Panton takes on environment and climate crisis

| 26/04/2021 | 120 Comments
Premier Wayne Panton takes part in the 2021 Earth Day Clean-up on Saturday

(CNS): Environmentalists in Cayman breathed a sigh of relief Monday evening when Premier Wayne Panton confirmed the areas of responsibility that each of his Cabinet members would be taking on and he revealed that his own ministry will include not just the environment but a revised portfolio of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency. Despite the challenges presented by the budget allocations, Panton has reshuffled the ministries with more modern concepts for his team to deal with. He also said the ministries have been aligned to reflect PACT’s key priorities.

There were few surprises in the ministry assignments. However, all eyes are likely to be on Jay Ebanks, who has been given responsibility for Planning, a critical area to fulfill the campaign promises of most of his colleagues to curb over-development and to help PACT retain public support. He also has Agriculture, Housing, and Infrastructure.

Panton will also be responsible for the Cabinet Office and the police budget, though the Governor’s Office still has control of law enforcement. Deputy Premier Chris Saunders will be taking on a weighty portfolio with Finance, Economic Development and Labour.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the only minister other than Panton with front-bench experience, retains Education but adds District Administration as well as Lands and Survey. Bernie Bush will take on Home Affairs, Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage, while Kenneth Bryan secured his wish to be minister of Tourism and Transport.

Andre Ebanks also has a hefty portfolio, taking on the Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce as well as the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development. Sabrina Turner has been given the single but massive Ministry of Health.

The premier has also appointed the three other members of his government as parliamentary secretaries. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, who has already been voted in as deputy speaker by the House, will serve as PS to Andre Ebanks’ Financial Services portfolio and to O’Connor-Connolly for Education. Heather Bodden will support Kenneth Bryan with Tourism and Andre Ebanks with Social Development. Issac Rankine will serve as PS to Jay Ebanks’ full ministry and support Bernie Bush’s work at Home Affairs.

As he made the announcement, Panton thanked Deputy Governor Franz Manderson for facilitating the introduction to the work of the civil service over the past few days.

Manderson said his team had been working behind the scenes to facilitate the smooth handover of power to any incoming government. “Now we are very much looking forward to helping them settle in and move the country forward in a way that benefits the lives of all Caymanians and residents,” he said.

In his first press release through GIS, Panton said the team was eager to begin tackling the business of the government in a way that positively impacts their diverse constituencies.

“We understand that we are here to serve the will of the people and we feel privileged to work alongside the civil service towards this goal,” the premier said. “We have aligned ministerial responsibilities around the key priorities of this administration. As an example, the Ministry of Education will have policy continuity and a streamlined focus in a more strategic portfolio. This is the first time in over 20 years and six administrations that the same minister has continued as Minister for Education.”

Panton is the first premier to reduce the number of areas of his own responsibility. He explained that he had chosen to have a smaller portfolio so that he can concentrate on delivering and coordinating the work of his entire administration. 

“However, I have created a ministry to address the existential threats posed by climate change,” he said. “Improving the lives of our people will be at the centre of everything we do.  That is why we have aligned responsibilities around Labour and Employment (to tie in with the Ministry of Finance) as well as Social Development to benefit from innovation and inward investment opportunities.”

See the full list of ministers and parliamentary secretaries in the CNS Library.

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Category: Politics

Comments (120)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Our public school education budget per pupil is the second highest in the OECD by quite some margin; almost 3/4 more than average and even more than most private school fees! Kids are kids, ain’t their fault. Who else is left but teachers?

    • Guido Marsupio says:

      How about parents?

    • Anonymous says:

      Back in the late seventies early eighties Vassal Johnson asked how come we spend far more per child ( as he put it) on education than most other countries, especially the West Indian ones, and get so much less in return than those countries do. No one answered him then ( we were not allowed to) and no one has answered the question satisfactorily since.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Wayne’s World! Where anybody can be a Minister. No experience necessary, no education necessary, no Police clearance required. Let’s get this party started!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne’s world, excellent!! Wam wam wam.

      • Anonymous says:

        I suppose Wayne’s World will take over from the boring Aldart foolishness. Or will it become eventually Waynedart as he realizes to keep that bunch of power hungry MPs in line he has to cozy up to Dart to keep the money flowing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How will Kenneth Bryan travel as the Tourism minister with a Police Record- Surely he will not be allowed to travel to Canada

    • Anonymous says:

      Now that they are Members of Parliament and not just Members of the Legislative Assembly, the first order of the day might be to issue Diplomatic Passports. They might only be recognized by a few Indian Tribes, but that’s good enough for Big Mac.

      • Anonymous says:

        Educate yourself Cayman can’t issue diplomatic passports. We are not considered an independent country

  4. anon says:

    What exactly does a Parliamentary Secretary do, and are the incumbents qualified to do whatever it is. Or is this just another pat on the back for the loyalists?

    *CNS: It’s the same thing as the old ministry councillors with a different name. See the 2020 amendment to the Constitution here, section 7.
    “The Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier, may appoint by instrument under the public seal one or more Parliamentary Secretaries from among the elected members of the Parliament to provide assistance to the Ministers.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Start with breaking DARTs corruptive grip on this country, like his employee Chair of the NRA … honestly why not make Gibbs his development manager Chair of CPA etc etc etc …. God help us if Jay is suppose to stand up and deal with this

  6. Truth says:

    Waiting patiently for the next Government failure.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The world is saved! Who needs the Fifth Element when we have Wayne Panton?

  8. I am not “a crab in a bucket” says:

    Caymanians biggest problem is that they pull each other down as highlighted here in the comments. Acting like ‘crabs in a bucket’. So the minority, who didn’t vote in the Independents, need to get up to speed to understand the message from the new Premier. COMMUNITY (all the people) CREATES (comes together) COUNTRY (our home and quality of life). Everyone can help and you all can do your part to help this new government to be “People driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent (PACT)”. And if that really is against your own constitution, best you stay home and out of the coffee shops.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair, critiques of performance (or of decisions made) constitute aspects of accountability. One need not acts as a pedestal to be stood upon (by any particular government) in order to lift up our country. Soliciting opposition forces a wider perspective and presumably better outcomes. I would welcome the challenge, rather than decry it and call for those with different views to “stay home.”

      • Trevor James says:

        critiques of performance (or of decisions made) IS THE KEY POINT TO NOTE. Just being negative is not helping or contributing to moving the country forward.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Using education policy and strategy as an example is pretty poor as they have not had a plan since the 2011. JuJU and her senior management are not capable, have no vision and make decisions on what’s best for them, their friends, their family and their church and NOT OUR CHILDREN! I even heard a story that there is one policy advisor in the ministry that has been trying to complete a strategy for over 10 years. Anyone making these people accountable?

  10. Anonymous says:

    If you think the climate is a top priority agenda for Cayamn, you need to get your head out of your ass.

    • Public school has failed you says:

      You do realise there is no cayman if we don’t fully embrace a green way of living?

      • Anonymous says:

        Exaggerate much?

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly our fortunes are controlled beyond our shores. Cayman is a tiny dot in the ocean. We could all hold our breath and not cut down another blade of grass for the next 30 years and we would still be underwater. Praying about it and doing good environmental deeds “here” will not save us with China and Brazil burning forests. Trying to save the plants on the waters edge will not do a thing. The only thing that’ll save us as a concrete moat, and if we don’t keep developing the Country aggressively we will not be able to Attract people to be here that will want to invest in building that moay to save us.

      • Anonymous says:

        It will make no difference. Everything is imported

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right about that but this is EXACTLY why Panton got elected to take the reins over from those that preferred concrete to green.
      High hopes that you statement turns around the other way ASAP.

      Hide and watch

  11. Anonymous says:

    Let the clown show begin.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can Kenneth even travel to the US? He has a conviction so he’s not able to get a visa. As does Mac and Saunder’s, cainvest, of which he is a director was recently fined 100k for failing to do proper due diligence. What a pretty bunch Wayne has there.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Instead of creating new chief officers, can we get some out of storage where they are continuing to get huge salaries for who the hell knows and put them back to work?

  14. Caymanian watching says:

    When will we realise that the main issue is not the politicians but the people within the Ministry that provide advice to the politicians. The “constant” in the failures we keep experiencing is not the policticians (they changes every 4 years), but the people advising them within the Civil Service.

    How many Chief Officers have they fired due to poor performance? maybe 2, which they paid off millions and the others Franz moves them to his office so they cannot be touched.

    Various reports show that Departments and the technical people do their jobs, but the Ministry staff who have no clue but are “policy” advisors mess it up. If the Ministers actually meet with Head of Departments who know what they are doing versus Ministry staff who have no clue, then PACT will be on the right track.

    PACT better check gud with departments.

    Just a thought

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly have never worked in CIG. there are many talented analysts and advisers (not all granted but many) who actually work hard (again many but not all) under the “leadership” of a minister who has their own agenda and could not care less about science, evidence, the law or what is best for the country.

      • Caymanian watching says:

        I most certainly have worked in the CIG. You have missed the point. There are many excellent Civil Servants, who are very much equipped, however the fact is most of them are not within the Ministries.

        Yes there are some Minister who have had their own agendas but the fact remains, they change and the problem continues. What is the constant?

        There also needs to be an overhaul and removal of underperforming Chief Officers and their deputies rather than shifting them around.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree underperforming COs need to be removed. They never will though because Franz doesn’t ever allow anyone to be fired.

          However, the problem with the Ministers is that there are so many bad Ministers so even when the Ministers change, the problems remain.

          The whole culture in government work needs to change for real positive change to happen

        • Proudcivilservant says:

          4:57 I have a sneaky feeling that you are one of those Civil Servants who the DG did fire.

          You clearly can’t see the forest for the trees.

          Or you are jealous of our DG’s and the civil service success

    • Angus says:

      11:33. If those are your thoughts you are in big trouble.

      Are you really saying that the civil service gives the elected Government bad advice. Pray tell us exactly what that advice is.

      Who exactly are you going to blame for managing travel Cayman and keeping covid 19 out of our community?

      Sorry if you think the PPM or any Government failed because of the Civil Service you are dead wrong.

      Do you really believe that it was a civil servant who decided to build the cruise port.

      Or a civil servant who decided to build $100m high schools.

      Or a civil servant decided to call early elections

      Or a civil servant decided to hold the cruise port referendum on the 19 Dec.

      If this Government does well it will because of a highly capable Premier and the fact that most of Cabinet are former civil servants.

      • Realist says:

        I agree a civil servant could never be responsible for anything you suggest, how could they when they never answer their phone?.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It looks as if Wayne’s portfolio can keep a heavy eye on Jay’s portfolio. He had to give Jay a ministry, that was part of the deal, but it will be interesting to see who is really in charge of planning. Smart move if you ask me.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Juliana Connell O’Conner Connelly failed our children and should have not been given another 4 years to screw them even more. Out of her depth. Maybe if she prays hard enough God will help her.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Saunders, a direct challenge to you!

    Please ensure Government ends or reduces it’s dependence on work permit revenues!!

    You have 4 years!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You think they can do that with juju beans as the education minister? No one is qualified.

    • Truth says:

      Too funny! Who will do the actual work then? Cayman is totally dependent on outside skill and work ethic. Cayman would become the next Cuba. Are you missing third world that much?

      • Anonymous says:

        The last time Third World came they were at the Lions Centre, and it was a great performance 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      And that every business, like the one on Eastern Avenue, pays their staff outstanding pensions as repeatedly ordered by the courts.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Islands, you have 4 years to watch this train wreck unfold… and sadly, nothing else to do but watch and wait until 2025! I believed in Wayne Panton and I certainly believe in Heather Bodden, Andre Ebanks, happy that Katherine Ebanks-Wilks unseated the sleeping Captain and willing to give Bernie Bush a chance as Minister. But that’s where it stops.

    Is this the change Cayman wanted? We’ll see!

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is why you cannot negotiate with terrorists now the most inept of the bunch have ministries and McBeater is speaker. This will be a sad 4 years for Cayman all because some districts are comprised of morons.

  20. Anonymous says:

    How embarrassing.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am so so so so excited!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Let’s give the new Government an opportunity. People like Bernie who has been complaining for years will now have an opportunity to show us what we can do.

    Jay will not a lot of Civil service support. Thankfully he is an a very experienced Ministry.

    • Anonymous says:

      A very experienced Ministry that has provided the ‘pave over Cayman’ policy advice and technical support to the CPA that has made Cayman a giant development site.

      Anybody taking bets on whether anything will change with the composition of the CPA or PAT?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Jay for planning. Isn’t that some serious conflict. I heard that Jay and both his parents are involved in property development and construction. Also is it true that he has some land for sale in the Central wetlands. Maybe to Govt?

    • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        But is that not why many politicians get into politics? – that and flying first class around the world with an unlimited entertainment budget when the pandemic clears

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention he is new to politics and working for other people in general. And he gets a complex ministry for a first-timer? This is not going to end well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and as a Northsider, I can tell you that Jay never even got planning approval for additions he made to his own home! We looked at buying the property and discovered that he hadn’t gone to planning but said he would get approval after the fact if we made an offer…

    • Anonymous says:

      And guess who will be the realtor…

  24. Anonymous says:

    Just another politician doing what politicians do.

    • Anonymous says:

      But I thought if PACT formed the government, the Progressives would be replaced by highly educated Angels , and the world would be perfect again. Am I wrong, ?

  25. Anonymous says:

    What a catastrophe. This will not end well.

  26. We'll See You Anon says:

    Okay, three interesting things here
    1) The Premier, not the hardest working lawyer in his time, has chosen a smaller portfolio so he can watch other Ministers double up on their own workloads
    2) The river of dark special interest election funding apparently flowed in both directions and washed up on both the shores of influence- which was why these dark matters shall remain nameless even in the new House
    3) A bike-rider of some influence and means had his hopes for aerial transport to his favourite off-road dashed when the incumbent MP scotched his chances for a CPA planning approval by raising local safety and environmental impacts concerns- the new MP for that district is now conveniently, Minister for Planning. Will his application take off?

    • Anonymous says:

      We’ll See You Anon, So you are saying you can rise to be Managing Partner at Walkers and not be a hard working lawyer?

      Learn something new every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly don’t understand leadership or even less management.

      • Hubert says:

        Our pay for Members of Parliament and Ministers is also the highest in the OECD by some margin.

        One would think that the results would be so much better but our poor public education system pulls us down.

        Caymanians are a very accepting and passive people and put up with so much nonsense. That is our major problem in a nutshell.

    • Anonymous says:

      To foster a company that is well-rounded and positioned for success, disagreements are inevitable and even healthy. The most effective teams and organizations regularly disagree. Still, traditional work cultures have conditioned us to think that everyone should agree with everything, and the ones with any opposing viewpoint are labeled as trouble makers or disruptors. But if everyone’s always agreeing, how do you know what people are actually thinking?

      The worst thing for any company is a leader who surrounds themselves with a sea of yes men or women who agree with everything. To build a great company, you must have some sense of respectful disagreements among your team. As a leader, according to Tori Utley, you will be passionate about your ideas. Even though it can be disheartening to hear a board member, team member, or employee disagree with your idea or strategy, listen to what they have to say.

      We need to create safe work cultures that honor differences of opinion. No one will ever have all of the right answers, and it’s only through conversation, debate, and yes, even argument, those real ideas come out, and better decisions are made.

  27. Done reach says:

    The premier and his team need to change the planning board ,now too much personal Intrest

  28. Anonymous says:

    scary lack of experience/qualifications/3rd level education across the board….scary times for cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am really worried about Jay he needs a lot of Civil service support.

      Do I have feel safe with Bernie in charge of Prison.

      Bernie the days of complaining is over. What you going to do now that the responsibility is on you.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think that walking around with a pollutant in your left hand and a stick in your right hand will solve the climate crisis then sorry for all of us.

      Where will that pollutant with other the other pollutants inside be dumped, anyway?

    • Anonymous says:

      Progressives showed their true colors. In 2013 they took Tara as an independent. In 2017 they took John John. In 2021 they refused to join Wayne’s cabinet.
      PACT extended the offer to Roy. He didn’t put country first. He put being Premier first. That or he didn’t have the backbone to stand up to Alden and the original Progressives choice for Premier, Joseph Xavier Hew.

      • Anonymous says:

        Question is why nobody joined. When you run with darkness and make alliances with darkness, you get darkness and bring more darkness to you. Nobody wants to be tarred with the same brush

    • Anonymous says:

      What experienced, qualified and educated have achieved? Absolutely nothing!

    • Hubert says:

      If Wayne Panton as Minister of Environment will just strongly enforce the environmental laws already on the books we will be way ahead, however, I cry for the future of Caymanian public education system as the lady from Brac will do nothing in this area and has zero vision in terms of education.

      Does anybody even know the Minister of Education’s policies on public education? She did nothing during her last term as Minister of Education. Just more of the same old thing which is terrible for our children’s future.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not just the Minister but also Senior Officers. All failed teachers, no leadership, no vision and no strategy. Continue to put faith in imported expat officers and all will be lost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jon Jon?

  29. REAL Representation says:

    Excellent call by the Premier to focus on the alignment of policies across all Government Ministries and Portfolios in order to benefit of Caymanians within a secure budget.

    The breadth and depth of Minister Ebanks is however very alarming! Perhaps there will be multiple civil servant Chief Officers assisting.

    A Ministry for Women would have been an excellent addition. Perhaps the Deputy Speaker who has roles in Education policy can cover childcare education to assist women, especially single women.

    In addition perhaps the Deputy Speaker’s new role in Financial Services can cover Caymanian employment contracts in order to support the retention and promotion of working mothers and shared parental leave to match international standards.

    The Deputy Premier’s Ministry is impressive and is led by one of the most consummate professionals within the Civil Service, the Financial Secretary, who will keep our Cayman ship sailing and in safe harbour too.

    Fantastic that the Deputy Premier will also be looking out for employee interests. Preferably there will be more transparent complaint handling procedures and schemes and much faster and better resolution of conflicts and court cases through mediation to settle these in an efficient and responsive fashion.

    Onwards and upwards!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure about the rest but you are on the money with Jay – great description as well

    • Anonymous says:

      The way I see it: Andre has been set up to fail.

      Just think of some names that could be his Chief Officers, poor guy.

      Andre, please watch your back, sides, front and middle as you will be exposed on all of those.

    • Anonymous says:

      A ministry for women?
      Remember who they voted for speaker including the women.

      Maybe they should have put Babs an as speaker and McBeater as minister of girly things.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which Minister Ebanks? Jay? Yes, I’m very concerned.

    • Trevor James says:

      Maybe the updated labour law can be implemented.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I think our new Premier ‘gets it’

  31. Anonymous says:

    Kenneth Bryan poster child for being in over your depth.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Can I tell you how excited I was when I read Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency and Ministry of Social Development!?

    • Anonymous says:

      please dont

    • Anonymous says:

      9.10pm “Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency” Thats a clumsy name.Sustainability of what? How about Minister of Environment as the name and that long winded other stuff as the goal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please Mr Panton just call it Ministry of Environment . That Long winded name does not even mention environment so one is left to wonder..sustainability of what? Just say that your motto/goal is sustainability of the environment as well as attention to climate change. Thank you Mr Premier,and Minister of Environment.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Generally pleased by this except for Jay and Julianna.

    • Anonymous says:

      Understand the idea of consistency in ministry, particularly education, but the past 4 years have not been good for teachers. Too many changes at once are overwhelming. I think we need a change in minister. Attainment of students is not really improving and behaviour is down the drain. Can we get stronger discipline policies and stop pampering kids please?

      • Anon says:

        The Cayman Brac students do phenomenally well. Is their high school easier to manage? Perhaps time to downsize Grand Cayman high schools or bring back middle school??

    • Anonymous says:

      The ones who sold their souls got the highest rewards. The next 4 years may be the biggest disaster yet- in reality nothing has changed. Panton can’t fire a single one of these morons- if he’s any better himself remains to be seen too.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a disaster with Julianna as Minister of Education. I have given up on the public education system here. Her performance the last four years as Minister of Education was dismal.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Some good allocations, but the winner with the biggest slush fund, travel and entertainment budget goes to our rep from GTC. Jay with Planning or the lack there of – now that is going to be interesting

  35. Anonymous says:

    So, Bernie, time to show whether you have it or not. Your history is not encouraging but maybe this ministerial post will give you a chance to shine. Hopefully, though, it will not be a case of “the more the monkey climb the tree the more it it expose …..etc etc”

  36. Anonymous says:

    I better start praying for those kids because I don’t see any other way for improvements under this education minister.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Is he still going to push the legal practitioner’s bill? Asking for a friend.

  38. Anonymous says:

    What a joke. Thought the people voted for change? Instead they get four more years of bloating the Civil Sevice(come see who this new chief officer is now) and a failing public education system.

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