Staff shake-up at customs dept

| 29/06/2016 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

Charles Clifford, Cayman Islands Collector of Customs

(CNS): The collector of customs has revealed more details about the staff shake-up at the department responsible for bringing in around a quarter of government’s annual revenue. Charles Clifford has confirmed that Collie Powery and Emalie Wilks have retired from the department after more than three decades on the job. During the recent Finance Committee hearings concerns were raised by opposition MLAs about what they believed was the forced removal of the senior local members of staff but the deputy governor had said the men, who were not named at the time, had agreed to a retirement package.

Their departure has added to the already existing vacancies for senior posts at HM Customs after a reorganisation of the critical government agency. However, when he appeared before the committee Clifford assured members that he had a succession plan and was working on new training programmes to improve the skills of the existing team.

In a release Wednesday he said that, following the departure of Powery and Wilks on 1 July, five members of the customs team will take up acting deputy and acting assistant collector positions across the department. Clifford said the acting appointments were necessary to fill the gaps and that the substantive posts were advertised in accordance with the Public Service Management Law and Regulations.

The following appointments will take effect on 1 July: Acting Deputy Collector of Customs Kevin Walton (Responsible for the Revenue Collections Portfolio); Acting Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson (Responsible for the Border Protection Portfolio); Acting Assistant Collector of Customs Kerrylyn Ebanks (Responsible for the Collections Section); Acting Assistant Collector of Customs Nickolas Rivers (Responsible for the Customs Narcotics Enforcement Team); and Acting Assistant Collector of Customs Lisa Kelly (Responsible for Training and Professional Standards and Discipline).

“I applaud these officers for agreeing to take on additional responsibilities and for their dedication to the customs department,” he said. “They will join me and Deputy Collector of Customs Marlon Bodden on our management team and I look forward to their support and contributions in the weeks and months ahead as we embrace the innovative change process and prepare for the future.”

During Finance Committee Clifford revealed that he had reorganised the structure of the department to place more officers on border control and to make the department more efficient and effective. But with an increased focus on enforcement and a boosted training budget, Clifford said he was looking to recruit former law enforcement experts on fixed term contracts to help with that training.

Wishing the two departing deputy collectors well, he noted that Powery and Wilks had served for 37 and 36 years respectively.

“On behalf of the customs department and their colleagues, I take this opportunity to sincerely thank them for their devoted service to the customs department, the Cayman Islands Civil Service and by extension the Cayman Islands community. We wish them well in their retirement from the service,” Clifford added.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is more of the same old same old. Fire Retire Hire. More. Acting this and that for an undefined amount of time. Junior non performing staff being elevated to run things. Staff being hired from outside to being processional standards up. This is a common stratergy that is aimed at accomplishing what…………Marlon was imported to Customs for his Enforcement skills for narcotics. Nothing has happenend on that front in Customs. Mr. Jackson has been in charge of anti drug units for over a decade. Nothing new there and the list goes on. The Police do This something like this every few years, the Labour Department too. Nothing changes for the better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In the case of the lady, she will now have more time to devote to running her many businesses.

  3. Allar says:

    I think Mr. Clifford is doing a great job. And yes all good thing has to cme to a close, Emily and Collie did there miles now let’s get some young vibrant people in which is good for moral.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly what has Clifford done for Customs? Just trying to understand your statement? Nothing much going on at Customs by the sounds of things compared to other Law Agencies.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Clean house cleaning house many more up there to go! However I am hearing the working environment is quite toxic at CUSTOMS these days.

    Let’s see now if the Enforcement Arm actually achieves anything. It’s been many years that Customs has made an arrest to talk about or detection of any large quantity of drugs guns or prohibited items. If it wasn’t for the collection of duty we wouldn’t even know what they up to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Customs, Immigration, Fire, Post Office: 100% Caymanian staffed and proud of it. Mr Clifford is to be praised for maintaining the high standards of Customs by allowing splendid very long serving officers who have completed their defined benefit years of service and can retire on maximum benefits to leave the service and make way as I am sure they would like to do as Caymanians to encourage younger Caymanian recruits to make their way in a career in Customs. Uplifting.

    • concerned visitor says:

      From recent personal experience, the Caymanian people should be concerned about the militarization of their Customs Officers. With so many shortages in staff members, there is almost no training for new hires who have no education beyond High School. I promise that these “thugs” will leave unfavorable impressions on tourists who will never return.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Boy if you not with the click you get the stick! Watch out!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well CNS posters has been demanding change in the civil service and asking for better performance. Well folks it’s happening so shut up.

    Thank you DG and Collector for providing promotion opportunities for young educated Caymanians

    So many great things happening in our new civil service.

    Reading these comments make me sick …we want change but expect nothing to change what a mess .

  7. Anonymous says:

    Going from not bad to awful

  8. Anonymous says:

    why is it that all three of the major uniform law enforcement agencies same to be in a downward spin? Police, Customs, Immigration . Its it because of POLICTCAL tampering to put it lightly!!!!!! lol .

    We must get these departments in order . I do believe we need to get some fresh blood in the top position, preferable qualified Caymanian that are in senior management within the private sector to migrate over. I know that the possibility of this occurring is slim to none, but something needs to happen .

    Sometimes it just takes a couple pear of fresh eyes to see and identify problems within an organization . Most of these current employees with government have worked with government from leaving school, so their ability to manage and interact with different individual and cultures might not be the best. Training is there but nothing beats experience .

    Wake up DG and Chief Officers as well as Department heads . Just saying .

  9. Anonymous says:

    Quit complaining about them being forced out. They got a package and from I hear it was a decent one. There was a reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      Decent???? The package was excellent. Wish I could get that package. I would leave so damn fast the ink would not be dry on my check LOL.

    • See no evil says:

      Funny thing believe i herd this story before didnt the same thing happen at cayman airways too . And was it the same man doing the forsed firetirement with the big packages ? I dont fallow news much but just saying i kinda remember something like this before ,

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hard to find new workers when the main requirement is to not turn in your fellow workers or try and change the department into a responsibly run operation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Its very sad to be pushed out for no reason. if it was performance issue then address it but to push people out who are not of retirement age to let others move up is not practical succession plan. I am saddened that staff at this level and with so many years are being asked to leave. Shame on you DG! and Clifford maybe caught in the crossfire but you can stand for your staff for once. XXXXX I find this news extremely sad and I pray for the rest of he staff to keep it together.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Pure lies! They were given the golden handshake or told their positions would be made redundant if they did not accept the offer. While I believe change is good, treating people at this level is deplorable and XXXXXX expect better from the Minister responsible.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sad but this is the reality of the world we live in. This is happening all overr in the private sector as well. In fact it is nit limited to jyst Cayman and qill be more common now as companies look to increase their bottom line. I work for a company who is huge internationally and I have been with them for 30 + yeaes. However, 40 every week when I speak to some of them overseas a name comes up that I know and I’m told they are gone and we all know what that means. It is only a matter of time before they start with us here in Cayman. The writing is on the wall for us.

  13. Charmin says:

    Could you ask Mr Bodden why he left the Police and the Labour Department. Also Who helped him get into Customsand Why????

  14. DaY 2 says:

    When i read who is now incharge a HM Customs i laughed but i know that those at HM Customs won’t be laughing or enjoying working there very shortly as those now incharge and in control of that environment are no laughing matter or a joke for that matter. Sometimes when we make the necessary changes we unfortunately benefit those with hidden agenda’s XXXXX with in our community or government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes you wait when others think they are now going to move up they going to be moved out, and new Law Enforcement officers will suddenly show up of other nationalities too. You watch. written on the wall.

  15. Anonymous says:

    it doesn’t matter….civil service incompetence is never ending……

  16. Anonymous says:

    They were not retired gracefully. They were pushed out. Get Clifford and the others to admit this and to admit that they have been paid up untill they are 60. So yea a very attractive retirement agreement to get them out

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Chuckie, it needing streamlining long time. No disrespect to the two , but there comes a time when everyone must move on. Nothing lasts forever. If they were given a good package to acknowledge their past contribution and their future workable years then I am sure they are happy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Still not the way you treat people after 30 years don’t care how much you pay them. Its terrible slap in the face. Very disappointing and I don’t even deal with Customs but disheartened to hear good Civil Servants are being treated this way.

        • Anonymous says:

          2:45- wake up the changes you asked for is happening!! did you really expect the change was going to be easy. hard decisions being made in our new civil service. I am so proud.

          • Anonymous says:

            I believe they were forced to retire. Doubt they came in and said they wanted to retire. We need truth in the Government.

            • Anonymous says:

              We know what’s going on here they were forced out with full retirement benefits for which we the tax payers have to foot to pay. Such a shame for our own people to be treated this way!

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