Chuckie named as new customs boss

| 02/07/2015 | 39 Comments
Cayman News Service

Charles Clifford, Cayman Islands Collector of Customs

(CNS): Former Cabinet minister and senior civil servant, Charles “Chuckie” Clifford has been appointed as the Cayman Islands collector of customs after six rounds of recruitment for the top government job. Speculation had been mounting over the last few weeks that the local attorney had been selected for the post, which had been vacant for three years, but it was not until Thursday that the deputy governor revealed that Clifford had been picked.

Clifford will start what is one of the CIG’s most critical jobs on 17 August. The collector of customs is responsible for the collection of import duties, one of the largest sources of public revenue, as well as package taxes and warehouse fees. Clifford, who is a former police officer, will also be responsible for the prevention of the importation of illegal goods into the Cayman Islands.

“We welcome Mr Clifford to the post of collector of customs and we are confident that, with his vast experience and knowledge as a permanent secretary and minister, he will provide the necessary leadership and support to tackle the challenges facing the customs department today,” DG Franz Manderson said in the release.

Currently running a small legal practice, Clifford was called to the local bar in 2012 when he returned to the law after losing his Bodden Town seat in the 2009 election. Clifford also missed out on a seat in 2013 when he ran as an independent candidate in the same district. He had been a member of the PPM and served in the 2005 to 2009 PPM administration as tourism and environment minister. Prior to that, however, Clifford had served as the permanent secretary in the tourism ministry when McKeeva Bush was leader of government business and minister for tourism between 2001 and 2005.

He served 17 years with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service where he rose to the rank of chief inspector.

“I am very pleased to be returning to the civil service at this critical juncture and to have an opportunity to contribute to the further development of the service and the Cayman Islands in this new role,” Clifford said in the release announcing his appointment. “As the collector my primary areas of focus will be on maximizing revenue for government, succession planning and establishing a formidable partnership with other law enforcement agencies, such as the police and immigration.”

Clifford resigned from the civil service in 2004 shortly before running for election. But he became embroiled in a subsequent public enquiry in 2008 over documents he had taken when he left the service. The papers related to concerns he raised about questionable behaviour surrounding a number of projects in the tourism ministry at the time, including the development of the Cayman Turtle Farm and the Royal Watler cruise terminal – the cause of his resignation.

Having blown the whistle to the Cayman Islands governor at the time but seen no action, Clifford had given what he said were already public documents to the press and used them in the 2005 campaign. The enquiry was led by Sir Richard Tucker after McKeeva Bush complained that Clifford had taken and used confidential documents to get elected.

Although the commission found that Clifford should not have taken the papers, it was recommended that no further action be taken against Clifford and that whistleblowing guidelines should be implemented.

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Category: Crime, Customs, Jobs, Local News

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Daniel, the Collector of Customs isn’t appointed by the Deputy Governor. He’ll be appointed by the Financial Secretary. The DG was just along for the applause.

  2. John says:

    bobo = silly adjective
    bobo = fool noun

    I notice many people are using this Spanish slang and many don’t know the true meaning..

    Good choice for customs. Now lets get customer focused..

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    Well we know that under Chuckie any dynamite shipments must be handled properly…
    No more ‘hepin a frien’… by certain politicians…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good Choice for an experienced and well educated man.. Now, first task is to look at your staff and ask WHY you still have sub-standard expats working in roles that were advertised, your own locals applied, TESTED better than the sitting expats, Caymanians who applied had better degrees and certifications, yet qualified all Caymanians were turned away for the jobs?? (so Customs cronies could renew overseas contracts?) Every Govt department needs to create succession planning instead of keeping “contract pets.” Follow the law, don’t bend the rules or turn a blind eye. Too much line crossing in Cayman, Zero tolerance should be the norm!

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman kind! If you are so damn good why didn’t you get the job? I am sure he doesn’t need your advice.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a conflict of interest with the oversight for Customs and the person in question. That might answer a lot of your questions.

  5. Zaphod says:

    Isn’t there a major conflict of interest here? Ex-politician vs civil servant or business owner vs politician?

  6. Allar says:

    Cayman has just won. Chuckie is aman of honor and intrigrity. I had the privilege to work with him as a Police officer. His management skills is super his ability to lead is phenomenal. Customs officers you have just gain a great boss trust me

  7. Anonymous says:

    On the square Chuckie, glad you got the job………….Hand on heart.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Any news on the successful candidate for the “waste of money” London position?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he could do Mario’s job as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just make sure it’s no one who currently is in the DLP that will take Marios job, cause if that choice is made, this will be a classic example of brown-nosing and cadoodling with your lovers good friend.

  10. Daniel says:

    A brilliant appointment and kudos to the Deputy Governor and Financial Secretary- the deputy governor has followed through on his promise to appoint superstars to the top jobs in the civil service and this appointment proves that. Although it has taken far too long for this appointment to be made the DG and FS should be commended for not yielding to pressure and appoint someone who was not a superstar to the post. I am so proud of the DG FS and Mr Clifford.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. The DH and FS couldn’t have pick a better person for the job. I have faith that he will get the job done.

      Congrats “Chuckie” in your role.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Finally! Good luck Mr. Chuck!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great! No get the duties back to 20% and eliminate the need for the 5000 different categories and get me in and out in under 20 minutes please.

  13. Custos says:

    Makes sense. His cv is pretty much on point for the role.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it as quite wrong of him to have used the papers in his election campaign!!!! Showed an ulterior motive in acquiring personally benefit — very messy!

    I hope he will be more circumspect in his new post — and that his thinking in this new job will not be so cloudy as that — and not so contaminated by the political environment he has been exposed to. Most of the political graduates have been tainted.

    Hopefully, as well, he will not be moonlighting, as many other civil servants, in his legal practice — we have not been told whether that will be ongoing or not.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You have got to be joking!

    It wasn’t just that he took the papers but that he handed copies of them over to Desmond Seales. When Seales and Chuckie fell out over the Net News/CAL contract Seales blew the whistle on him and created the Chuckiegate inquiry.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Chuckie. A good and honest man, never afraid to do the right thing. An excellent choice for the role.

  17. Anonymous says:

    OMG he never worked in Customs, why not promote someone within the customs department!!!! There were a few that could have been promoted. Chuckie who ran the country into the ground? Again all I can say is OMG!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll never forgive Chuckie for giving away the CAL Houston route so foolishly to Continental (now United Airlines). They claimed it wasn’t as profitable as they wanted but oddly enough Now United is even running two flights on some days! What a joke (on us!).

    • Anonymous says:

      I dont agree with this. Not one person is capable in Customs to take on this role.

    • Nick says:

      Exactly who in customs is qualified to do this job. This is an excellent choice.

      • Anonymous says:

        You had Marlon, Emile, Collie, Newton, jeff jackson to name a few seniors who have been with customs for over 20 years! or the RCIPS

        • Anonymous says:

          wow! ignorance is bliss! this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. maybe you need to check with people who know things and revise your list or at least reverse the order.

        • Hal says:

          Omg are you serious? I am none of those persons applied and Newton left customs about 10 years ago. Where have you been living zzzzzzzzz

          • Anonymous says:

            Chuckie “left” government many years ago -and had no experience of Customs – so how does leaving disqualify Newton?

    • Anonymous says:

      How ignorant can u get?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Chuckie you are the best man for the job so proud of you…

  19. Mac Daddy says:

    I still nah payin’ no dooty Bo Bo!

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