Chuckie gets royal gong in NY list

| 27/12/2019 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Service
CBC Director Charles Clifford has been given an MBE in the Queen’s NY Honours List

(CNS): Charles Clifford, the director of Cayman’s Customs and Border Control Service, is the only Caymanian to be recognised in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). The royal gong is for his service to customs, as even though the CBC agency is only a year old, Clifford had already served as the collector of customs since 2015. Clifford has been in public service almost continually since 1980, when he became a police cadet when he was just 16.

For nearly four decades Clifford has worked largely in law enforcement, having served in the RCIPS for 17 years, reaching the rank of chief inspector. In 1997 he was appointed senior assistant secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and was promoted to permanent secretary in 2001.

Having gained a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Degree from the University of Liverpool in 1995 and a Professional Practice Certificate from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1996, Clifford had a very brief stint in the private sector with the law firm, Quin & Hampson.

However, he stood for office in the 2005 election on the PPM ticket and won a seat in Bodden Town. He served as a Cabinet member in the PPM administration, heading the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce until 2009, when he lost his seat and returned to the private sector.

In 2012 Clifford was called to the bar in the Cayman Islands, where he was admitted as an attorney-at-law. In that year he opened his own law firm, Clifford Law Associates, partnering with two other local attorneys.

In 2015 he was appointed as collector of customs for the Cayman Islands and subsequently became the director of CBC when that new agency was formed with the merger of customs the enforcement arm of immigration.

Congratulating him on the award, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that he and Clifford had been friends since they were boys.

“I am proud of his achievements in service to the people of the Cayman Islands, from his time in the RCIPS, the civil service, as a legislator and cabinet minister, as collector of customs and now as director of Customs and Border Control,” the country’s leader stated, adding that he was “very pleased that his outstanding service to our community has been recognised”.

Governor Martyn Roper said his award recognised a very long and distinguished career in service to the Cayman Islands. “The work Charles has begun to transform CBC is of vital importance to the safety and security of the territory and we have come a long way in a short space of time.”

Clifford thanked those who nominated him for the honour.

“My extensive public service career has been diverse and rewarding and I am very grateful for the opportunities which it provided for me. I also wish to thank my colleagues in the Customs and Border Control Service for their unwavering support. The successful merger of our customs and immigration departments would not have been possible without their contribution and so I accept this honour recognising the very important role which each of them played in my nomination for this award,” he added. 

While there is no doubt that Clifford has had a very successful career in the public sector in 2008, a commission of inquiry found Clifford had broken the rules of the civil service when he removed files from the Ministry of Tourism in 2004 when he resigned and used them in the election campaign.

The commission arose out of a complaint by McKeeva Bush, who was the tourism minister when Clifford was the top civil servant at that ministry. Bush accused Clifford of giving confidential documents to the press.

Sir Richard Tucker, who led the inquiry, said he had acted in “breach of the continuing duty of confidentiality” but recommended that no legal or disciplinary action be taken against him. The Cayman Islands governor at the time, Stuart Jack, said Clifford’s actions “were regrettable and not in line with the standards we should expect of public servants”.

Clifford has always maintained that the documents were his to use and that if he had actually done something wrong the commissioner would have recommended further action. While the report acknowledged that the documents in question were in the public interest and should have been accessible in any event, it did not classify Clifford as a whistleblower.

“The evidence tends to suggest that Mr Clifford acted for personal, political purposes rather than for altruistic reasons,” the commission report found.


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Category: Local News

Comments (61)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So this happens 11 years ago and he behaves himself for a while and then gets an award! seriously………the man couldn’t make it in the private sector on his own (law firm) and popped back to CS and gets a Gong! unbelievable!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    This is why many people in the Civil Service have the attitude they do. Working in that organization is a thankless job, and when one does what is right, they are often put out to pasture and defamed or labeled as it suits the agenda. Their only match so far has been the late Dr. Astley McLaughlin, which ended sadly for the poor guy even after he won. Time longer than rope, and Karma doesn’t forget an address. You dig a hole for someone, dig another for yourself because it may not affect you, but your offspring or another generation down the road. Payback is b!+(¥ as the Limeys say.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Envy, jealousy and insecurity is the reason friend.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, there’s a clique system as well if you’re not in it no matter how dedicated YOU are your not going anywhere in there sad but true . Hence gag order on CS the horror stories some of them could tell would shock you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anything called a gong just sounds ridiculous. Especially when it’s a royal one. Lmfao

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  4. Anonymous says:

    When I first read the headline I think CNS meant gong like in the Gang Show, that old talent show when people who did particularly badly got booed off stage when a judge banged a large gong. Perhaps that kind of gong would me more appropriate here…

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope it is being delivered by courier.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “The evidence tends to suggest that Mr. Clifford acted for personal, political purposes………etc” but he gets an MBE

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  7. Humble Servants of CIG says:

    As one read this thread and the negative comments now surfacing one can honestly say are we surprised when you look at the recent immigration and customs scandals of what we thought were rogue type employees or bad apples of each department now we add some very dubious characters of questionable reputations some bordering on corrupt behavior from the RCips into the mix to form the CBC and we wonder why we get such terrible outcomes?? What is even more troubling is the political leadership and those who supposed to be governing this OT to now come and give accolades and awards and immunity to this systemic corruption by handing out Queens awards to those who clearly do not deserve them and are part of the brotherhood problem were suffer with on this little island. No problem with Mr Clifford getting his deserved award but with those who continually nominate those undeserving of such recognition is equivalent to spraying perfume on $@!# and then rubbing it on our faces and telling us it doesn’t stink. It’s a disgrace to all the hard working honest and decent people who live in these little islands.Some need to stop lowering our standards to meet their terrible reputations.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is some good in most people. Congratulations Chuckie. Let those without faults cast the first stone.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Why does Franz deserve it, for doing nothing to improve civil service inefficiency and customer service? For unilaterally changing the rules of CS health insurance coverage?
    No, he doesn’t deserve it either but watch next Queen’s Birthday honours list!!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes let’s award the guy who is in charge of one of the more poorly run departments on island. Laughable! His people can’t seem to do their job quickly and efficiently enough but who cares! GONG!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The real hero’s are the ones that work hard for 6$ an hour, survive illnesses with useless and expensive health insurrance and somehow manage to stay a live while groceries are triple the cost of anywhere else in the world.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    There are many more that deserve recognition, but will never be recognised, because they have no ‘connection’, they are the ordinary people that do good in the truly altruistic sense. It is those I think of when this kind of event occurs.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Unabashed PPM cronyism continues.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    This reward is a disgrace and should be revoked post haste!

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    • Anonymous says:

      He is being rewarded for overseeing the worse department in government. Customs has disrupted business and personal life all year and the Director gets a gong. You cannot make this mess up.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Completely agree. utter disgrace

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        • Anonymous says:

          what really has he done by taken up office? hes an opportunist in the right place when changes just seemed to be occurring and he’s in charge. Honestly lets not forget the FZKKKKK up Customs system that still has you waiting forever. What has his accomplishments been in his 4 years at Customs may I ask?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    His department sucks. They cannot even keep their word or respond to emails. Rotten. Top to bottom.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Of all the people that could get recognition, hardly a stand out organisation he is currently head of.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    7:36. Come on it was 15 years ago and no sanctions were recommended.

    How about some Holiday Cheer and good spirit.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    yikes…the value of mbe’s just plummeted worldwide…

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Cayman’s “royal” awards are a complete farce!!

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations from one of your old co-workers in the UK. You have earned your MBE. Well done!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Don’t understand why you had to add the bit about removed files.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Its called good journalism. You put all the facts before the reader from which, if they’re not of the “don’t understand’ mentality, they can draw their own conclusions.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is all factual and in the public domain. His actions speak to what people will do to win in politics and get power. More need to be exposed or reminded of their misdeeds.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And you believe stealing files is o.k.?

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      • Former Net News employee says:

        11:11 Don’t you mean taking the files and showing them to Cayman Net News?

        That’s what kicked it all off. Chuckie got into a fight with Desmond Seales over unpaid air freight fees to CAL. The amount involved was over CI$20K. When Net News was cut off Desmond, who’d almost been arrested after threatening CAL staff because they refused to handle Net News shipments, blew the whistle on him.

        Chuckie has one significant claim to fame – he’s one of the few public servants here who had the balls to stand up to Desmond Seales and beat him. There are a fair few others around in public service who decided doing that was too risky and some of them are now running this country.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    PPM looking out for a former PPM minister

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  22. MERVYN CUMBER says:

    Many congratulations Charles! Well deserved honour for a son of the soil!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The title, “Son of the soil” is a privilege reserved for good, honest Caymanians who have stayed true to the founders’ values.
      Some of us are “paper children”, but we know the difference.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Well deserved!! Congrats Chuckie.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Figures. What was the final count on arrests within his department this year?

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    • Anonymous says:

      A heck of lot more than in any previous years. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit Chuckie appears to be finally doing a bit of long overdue house cleaning amongst the Customs staff.

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      • Anon says:

        7.52am Nonsense, he had nothing to do with the arrests which were a black mark on his record. Ironic that so many locals vilify the mother country yet preen themselves when they celebrate an award from the British Empire.

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        • Anonymous says:

          7:52 What the **** are you on about? Under the previous customs management an officer was caught falsifying their drug dealing boyfriend’s travel records to show they’d flown to and from Jamaica when they’d actually flown out and returned by boat to the Brac. This is back in 2007 and it was all covered up. There’s still a long way to go but before Chuckie nobody got arrested.

          While we’re looking at this consider one anomaly – Chuckie got an MBE but Franz, who has worked continuously for CIG since 1981 and was CIO, didn’t. I wonder why?

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      • Anonymous says:

        They acquired more officers to cover the number of areas that were shorthanded for years almost 20 new officers and then some arrests started. He had nothing to do with it really it was already planned before he arrived. This is an insult………..to the award in my eyes. So much more deserving of this award for service.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Reading what I just read I’m shaken to learn how one can be awarded a MBE, when he admitted using government documents for his personal gain? Somone please explain.

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