer’s Choice

The Ministry of Home Affairs has named RCIPS Fleet and Stores Manager Darren Ebanks the newest Chief Officer’s Choice. Acting Chief Officer Kathryn Dinspel-Powell presented the award to Mr. Ebanks as the successful civil servant for the month of January.
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Immigration officer charged in fatal wreck loses job

An immigration officer who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and to leaving the scene of an accident without reasonable excuse has been fired. Mr. Tibbetts had been on required leave (paid suspension) since May 2015, following his arrest in the April 23, 2015 crash that killed bicyclist Donnie Ray Connor.

Years of paid suspensions for top law enforcers

Two top Cayman Islands law enforcement officials have now served a combined three-and-a-half years on paid leave relating to various misconduct allegations, with no sign of resolutions in their respective cases.

Fire Service christens new rescue boat

When they broke a bottle of sparkling apple cider over the new Cayman Islands Fire Service boat, it had already been used in one rescue in the North Sound.

Top immigration staffers face litany of legal accusations

Allegations of crime, drunk driving, other traffic-related charges and accusations of administrative wrongdoing have been made against several staffers – most of them in senior positions – in the Cayman Islands Immigration Department, with some cases dragging on for years.

Gov’t to end ‘paper shuffle’ by 2019

By the time non-Caymanian residents who stay in the islands at least eight years have applied for permanent residence, territorial citizenship and Caymanian status, they will have given a copy of their passport to immigration or to police at least a dozen times, assuming they are successful in each step of the application process.

Prisons official reinstated

A deputy prisons director who was fired in November 2015 over an incident in which another prison staffer was videotaped in the course of what was described as a covert investigation has won reinstatement.

Sexual assault alleged at migrant center

The Human Rights Commission alleges that Cuban migrants have been subject to exploitation and sexual assault while awaiting repatriation in Cayman detention centers.

Surveillance oversight committee never formed

The audit committee that is supposed to provide oversight for surveillance and wiretap warrants has never been formed, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Government spends $5.3M on migrants

The amount the Cayman Islands government spends for the detainment, care, housing and repatriation of illegal migrants has increased from an estimated $270,000 in the 2013/14 budget year to $3.6 million this year.

Howell named to top ministry post

Wesley Howell is about to become a very busy man.

Government acts on 22 percent of audit recommendations

The Cayman Islands government has implemented just 22 percent of the recommendations made by its auditors for improving financial reporting and management processes in various public sector entities over the past five years.

Home Affairs staff begins fraud training

Accounting and management staff from the Ministry of Home Affairs will attend fraud prevention and detection training over the next two weeks.

Government’s IT budget halved since 2008

While information technology was playing a larger role each day in public governance, the Cayman Islands was slashing its IT budget year after year, finance records reveal.

Second senior prison official dismissed

A senior prison manager has become the second person to be dismissed in the fallout from an internal probe into the planting of a hidden camera in an office at Northward Prison.

EDITORIAL – Eric Bush: Our man in London

"Bittersweet" is how Premier Alden McLaughlin aptly described Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush's departure from the Cayman Islands to lead our government's London office.

Fired prisons officer sues

A former deputy prison director alleges her firing from Her Majesty’s Prison Service in the Cayman Islands last year was illegal and should be voided by government.

Succession plan puts Caymanian director at 911

Julian Lewis will take over next month as head of the Cayman Islands 911 Emergency Communications Centre after being named to the position Wednesday by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

A month-by-month roundup of Cayman’s 2015 news stories

Top stories of 2015 in the Cayman Islands

Chief immigration officer's fate unresolved

Cayman’s chief immigration officer will be spending her second holiday season on paid suspension, with an administrative matter pending against her remaining unresolved.

UK fire service veteran named new chief

For the first time since the Cayman Islands Fire Service was created, a non-Caymanian has been appointed to lead the department.

Manderson: 'Confusion' over job-hopping

Significant confusion has arisen in recent months as to whether work permit holders employed in one occupation can “switch jobs” to a completely different profession.

Cuban detention center guards paid $1 million in overtime

The Cayman Islands government spent nearly $1 million on overtime during the last budget year for guards to monitor Cuban migrants temporarily housed in George Town. The overtime spending was also noted as putting “even greater strains” on a prison staff already stretched thin.

6-month permit for tourists, not workers

Cayman's six-month visitor permit is largely for the benefit of 'snowbird' visitors, not departing workers.

Immigration revenues at $89.5 million

The Cayman Islands Immigration Department took in $89.5 million in revenues during the last government budget year, nearly tripling fees collected by the agency from a decade ago.

Ministry takes up auditor's challenge

After taking a verbal drubbing from Cayman’s auditor general for a number of years, at least one government ministry has responded – by following his advice.

Crime prevention program up against funding crisis

There’s an audible intake of breath as officer Anthony Stewart pulls out the black replica pistol. If he did not have the class’s attention before, he does now.

Prisons deputy director dismissed in camera probe

The deputy director of prisons has been dismissed following an inquiry into the discovery of a hidden camera in the office of a senior manager at the prison.

Northward's got talent

Prisoners at Northward displayed their talents at a Literacy Day event last week, showcasing the prison's rehabilitation programs.

Fingerprinting and 'fine print': $663k wasted

Who would spend $663,000 on a product — and then never use it? Here’s a clue: The matter in question has government’s fingerprints all over it.

$663K wasted on abandoned immigration fingerprint system

Government spent $663,000 on software after awarding a contract for a biometric fingerprinting system in 2010, but the software was never used, according to an audit released this week.

Government's Computer Services boss retires

The director of the government’s Computer Services Department, Gilbert McLaughlin, has retired after more than 30 years in the department.

Key government posts in limbo

The senior ranks of Cayman's civil service are filled with "acting," but not the Hollywood kind.

Cayman extends visitor visa for Jamaicans

Repeat visitors to the Cayman Islands who hail from Jamaica will be given special treatment under the Immigration Law, with the option to obtain a 10-year visitor visa.

Premier: EY report 'review' almost complete

The Cayman Islands government has nearly completed its year-long review of a consulting report that sought to both downsize and improve efficiency of the public sector.

Government IT systems open to 'threats from attack'

Auditors say Cayman's government put sensitive information and operations at risk by ignoring IT problems for years.

Data on police patrol boats not recovered

Data on the operations of the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit appears to have disappeared forever.

‘Sea-change’ in permanent residence process expected

The effect of a judgment issued by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie could have a "sea-change" effect on the way permanent residence applications are handled.

Review calls for domestic violence court

A specialist domestic violence court to fast-track a growing number of abuse cases has been proposed by a review of the Cayman Islands criminal justice system.

Prisons seek earlier inmate release warning

The head of Cayman’s prison system wants to officially notify the police and probation departments every time an extremely violent or “prolific” offender is due to be released.

Seaman's son dedicates his call to the Bar

Cayman’s newest attorney, an aeronautical communications engineer and son of a seaman, was called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands last week.

Emergency services ignored protocol in road death, review says

The first emergency medical responders did not follow protocol and did not try to resuscitate a man who died in an early morning car accident two years ago, according to an independent review of the death.

Navy helps clean up halfway house

Sailors assigned to British Navy support ship the RFA Lyme Bay visited the Bridge Foundation Men’s Halfway House in West Bay to give it a cleanup on Thursday.

Activists urge Cayman rights for same-sex unions

A local LGBT activist starts a petition drive to change Caymanian immigration law so that gay couples are granted the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Government IT problems widespread

Significant and widespread problems with government's IT infrastrucutre are revealed.

Cubans pack detention center

More than 50 Cubans were being held in Grand Cayman’s Immigration Detention Center Monday after another boatload docked at Cayman Brac over the weekend.

Fire chief on 'required leave'

Cayman's fire chief has been suspended pending an investigation into a hit-and-run accident.

Three Caymanians short-listed for London Office top job

Cayman tries again to appoint a new head for its London office.

'Acting' chiefs and unfilled jobs mount in civil service

The Cayman Islands civil service is having quite a time trying to fill various government jobs at both the top and within the rank and file.

Acting fire chief arrested in hit-and-run

Cayman's acting fire chief is arrested in connection with a January hit-and-run accident that left a 14-year-old hospitalized for months.

Top Employer award goes to Scotiabank

Scotiabank and Baraud took top honors at the annual Cayman Islands Society of Human Resources Professionals award gala on Saturday, May 23, 2015.

Archer: Cayman's financial 'freedom' still needs work

The Cayman Islands may indeed emerge from the end of its 2015/16 budget without the United Kingdom needing to approve future government spending plans, Finance Minister Marco Archer confirmed Friday.

Third suspension in prison camera probe

A third prison officer has been suspended in the ongoing probe into the discovery of a hidden camera inside a manager’s office at HMP Northward.

Government fails to meet FOI requests on missing police records

Attempts to retrieve maintenance and service data for the Cayman Islands Joint Marine Unit meet with numerous delays.

British Overseas Territories passport process changes

As of Friday, May 8, the local Passport and Corporate Services Office will no longer accept the current C1 and C2 application forms for Cayman Islands passports.

Online government services progressing

A new steering committee hopes to launch an Internet portal this year that would move many Cayman Islands government services online.

Report proposes new BT fire station

U.K.-based fire service experts advocate for a new fire station in Bodden Town district.

Scathing Fire Service report says department is top heavy with senior officers

Massive deficiencies in the Cayman Islands Fire Service, discovered more than a year ago, are finally revealed to the public.

Cayman will set time limits for prohibited immigrants

Cayman seeks to set 'time limits' on prohibited immigrants.

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