Ebanks warns recruits to guard integrity and borders

| 16/08/2010

(CNS): The deputy governor has told the country’s most recent immigration recruits that, as guardians of the country, their job is not about becoming wealthy or popular. At the latest graduation of newly trained officers Donovan Ebanks warned the class that their integrity and reputation were more valuable than anything else. The latest addition of ten recruits to the department, which the chief officer recently stated is considerably understaffed, is the first new group since 2007 and they will replace officers who have been promoted or have left the department.

Having completed three months training in various parts of the job, from forgery detection and interview techniques to behaviour analysis and intelligence, the new recruits will now join the frontline enforcement officers at the sea and airports.

“Learn to manage your new level of importance – especially as perceived by other people. While you will hold special privileges and powers, your integrity and reputation are more valuable than anything else,” Ebanks said at the graduation, emphasising the importance of intelligence-gathering and continuing education. 
Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans encouraged the officers to surpass expectations. “Excellence, a positive attitude, especially in the face of challenges; teamwork and open dialogue; and respect for authority and the public are some qualities of a professional officer,” she said, adding that while their recent course was intense it was only the start of a very demanding road. She also encouraged the graduates to continue to develop their knowledge base, especially by learning immigration laws, regulations and policies.
In his remarks, Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith (Border control) reminded the new officers to be “firm, fair and courteous. The final – and most important – examination will be the proving grounds, where you apply your knowledge.”
The class address was presented by graduate Erika Bodden, who pledged her classmates’ “honour, duty and personal character in upholding the laws and making a positive difference in the country.” Bodden received the class’ Spirit Award, Brian Ebanks was named most outstanding in theory and practical application and James Whittaker was noted for his academic achievement.
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  1. Dennis says:

    Come on folks whose country immigration officers are you referring to? It cannot be those working in Cayman.

    I have been travelling for 20 years and the immigration officers at Owen Roberts have been the best in the world-try getting a hello from US Immigration with their gun on their hip.

    It is so easy to find fault but you try working a 12 hour shift and have to be on the look out for bad passports, visitors with bad character, terrorists, etc while smiling with 500 people 

    Thank you immigration officers for all that you do. You are on duty when we are sleeping and you are working on Christmas and other holidays. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have no idea what airport you are travelling in in the United States but the immigration officers in TPA, Orlando, New York and even Miami are always pleasant.  The Immigration Officers here in Cayman at the airport are ok, but most of the time miserable.  Nothing beats the ones downtown behind the counter, very few are pleasant.  One of them doesn’t matter what time of day, what day it is, you can say good morning good afternoon how r u and she grunts, miserable!!! Can’t see how on earth she is working at the counter.  Yet she will stop and chat oh yeah boy she can chat and of course order her lunch while she is serving customers!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Not true about Orlando. The worst experience I have had with immigration anywhere was in with an immigration officer there.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you don’t like US Immigration stay away from the US. Perhaps US Immigration Officials would be friendlier if a bunch of terrorists hadn’t hit the world trade centers and the Pentagon killing thousands of people. US Immigration Officials are not there to make friends, but are there to protect it’s citizens. I’m sure if terrorists had hit the financial district here in Cayman your immigration officials might not be so friendly either.

    • Anonymous says:

       This is actually in reply to three posts about Cayman immigration vs US immigration.

      I’m a dual citizien and when I went to the US, the immigration stamped my passport and said, "welcome home."   The Cayman immigration have yet to tell me "welcome home".

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope these recruits are less sulky and nicer than the ones there now. It is so embarrassing to me as a Caymanian to see the rudeness and unwelcoming attitude of our immigration officers towards our visitors.

    I just returned from a trip to Cancun and Cayman needs to take a page from their book when it comes to customer service and this includes immigration/customs, taxi drivers, hotel and restaurants workers. I felt totally appreciated the whole time.

    So dissapointing when I came home to hear the Immigration officer shout at me, NEXT!!..maybe "next please" would have been more comforting or how how about "May I help the next person in line"

    A little bit of friendliness goes a long way…try to impart that to them Donnie, please!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    very rarely you find a friendly person in Immigration (there are some who are awsome but that is a dime in a dozen!) The most of them act like your a convict in a prison when you enter in there to deal with anything. Yes, I do agree they make you feel unwelcomed. On top of that they are ALWAYS losing your documents. As if you dont already have a long enough waite having to get through with them.  

  4. Rorschach says:

    I heard a story not long ago about a cerain MD of a local bank who went to the Ritz Carlton and was having lunch.  His waitress was an absolute joy and he was completely surprised and impressed with not only the level of service, but the fact that this very same young lady had been released from employment by his very bank for due to her poor customer service skills and the fact that she was supposidly, "untrainable"…he was so impressed with the fact that she was taught such great customer service skills that he arranged for all of his CS reps that have face to face contact with customers to attend a training workshop at the RC to learn such advanced customer service skills…makes one think that there is no such thing as someone who cannot be trained to smile and make a customer( or in this case a visitor) feel welcome….only those trainers who give up too quickly

    • MANNERS & SERVICE says:

      I have to agree, with this poster… I have witnessed this first hand as my daughter works at the Ritz Carlton, when you go through their training you are trained! Indeed molded to treat everyone with friendliness, the utmost respect and dignity. I found it quite charming as when she was home she would often respond with “it was my pleasure” when I thanked her for doing something…

      Anyhow, I believe that every Government employee, from the Police on down should have such training, it would be money well spent. 


  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to Agree with Q 100% not sure if these officers are train to look a certain way but God have mercy some of these look like they are always sucking lime the way there face are made up. Please remeber that those same people that you are tending to is the same ones thats paying your salary  regardless of how you feel so smile even if it hurts.

  6. Ex-Caymanian & Not by Choice says:

    With the Premier mediling in everything no one who hold a position to protect our borders can do their jobs properly, or go above and beyond the call of duty, and for Donovon to make the remake about "The deputy governor has told the country’s most recent immigration recruits that as guardians of the country their job is not about becoming wealthy or popular." he should also try reminding the Premier of this as well as the Deputy Gov. isn’t his position higher than McKeevas?


  7. Q says:

    The tourism industry should provide them some training as well. Immigration officers are often the first people that tourists will face when coming to the islands. It would be great if an immigration officer knew and understood the importance of making feel people welcomed. Not sure this is typical, but we had a good experience while going through the immigration gates in the Bahamas.

  8. My2cents says:

    I want to know who took the photo of the immigration desks at the airport? It clearly states no cell phones, no photos…tut tut – or were they staff turning a blind eye?

    • ex-pat eric says:

      I’ve personally seen a female immigration officer working those counters with her laptop out browsing Facebook whilst attempting to check people through the line. She obviously neither cared about her work or how others perceived her / the immigration office. BTW — I guess that means free internet access or sloppy network security. Hopefully the later or someone has probably already hacked the servers that store all the personal information of travels!

      Another officer was "busy" at the cafe, lounging at the counter and watching the World Cup match. I got no problem with breaks but there should be a special room for employees only where that is allowed.

      Professionals all around!