New local labour boss appointed

| 05/01/2016 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service

Bennard Ebanks, Director of the Department of Labour and Pensions

(CNS): Bennard Ebanks has been appointed as the director of the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) in the employment ministry, government revealed Tuesday. CNS understands that Ebanks will also be Acting Pensions Superintendent. A long-time civil servant who began his career with the police, Ebanks has also worked in both immigration and labour. He replaces Mario Ebanks, who resigned in the summer. 

In a government release, officials said Bennard Ebanks had returned to the labour department after a recent stint as assistant chief immigration officer, where he led a team of senior officers in that department’s enforcement compliance unit.

In his time with the labour department in Ebanks worked as a senior pensions inspector where he had investigative and supervisory responsibilities, including periods where he was acting director and acting superintendent of pensions.

In the release the ministry, Chief Officer Christen Suckoo welcomed Ebanks to the team.

“With his past experience of working at the department and his professional knowledge and enforcement background, I feel Mr Ebanks is well suited to effectively lead the DLP during this critical time, especially with the legislative changes that are on the horizon,” he said. “I look forward to working with him to build upon the strengths that exist and to continue the improvements being carried out at the DLP. His skills, determination and enthusiasm for this challenging yet critical area of work will assist us in developing an efficient compliance regime for labour and pension matters in these islands.”

With two major pieces of legislation expected to be passed in the Legislative Assembly early this year relating to labour relations, the national pension regime and the introduction of a minimum wage, all against the backdrop of rising unemployment in the face of increasing work permit numbers, Ebanks has his work cut out for him.

He began his career in public service with the RCIPS as a cadet in 1990. Working his way through the ranks to inspector, his last post with the police was as commander of the Joint Police, Customs and Immigration Marine Unit. He received the Colonial Police Long Service Medal for 18 years with the RCIPS but continued in the service until 2011. Between 2004 and 2007 he also studyied for a law degree at the Cayman Islands Law School.

Facing a period of change for the department, Ebanks said, “The modernisation of its laws, policies, and procedures while also addressing the matters raised in the Office of the Complaints Commissioner reports, “Danger: Construction at Work” and “Penny Pinching Pensions”, will be essential to the department’s effectiveness. I look forward to working with all stakeholders in order to achieve the ministry’s vision of establishing a culture of compliance for our labour and pensions laws.”

Employment Minister Tara Rivers congratulated Ebanks, whose experience and credentials she said would be an asset to the department.

“I am pleased to see that a suitably qualified Caymanian has been found and appointed to the post,” she said. “I wish Mr Ebanks success in his very important role in taking the department forward during this exciting period of reform.”

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Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Descent”. If you are going to pander to bigotry at least spell the words correctly that you use to spout your hate. Otherwise we will think that your bigotry stems from your anger at your own mediocrity.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One does not need to be of Spanish decent to speak Spanish, you bigot.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I must say that the RCIPS has proven to have had some highly skilled and qualified people working for them and I can confidently say there are many who continues to work there. I did a quick count and found where 12 former police officers are now either directors /deputy directors/heads of depts in the following areas; labor, public transport, dept of vehicle licensing, dept of gov’t entire fleet unit, customs, assistant chief immigration, partners in law firms, own private law firm and the list goes on…

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree most have a law or some kind of degree and realized way back when this was required to get ahead in their careers. Most were provided funding and time to study while in the RCIP also.

      Other staff of agencies especially Customs and Immigration, Fire, should all take note and follow suit as moving up the chain and being promoted based on tenure no longer works Bobo!! Just because you been there 20 years slightly promoted on tenure but never went back to school is not making the grade I am afraid!

      • Catcha Fire says:

        The trouble with your little concept anon 3:58pm is others had to pick up the slack and carry the full weight and workload and the burden of those who were “furthering their careers”. This is one of real reasons why the RCIPS is in such a mess today because the Bobo’s as you put it left frustrated and unappreciated whilst the work skifflers made it.The bobo’s also left with the experience of doing the work too! All the Legend in their own mind skifflers can do is brag about their fictitious exploits and their enhance resumes. Congrats Bennard you ain’t one of them bro! Thanks for your continue service to these islands my friend.

  4. Anonymous says:

    See below comments from the past director of DLP Mario Ebanks to Bennard. We who know the truth know that he was no friend of Bennard’s but now he choses to come out in this forum and pretend to support him. As a government employee why is Mario permitted to attack the Ministry. If he had done his job properly when he was there the DLP would not be in the mess that it is in. Everything for him was a “legacy issue”. Well he has sure left a number of “legacy issues” for Bennard to have to sort out. Read between the lines people there is a reason why Mario is no longer with the Department. Thank God some other department has to deal with him.

    This is a continuation of the list of wishes which I started below, for my friend Mr. Bennard Ebanks, the new Director of Labour & Pensions:
    1) I wish that he will get a suitable Deputy Director of Pensions and Pensions Superintendent, one who is credible, a team-player, and reliable. One who is competent in pensions administration, governance due diligence, supervision, and with knowledge of finance and investments;
    2) I wish that the Ministry of Employment would arrange a re-evaluation of the job of Assistant Director – Administration, so that a suitable candidate can be attracted and retained, which will prevent the Director from being buried in administrative, finance, and operational matters, and cannot focus on the pressing huge issues of that job;
    3) I wish for Bennard that the Ministry of Employment would also support the re-evaluation of the Jobs of Senior Labour & Senior Pensions Officers, so that high quality Officers can be attracted and retained. It is not just about adding a few bodies, it has to be about the quality of the talent that is recruited;
    4) I wish for Bennard that he can get a Personal or Administrative Assistant, so that he does not have to do multiple jobs as well as being “chief cook and bottle washer”;
    5) I wish that the Ministry of Employment would provide a proper framework and resources for the monitoring and enforcement of of Occupational Safety & Health, especially with the increasing activity in the construction and industrial sectors, so that workplaces can be safe and excellent;
    6) I wish for Bennard that the Ministry will commission a proper Organizational Review of the Department, so that a determination can be made in terms of the services to be provided, and the optimum resources & systems required;
    7) I wish that Mr. Bennard Ebanks gets support for a new integrated “Case Management System” to better enforce and administer Labour & Pensions administration, as opposed to the archaic and disparate Labour & Pensions “systems” currently in use. Obviously for confidentiality and tactical reasons I cannot elaborate on this point;
    8) I wish that the Ministry of Employment will provide the Director of Labour & Pensions with an independent in-house legal counsel, or drastically improve the availability and speed of the legal advice and assistance which is now obtained within central Government;
    9) I wish that proper protocols are developed between the Department and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, so that the Department can receive timely and quality representation, rulings, and support for prosecutions throught the Courts, or elsewhere, of both Labour & Pensions law breakers;
    10) And finally, I wish that Bennard will get support from the Ministry for the performance management of a few folks within the Department who refuse to perform or whose attitudes are less that desirable, which brings the Department into disrepute.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, just curious. After a career in law enforcement, Mr. Bennard Ebanks is apparently suitably qualified for the post of Director of Labour. Any explanation why he wasn’t considered for a senior post in the Department of Immigration, considering its present state?,

  6. Bracker by birth, but resident of Grand. says:

    Having seen his Facebook wish list for the new director, the public now has a few wish list questions for Mario:

    1- Why did he hire so many retirees who just happened to be personal acquaintances of his at a time when many young and qualified Caymanians were jobless? I was one who could have done the job BUT I was overlooked in favor of a Canadian. And I just turned 60 a month ago.

    2- Was there any repercussions against the officer/s who lost 2 large cases in Court while he was in charge?

    3- According to his wish list, IF there are so many non performers in the department, what did he do to address the shortcomings. Certainly people don’t under achieve overnight and as a person who claims that “HR is my passion” he would and in fact should have dealt with the matter.

    4- Why was the Sister Islands forgotten for the most part during his tenure.

    I am in no way saying that the department is perfect but how can a person who led the office for a number of years now come up with these list of wishes. My interpretation is that he himself wasn’t doing the job. There does need to be a clean up and things improved and hopefully the new Mr. Ebanks will get results. To the new Director, you have a steep mountain to climb but with your results in the RCIPS, you will do well. As a former Civil Servant myself, it is pleasing to see young, able and qualified persons taking leadership roles and I wish you nothing but success Bennard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. You hit the nail on the head. Mario was ineffective in his role at the DLP and complained endlessly to the staff about “legacy issues” to which he did nothing and now he has advice to Bennard. Maybe if he had spent his time doing government work and not Premier Solutions work (his private HR company) he would have been able to sort out the issues that he claims the department has.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hope Mr. Ebanks can clean up pensions board. I have an employee who has been trying to get her government pension transferred to a different account/company for over a year. It is shocking how she gets told to “be patient” when she makes her weekly calls. Please Mr. Ebanks, make these people work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    He can’t do anything because the problem still remains: Caymanians with poor work ethic, mickey mouse qualifications,negative past records of employment and a whole host of people applying for jobs who in any country would be considered unemployable. And there is still a big problem getting the ezzardians to understand that being a Caymanian doesn’t mean equity partnership in five years.

    • Anonymous says:

      So this is why we have so many Caymanians unemployed. We have taken all the “unemployable” from other countries and granted them work permits. Only in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and then, having granted unemployables from other countries work permits, we made a whole bunch of them Caymanian!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ebanks was a great asset to Immigration and dealt with a number of difficult issues whilst there . Whilst he will be a loss to that department, he would appear to be an excellent choice for his new role, and I anticipate that all will be impressed by what he is able to achieve, with time, and a free hand.

    • sonia says:

      I am so proud of the way the civil service is being run now. Only highly qualified persons are being appointed to the key positions. Customs, Prison, Fire, Accountant General, Chief Officer in Education, and now this post. while some non Caymanians were hired – everyone hired has one thing in common – they are well qualified for the job.

      The Deputy Governor has kept his word!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s hope he is not an obstacle to business recruiting the staff they need.

  11. Anonymous says:

    here we go…….lets see what he brings to the table

  12. Anonymous says:

    congrats to him he has a monumental task ahead of him of huge issues in the department – just not sure if he has the leadership skills required to run a very important Department based on his previous experience and roles. Only time will tell.

  13. Sharkey says:

    Congratulations to Mr Ebanks, I think that if Ms RIVERS looked a little harder she could find a lot more Caymanians that are qualified and suitable for jobs , but you would have to let them do their job, and not shackle them to the way you want the job done.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Shape it up Mr. Ebanks and get those pension monies due to employees back from thieving employers. Some employees have been waiting for years for the department to move forward with cases while their previous employers have or are now being prosecuted by the crown for other offenses.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Mr. Ebanks…….please now work to make your department work efficiently as waiting for a call sometimes as much as 3 days from a labour officer is ridiculous. It would appear that your labour and sometimes pensions officers do not have the desire to assist and you need to correct this. I also ask that you give more emphasis to construction safety as there are many rogue and unscrupulous contractors operating in this country. With this said, my hat goes off to your officer that undertakes trips to construction sites; he is very knowledgeable, professional,and approachable. You have a monumental task ahead of you but we have confidence in your ability to bring good changes. God bless you and may he guide you as you begin your leadership role.

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