New ombudsman is a woman

| 03/06/2009

(CNS): UPDATE 2:50pm Wednesday — A Londoner of Guyanese descent has been appointed as the new Complaints Commissioner. She will be the second person to hold the office in the Cayman Islands and is expected to take up office at the end of July or the start of August. Nicola Williams, an experienced criminal law barrister and former Commissioner with the Independent Police Commission for London and the South East of England, a novelist and a member of Mensa, has been appointed by Governor Stuart Jack to replace Dr John Epp, who will be returning to private practice.

With nearly 16 years as a barrister in private practice at all levels of the courts, Williams has successfully acted in a variety of serious trials before all levels of the judiciary, including murder trials, and Commonwealth death penalty appeals before the Law Lords in the Privy Council. She is a former lay adviser to the Race and Violent Crime Task Force of the Metropolitan Police, and a member of the Society of Black Lawyers.

Her experience includes sitting on the Virdi Enquiry Panel, which found that the Metropolitan Police Service had discriminated against a police officer on the grounds of his race. Williams is also a member of the Bar Council Equality & Diversity Committee (from January 2008), and a trustee and mentor of African Caribbean Diversity, a group of black professionals who aim to make a positive contribution to the African and Caribbean communities and to the economy of the UK.

In February 2000, she was a contributing lecturer on “Comparative Policing Strategies” in Ankara, Turkey, which was sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Council, in co-operation with the Turkish National Police.

A woman of many talents, Williams is the author of the legal thriller, “Without Prejudice”, published in 1997 in both the UK and US. She was the 1991 recipient of the Cosmopolitan Woman of Achievement Award (Professions category), and has been listed three times (1998, 2007-8, 2008-9) as one of the 100 most influential black people in the UK. Earlier this year she was appointed to the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), and is the former chair of the London Regional Advisory Council of the BBC.

Williams’ accomplishments include public speaking, and she was keynote international speaker on behalf of the IPCC, NACOLE 2005, presenting a paper on dealing with police complaints in an age of international terrorism; she also made a presentation at the Gloucester Conference in June 2006 on the effect of the Somersett decision on current race and criminal justice issues in the UK. In addition, she has taken an active involvement in the Speakers for Schools programme, which encourages young people from disadvantaged and under-represented communities to enter the legal profession.

The first commissioner for the Cayman Islands, Dr Epp, whose five-year term expires in mid-July, will be re-joining the private sector as a litigation lawyer with local law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman.

In a release, the governor states that the new Commissioner “will lead the Complaints Commissioner’s Office to new levels of service for the Cayman Islands … On behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands, I would like to express a warm welcome to Ms Nicola Williams.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nicloa Williams has a stellar background and has achieved an A+ since she has been on thejob!!! Good Work Ms Williams. We support you 100 percent!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Response to "Response to facts*

    I’m not sure if I missed something somewhere but what do our "South African Counterparts" have to do with anything?

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Ironically, Caymanians are less likely to accord their own with the necessary respect."  This is a very interesting comment.  Why do you think this is the case?  How should/could this be corrected?

    • Anonymous says:

      "This is a very interesting comment.  Why do you think this is the case?  How should/could this be corrected?"

      We know that this is true from common experience. It is symptomatic of being the people of a dependency as this inculcates a lack of confidence in one’s self and one’s countrymen and great esteem for the colonial masters and others like them. For this reason there are some who seek to remind us at every turn that we are not a nation and we should stop thinking of ourselves as a country as we are merely a dependent territory. In other words "know your place; don’t forget that we are superior to you".   The antidote is therefore the opposite: have a sense of nationhood and of pride in one’s culture. Affirm our own people. Ditch the ‘crabs in the barrel’ mentality. "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery", to quote the late Bob Marley. This starts from childhood.   

  4. Anonymous says:

    My goodness no sense of humour any more!!! Expat 360 was just being sarcastic – who the hell cares what colour she/he or anyone is for that matter. Am I the only one who saw the humour in this blog or what???

  5. Anonymous says:

    didn’t any Caymanians apply for this – a good role for a Caymanian to get additional exposure and experience here??

    • Anonymous says:

      "didn’t any Caymanians apply for this – a good role for a Caymanian to get additional exposure and experience here??"

      I am Caymanian and very supportive of the advancement of Caymanians. However, it must be recognized that this post requires that the individual has a certain stature in order to be taken seriously and therefore be effective in carrying out the functions of the office. It is not a position to get additional exposure and experience. Ironically, Caymanians are less likely to accord their own with the necessary respect. There are relatively few Caymanians who fit the bill and I have no doubt that they did not apply.      

  6. Mrs Rita Myles says:

     Expat 360, let me tell you something right now!  We as proud Caymanians don’t see everything as black and white like you do in your country!  Skin color of a person has nothing to do with a person qualification!   So wherever you are from, we suggest you take your morals back to where you belong.

    Caymanians, we live as one people and it does not matter what race or creed you are!  What we are really trying to say here is that….why could they not have given the job to our Caymanian instead, who was also experience and  qualified!  I just dont get it!  Especially when the economy is so bad now and Caymanians are getting laid off!

  7. Pale Face says:

    Give me a holla Expat 360, looking for a partner for my new TV channel, "WET". You can only have 49% though

  8. Lyrical Gangster says:

    Wouldn’t  that make her an Ombudswoman? I wonder if the two ladies in Bodden Town applied.

  9. Expat24,372 says:

    You have to love the headline. 

    Surely not….a Woman! Working! next they’ll be wanting the vote!

  10. Nicole says:

    Who jah bless!  No man curse!  

  11. facts says:

    Good job that they employed someone competent and capable of doing the best job and not just bowing to pressure to employ a caymanian even if they weren’t as good. At least with an overseas appointee we know they will be more likely to remain independant and not favour a brother or cousin etc like a local.

    • Anonymous says:

       Response to "facts". While we here in Cayman love to encourage everyone, including our South African counter parts to contribute in the political arena, it would serve us all better if you would refrain from such divisive comments which can contribute to hostility between Caymanians and foreigners. Also, if you find you cannot refrain from issuing such comments  (which I strongly suggest you do) can you at least make them in context. The complaints commissioner is not in charge of hiring or firing people. She is in charge of handling complaints made against the various civil service departments and seeking solutions. Maybe you should channel some of your efforts into getting better educated rather than making random cynical comments.

      • expat 360 says:

        a member of the society of black lawyers? the society of black lawyers? is that acceptable? can there be a society of white lawyers too? is that acceptable?

        doesn’t give us whities much confidence when complaining about a black civil servant…

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t be ridiculous expat 360. Where she comes from black people are a minority. There is no need for a society of white lawyers since they already dominate the main professional societies. It clearly does not have the racist implications of a society of white lawyers.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sounds eminently qualified for the job.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would have preferred to see one of our own local Attorneys take up this role, but hey – Cayman has to benefit someone.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a promising woman – I’m sure she’ll work wonders and will be exactly what the Cayman Islands need. Good Luck to her.