Health ministry CO removed from job

| 31/07/2019 | 94 Comments
Cayman News Service
Jennifer Ahearn with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson

(CNS): The health ministry’s chief officer has been removed from her job, officials have now confirmed, and will be moving to a newly-created post in the deputy governor’s realm of responsibility. CNS learned that Jennifer Ahearn was in the firing line earlier this month at the request of Health Minister Dwayne Seymour. At the time we were told there were no plans to move any COs but the option was always under review.

Seymour had requested the removal of the long-time civil servant, as it is understood their relationship had broken down, and he has now been successful in ousting her from his ministry.

Ahearn, who has been a chief officer for more than a decade, had previously worked with the premier after he took over the health portfolio in the last PPM administration following a highly publicised altercation between Ahearn and the former health minister, Osbourne Bodden. But this time there was less appetite among Cabinet members for a reshuffle, leaving Ahearn without a posting.

However, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson’s office has now confirmed that Ahearn has been appointed as strategic operations officer, effective Thursday. Manderson said that in this new job she will be working on issues of governance, innovation and reducing bureaucracy.

Deputy Chief Officer Nancy Barnard will be the acting chief officer in the health ministry. However, the ministry said she will be leaving on vacation very shortly and Chief Financial Officer Nellie Pouchie will hold the reins until she returns.

No mention was made of the political reasons for moving Ahearn in the official statement but the deputy governor’s office outlined what it said were her achievements, such as her work on various pieces of health-related legislation, including the Organ and Tissue Transplant Law and the Healthcare Decisions Law, which paved the way for people to direct their end of life care. 

But the former health boss has stirred considerable controversy for several years, not least because of her role during the CarePay fiasco when she appeared oblivious to the corruption going on under her watch. Throughout the last six years, her ministry has been plagued with problems, from her own misleading evidence to the Public Accounts Committee to direct problems with her various departments.

Throughout the numerous issues surrounding Ahearn’s ministry, from the CarePay scandal to the garbage collection failures, the deputy governor has stood by her and has once again come to her rescue.

The deputy governor retains the independence to choose how civil servants are deployed but he is also responsible for ensuring a smooth working relationship between ministers and their chiefs. In cases where the two parties cannot get along but there are no issues of misconduct, the head of the civil service is obligated to find an equivalent post for the given civil servant.

While ministers in theory have no say regarding the recruitment or placement of public servants, this is not the first time that a political member of government has refused to work with certain staff. In 2009, when the McKeeva Bush-led UDP took over government, three long-serving chief officers had to be moved or paid off because of similar problems.

See the statement from the DG’s office in full in the CNS Library (scroll down to ‘Reform’)

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Politics

Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    JA did everything she could, to push thru the Genetically Modified Mosquito fiasco. An $8m contract was nearly signed with Oxitec until the revelations were ‘leaked’ that the technology didn’t work!!

  2. Appalled, but not surprised says:

    I think this shows a very dangerous side of Cayman’s small-town politics – where a full-time, dedicated civil servant can be pushed aside by a useless, ignorant, incompetent minister, simply because he is too threatened by her education, intelligence, and capabilities to be able to work with her. What else is this buffoon going to do to screw with other people’s lives?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer will be fine, she’ll have no problem putting dinner on the table.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Tell me.

      When and where was this job advertised?

      I thought that there was legislation that ensured “fair, open and transparent recruitment” to Civil Service positions.

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      • Anonymous says:

        6:15 am, corruption running wild in Cayman.why don’t Caymanians have a march on corruption and discrimination

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this a new job created just for her? If it is then its not needed, for it was not beeded before, just another tax payers money down the drain. Just wondering maybe someone can answer it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What in the hell is a “strategic operations officer”?

      “Strategic decisions” and “operational decisions” generally occur at quite distinct levels within an organisation.

      At least get the moronic title sorted out and stop taking the piss!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Strategic operations are normally associated with military-type situations – where strategic and operational decisions are combined due to the extreme urgency at hand.

        You will therefore find the job “strategic operations officer” in those situations, mostly.

        Is the ole fella Franz equating (via this recent Ahearn posting) how bad things have gotten within the CI Civil Service?

  4. Anonymous says:

    “three long-serving chief officers had to be moved or paid off because of similar problems. ” – I think your last sentence is not quite correct. At lease one of the civil servants displaced by the leader of the UDP was probably the brightest, hardest working, dedicated civil servant that we have ever had. No such “similar problems”. Maybe too honest & intelligent for Big Mac.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    She must be relieved to not have to work for an idiot like Seymour.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who’s the bigger idiot? Him or those who voted for him?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hard to argue with that, but there is a long list of failures, screwups and mismanagement on her watch. Only in Cayman would she be considered qualified for all these positions.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Acting CO’s for 2 weeks at a time does mean that no decision making will take place…so effectively for a month the ministry is in limbo

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Franz to the rescue! Propagating the ineptness in the civil service instead of fixing it!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Same, same. But that’s Cayman, connections you in, no connections you out.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe time for him to go

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    • Anonymous says:

      Or alternately Franz being a decent human being, and recognizing that Ahearn has been shafted by that idiot man-child, the same as she was shafted by the idiot man-child before Seymour. Manderson is doing the right thing imho.

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  8. Anon. says:

    No surprise that Franz rescued her and set her up in a cushy job, just like he rescued Eric Bush years ago.

    I don’t know which is worse, sending civil servants home and paying them for years or retaining them with their incompetence.

    Ahearn is supposed to be intelligent and innovative but does she have the qualifications to be a chief officer? Apparently not, given all the corruption that plagued that Ministry.

    This new job is a fancy title for her to continue to get paid a big salary, she will report directly to Franz and no one will actually know what she is doing or see the results of her “work”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anon clearly you have been living in a shell. Have you read Jennifer’s list of accomplishments and you have the nerve to talk about incompetence.

      Eric did a fantastic job in London I am shocked that you don’t know that or maybe you just can’t accept that Caymanians can perform at a world class level.

      Get with the program Anon and stop being so jealous of Caymanians success.

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      • Anonymous says:

        😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂you must be living in a parallel universe in a cocoon👻

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        • Nimrod Sycophants R US says:

          Cha man, what ever cocoon said dingleberry is inhabiting, one can only hope that it is a dud. Whatever it is which may actually hatch out of said cocoon would certainly be an addition to what already is an all to common problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        Eric did a fantastic job in London? Thanks for making me spit out my Pims!

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      • Anon. says:

        “Eric did a fantastic job in London I am shocked that you don’t know that”
        Seems like you are the one living under a rock.
        Why was Eric Bush sent to London in the first place? It wasn’t because of his brilliance. He messed up as chief officer and Franz packed him up and shipped him off.
        The former CIO should have sued him too for destroying her career.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I guess that is better than shelling millions in severance! However as I said before top drawer civil servants must go through hell on earth having to work with some of these incompetent ignorant ministers and high execs. Especially those who refuses to show up to work, cannot or afraid to make meaningful decisions. Another one comes to mind, but that is for another day.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Some civil servants go through hell having to work under some fool fool Chief Officers that only believe that they should get everything and others get nothing

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    • Anonymous says:

      and Mary Rodriquez what does she do anyway???

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      • Anonymous says:

        Amen a make work project with nothing to show for her efforts since she’s been transferred from the Ministry of Education

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    • Anon says:

      Like Mary Rodriques

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Well that’s the end of Seymour. Where is 2021. I attended a function recently and there is Jennifer making up excuses because of Seymour’s unpunctuality. Who will do that for him now?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    8:15. I heard Seymour try to answer a question in the Legislative Assembly and wondered why he was struggling. If you don’t come to work how can you know your subject?

    I expected better from Seymour. Great leaders motivate their staff and build relationships. But again you have to show up to accomplish that.

    Who wants to be his Chief Officer after this?

    Thank you CNS for publishing the true story about this. Now if we could only get that other site to do the same.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the coverage CNS. Thorough, as always. I do feel a need, however, to take issue with the headline. I think it’s unfair, as despite all the politics and back-stabbing going on, Ms. Ahearn is going to a position where her credentials and expertise can be utilised. Language that is more positive or neutral was called for.

      Did Seymour want her gone? Of course he did. Is that best for all involved? No, and thank goodness the Deputy Governor rose above the fray and will continue to utilise Ms. Ahearn’s skills.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Seymour what are you doing ?

    Look what Ahearn just did for three wonderful Caymanians.

    https://cnslocallife.com/2019/06/young-caymanians-public-sector/

    Seriously let us pray for the Ministry of Health. The staff there are going to need it.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    First I want to say how disappointed I am with Seymour and his fellow Ministers. You all talk about looking after Caymanians and then you make this happen. Where is the Gender minister on this. Tara Julie what do you have to say about this? Please don’t say she can’t get anything done. How many of you will be at the mental health facility ground breaking ceremony?

    I read Ahearn list of accomplishments and all I can do is thank her for making Cayman a better place.

    Thankfully we have a strong Deputy Governor who actually shows that he cares about his staff and protects Caymanians.

    Good luck Jennifer we wish you continued success.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Julie cannot say anything as she was the one who demanded Cristen be booted out. Julie could not work with Cristen — didnt see any list of Cristen’s accomplishments tho…maybe he didnt have any and was rightfully booted from the Ministry

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    • Anonymous says:

      The mental health ground break ? And looks like that’s all will happen with that too ,while our children stay and die in Jamaica ,wonder who getting cut from that ? God soon fix unna .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Keep Jennifer great!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    in driftwood i trust.
    the civil service is a rats nest of local protectionism and incompetence…..

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  15. Anonymous says:

    They are all incompetent and unfit to hold the positions of leadership that they occupy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:59 Not sure what your point is. This transfer will be great for our civil service. We should be worried about the Ministry of Health.

      Poor John John who will he blame now?

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    • Anonymous says:

      What we are seeing here is one of the dangers associated with one party being unable to win enough seats to form a Government. We all know who really should have been moved.

      Thank you Jennifer for your many accomplishments. We wish you well in your new role.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I heard Seymour was bragging about this from 2 weeks ago. Who brags about such things especially when a Caymanian is involved? Seymour If you bragged about this shame shame on you.

      Thank you Deputy Governor for doing the right thing.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you DG for rescuing Jennifer from the dynamic duo of Minister Seymour and Capt Eugene. Jennifer must be so happy.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Ahearn knows where all the bodies are buried and Lord help this Cabinet when SIPL is enacted…and it will be soon, by way of the people, despite significant obstruction.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    This is not good for the Ministry of Health. Jennifer is a good leader who has a proven tract record of promoting and hiring Caymanians. Her list of accomplishments is amazing.

    I will never read CMR again.

    She will do a great job in her role. Thank you DG.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    John John soon be pumping gas at Ossie’s gas station.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ozzie never left the LA. He just does his bidding remotely.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I wonder if Ozzie still goes around introducing himself to newbies by saying, “I’m the Honorable Osbourne Bodden” since they get that title for life.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Only premiers get it for life.

          • Anonymous says:

            11:15. I think you’ll find Speakers do too. I notice Mary Lawrence and Linford Pierson are these days Dr The Honourable Mary Lawrence and Dr The Honourable Linford Pierson and woe betide you if you don’t recognise them as such. We Caymanians have become so fool fool about this sort of thing with titles just like the English who we used to mock for it. Linford’s “Dr” comes from some college he actually did academic studies for. Mary’s “Dr”, like that of “Dr” Steve McField comes as an honorary award from UCCI and no academic studies were involved. In other jurisdictions, sensible ones, recipients humbly accept the award but do NOT call themselves “Dr”. Try telling that to OC (Connor) who falls over himself on his radio show with his dr this and dr that. Pathetic.

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          • Winston Underwood says:

            Having that misnomer means nothing! “Honorable” means deserving respect or high regard.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thats another stupid thing they did making themselves Honorable for life, that title is only placed on one when it is earned, not because fools votes for criminals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Healthcare, garbage collection, mosquitoes now the hospital mess, does anyone see a pattern here….Dwayne Seymour strikes again

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    • Anonymous says:

      John John is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but also she is not the sharpest one . Sharp people will not sign big contracts without reading them.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Could someone tell us all what sort of Chief Officer could work with Seymour? He’s, erm, not very bright obviously. We all know that, it’s embarrassing. Is it that he needs a feeble Caymanian he can bully? Some of these guys like Ozzie, Seymour, Ezzard don’t seem to be able to handle strong intelligent women.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please, they’re all married to women. How quickly ppl can jump to conclusions. We don’t know what has caused her to step down so leave it at that feminazi.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The fact they “are married to women” is totally irrelevant to the point the poster at 8:30 was making which concerned working with strong intelligent women in a professional….PROFESSIONAL….relationship.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Congratulations! You win the “Stupidest Comment of the Day” award.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    5k should be lit this year.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:26. Hope you signed up. I just did. Thank you Jennifer you should be proud of your many accomplishments.

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      • Johnny Rotten says:

        Can’t think of one, but many failures come to mind.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Johnny come on man. Read the press release. I for one wish to thank her for producing the law that allows many caymanians to have access to medical marijuana.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Can’t wait for the younger generation to move us along with the times and grant us recreational next.

            USA soon go federal legal.. just need to defeat big pharma, alcohol and tobacco lobbyists.

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          • Johnny Rotten says:

            Thank Dennie Warren, she just shuffled paper. Dragged her feet as usual and not in time to benefit his late wife

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Great move by our DG. Ms Ahearn has done nothing wrong and should not be punished. I know who I voted for in 2017 and I know who I will not vote for in 2021.

    Keep your head up Jennifer. This move will be good for you.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    I just read her list of accomplishments. She should be promoted.

    Finally someone to champion reducing bureaucracy. I think she will do a wonderful job.

    Who wants to work in that Ministry now?

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  24. Anonymous says:

    OK, Franz. Now take Gloria McField Nixon out of the portfolio of the civil service where she was put because McKeeva couldn’t “wuk wit” her and where she has been vegetating unwillingly for years and put her to work with the Hon Dwayne. She is very bright and is a “real’ Caymanian so lets see how the Brain of Bodden Town can wuk wit her.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:11. Why would you do that to Gloria? Maybe Kenneth Bryan and Bernie might wish to join the Ministry.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:11 That won’t happen after seeing this happen to Jennifer. Gloria makes smart decisions. You really think moving to a Ministry named HECH lead by Seymour and Eugene is a smart move.
      Shame on you for referring to “real” Caymanians.

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      • Anonymous says:

        8:56 I think you will find that by putting the word real in quote marks…”real”….the poster at 8:11 was showing his or her contempt for the expression real Caymanians which like it or not is used by the type of people, who refer to people who gained Caymanian Status, as “driftwood”……. as the previous minister of health did.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Minister Seymour this is not a good move for you. I can tell you Jennifer was running the Ministry by herself. Thank you DG for keeping your word and showing civil servants you care and will protect them from any political abuse.

    Ms Ahearn you are now working for a proven leader in the DG. I have no doubt you will continue to make a difference.

    I will never forget the work Ms Ahearn did to allow medical marijuana to be used in Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seymour was hardly ever in the Ministry since he doesn’t really understand what is going on as he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. . Too busy with his thick as two short plank cronies in Bodden Town where he IS the sharpest knife in the drawer. Shame on you Alden.

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  26. Elvis says:

    Keep your head up.

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