Lack of diplomatic experience won’t hinder governor

| 06/08/2013

(CNS): The departing governor does not think that his successor’s lack of diplomatic or foreign office experience will hinder her in the job she is set to take up next month, he told members of the press last week. Helen Kilpatrick, who will taking over Duncan Taylor's position as the Cayman Islands governor, comes to the job from the UK’s Home Office. Kilpatrick has a career history in local government and home affairs and is a finance expert who has never served overseas in the diplomatic core or worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, Taylor said that the post of governor is very different from the usual diplomatic positions and Kilpatrick’s experience will help her in the new job.

The outgoing governor, who leaves Cayman on Wednesday after his three and a half year tour of duty, said that while his career with the FCO might have been helpful, his previous career was not necessarily “a dress rehearsal for the job I did here”, noting that diplomats can only try to influence but have no powers in the countries where they are stationed. 

By contrast, Taylor said, the job of governor had significant powers and responsibilities and Kilpatrick’s career history managing local government budgets and overseeing the administration of police forces and other such jobs at the Home Office would stand her in good stead.

While there will be some adjustments, the skills and core competencies in the job Kilpatrick has most recently held will be similar to the skills she will be using in Cayman, he said. Taylor suggested that one of the major adaptions for his successor will be her move from London and her role managing a massive budget to a small Caribbean jurisdiction.

Kilpatrick is the first governor to come to Cayman that is not a diplomat and who has no overseas experience. She is however, a financial expert and has wide experience working with public finances and managing large government sector budgets. With the evolution over the years of the UK’s civil service and the introduction of competition, the governor’s posts in the UK’s remaining territories are no longer given by appointment but through an open interview and a selection process.

Speaking to the press when she came to Cayman for a brief familiarisation visit last month, Kilpatrick was also confident that she would have the skills required. However, she acknowledged that her first priority would be to listen and learn.

Taylor agreed with that and said it was something that all incoming governors must do to understand the issues before them and understand the environment in which they will be working before making decisions. He said the post was a privilege to hold, with significant responsibility, and it was the duty of a governor to remember the importance of that.

He said that the issue which would remain for Kilpatrick was the same he faced, which was ensuring good governance, and he believed that she would be well-placed to build on the work already done in that area.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who cares? We elected someone to the highest office with NO education, NO manners, NO morals etc. etc. etc. The list of basic qualities that he didn't/doesn't have is endless, yet he is the preferred candidate for the majority of West Bayers. Go figure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don't ever let them forget that they are not a real country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It'll be interesting to see how many of the MLAs manage to interact (or not) with a mere woman!!! Sexism is not dead. Thank goodness Mac is no longer Premier.

    • SSM345 says:

      Can you imagine Mac's opening address….."Now, listen here sweetie"…..SMH

  4. Anonymous says:

    She's not a governor, shes a manager….

  5. Bond says:

    She is sent on a mission. The USA is about to embark on their new TAX scheme but the UK is stalling them because of their non-compliance when it come to USA citizens having monies in their country. Therefore, a finance person is sent to Cayman to make sure we are in compliance with the USA tax schemes. Just another way to take the lime light off the UK. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear future governor this new government will try to waste money and appoint its cronies to every position possible.  The cronyism is expensive as the two toy parties flip flop their appointees after each election.  Keep the purse strings as tight as possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is how it is suppose to be done.  Did you see Obama appointing a Republican to advise him or George Bush appointing a Democrat?  Try go find some books to read!!

  7. Slowpoke says:

    I don't know if you can apply this to a country, but the rule of thumb to job satisfaction is:

    1) when the owner/founder is in charge, keep your job, 2) when the lawyers take over, start looking for a new job and, 3) when the accountants take over, get the hell out.

    Let us hope that our new accountant overlord will prove this wrong.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I hope that Mrs. Kilpatrick comes in focused on cleaning up the corruption. She needs to look at those that will be very close to her as well as those at a distance. Trust none Mrs. Kilpatrick and know that there are many wolves in sheeps clothing here.

  9. The lone haranguer says:

    Cut cost governor, you  have nothing to lose.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The outgoing governor appears to have a lot of opinions lately – in fact, far more than he has had during his entire stay here.  I wonder if these islands would not have been served better had he expressed his opinions at a much earlier time.  As the saying goes, "too little, too late".

  11. Anonymous says:

    Having a financial expert govern a financial centre seems to me a good step forward from letting diplomats run it.  She will have a lot more understanding of the issues we face and be able to engage in productive discussion with stakeholders as and when needed.  Sounds like a good move to me.

  12. And another Ting says:

    Can we just forget about Taylor, he is now old hat.  Let see what this new Administrator is going to do.  Let us not judge wait and watch carefully people.  And another Ting.

  13. Da Bracster says:

    Not moving away from the topic but as i read the Caycompass this morning all i could do was laugh when i read the appointment of the New Port Authoity Board in direct contrast to Governor Taylor's piece on good governance, now i not one to praise the UDP but talk about a conflict of interest and it wreaks of Blantant Nepotism when Mr Strand Bodden and the Government tourism minister and  chief officer re appoints his own father Mr Ashton Bodden to the Port authority Board Wow!  talk about hypocrites and conflicts. Well Mrs Kilpatrick you are face with the same level of corruption  Mr Taylor had to contend with the problem is these are suppose to be the righteous ones. Who got elect claiming otherwise!

    • Anonymous says:

      That's Capt. Ashton Bodden and its a good thing to have a father and son working towards the same goal. To get the dock built!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought all these years his name is Stran not Strand. But there are countless (negative) posts on CNS today calling him Strand………………unless they are all from the same poster making a mistake with his name.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do know that it was a reappointment and that Strand Bodden had nothing to do with the original appointment? The father having been a captain, a customs officer and retired port supervisor would seem to be a good choise. However after the Mac years your concern is understandable.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hoping to see lots of fireworks as the numbercrunching and much needed cuts get made transparent..

  15. Anonymous says:

    In fact if you read this lady's biog I'd say her lack of diplomatic experience is going to be a definite advantage in the Cayman Islands. Make no mistake, this is 'kick ass and take numbers' time. She's been sent on a mission.