Howell bags chief’s job at home affairs

| 24/05/2016 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service

Wesley Howell, Chief Officer in the Home Affairs Ministry

(CNS): Veteran civil servant Wesley Howell has secured the post of chief officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, one of the most senior positions in the Cayman Islands civil service, officials said Tuesday. Currently the deputy chief officer in that ministry, Howell will take up the post on 1 July when the current CO, Eric Bush, heads to the UK to take up his new job heading up Cayman’s London office. Howell beat nine applicants in an open recruitment exercise to secure the job, where he will be responsible for some 1,100 workers and a budget of $90-100 million in the premier’s ministry.

The ministry has nine departments and numerous public authorities responsible for criminal justice, public safety and national security.

Howell’s interview included online and written testing as well as a panel interview that included Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, local businessman Don Seymour and attorney Sophia Harris.

Manderson said Howell’s promotion was an excellent example of civil service succession planning in action. “After starting as an unpaid intern in the  computer services mail room more than 30 years ago, Mr Howell patiently worked his way up to the top. To support this upward trajectory he actively pursued suitable educational qualifications and practical experience. At the same time he has benefitted from his ministry’s strong commitment to leadership development,” he added in  release from government.

The premier said he was very pleased that Howell had accepted the position as chief officer. “We have always had an excellent working relationship and I look forward to the good work Wes will bring to the table as my CO,” Alden McLaughlin stated.

A key project during his time at the Computer Services Department, where he served as deputy director for 13 years having been employed by that department since 1987, was the design, procurement and implementation of the $500,000 government inter-building underground conduit and fibre optic network.

Since arriving in the ministry he has served as a key player in both the design and construction of the new police custody suites, and the ongoing development of security policy and procedures.

At an international level, he has spoken on migration and refugees at the United Nations in Geneva. He was also on the team that negotiated the current memorandum of understanding on migration between the Cuban and Cayman Islands governments.

Howell said he was very excited humbled and thankful to have been selected to lead this amazing team. “As a ministry, we work hard to make Cayman better and we are looking forward to the challenge which lies ahead. We have an excellent team that is capable of doing great things. Together I believe we can reach new heights of achievement, as we strive to make the Cayman Islands a better place for citizens and residents.”

Bush, who will be going to London in July to become the Cayman Islands representative in the UK, congratulate Howell and described him as “a calm and self-possessed professional who sets high standards for himself and others, and always looks to add value to everything that he does”. He added, “I have tremendous faith in his capability as a leader.”

As Howell moves up to the top rung in the ministry, his current position as deputy is now open but no announcement has been made as to who will take up that job.

While Howell will start his new job on 1 July, he will also continue on as the supervisor of elections. Given the historic changes and anticipated workload for the 2017 national poll, officials said senior staff at the ministry will be standing in for him for some of the time during his first year in office.

Howell has an MBA, a diploma in management of information systems and a certificate in systems development for senior IT managers. Other qualifications include cyber security, public sector reform, disaster management and elections management.

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Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If you really want to know about how people are really hired on the island, find out the business they run and church they attend. Competency has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh for heavens sake grow up Cayman. This man has only been placed in a job which most small towns would regard as a senior council official. He is a Civil Servant not a gift from the gods, he works for you so no need to get all blurry eyed about his appointment, your paying his undoubtably over inflated salary and non contributory pension.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a good look for Caymanians but I am wondering about the placement of so many unemployed individuals? I have heard that Government is telling the private sector to give ex prisoners a chance but they are NOT leading by example. Just saying.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is quite inspiring to see Caymanians being moved up in Government, however I’m still puzzled with the appointment of the new Fire Chief.

  5. Jim Knapp says:

    Congratulations Wesley! I’m very happy for you and for our country with this announcement. You’re as rock solid a person as we have in our Government and we’re all proud of your accomplishments . We wish you the best in your new post and please let us know if there is anything that we as citizens can do to help you at any time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wesley is indeed a nice guy and decent person, but as a career civil servant his effectiveness in dealing with issues will be no different to his predecessor’s. We need private sector get it done urgency in this post, not more paper shuffling and reports.

      • Anonymous says:

        So let me see if I understand this. The man who was part of the mess created in Computer Services for 13 years as deputy ended up in the Ministry to oversee the Auditor General’s many adverse reports on the failures of Computer Services. And now he is the overall Chief with great competence ? Kiss mi neck nuttin new in CIG again will surprise me.

  6. Uncivil Servant says:

    Does this mean that former Chief Officer Eric Bush is being put in place and training to succeed Franz Manderson as Deputy Governor now that Mr. Howell has become Chief Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hurrah, out with the Lodge, in with the er….Lodge?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Best thing that has happened to CIG in years!

  9. Anonymous says:

    A hearty congratulations to Mr. Howell, I think he is an excellent person, hard worker and will be a great Chief Officer.

    The story reads:

    “Howell beat nine applicants in an open recruitment exercise..”


    “Manderson said Howell’s promotion was an excellent example of civil service succession planning in action”

    CNS, perhaps you can lean over to Mr. Franz Manderson and ask him to please explain how “open recruitment process” is the same thing as “civil service succession planning”?

    This has puzzled many people in the last few years.

    • Anonymous says:

      In real succession planning, 8:02, rather than the sort where you select only one Caymanian for promotional possibilities to the exclusion of all others, you train up/prepare as many potential talented persons as possible and then let them compete against each other in an open recruitment process involving assessment testing and interviews to identify the strongest candidate. There is nothing to be puzzled about. As with all recruitment processes there will always be only one successful candidate and several who were unsuccessful. That’s life.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Yes please do. The answer is simple, since obviously Manderson’s idea of an “open recruitment process” hardly fits such a term, but then again Howell is their boy. The previous round of Chief Officer recruitment was seen to be rigged, so why would this one be any different.

      • Anonymous says:

        This sounds like sour grapes. There are a number of very strong and well educated civil servants that have emerged of recent and no doubt they threw their hat in the ring. It just so happens that Mr Howell emerged as being exceptional from amongst them. This therefore doesn’t mean that those that did not succeed were not suitably qualified or strong candidates or that this process was rigged. Very sad to try to mar Mr Howell’s success with sour grapes and bitterness. The better man won and there would have been no reason to rig the process.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well said, 9:27 and 11:30. It is encouraging to read comments from people who obviously know what they are talking about and have no bitter axes to grind.

          • Anonymous says:

            Everybody who has/ will apply for a job should realize that only one person will be hired for a particular job. Sometimes someone will think that the hire is unfair and sometimes it is starkly unfair. In this case Mr. Howell was selected and so far among the previous comments I have not seen any proof that he is not suited or that he is unqualified. Not because a number of other civil servants applied means that they are better qualified. Apparently he was the next in line anyway and undoubtly he would know more about that particular post than someone who was not. If some of you would spend as much time doing your present job as you do disrespecting the person who seemed to have the edge you would probably do much better if the opportunity comes up again. While some of you are playing video games , out partying and goofing off these persons who have been appointed as new Chief Officers have been burning the midnight oil working in their offices. When you are leaving at 5:00 in the afternoons these people are working. They have been sacrificing their families by not being at home most evenings but instead they are in their offices working. Please bear in mind that becoming a Chief Officer comes with great responsibilities and a lot of work, and not everybody can do it. Instead of trying to pull down those who do qualify you all should spend your time setting goals and diligently working towards that end. It is about time that we as Caymanians stop this ” crab in a barrel” mentality. Feeling happy when a qualified fellow Caymanian is promoted should be celebrated instead of denigrated.

            • Anonymous says:

              2.31 Please learn to write properly you make little sense. It is clear you have never heard of working remotely, but then again you are afterall in the 19th century arent you.

      • Anonymous says:

        The point is how can succession planning and open recruitment be mentioned in the same press release? A blind person could see through that statement.

        • Anonymous says:

          Read the comment above by 9:27. It explains very clearly, even to a “blind person”, how the two terms can come together in the same press release. You plan for succession by giving several (not just one) Caymanians a chance to train and work at senior level and then when a promoted position comes up you let them all compete against each other in an open recruitment process (anyone who wants to apply) with tests and interviews etc and the best man or woman is appointed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Here’s how: clearly all of the candidates that applied were Caymanian civil servants. They were bright and and well educated and during their tenure as civil servants they increased their education and were well trained. A panel was selected to help make the difficult decision of choosing the best from an exceptional group of candidates. The fact that you had a number of strong candidates that emerged for the post, demonstrates very successful succession planning. I also suspect that we can congratulate Mr Manderson for leading the way and setting the standards.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 10:21 I could not have said it better!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to Wesley! Cayman is lucky to have him.

  11. Anonymous says:

    A better candidate could not have been chosen- congrats Mr. Howell. God bless you with your new position and again congratulations sir.

  12. Deb says:

    Congrats Wes you will make us proud. I have no doubt that you be an excellent chief officer.

    Thank you DG for giving opportunities to qualified Caymanians

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am so impressed with the appointments being made in the civil service. Qualified and capable Caymanians are being promoted.

    The Deputy Governor promised change in recruitment and promotions procedures and those changes have paid huge dividends.

    I am proud to be a civil servant.

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