Caymanians appointed as deputy fire chiefs

| 12/03/2019 | 28 Comments
Cayman News Service

New Deputy Chief Fire Officers (L-R) Brevon Elliot, Tina Choy and Roy Charlton (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

(CNS): Three Caymanians have been appointed as deputy chief fire officers after what officials said was a rigorous open recruitment exercise. Following significant concerns in recent years that the Cayman Islands Fire Service management had failed when it came to succession planning for local fire fighters, the Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that three Caymanians — Roy Charlton, Brevon Elliot and Tina Choy — have been given top jobs as the deputy CFOs for the domestic, aviation and administration sections, respectively. All three started work last Monday.

The home affairs ministry said it had been providing training opportunities with a focus on leadership for those wanting to take on such roles within the CIFS. Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers said they were “experienced and highly capable Caymanian officers” who would be filling the critical senior management roles.

“I am confident that they will continue to work hard, strive for excellence and be the ambassadors of our mission to develop and promote the highest quality of fire officers and create a world-class fire service,” she added.

All three have undergone specialist training and a variety of leadership courses, as well as several other training initiatives provided to civil servants, to strengthen their knowledge and skill-set before applying for their new roles.

As the new deputy CFO for the domestic service, Charlton will provide strategic direction for all domestic operations, and effectively manage and support operational personnel. He will also assume the role of incident commander as required and be responsible for the provision of an inshore marine search and rescue.

Having served with CIFS for 31 years, primarily in the Domestic Division, Charlton is passionate about the organisation and the function that it plays in the community, officials said in the release about the appointments. He also has a degree in public administration, and has completed several technical training courses focused on incident command, mass casualty management and emergency response.

Elliot will lead and provide strategic direction for all aerodrome fire services and ensure the division is effectively managed, equipped, staffed, trained and operational in accordance with the various statutory requirements.

Described by officials as an academically and technically accomplished fire officer, Elliot has spent the last few years working primarily in Fire Safety and Inspections. He has a degree in business administration and is currently pursuing a further degree in fire science.

When previously acting in his new role, Elliott worked closely with the Aerodrome Team to develop programmes to address deficiencies in training and competency.

Choy has already had a wide-ranging career with the CIFS, having served for more than 21 years in many areas, including Domestic Operations, Fire Prevention and Investigations, and most recently, acting as the deputy CFO for administration.

Her responsibilities include monitoring of the CIFS budget; overseeing provision of Fire Prevention and Investigation services, fleet and facilities management; training and development and the development of policies and procedures to support the achievement of the aims and objectives of the CIFS. She is currently enrolled in a degree programme majoring in Fire Administration and Fire Investigations.

Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service Franz Manderson commended the three officers for answering the call to serve  in these key leadership positions.

“We depend on the fire service, together with other first response agencies, to ensure the safety of the people of the Cayman Islands and its infrastructure. I am confident that Deputies Charlton, Elliot and  Choy will continue to have a positive impact on the fire service, and drive the agency forward to achieve world-class status,” he said.

Dax Basdeo, the ministry’s chief officer, said the internal promotions would create significant stability and support and contribute to the success of the newly shaped organisation by fostering a culture of leadership development.

“As the ministry continues to recruit qualified persons to fulfill other essential roles within the fire service we will ensure that officers continue to be provided with a variety of professional development opportunities so that they are well equipped to compete for promotional opportunities and can take on the same with pride and confidence,” he said.

Officials said the recruitment interview panel included the CEO of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority Albert Anderson and Jeffrey Piechura, a retired fire chief who successfully led several fire agencies in the US during his career. The ministry was represented by Basdeo and the Acting Chief HR Officer, Josette Kimlon Lawrence.

CIFS is currently recruiting an interim fire chief for a twelve-month contract after the previous CFO, David Hails, left Cayman at the beginning of the year when his contract was not renewed.

Hails’ appointment was always controversial as he was the first ever non-Caymanian to head up the Cayman Islands Fire Service in modern history. Questions about his qualifications and capabilities continued throughout his tenure because he had never previously headed up a full fire department.

Last month Divisional Officer Witney Tatum, from the Cayman Brac Fire Station, was appointed as the acting CFO as the search for a new boss continues.

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Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    DEAD with laughter at these comments!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t they have regular physical training? I would be scared if I had a house fire and a fat person showed up. I would not have the confidence that they could pick up or move anything out of the way because they look like they would be winded climbing down from the fire truck…..

    Is it that they have a fitness test upon entrance and that’s it? Is that why there is no firefighters sexy calendars sold? No one wants to see their bellies? There is nothing sexy about any of the firefighters. They are all out of shape. If one is in shape that is actually physically fit that is an anomaly. I expect firefighters to be involved in the marathons, the island wide triathlons, entering in Ironman, members of CrossFit or any high intensity strength training. Not members of the locals bars and ppl who frequent the local restaurants eating unhealthy food on a regular basis. Once in a while eat local. But everyone knows that fitness begins with your diet, next is exercise.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Edgar Poe says:

      Are you dense or what ??? They are no longer firefighters. They are way past that stage. As Deputy Chiefs they are in management positions. You would be surprised at how capable they are at fighting fires and these “fat” fire personnel may just be the men and women that save your life, home, vehicle etc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    3 deputies?! Seriously?!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You do realize that these deputy chiefs are managers. They have already got to where they need to be because of training. I am a certified Red Cross Lifeguard. I am 5,8 and 190lbs and have zero problems rescuing someone. I also a consistent 400m time in a dash in sand of 1:20. I may not have a flat stomach but in s pinch I’ll be there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So Mr.Tatum returned to the Brac. Interesting.

  6. Flamethrower says:

    I presume then that they all passed the personality test. The next step is to appoint three assistant DFO’s who will act for the DFO’s in their absence on jollies and other social events.This is also an important strategic policy designed to create new pay scales and thereby avoid limitations on pay increases.
    It is certainly heartening to hear that we will now have a “world class” Fire Service to compliment our “world class” Civil Service and our “world class” Airport, What a shame we are still surrounded by hordes of “Third World Class” chickens.

  7. Anonymous says:

    They passed the personalty test and if anything will be able to put out fires by sitting on them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Very proud of these worthy Caymanians!

  9. Anonymous says:

    the fire service…. perfect for those who don’t want to work

  10. mikey says:

    Overweight? how rude and why does that matter when your Fat A$$ stuck in a burning car or any critical situation u should be happy these Caymanians stepped up!!! Yall need grow up yo seriously

    • Anon says:

      LOL @1:32pm…
      I know it sounds rude to call capable and willing working Caymanians fat or over weight, but the truth is, it is a physical and labour intensive job… to run, back heavy hoses, throw a person over your shoulder, climb a ladder, possibly even jump from a building etc. on average many active patrol police officers and fire officers in Cayman are really over weight and unfit.

      To be clear, just because we are stating that they are overweight/ fat, does not mean they have poor work ethic or are undeserving of the role.

  11. Bertie : B says:

    Not Nice , suppose you are skinny and think your good looking . Lets hope you never need the fire service huh !

  12. Anonymous says:

    The obsession with nationality in the fire service is very unnerving.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do live in the Cayman Islands, and the nationality of the people are caymanian’s , has it not been evident by now ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless you want to go independent and so many of us want you to, there is no “nation” and you can be sued if you impose such a notion in the workplace as part of your hiring practice.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to you guys and lady keep up the good work….dont hate on um we dont have a lot of fires in Cayman but lots o cook food lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    the civil service carnival rolls on…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    Do you ever see a Cayman fire officer who isn’t overweight ?

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