Ahearn returns as premier’s chief officer

| 03/05/2021 | 56 Comments
Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn accompanies Premier Wayne Panton as he talks to CINWS Director John Tibbetts (CIGTV)

(CNS): Jennifer Ahearn, a long-time senior civil servant, has returned to her old job as a chief officer, this time with Premier Wayne Panton’s Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency. While government has yet to reveal the full slate of chief officers heading up the new ministries, Ahearn accompanied Panton on Thursday during his first visit to departments within his responsibility, including the Department of Environment, which was under his responsibility the last time he was in Cabinet. Ahearn was in charge of that area when she was chief officer under the former health minister, Dwayne Seymour, before he was successful in getting her ousted from his ministry.

In July 2019, after her relationship with Seymour was said to have broken down, Ahearn was shifted from the chief officer’s job and moved to a newly-created post in the Office of the Deputy Governor. In January 2015, she was the victim of workplace bullying by another health minister, Osbourne Bodden, who campaigned with Panton in the 2021 elections, in the infamous ‘f+*#ing driftwood’ scandal.

In December 2015 during the trial of Canover Watson, questions were raised about her mishandling of the CarePay corruption case at the hospital. In 2018 she clashed with the Public Accounts Committee when she gave misleading evidence about issues relating to her part in the make-up of the Medical and Dental Council. She was also in charge at the health ministry during the long, and still undisclosed, issues surrounding the former director of the Department of Environmental Health, Roydell Carter, and the secretive way his disappearance from the job was managed before he was formally retired out of the service.

No other details have yet been revealed about which chief officers will be working with which ministers, given the slight reshuffling of portfolios by Panton, who is putting climate change and the issues regarding over-development at the heart of his government.

He stressed to staff at the DoE last week that their work was very important to the PACT government.

“The ministry will be very supportive and we recognise the value of the work you do. I think you can tell by the name of the ministry and the approach we are taking that these issues are important to the government, they are important to the people of the country and we look forward to making some significant strides with, and contributions to… really making the lives of our people better,” Panton said in a CIGTV news report of the visit.

By naming his portfolio the Ministry for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, Panton has demonstrated his own strong policy position on the immediate need to tackle these issues. While he and Ahearn will be heavily immersed in environment-related matters, questions remain about the other side of this coin, namely the planning ministry and the Central Planning Authority.

While there is an expectation that the CPA membership will change in the coming weeks, the planning ministry is in the hands of Minister Jay Ebanks, who is considered the closest of all PACT members to big developers and the construction sector. It is not yet known if Allen Jones, who has been the chief officer overseeing the planning department and the CPA for many years, will be working with Ebanks.

See Panton visiting various departments with Ahearn on CIGTV below:


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Category: Politics

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer suffers from VIWNOFH – Very Intelligent Woman Not Originally From Here. Some have no tolerance for any part of that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wayne – can you check if anyone works at the NRA for me please? I’ve sent them 8 emails that they haven’t had the common decency to respond to, they’ve been put on notice they’ll be sued for the drains they’ve covered over on Rosemary Street. It WILL flood in Sawgrass condos come rainy season.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same problem when calling GT Hospital. The place must be manned by duppies, because past the main number attendant, not a living soul ever answers. And don’t even bother leaving a voice message, no one will ever call back. It has been reported to the administration and the Ministry to no avail . (Sigh)

    • Orrie Merren says:

      If you have submitted correspondence to a public official, but have not received a response. Then, the following provisions of the Bill of Rights (enshrined in our Constitution) may be of assistance:

      (1) All decisions and acts (including failure to act) must be lawful, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair (s19(1), Bill of Rights).

      (2) Any person, whose interests have been adversely affected by a decision or act (including failure to act), has a fundamental right to request and be given written reasons (s.19(2), Bill of Rights).

      I suggest that, if you feel that a public official has been non-responsive to your correspondence and this has adversely affected your interests, the best approach is to write again (informing them of the non-responsiveness to prior correspondence) and request substantial written reasons (in accordance with s19(2), Bill of Rights).

      As time goes on it will become realized more and more that, at least with respect to the Constitution (and especially the Bill of Rights), the real power is in the hands of the people and heavy constitutional responsibilities fall on government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Go Jennifer – signed by a piece of fn driftwood – that is glad that Osbourne Bodden is not in a leadership position where he can insult the modesty of a woman and at the same time insult the expats who call Cayman home. Go Jennifer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor Ozzie, Alden put Jon Jon as health minster after he lost and Wayne put J as Chief Officer. Is something fundamentally wrong? maybe he needs a cow codding

  4. anon says:

    I would really like to see the George Town revitalization project happen on Mr. Panton’s watch. Action, instead of more press releases and forming do-nothing committees.

    • Anonymous says:

      Revitalization yes, but please have the design work done by experienced qualified professionals, and not by a couple of civil servants that have nothing else to do.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wayne, there is one common consensus in Bodden Town. The candidates for that area who vigorously competed against each other and couldn’t see eye to eye, agreed on one thing. They both got rid of Ms. Ahearn. You also supported Ausie in this elections. So I assume you have seen through all of this and determine that her abilities more than outweigh the potential issues mentioned? I hope it works out in your favor.

    • Anonymous says:

      Men with challenges dealing with bright women? Big problem in Bodden.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahearn asked Ossie about private phone calls made on his government phone and how he was going to arrange his payments for those. Horrors!! Shocking!! Seymour was, shall we say, challenged when it came to having conversations involving health policy and other ministry matters and not Jamaican music gatherings in Bodden Town. Ahearn had to go because she made him feel like he wasn’t smart.

  6. PACTER says:

    Start with the small things that have the greatest impact. Please clean up the highways and byways. Just so much trash along the roadside and beaches. Establish and maintain the cycle lanes across the islands before there’s no space left!
    We all wish the PACT well, but let’s begin the clean green scene that beloved Cayman could be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fix the dump!

    • Anonymous says:

      11:35am The answer to the litter is to stop importing people on work permits. They come from slum ridden places and bring their culture with them. In my area, I can attest to their littering along the roadside. I’ve placed a No Littering sign which means nothing to them. Right now a garbage bag has been thrown down on the side of the road.
      Government show assign persons in areas to deal with litter, providing pictures and names in order to prosecute them.

      • Anonymous says:

        LMAO! Isn’t that rich! From people on work permits… LOL
        I have personally seen with my own eye holes, born Caymanians throw beer bottles and cigarette butts into the surrounding sea on numerous occasions. Asked one woman to please save her butt (Rum Point) and she laughed as she tossed it in the water. Lol Because of my insolence, I was never invited out on that Caymanian boat again.

  7. Bracker says:

    Sincerely hope Premier Panton will remove the Chairman of Health Services Authority as this individual has allegedly breached /leaked patient privileged confidentiality in HSA on numerous occasions and especially in the COVID-19 lockdown period.
    #gethimoutPACT

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can we please get an opening date Mr. Payton?
    What we really need is a date to get this place open, then worry about everything else.
    Also, after the opening date is set please dissolve the Planning Board and put in some non-conflicted sensible people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please step back and take a look at the rest of the world before you ask for reopening. Strict rules and regulation accomplished the COVID free, no anxiety community we live in. The world has changed, and because Cayman is NOT in a red zone crisis our government can strategically adapt to make best decisions for safe and prosperous changes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check around the world to see how opening plans are working out

    • James says:

      Please step back and take a look at the rest of the world before you ask for reopening. Strict rules and regulation accomplished the COVID free, no anxiety community we live in. The world has changed, and because Cayman is NOT in a red zone crisis our government can strategically adapt to make best decisions for safe and prosperous changes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lets go wayne! #dacostaclan

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well done Premier! A Government that cares about all Caymanians.

    Sadly the PPM coalition lost touch with Caymanians.

    I hope this Government does not do the same.

    Sadly being appointment a Minister changes people and they forget why they were elected.

  11. Anonymous says:

    maybe he will shut the turtle farm down if he is so ecofriendly

  12. Anonymous says:

    Recycling Chief Officers is where CI Govt really shines.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or creating new jobs for them – refer recent governor speech at his house, presenting Queen certificates (awards for civil servants doing their jobs!!!) when he said DB will be getting a new role…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Premier. This is exactly what we expected from our new Government.

    Do we remember when the UDP was last in power how many Caymanians civil servants were sent home without cause. How sad was that.

    Our Premier is showing that he actually cares about Caymanians.

    8:26 do you have any idea what Ms Rodrigues does. If you did you would realise what a stupid post you made.

    Once politicians stay out of Civil Service staffing matters we will be just fine.

  14. Anonymous says:

    …..meanwhile, PACT Government Cabinet are (hopefully) learning their roles, touring their Ministries/Depts/SAGCs, getting briefings, etc.., I guess….But one would never know it from the Government, which has gone silent just weeks after the elections! Say something, PACT! Let your PR folks issue releases about the “learning curve”, all the above and other expected spin. But silence seems so Amateur Hour!!

    Wayne, every day you’re looking a lot greener than many expected!! Long road ahead!

    • Anonymous says:

      I can understand the nagging feeling that we need to be kept in the loop, but I suspect the amount of work for our Premier and the entire team will be staggering at least for the next six months. I see Ms. Turner had an update meeting in Prospect; I do not know about anyone else doing the same. Maybe we can exercise a bit of patience?

      • Anonymous says:

        Wont hold my breath. My elected member never updated Red Bay when he was premier!!

        • Anonymous says:

          They did Spinnaker but not Woodstock which will be pothole city once the rains begin.
          Ad so much for the cut through to Hurleys.

  15. Darlene Mckenzie says:

    With no disrespect. Hon. Premier Panton do not be confused nor fooled. Our people voted and went a mile and protested in the sun in George Town for change and change we got.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ok, now get Mary Rodrigues out from under these non jobs with titles like “strategic advisor” and try to get her to do some real work that we can all actually see for her $130,000 or more.

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