New fire chief to be announced

| 07/12/2015 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Officers from the Cayman Islands Fire Service (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): The chief officer in the ministry of home affairs, Eric Bush, has called a meeting of fire service staff today to announce the appointment of a new fire chief. The ministry has not yet revealed any details of the new fire-fighting boss but CNS understands that for the first time since the 1950s the job has not gone to a local officer. The recruitment process has gone on for more than 18 months and has been plagued with controversy. 

Earlier this year, in an interview with CNS, Bush had implied that the post would be unlikely to go to a Caymanian as there were no officers in the service that met the recruitment criteria.

New fire chief won’t be local officer

The revelation elicited a strong response from the premier, who has responsibility for the fire service. Alden McLaughlin said that he would not endorse a foreigner in the job, which would be “a retrograde step of the highest magnitude” after some 60 years of locals heading up the fire service.

CNS has contacted the ministry and is awaiting a response. We will post further details as they are received.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If no Caymanians are qualified, then not only the Chief Fire Officer should have been retired, but the Chief Officer should have been fired as well, as they are the ones who are responsible for succession planning. This is a disgrace. Alden, fire your Chief Officer and find an expat to do his job, as he isn’t fit for it either. He is obviously asleep at the wheel.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Failing to come up to the business cripplingly low threshold of suitably qualified is quite a slight.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Finally someone has had the good sense to put professional competence ahead of callow protectionism. Alden should support his CO and back his decision to hire someone qualified for the job.

    No doubt an audit trail has been established so that when the inevitable FOI request is made it will clearly show that local fire fighters were given the chance to apply, fairly assessed and found lacking. The Ministry should release this immediately to pre-empt the unfolding media frenzy.

    It is bizarre that so many Caymanians think the right thing to do for the community in this case would be to give the job to an unqualified Caymanian. This is an emergency service whose work is literally life and death. Good leadership is not a nice-to-have. It is essential for a functional organization.

    The choice for the Ministry was very clear. Choose one of the following:

    1. An increase in salary and a promotion for one single Caymanian person whose experience and skills were not at the required standard (and that could never ever be fired from the position no matter how inept). (Imagine this person trying to run the department? How would they have the respect of their staff?)


    2. A competent and experienced expatriate that could ensure a well run and resourced department is able to respond to emergencies and do its part to keep the community safe.

    Kudos to Eric Bush for having the cajones to make the right decision knowing he was going to take a lot of stick for it from the die hard protectionists that would rather put the whole community at risk than allow “another evil expat” onto our shores.

    Don’t misread my point. The new CFO is not competent BECAUSE he is expatriate. He is competent because of his level of skill and experience (I presume). He is expatriate by default because no qualified Caymanian could be found.

    This does not mean that a qualified Caymanian could never be found. The Ministry should put in place a succession plan to ensure the new CFO provides training so that in the future a Caymanian may be qualified to take on the role.

    Caymanians should be hired wherever possible, but just like in a private sector organization, if a qualified Caymanian cannot be found, then an expat it must be.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If the job requirements genuinely align with the unique needs of our national Fire and Emergency services but there are no Caymanian candidates that actually meet those requirements, then someone else should be given the job.

    I am all for my fellow Caymanians being at the helm of our organisations, however some issues and roles extend beyond patriotism and such.
    This is literally a life or death(s) scenario and should never be politicised.

    Just my 2 cents tho.

    – Who

    That being said, I trust the successful candidate is from this side of the Atlantic and or from a comparable region / climate. I say that because when one considers the types of local machinery, vehicles, infrastructure, weather, humidity etc., it helps to have someone that is familiar with all aspects of the role at the helm.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A national tragedy. I wonder if Mr. Flip Flopper will now endorse a foreign fire chief?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The only fires he’ll be putting out are the ones created by the fact, not his fault, that he is not a Caymanian. The politicians, firemen and of course some of the posters on this site will have a field day. Did no one (Eric, for example?) warn him that it would be an almost impossible job for him to do? Has he the slightest inkling of the can of worms/nest of vipers he is diving into. May the Lord have mercy on his fireman’s helmet.

    • UK Driftwood says:

      Interviewed and hired by Caymanians, will be interested to hear the premier and other highly over paid MLA’s response.
      Is it really true that an MLA earns 10k a month if so that would make them some of the highest paid in the world and double the net earnings of a UK MP and after tax etc nearly what the PM on the UK earns that does sound absurd.

      • Anonymous says:

        UK Driftwood, A little jealous are you? Your posts are always so anti Caymanian, I don’t why you don’t you do as your name suggests and keep on drifting.

      • SSM345 says:

        1:44, our MLA’s actually earn more than that per month as they take their pensions at the same time. So in fact, we do have the highest paid Government representatives in the entire world, who are accountable to no one and do absolutely Fall to earn some KYD$15-20K+ per month. Welcome to La-La Land,

  7. Pyro says:

    This announcement has been on the back-burner for too long!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let the fireworks begin!!

  9. WaYaSay says:

    No qualified Caymanians? What about the past fire chiefs? What disqualifies them? Oh yes……I know……. just change the required qualifications to include one thing that no Caymanian has……. it is that easy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a farce! Caymanians are second class in their own country.

    • Anonymous says:

      2nd class???
      expats, humane society animals, caymanians….

    • Anonymous says:

      By choice it seems like. No guts, no balls, no backbone, and no vision. Who’s fault is that?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Interested to know who the first class citizens are?

      People who cannot vote, are ineligible for free education, healthcare or social services, need to jump through endless hoops to get a work permit no matter that there are 20,000 too few Caymanians to fill all the jobs, who literally cannot obtain PR because the goalposts are continually moving and who have to put up with the likes of you casting aspersions on their character and motives for no real reason other than them having been born overseas like 100% of your forebears.

      In short, shut the f up about being a second class citizen unless you have some actual evidence of being treated as such other than inane conspiracy theories.

      • Anonymous says:

        Amen, amen, amen, 4:08. That should hold him for a nanosecond, bobo, until his pitiful brain comes up with a way to insult you.

    • Anonymous says:

      The farce is that in 30 years, Cayman has not stepped up and produced at least a handful of qualified fire chiefs, but instead, continued the rhetoric that they are being maligned. Be thankful someone qualified has agreed to come to Cayman and fulfill this critical role. Caymanians tried desperately to fill this roll with a Caymanian. They could not. The situation speaks for itself.

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