Suckoo confirmed as education ministry boss

| 06/10/2015 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Christen Suckoo, Chief Officer, Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs

(CNS): After more than twelve months acting in the job, Christen Suckoo has been appointed as the chief officer in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Suckoo was given his formal title on 1 October following an open recruitment process, though government officials did not say how many applicants there were for the job. As well as a panel interview, which included Manderson, Chris Duggan from Dart and Wanda Ebanks from Maples, Suckoo took assessment tests in cognitive ability and emotional intelligence.

Announcing the formal appointment, Manderson said it was pleasing to see a bright young Caymanian rising through the ranks to achieve one of the most senior positions in the civil service.

He added, “Mr Suckoo has done an outstanding job as acting chief officer, delivering a number of major projects which were a priority for his minister. I very much look forward to even greater achievements now that he has been appointed to the post.”

Suckoo said he was looking forward to the “challenges of this new position and the opportunity to continue to develop policies that will enhance the educational, employment and gender development of these islands”.

Suckoo joined the civil service in 1999 as a risk analyst in the Portfolio of Finance and Economics.  In 2007, he became the deputy director of the Constitutional Review Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, where he was responsible for a large public education and consultation campaign as part of the constitutional modernization project. He was promoted to deputy chief officer (Finance, Administration and Special Units) in 2009 in the Ministry of Education and was responsible for oversight of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre, Department of Employment Relations, the Public Library and the National Archive.


Category: Education, Jobs, Local News

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like to take the opportunity of this forum to formally congratulate Mr Christen Suckoo on the achievement of being the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Education!

    As a fellow civil servant I can honestly say that Mr Christen Suckoo has always endeavoured to serve this country to the best of his ability. He may not have an “educational” background but he has common sense, good manners, good work ethics, and possesses an academic background and experience in Government that has and will continue to assist him in being successful in this role.

    We should all feel proud that a young Caymanian man is in this position. He has and will continue to serve as a good role model to our young men and boys. We need more young Caymanian males to be in such positions so our males can see and know that our Caymanian men are stalwart citizens and hard workers in THIS generation.

    If I am not mistaken, Mr Christen Suckoo, is the first that I know of in such a position in Education that is male. In times past, the Chief Officers or Permanent Secretary in Education has been female. Nothing wrong with that. However, as previously mentioned it is good to see a young Caymanian man in this role.

    As far as I know, Mr Christen Suckoo is a devoted husband and father. Even that alone is a great accomplishment in this day and age. Our young men and boys need to see and know that they can not only be successful academically, professionally, career-wise but also a Godly family man in such a position. May we feel humbly proud of this young Caymanian man and hold him and his family up in prayer.

    God bless you and your family Mr Suckoo. Keep up the good work! You make us (Caymanians and residents alike) humbly proud.

    A fellow Caymanian and civil servant. Congratulations!! You have worked hard and will continue to do so. Proud of you Sir.

  2. caymanaindonkey says:

    No saying he is the right person but change is needed.
    I didn’t think we necessary need someone with an education background but we do need someone who can manage and hire the right people for the job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I hope he will help educate children that politicians that insult the gay community are little more than ignorant cavemen . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      Or Ministers shouting out their CEO’s and vice versa is totally unacceptable. But of course he will not because no one holds anyone accountable when their are in senior positions.

  4. Big Kenny says:

    Hurry now, the gravy train is leaving. Last friends and family aboard get less bags to fill up as this trains hurtles along to its fianal destination, pension deficit.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is Tara demoted?

    • Judge Watchya says:

      dont be silly Tara . is a cabinet Minister Sookoo is a civil servant promoted to one of the highest post in govt!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Remember when Suckoo spoke his own mind? Well those days are over.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I applied to the ministry for a much lower position with more qualifications and was not even given an opportunity. Unfortunately I am not related to the MLA’s. Everyone should be given an equal opportunity to be hired.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is our problem as Caymanians. Most outsiders quietly think we aren’t good enough for anything of substance.

      While that mindset is understandable to an extent, the real problem is most of our own people think the same thing.

      This man has toiled through the ranks and served as Deputy Chief Officer in Education under Minister Anglin.

      Him taking the top job has nothing to do with his brother being an MLA. In being a tenured public servant he out ranks his elder brother.

      It is unfair and a sign of your own insecurity to infer this hiring came about by nepotism.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I see some of us are calling for strict adherence to related fields of expertise for our civil servants. Interesting.

    Considering we are a British overseas territory, maybe we have elected to follow their example(s)?

    E.g. George Osbourne: Chancellor of the Exchequer – has a degree in History. However, somehow he ended up in cabinet in a position that has raised quite a few eyebrows. Furthermore, many believe he is doing a pretty good job. (Never mind that with the option of quantitative easing one’s disposal – even a donkey in a tux could balance those books … but I digress).

    Minister(s) of Overseas Territories: One is / was a trained priest / vicar that left his calling upon discovery of his fetish for men … and went on to a hobby of posing naked on gay websites in an effort to meet a nice, respectable life partner – apparently.
    Nevertheless, he was considered ideal by the British government for the position.

    More recently, and perhaps even currently – I honestly cannot recall and refuse to keep track as the position-holder is so frequently changed – one is / was a land or quantity surveyor of some sort.

    So … yeah. Not sure what all the fuss is about. A position was opened, a selection of candidates were interviewed, and Mr. Suckoo landed the job. Anyone who knows or has interacted with him can immediately tell he is more than capable of the job – not to mention his employment background in this regard.

    Congrats Christen. All the best.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Christen is a good choice. There was only one applicant, apparently, (why did the media release not say that?) which speaks to the lack of serious talent at this level but he is a very able person who will grow into the job.

    • Anonymous says:

      An open interview process? You seriously cannot believe that?

    • Anonymous says:

      George Osborne and co are elected politicians like Tara and Winston, not civil servants. The whole point of the civil service is to provide the professional expertise to enable the politicians to carry out their Ministerial duties, as they almost certainly don’t have the relevant background themselves. Given that the top civil servant in our Education Ministry now is not an educationalist, who is providing that expertise on improving schools to the politicians here? I haven’t checked, but I imagine that George Osbourne probably has one or two experienced economists to support him in his role in the UK….. Please don’t think this is any criticism of Christen – I just worry that he has been set up to fail by being appointed to a job which doesn’t make the best use of his considerable skills.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well they do not listen to any of their experts on island so one can only assume that they think they know education.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the concerns. Anyone going into a new job has a 50/50 chance of success.

        This person doesn’t need to be the best “educationalist”. In fact our history has proven that there is no correlation between being a teacher and being successful As a perm sec for Education.

        Put it this way, he can do no worse than his predecessors.

        The key to these Chief Officer jobs is leadership and working to balance the politics of your Minister’s priorities with the technical advice of your experts in the many subjects within that Ministry.

        Mr Suckoo is someone who will bring the best out of his staff and will not be in competition with his Minister for limelight…a malady infecting just about every precious PS in that Ministry since the late 90’s

        • Anonymous says:

          My goodness, this is one of the most accurate comments on this whole matter I have seen. The paragraph beginning “the key to these Chief Officer jobs” nails the CO’s role precisely. A pity so few read the comment or understand how accurate the observation is. I hope that now Christen has left his CICSA role of poacher and is now the gamekeeper, he will realize the difference between the two roles.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please make labour and pensions department your FIRST priority to fix…if you can considering you have been responsible for this department since 2009 and it has been on a constant downhill spiral the past 5 years. Make sure also Christen that who ever is the new person in charge is NOT someone connected to this government, not connected to any current or past member of Dpl staff, has zero ties to any political party and is not just a person put there cause of who she or he is associated with. This message also goes to you Mr. DG!!!!!! I agree that Suckoo is educated, he comes from a respected family and is like able, but I am not sold that he is the right fit. Maybe just maybe I will and can be proven wrong.

  10. Sonia says:

    3:59 you have lost the plot …are you living in never never land? First Mr Suckoo was appointed Chief Officer not Chief Education Officer….wake up. These are fundamentally different posts with totally different roles. Whats the matter dont you read good?

    A Chief Officer is the CEO of the Ministry and does not need to be an education specialist – are staying that the only person that can be the CEO of CAL is a pilot or the only person who can be the CEO of Disney Cruise Line is a Sea Captain…. wake up please zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I pray the civil service never sinks to the private sector…who just ran out of US cash????

    • Anonymous says:

      With two major high schools projects under construction and incomplete for the past several years and it’s foundation steel rising in the air and now rusting away to the core, I believe it’s the C.I. Government who has ran out of both CI and US cash…….. don’t you think ?

  11. Anonymous says:

    How can one be appointed Chief Education Officer having acting in that capacity for the past year – but a recent and comprehensive consultant report, revealed and accepted by the Ministry of Education; clearly indicates that the majority of our public school students are way behind in doing basic Math and English……… all the way up to high school ?

    Mr. Suckoo may be an intelligent and qualified Caymanian but his recent appointment as Chief Education Officer, does not seem to fit the accountability for the state of public school education in the Cayman Islands.

    Eg Only – If I was a Chief Pilot for our national airline and but there were repeated incidents of our pilots banging up our aircraft and taking unacceptable risks, would it then
    be pudent that I should be appointed Chief Exective Officer of Cayman Airways a year or so later ?

    Private sector all around the world usually runs much like this. If you are not accountable in your position and do have the resources to accomplish the tasks at hand; you are immediately warned to straighten up or you will be fired or demoted. Plain and simple.

    Unfortunately with Governments around the world, it’s the total
    opposite. That’s why the popular phrase is always repeated by our constituents. “Goverment should be be operated like a successful private sector company” but never seems to reach such standards.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree. It is nothing personal against him personally but we now have an acting Head of Education Services who taught and managed the JGHS with such a terrible report on management, yet she gets promoted?? Now Al Suckoo’s brother, a member of sitting government as an ad basically tailor made for his qualifications (ie BA Finance…… no experience in education!) gets promoted to this office?? Not impressed PPM C4C and DG, clearly they are only looking out for their own

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry dude u got it wrong. Wrong job. Monteith is running Education department and is acting. Chief education officer is always a teacher and always will be.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not wrong… Monteith is acting head of Education Department as I said, i..e Chief Education Officer of DES

  12. Anonymous. says:

    congratulations Chris. I know you will not be losing any sleep over the haters on here. always remember that no weapons formed against you will prosper. Continue to perform your duties with love and respect and no one will will be able to stop you. I guess the haters will pass out when the words spoken over you and your brother on Sunday comes to pass. The entire Pearson and Suckoo clans are behind you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And both brothers are a testimony to the very positive part played in Cayman society by persons such as, to name a few, themselves, Roy McTaggart and his brothers, Joey Hew and family, the Flowers family and Marco Archer, all of whom have or had one Jamaican parent and one Caymanian parent. It shows what the children of immigrants can achieve and can contribute.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen! Good point. Some people here don’t want to admit that people from outside Cayman have contributed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, normally it is exactly the opposite. Expats don’t want to acknowledge that Caymanians contribute.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget Kurt was born in Jamaica, Tara and former MLA born in USA and Winston has CUban heritage BUT the Jacan crew gonna look out for their Jacan voters, there is the problem, not about contribution

      And check who ran Ja after the British were told to leave? Mixed breed white Jamaicans too, race and class key my brethren

  14. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Chris!

    – Who

  15. Haters says:

    Spoken like a true hater. Christen has had a long and successful career in the CS and continues to over achieve, did you not read what the Deputy Governor said ? Since when have politicians been able to hire Chief Officers? Do you think that you could stop hating long enough to acknowledge that one of our own has again proven that Caymanians are capable, intelligent and hard working ? Christen was in a senior post long before his brother got elected so I doubt very much his brother being a politician had anything to do with it. Christen has the respect of the entire CS and for anyone to try to cheapen this with disparaging remarks only goes to prove that we are our own biggest enemy. I say well done to both brothers and encourage them to continue working so hard for our country. I wonder if you have contributed as much to this country as they have ?

  16. Isaac says:

    Congratulations Christen. Well Done and keep up the good work.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Every one talks about the Dart take over of our country. I did not realize that our government now has to consult with Dart before hiring top level civil servants. If it wasn’t so sad I would laugh at it.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a really ignorant unpleasant comment, 9:28. If it wasn’t so sad, I would get angry at it.

    • kenny says:

      9 :28. I’m sure you were of those negative posters who said all civil servants were promoted by their own and claimed bias. Now our beloved DG goes out and gets two respected private sectors members to assist with the interview process and you have the nerve to complain again. Come on please ……..zzzzzzzzzzzz

  18. Anonumous says:

    Any relevant education in child development, public relations?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Does the applicant selected have any cricketing experience? To perform this role he will need to be adept at spin bowling.

    • Anonymous. says:

      What parents say to their children is not heard by the world but will be heard and felt by posterity. congratulations Christen – we love you and are so proud of your accomplishments now as well as over the past years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Truth be told he comes from cricketing pedigree. His father peg leg was a wicked batsman for many years and Christen was a member of the upstart high school team that claimed many scalps in the big men’s league.

      So watch your head. He might just send a bouncer your way to Crack your noggin

  20. Anonymous says:

    Enormously depressing that the education Chief Officer has no education background of any real note and that there are so few people left in top jobs in the Ministry with experience beyond the narrow confines of the Cayman system. Hard to see how the Minister’s ambitions will be achieved with so little expertise…..

    • Judge Watchya says:

      to you 6:48 lm sure you are a condescending entitled racist xpat or a jealous Caymanian bad mouthing Mr Sokoo who lm proud of as a brilliant Caymanian coming from good parenting and who both his parents served as educators in the public service you need to be quiet and stay in your little place,and speak when youre spoken to or raise your hand . if you so desire to speak but. foror now ,
      SHUT UP!

      • Anonymous says:

        Not bad mouthing Mr Suckoo at all, just commenting that, with so much to do to move public education forward in Cayman, some personal experience of working in education in Cayman and of what makes systems elsewhere successful might be useful…… Christen is a very clever and hard working man who certainly deserves a senior role but I’m not sure he is necessarily the best possible choice for this job…..

        • Anonymous. says:

          Perhaps you should hace applied then. Think you would be able to compare with him?

        • Judge Watchya says:

          12:21your apoligetic words are accepted meantime l personally don,t think youre the best pos ss ible choice of being duly qualified to critique ,downgrade or criticize. a man of great calibre asMr Sokoo!

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes we get it. No caymanian will ever be good enough for any job.

          Your critique I get to an extent but it’s the underlying narrative repeated too often that drowns out your concern as genuine as you might be.

      • Iggy says:

        Your support for Mr Suckoo is admirable, but your credibility is lost by your own educationally inept, punctuationally devoid commentary… I hope you are not the poster child for the future of education in Cayman…

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeh 11.30, can see you are highly qualified to opine on this. Grade 1 spelling.

      • Anonymous says:

        When one cites someone’s parents as a qualification then it is clear that objectivity and rational thought are amiss.

  21. Kenny says:

    Great news. So happy to see Mr Suckoo appointed. Mr Manderson has been true to his word of appointing superstars to key posts in the civil service. We have Collector or Customs Mr Clifford Accountant General Mr Tibbetts and now Chief Officer Suckoo all exceptionally capable Caymanians. So many great things happening in the Civil Service.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Christen, congrats,, but please watch your back, they’ll slap your back and pick your back with the other……………

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