Ministry confirms new fire chief appointment

| 04/07/2019 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service
Paul Walker

(CNS): The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that the appointment of a new fire chief from the UK, who is expected to start work towards the end of this year, will pave the way and provide the time needed for an existing Caymanian senior officer to eventually take on the top job at the Cayman Islands Fire Service.

The revelation that the ministry had found and offered the job to Paul Walker, the head of the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service in the UK, came after his local paper reported he was leaving.

But following enquiries yesterday by CNS after we spotted the article in the Falmouth Packet, the minister issued a press release on Thursday evening. In it officials emphasised that Walker’s appointment is for one year only and during that 12-month period, a recruitment exercise will be carried out to permanently fill the role.

“A one-year interim appointment is necessary to allow the three recently promoted deputy chief fire officers adequate time to pursue further professional development and qualifications that will enable them to meet the requirements of the role of chief fire officer,” said Ministry Chief Officer Dax Basdeo. “Without an interim chief, it is difficult for the deputies to manage their current job responsibilities, cover the responsibilities of a chief fire officer, and pursue their own professional development.”

The ministry claimed it had placed a significant emphasis on succession planning, with the introduction of coaching for senior management positions to ensure that interested officers were better prepared for advancement to positions of leadership. It has also revised the organisational chart and job descriptions for personnel to reflect the United Kingdom National Occupational Standards (UKNOS) for all fire officers. This, officials said, is to support officers in their pursuit of promotion.

The current acting CFO, Brevon Elliot, said the mission of the CIFS was the safety of the people of the Cayman Islands and its infrastructure. “We are dedicated to developing and promoting the highest quality of fire officers, and we will continue to invest in ongoing professional development opportunities that will take our first responder capabilities to the next level,” he added.

The ministry said that as part of the development of senior staff, Elliott and other senior officers will be heading to Atlanta next month for the Fire Rescue International (FRI), an annual conference attended by thousands of the most prominent fire and emergency service leaders from around the world.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Seems like there wants to be all Chiefs and no Indians. There can be only one Chief… Until heads are cleared to that there will never be a long term Chief. Guys be grateful that you even have a job.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is it all of a sudden only expats are qualified for the position? What is it that the previous Caymanians had under their belt that qualified them to be chiefs but now the younger fireman don’t seem to have these qualifications. Is it even qualifications or is it leadership skills? Is it exposure to varying fire incidents? Whatever it is, isn’t it possible to identify a few interested individuals, train them all and have them actively compete for the position.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Put Brevon or Witney in the damn post from now – not hard to figure out that either of these two men would be able to lead the Fire Services.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Really sad to hear that all the Caymanians were passed over for the top spot. Many have dedicated their entire career to the Fire Service, many attended plenty and plenty of training.
    And yet our government in their infinite wisdom has chosen to give the post to someone with absolutely no experience in our community and one that will likely return to the UK in a year or two.
    This post now is just a puppet position used by UK, similar to the Police Commissioner and seems like it will now be a forever post for a foreigner.

    Us Caymanians, always the bridesmaid and never the bride (we got to import that one)

    • Anonymous says:

      According to the write up it clearly says the appointment is for 12 months only.

    • Anonymous says:

      Us caymanians have to be honest that we have not got the experience or the knowledge to do such a job. We need to support those that come in to help us instead of plotting to undermine them. If we focussed on that and learned from them we would go far and one day have a qualified caymanian. Being a born caymanian is not a qualification of competency.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This sounds eerily familiar
    Isn’t this exactly what they said about the last foreign chief they brought in?
    if memory serves the last guy was supposed to be some sort of expert at training brought down specifically to train up the Caymanians to replace him

    And we see where that went

    ** I double checked just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy: here is a CNS article from last year confirming exactly what I remembered the CIG saying at the time to justify hiring the last one:

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s the same in every Government department and statutory authority!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    He heard about the old Chief and said, “maybe I can retire soon come!”

  8. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again, another paid retirement package at CIG’s expense.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nah Maye just turn the bloody hoses on anyone who falks with you🔥

  10. Jimmy Chung says:

    Prepare to be slaughtered mate

    • Anonymous says:

      An exceptional appointment. Lets hope Bevon and his colleagues wil take this amazing opportunity to learn and develop.

      To the negative posters you have to understand what bad shape the fire service was in.

      It will many more years to whip the service into shape.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is there a report outlining the problems? What can a young Caymanian do to overcome the problems? Or at least prepare from a young age to achieve the experience overseas to return with what is required to move up the ranks.

        There’s many Caymanians with dual nationalities that can work as firefighters in other countries move up the ranks, get the experience and then return to Cayman with said experience that is needed to run the fire department or to be senior firefighters. Or would that not work because they aren’t considered traditionally Caymanian with Caymanian cultural upbringing?

        Though if a young Caymanian does all of that then, he/she may never return as this individual would have set up an entire life outside of the country.

        • Anonymous says:

          There are multiple reports. This is a problem many years old. It is the same at the Post Office.


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