Gender affairs expert stays in education ministry

| 31/08/2017 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tammy Ebanks

(CNS): Tammy Ebanks, one of the islands’ foremost advocates for the rights of women and children, is remaining in the education ministry even though the gender affairs portfolio was moved to the premier’s Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration in the post-election shuffle of responsibilities. A release stated that she had been formally appointed as deputy chief officer (DCO) in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, having been acting DCO for two years.

Controversially, first-time MLA Austin Harris was appointed as councillor in the HRI ministry, where, despite having pleaded guilty to a domestic violence offence, he is involved with the gender affairs unit.

Ebanks has been a civil servant for almost 20 years, much of which was dedicated to battling the scourge of domestic abuse and gender inequality. She now oversees Administration, Agriculture and Lands.

According to a release from the ministry, she had been acting as a DCO for the last two years in the former Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. In this role, she had oversight of Capital Expenditure, Finance, Administration, Special Projects and the subject areas of Gender Affairs and Labour. She was appointed as DCO prior to the 2017 General Election, the release stated.

Ebanks began her career as programme officer at the former Women’s Resource Centre (now Family Resource Centre) and became director within ten years. She introduced initiatives like the Clothesline Project, the Quincentennial Distinguished Women Award and expanded Honouring Women Month, the release stated. She also helped revitalize the Domestic Violence Intervention Training Programme that is still actively used to sensitize front-line professionals today. During this time, she also obtained a post-grad Diploma in Gender and Development Studies from the University of the West Indies.

Ebanks’ post graduate studies, educational background in sociology, and years of experience made her the ideal candidate for the position of senior policy advisor for gender affairs, which she entered into in 2008 at what was then the Ministry of Health and Human Services. She maintained that position until formally confirmed as DCO in May 2017.

While working within various ministries, she has successfully managed the legislative development and public consultation process of several bills and laws: Protection from Domestic Violence Law (2010), Gender Equality Law (2011), Labour Relations Bill (2015), Labour (National Minimum Basic Wage) Order (2016) and National Pensions (Amendment) Law (2016). She also led the team which organized the first ever National Conference on Women and Girls in 2014, and she managed the requirements and processes in order to ensure that Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was extended to the Cayman Islands in 2016.

Having a long-standing interest in women’s and children’s rights, she served for five years as a Cabinet appointed Member of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee (the entity created prior to the current Human Rights Commission). Since her appointment by Cabinet in 2012, Ebanks has also been an active member of the Gender Equality Tribunal, which hears discrimination complaints made under the Gender Equality Law.

According to the ministry, with this new position, Ebanks is embarking on a challenge as she brings her talents to the subject areas of Agriculture and Lands.

“She has excellent communication, research, analytical, management and administrative skills,” according to Chief Officer Christen Suckoo. “She is a hard-worker and always delivers sound advice to assist with policy development. It is not often that you find someone who can be technically savvy but still has an immense passion for service and goodwill. This positively impacts her colleagues and those she supervises. Ms Ebanks is an invaluable resource, and I am happy that she is a member of the senior management team for our ministry. I have tremendous faith in her capabilities as she takes on this new challenge and I am certain she will continue to lead by example.”

Ebanks said, “My experience of working in the Cayman Islands Government for nearly two decades has afforded me many diverse opportunities, which have tremendously developed my skills as a leader and a manager, and I am grateful for yet another opportunity to put my skill set to work and be a part of this ministry’s team. I am looking forward to this new challenge and collaborating with my colleagues as we work together to serve the people of the Cayman Islands and improve our society by achieving the important strategic goals of this ministry.”

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Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I only know her from school, but I can honest say I have never met a nicer person. She is so sweet, and caring. I am glad to see someone so deserving gain accolades.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congratulation, Tammy. Well deserved and long over due.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The presence of a man in the LA who pleaded guilty to abusing a woman shows the disgraceful attitude to domestic abuse among voters but to put him in charge of this departure is beyond disgusting. Being drunk is no excuse. Drunk is what bullying cowards get before they hit women. everyo e who voted for Harris is complicit in turning a blind eye to the abuse of women.

  4. Minon says:

    Congratulations Austin. Who better to understand domestic abused women than you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Ms. Ebanks. Ignore the negative and ignorant comments. Anyone with half a brain knows that women have not achieved equality with men. And these people don’t realize that they are actually crying down the need to offer proper protections to children. Anyone who knows Ms. Ebanks knows she is about equality, period. She hasn’t shirked any responsibility to male issues at all. Let’s remember this article is about a hard-working Caymanian woman that has earned her position, period. Congratulations to the Ministry for recognizing that fact.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In 2017, there are more than just two gender and sexuality categories. Let’s hope anyone posted to Gender affairs is more in tune with our obligations as a BOTC than the scope of this press release would suggest. They should at least pretend to be sensitized to contemporary realities going forward.

  7. Sharkey says:

    Congratulations Ms Ebanks on your achievements, now work on the enforcement and make sure it’s carried out .

  8. annonymous says:

    5:53am your comment is unfounded.

    Just because that is her title it does not mean she discriminate men.

    I have worked alongside Tammy on various project over the years and ALL WOMEN AND MEN are treated equally.

    Her position mandate was to fight for equally for women and children where there was inequality; and in doing that she did not fight against progress of men and boys.

    One can fight for a cause with our discriminating against others who fall outside the parameters. I know because my position mandate is similar and I have never discriminated
    again anyone.

    Tammy is an amazing woman on every level and has much to bring to the table. This is a well deserved promotion. She is an extremely well rounded and capable Civil Servant.

    Staff will flourish under her supervision because she will be fair and and will motivate them. Congratulation Tammy!

    • Anonymous says:

      The comment was factual and if you take the time to read it again you will see that there was no statement that she was discriminating against men. What many people don’t understand is that discrimination can take many forms and that by promoting one gender over the other is a form of discrimination itself. This is not to say that groups of people have not been historically discriminated against because of gender, race, etc.but if you are mature enough to understand the true meaning and nature of discrimination then you would realize that true equality can’t be achieved by using discrimination to fight discrimination.

    • Anonymous says:


  9. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect to Tammy Ebanks the fact that she is only an advocate for women and children disqualifies her from having anything to do with gender affairs. The only people that should be involved with gender affairs are people that are willing to represent all genders equally.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      This has to be a man making this comment. Because women and children have never been oppressed… Because men have never thought of themselves as the “higher species” like we are still seeing in countries such as India and Saudi Arabia…Because it wouldn’t make sense for Tammy or anyone else to be an advocate for those who have been underrepresented….

      When ALL MEN realize that women and children are equal to them, then gender affairs can be less about women and children and more about all genders!

      Huge congrats to Tammy who is more than deserving of this role! #hatersgonnahate

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems to me that she’s an advocate for those in society who are un-advocated-for… did she hurt your feelings by not fighting your fight? Poor you.

      Congrats to Tammy – she is an asset to the Ministry of EYSAL!

      • Anonymous says:

        If that were the case then it would make sense for her title to have included the word “Men”. Just about everything in society today is designed to promote and benefit women. This includes the gyno-judicial system that has an explicit bias to the benefit of women. The real victims these days are the young boys and men that are being sacrificed at the alter of third wave feminism.

        • Anonymous says:

          Is this sarcasm?

        • Anonymous says:

          Tell that to the gender pay gap.

          The gyno-judicial system? Are you kidding me? Let’s talk about the women whose known rapists have gone unpunished, or whose petitions for divorces have been denied because there was no evidence of abuse, or those women who lose custody of their children to the fathers who can afford better legal (or any!) representation because that pay gap favours testosterone.

          Why men have a problem advocating for fairness FOR ALL I will never understand. Until that happens, I will applaud the likes of Tammy and others for using their voice and influence to benefit the voiceless.

          • Anonymous says:

            The fact that you have been able to post your comment demonstrates that you are not as voiceless as you would like to believe. Also, everyone of a sound mind knows that the so-called “gender pay gap” is a myth. No sensible economist would publicly support such a foolish notion as they know that any difference in pay between women and men with equal experience and qualifications is largely due to the difference in life choices between men and women.

          • Anonymous says:

            Lets wish Tammy well , she is true Caymanian who has her country best at heart, critics , would you have rather seen an expat in her position.? Then all the anti-expats would mandate this column. Feel proud as another Caymanian reaches a milestone. Keep on highlighting Caymanians like Tammy.

          • Anonymous says:

            The so-called “gender pay gap” is a myth. Men and women are almost always paid the same for the same job. But averages are used by the feminist mob because at the top end of earners there are fewer women. But that is almost all explainable by the simple fact that successful high-earning or potentially high-earning women tend to marry high-earning or potentially high-earning men and then often choose not to work at all or to work at a lower pay than they could otherwise earn. So if the feminists want to close the average numbers, the target of their anger should be those women.

        • Anonymous says:

          Her title was in relation to “Gender Affairs” you numpty. Note that the word gender would specify both…

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