Alden finalizes Cabinet

| 04/06/2013

alden9-6548.jpg(CNS): After several days of talks and discussions with his new front and back bench as well as the technical staff from the civil service, the new premier has finalised his Cabinet and the allocation of duties for his new ministers and councillors. Alden McLaughlin revealed that Kurt Tibbetts, who was earmarked to take health, will now take up responsibility for planning, agriculture, housing and infrastructure, and Osbourne Bodden will now take health along with sports, youth and culture. As a result, the C4C government member Tara Rivers has now been given education along with labour and gender affairs.

In confirming the new ministries, McLaughlin said that the realignments and adjustments came about as a result of discussions among the team and the presentations from the civil service management about the various synergies and links between subject areas.

“We have done an immense amount of work,” McLaughlin said at his first Cabinet press briefing as premier on Tuesday, as he explained some of the changes from the earlier thoughts regarding ministries in the wake of the election. “We had a rationalization, presentation by the civil service where we all sought to find synergies between subject areas,” he said, adding that by seeking to get those synergies right, government was able to reduce the number of chief officers. “It was also important to get the right people assigned to the right ministries.”

Announcing the final line-up, including the duties of the councillors and the new chief officers, McLaughlin confirmed Wayne Panton as the financial services and commerce minister and said he would also be handling the environment. Acknowledging that out of all of the new seven ministries the synergies between financial services and environment may be the hardest to grasp, the environment is one of Panton’s own passions and, as a result, he was the best choice. Dax Basdeo was confirmed as Panton’s new chief officer.

Meanwhile, Marco Archer, as well as being the new finance minister, will also be taking on economic development and will be working with Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson and his chief officer will be Sonia McLaughlin.

Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will stick with tourism and transport as well as district administration as the Brac’s Cabinet representative, and will be assisted by backbencher Joey Hew, who will be dealing with tourism related matters as a councillor. Stran Bodden will remain as chiefofficer, having previously headed up tourism.

The newest collection of portfolios, however, will be dealt with by McLaughlin, who takes up the new ministry of home and community affairs, which covers public safety. This includes the fire service, Hazard Management, immigration, vehicle licensing, communications, the police budget — although not operational or staffing issues — and prisons. The new ministry takes over many of the areas once held by the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which has now been eliminated. And while the governor’s office retains operational responsibility for law and order, staff and disciplinary issues, the new premier will have a greater role in the oversight of law enforcement spending and resources.

In addition, the new premier will also deal with community affairs. He will have Al Suckoo as his junior partner and two chief officers – Eric Bush, who moves from the former portfolio, and Dorine Whittaker, who will head up the community affairs element of the ministry.

Meanwhile, the third backbencher, C4C member Winston Connolly, will join Tara Rivers in the ministry of employment, education and gender affairs, where Mary Rodrigues remains the chief officer.

Jennifer Ahearn will work with Bodden in the slightly revamped health ministry, which also includes environmental health and the controversial landfill issue, while Alan Jones will be working with Tibbetts in the planning, agriculture and infrastructure ministry.

With the new ministries settled, McLaughlin said that the issues relating to the premier’s office were still being examined but he confirmed that he would not be continuing the post of chief of staff which was created by McKeeva Bush. McLaughlin did not say what would now happen to Leonard Dilbert, who had held that post.

In addition, McLaughlin said that the government would like to see the issue regarding Deborah Drummond and Diane Montoya settled but at this stage but the Cabinet has not yet discussed their possible futures with the deputy governor. Both women held senior positions in the previous PPM administration and remain on the civil service payroll, though neither has had an official postsince they were pushed out of their jobs when the UDP took office four years ago.

See layout of new ministries and chiefs of staff below and check back to CNS for a closer look at all of the new portfolios, the ministers and the challenges ahead for each of them.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    WTH is a “Junior Partner”? Are we talking about a government or a law firm here? And what is a “councillor”. I thought that was only a figment of McKeeva’s fertile imagination, created to give Cline some sort of official title without having to give him any authority! I would like someone to show me where in the Constitution either of these two obviously august posts exist, because I’ve read it through now a couple if times and I can’t find any reference to either. So, I guess we’ve now set up an ad hoc Government, in the spirit of “being inclusive”. But we need to be careful that our supposedly good intentions of spreading responsibilities around doesn’t run us into the age old problem of Government unlawfully abdicating its functions to entities that don’t legally or constitutionally exist. Because we are now in an era of litigation, and when it becomes convenient to certain parties they may be able to successfully challenge decisions of these so-called functionaries quicker than you can say “ultra vires”!

    • Anon says:

      Nobody is abdicating anything to anyone. True the role of Councillors does not appear in the constitution but Cabinet has the ability to co-opt legislators to assist.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Try reading section 54(6) of the Constitution.

  2. St Peter says:

    I am concerned that poor Joey (of Turtle Farm and ERA fame) did not get a position in the financial department…

    • Anonymous says:

      During Joey’s electioneering on VibeFM he said many times that after the elections all ‘charges’ against him would be ‘dropped’. He promised that he would then sue the ‘corrupt elite’ and take their money.

      Not to worry St. Peter because once all the charges against Joey are dropped he will get his new job!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Premier should give up one of his portfolios. He can keep Police, but the Leader of The Opposition should get Prison.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well done sir..

    I have heard a rumor and please CNS look into this for us.. I have heard that Alden and Moses have said they will continue to drive the selfs to work unless for official function, if true congrats to you two. Now this is what upsets me, I have heard that Ju Ju gets to keep her current driver and he will continue to travel and DRIVE her. Why is this she doesn’t need him and this is a waste of funds…

    PPM please explain to us!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about the many Chief Officers who were appointed  (in a procedurally unfair manner) under  the Bush administration? Similarly the senior civil servants who were displaced?  What will be done to correct the mess created? There should at least be a public inquiry into their appointment/removal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could you name the chief officers and state exactly what sections of the Public Service Management Law and Regulations were breached in their appointments? Thank you.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about the disgraceful removal of Deborah Drummon and Diane Montoya for starters… Then the chief officer who was appointed in place of Drummond was appointed (without open competiion) as "acting"for in excess of 10 months…then when the post was finally advertised… he was declared as 'substantially fulfilling the CO role' for some extended time. How is this in compliance with section 4 and 5 of the PSML????  Similar irregularities was found by the ICO with another 3 appointments of COs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This new arrangement is much more appropriate to the respective ministers. I definitely like Tara for education – it is very important to have the right synergies in respect to Labour and education. You also need to look seriously at the top heavy management structure in finance in respect to workload. Too many dead logs!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:


    Kenneth Bryan Chief Officer he's more than qualified for the job

  8. Anonymous says:

    Finally makes sense! Best of luck, you've got 4 years….

  9. Anonymous says:

    Very happy that Wayne Panton has the environment! Although it is not the obvious fit with financial services, I believe he is the best person in the PPM to lead in those two areas. Very hopefuly for some progress on environmental matters and conservation legislation over the next 4 years!



    Wayne, please take us out of the 1950s and bring in our much needed conservation law!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne, Congratulations!!  A  blessed and productive 4 years for all of you PPM, C4C, PNA and Independent.  

      Not sure if CIDB falls under your portfolio as a financial institution –  It needs some serious regulating/overhauling.  It does not give  no encouragement to our Students who want to further develop their elducation.   They are youngl and looking to better themselves by a good education – this institution does not give them that opportunity of  hopel so what we expect is to see un-educated youngers, becoming bombs.

      I ask you to please!! look into the guidelines and policy  of this institution, while appeals could be made to some of the other institutions to offer encouragement in educating our people, and where Student loans could be offered at a reasonable rate while studying (Interest only) until they return home and find a job.  hope a government Minister can negotiate/attend to such matters.

  10. Anonymous says:

    At least now the portfolios seem to fit together better, previously it was a mess…

    • Anon says:

      To CNS: When he first became premier McKeeva Bush aggrandized the office with all sorts of trappings, e.g. being chauffeur-driven in a govt. vehicle, having a chief of staff, chef/cook, travelling with an entourage etc. etc. He said that these had all been created by the PPM for their own aggrandizement thinking they would win the elections and he was compelled to accept them given that he was then premier. Perhaps you could do an article  examining what trappings of office Alden McLaughlin has appropriated as premier and see whether there was truth to Bush's story.    

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like a good idea. I just need to brace myself for the chance that Mac was blowing smoke.

        • I cant says:

          I cant believe people still exist that listen the Mackeevas foolishness!


          • Anon says:

            Oh, there certainly are, but this would settle the question once and for all.

          • Hoping for better days says:

            Don't you people review your own comment before posting?????????

            How can you slag off Mac all the time and you clearly have no higher competency than he does? FOOD FOR THOUGHT: at least TRY to seem intelligent when voicing your opinions!

      • Anonymous says:

        "Aggrandizement"? Isn't that a feature of an individual suffering (sort of) from the psychological condition megalomania? Let's wait and see how things unfold before we pass judgement.

        • Anon says:

          Not sure whereyou got that definition from but it is not one that appears in my dictionary. The act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating the importance, power, or reputation, and in this case the object of that enhancing etc. is the office of the premier.

          This is a matter which we can determine in short order since the tone is set from the beginning.   

    • Caymanian Voter says:

      Except WHY do we still allow Mary in Education? She has ruined the youth of this country and should no longer be rewarded with any paycheck?

      • Hoping for better days says:

        AMEN, AMEN!!! And her children attend a private school (AS USUAL). get rid of her! NOW!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mrs Montoya for Education please!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      She should offered a job in the school system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mrs. Montoya is an outstanding educator – I have worked with her in the Ministry of Health for years. She is a hard working individual, and aims for the best in whatever she approaches. Her demeanor and guidance to me was welcomed, and up to now she is a very good friend of mine. Ozzie someone like her with a vast knowledge would do well in the Education Ministry or the Health Ministry with her investment in government they would bear no lost investments. 

      Mrs. Montoya – Best of Luck to you.  I am positive you want to be out there in Government doing a job that is deserving.

      Debbie – best of luck to you.  Two fine ladies, i have associated with in the service, considering they have so much to offer our country.  It is high time we fill that void in their lives.  God bless you all.    

  12. Anonymous says:

    Stran is a convert to the UDP and tainted…. I can't quite figure out why because he is quite brite. Rodriguez and Ken Jefferson and Alan Jones are complete flakes and poor choices. Four years of saving their own Axxxxes is all they have acheived. Some very poor choices.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I rather like the new line up of Ministrial responsibilities. I see now that Tara has education, good for her, she has been campaigning for that all along.  She never agreed in anything Rolston or Alden did in the past.Hope now she can make that change she wanted to make, but her first order of business is to get rid of Mary Rodriquez, she has underperformed.  Tara while you are Minister of Education, please remember those students caught in between the cracks. They are the forgotten. No child should be left behind, even in the college life.  Every student has a different circumstance and each one should be carefully diagnosed and treated, accordingly. Remember a C student is NOT a failure, but one who will work harder than an A and B student and they WILL be the most successful person in our community. Don't strip them of their dignity please, that's what the Rolston led ministry has been doing. Killing a young person's dreams. Everyone has their own strength and not all students should be painted with the same brush stroke. Treat each one as unique and hear their story. 

    • Anonymous says:

      and please help those who are struggling with neglect, abuse and all sorts of other problems at home.  We cannot ignore these children.  They need our help and we must find a way to give them home and break these cycles of abuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like your comments, and agree with you, the Rolston led Ministry has been killing the young perosns dreams.  Tara I hope you will pick up the pieces of this Ministry and investigate how many children have lost out on Scholarships all because of who they are –  stop this steriotype picking and treat students, fair because they are the future of tomorrow. .

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank Jesus that Tara got education! I was a bit worried about Ozzy getting it! I do hope she solves the main issues I.e. Overcrowding and lack of teachers aids… 27 kids to 1 teacher is not managable in order for our children (our future) to become all that they can be! Thank you all for making this choice, I pray and believe it is the right one!

    • Anonymous says:

      Overcrowding is an Immigration issue so she will have to look to the Premier for help with that. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said. It is now believed that in one particular government school most of the children are foreign nationals. This is madness.

        • Anonymous says:

          65% at one Primary school it seems. At almost $20,000 each student each a year and despite clear laws to prevent this from happening, Mac sure has left us a legacy to remember.

          Hey, FCO, stop smirking. How do you think it will read in the London tabloids when they learn you helped a tin pot third world power hungry village strong man effectively hand out British passports on a system of grace and favor. Rather makes cash for honors look like a country fĂȘte, in particular given the UK’s own anti immigration backlash. Can’t handle 5% non Europeans in your country? Diddums is the word I believe you use.

    • Anonymous says:

      My dear, clearly you do not understand about the teaching and learning process if you think that a ratio of twenty-seven students to one teacher is unmanageable. My advice to you is to ask some real teachers about such issues before speaking anything else on the matter. (Remember Jesus taught thousands!)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Finally – took them from May 22 to June 4th just to sort who’s doing what.

    • Anon says:

      That's pretty good going since they did not originally have a majority govt. and negotiations with Tara were not finalised until 28th May. You don't seem to understand the sort of negotiating and complexities involved especially where non-party members are taking Cabinet seats.   

    • Anonymous says:

      To “Finally took them from May” Yes it took them a whopping 14 days!! Could you have done it in a shorter time?.
      Is’nt it better to spend quality time on such an important issue. At least now we have educated people of integrity leading these islands.

    • yeh says:

      And your Premier would have slammed through that inten minutes with no discussion, no consideration for what the Civil Servants thought was good and no opportunity to improve anything. Please go over in the junk heap with him and stay there, you are done!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Junior minister and chief officers?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the assigned ministries except for Da Oz. what the hell does he know about health….!!!!!! I mean come on, he owns a gas stn let him work on getting us cheaper gas… Not health… I mean WTF…

    I voted in BT and believe you me , Oz… if I had know he would get that ministry I wouldn’t have voted for him… LMAO this has to be a late April fools joke or something…

    • Anonymous says:

      What does it take to be a Minister for Health?

    • Anonymous says:

      Another health hazard minister; very obese.  I know wonder since he is the new minister of health is he going to stop selling tobacco/alcohol; afterall we can't have health minister who promotes these "killers".

      I wonder what is Dr. Kumar saying these days, knowing how hard he worked to get the smoking ban in public places; last week he had a health minister that was obsese, drinks and smoke; this week he get another one that is obsese and promotes tobacco.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am SO GLAD that Tara now has Education. I know she will have her hands full but I also hope that she will not hesitate to reach out to the former Education Minister who also had Labour. I am much more confident that the Education of our children will continue to improve under Tara and that she will see that the Education Strategic Plan is implemented. I also believe she will have a good “Counsellor” in Winston.

    • Anon says:

      Winston is a "Councillor" not "Counsellor". Big difference.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Correction accepted!

      • Anonymous says:

        To: Submitted by Anon (not verified) on Wed, 06/05/2013 – 09:19.                              Why can't he be both?

  19. Chris Johnson says:

    Unbelievable that two senior and intelligent civil service officers remained on the payroll of government without working, costing the nation between $1m -$2m over the past four years. Bush and UDP should contribute that themselves. Not negligence but gross negligence.

    • Anonymous says:

      The senior civil servants who signed off on it should also be publicly sanctioned. Remember Bush and the UDP couldn't have done this without the support of the senior civil servants, the Deputy Governor included.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:13, you is a hidjut. You obviously know nothing about how things go on in the Cayman civil service and have gone on  for at least 40 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Give Us Our Money Back Dirty Willie!!!!

  20. CayStudent says:

    This shake-up of Ministers is much better.

    Can't have Kurt, who smokes, as Health Minister. Ozzie with Education didn't feel right to me but now that they've put Tara with that ministry it sounds more rational. 

    Good luck all; we've got work to do!

  21. Anon says:

    This is a substantial improvement. I have very happy about the changes. Glad that Tara has got Education in her ministry.  

  22. Anonymous says:

    The biggest question remains… what will happen to the former Premeir's driver/Executive aide?

    • Anonymous says:

      A good question. Also what will happen to the former Premiers helper that she dragged here withher from Tonga, with a ticket costing approx $5000.00? Will she have to pay that back if she is going to keep her?

    • Anonymous says:

      We understand that Capt Mose dosent want a driver. Thats what I really call a business man at heart. It is just a waste of money. If he cant manage to drive at any given time we are sure that his good ole buddy Shelby will be standing by.

  23. M2 says:

    Kurt Tibbetts who is now for planning ministry, agriculture, housing and infrastructure???  I just hope with these developers, he put a stop to the planning department passing every development plan they see on their tables. All like the development in the South Sound is an issue which Alden and Kurt was very quiet on. I hope Ezzard and Arden take note of this because they had to bark at the East End Sea Port development whilst Alden and Kurt remain quiet. Seeing this government has little oppossition, I hope Kurt does the right thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Little opposition? Really now? with McKeeva as LoO I'm sure he will be making his presence known and opposing for opposition sake.