Former C&W employee is new OfReg board chair

| 06/09/2021 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service
Rudy Ebanks, OfReg Board Chairman

(CNS): Rudy Ebanks has taken over the chairmanship of the Board of Directors for Utility Regulation and Competition (OfReg). The former chair of the beleaguered watchdog, Linford Pierson, resigned following the election. Although OfReg is widely considered a costly but failing watchdog that is not fit for purpose, Pierson blamed everyone but the regulator at a PAC hearing last year, and he added to the controversies swirling around OfReg when he threatened to punch another director in 2018.

But the departure of Pierson does not mean that things will be plain sailing for Ebanks, as the regulator is plagued with a catalogue of issues, including excessive spending and a failure to address any of the problems relating to utilities that it was created to resolve more than four years ago.

According to a release about his appointment, Ebanks formerly served on the OfReg Board as a non-executive director following a 36-year career in telecommunications with Cable & Wireless that spanned areas including engineering, sales, customer service, project and programme management, national and international carrier relations, regulatory and senior management.

He was responsible for leading a team of experts in the negotiations for liberalisation of the Cayman Islands telecommunications market and has had regulatory training at both Coventry University/UK and PURC (Public Utility Research Centre), University of Florida.

Deputy Premier Chris Saunders, a former member of the PAC who has raised publicly his concerns about the management of OfReg on numerous occasions, has now been given oversight of the regulator. He said Ebanks possesses the strategic planning, leadership skills and the integrity acquired to serve and has sound knowledge of the Utility Regulations and Competition Act as well as the Public Authorities Act.

“My Cabinet colleagues and I are confident that his vast knowledge and experience will enable him to execute the duties of the chair in a highly competent and politically neutral manner,” he said.

Ebanks’ appointment is for a three-year term and is effective immediately. As board chair he will receive a stipend of $4,500 per month.

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Category: Business, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, utilities

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Rudy is a good man and, I’m sure, quite capable in the private telecom industry. His success in the public sector is left to be seen. Remember, two senior executives presently at CIAA came from the same telecom provider and CIAA is now a national embarrassment. So did some of the current and past management of OfReg, and that organization is also a public embarrassment!

    The real problem with MOST Government/SAGC Boards is the pervasive and toxic Lodge influence. The “talking heads” and faces who represent these public agencies are simply pawns!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    USD64,000 a year. After tax that is more than a full time elected MP earns in the Houses of Parliament. This island has really gone $ crazy

    • Anonymous says:

      A gallon of milk in UK is CI$4.00 in Cayman is CI$6.50

    • Anonymous says:

      These board menbers sure making a good salary because these obscene amounts are not stipends. Now CSX board also being higly compensated. Meanwhile most Public sector workers making less than 3000.00

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another private sector chair on another private sector board. Reminds me of the definition of insanity.

    Shut awfulreg down and return it to the civil service.

    • Anonymous says:

      I bet you 10% costs for maintaining OfReg will go down.

      • D. Truth says:

        If OfReg were shut down it would be 100 percent!

        • Anonymous says:

          7:28 pm, you are right, because they does NOTHING to regulate fuels. Look at the Brac, Gas
          100 % duty free, and look at the price, those 2 gas stations are making a fortune off being duty free, the duty free are Not ever passed on to the people. Its only making the businesses rich.

    • Fred B. says:

      Just shut OfReg down! It would really be a saving for the citizens of the Cayman Islands! We know OfReg serves no useful purpose!

    • Anonymous says:

      Betcha you work for Franz😂😂😂😂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Does Linnie get to be CEO?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Linford: conflicted, arrogant, out of touch, and so on

    Rudy: Rudy, poor Rudy, nice guy but seriously?

  6. Anonymous says:

    OfReg is still around? Thought it was dismantled long ago. Just goes to show, dismantled or not it makes the same impact on our lives…zero!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe there are any other members at present. By Law, the Chair plays a role in selecting board members, thus they had to appoint the Chair first.

    • Anonymous says:

      By Law, the Chair plays a role in selecting board members, thus they had to appoint the Chair first.

      You may be correct, but if you are then it is one of the strangest laws that I have ever heard of. Board Members are supposed to be independent, so if the Chairman has anything to do with selecting the other Members, then he/she is just appointing rubber stamps. Although I would imagine that is the way that Linford would have preferred it, and he would have been CEO today in that case.

      • Anonymous says:

        I said “plays a role”. Meaning he serves on the selection committee with others (and Cabinet ultimately approves the choices). I didn’t say the Chair has the power to select “Yes men and women”.

        Linford also “played a role” in selecting previous board members. And he got a rude awakening when he tried to get them to rubber stamp his demands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Who are the other OfReg board members ?

    CNS: It’s supposed to be listed here but isn’t. However, if you look at the minutes of past board meetings (link below) you can see who attended.

    • Anonymous says:

      OfReg cannot even maintain their own website. How can you expect them to regulate others?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope Ofreg does something about the high cost of Gasoline , especially in the Brac where its duty free .

  10. Anonymous says:

    Just close it down – serves no purpose.

    • D. Truth says:

      A government for the people would have shut them down a long time ago! What about it, PACT?

  11. Anonymous says:

    A number of questions go through my mind, but mostly: if the PPM had won, would the previous chairman have resign? The current Chairman worked for one of the long-standing communication companies for a number of years; I wish him the best and hope he brings vision to the role.

  12. 🎵A message to you Rudy🎵 says:

    Mr. Ebanks, congrats on your new appointment as Chair. With your wealth of telecom knowledge and C&W culture I’m sure you are able to spot and put right irregularities in this sector of OfReg’s sphere of influence but will you. Time will tell. With regards to electric power generation, I am not so sure you’ll be able to refrain from rubber stamping every rate increase and protectionist policy change that CUC may request. Likewise I would like to know how you plan to fairly review pending and future renewable energy proposals in light of you and your team’s apparent lack of expertise and experience in this sector? I do hope you put consumer satisfaction, value for money and Cayman’s renewable energy targets as first priority on your watch.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Duopoly employee to organisation that is meant to regulate duopolies.

    Seems logical to me imo. Definitely would not want someone, you know, independent (lmao what is that word in Cayman) who can actually provide oversignt and enforcement.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s retired. He’s a great choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      There isn’t a regulator in the world that doesn’t hire, at least partially, from within the industries it regulates. Who better to understand the industry?

      Obviously there is the problem of industry influence but, at least in this case, this is offset somewhat by the URCO Law itself and somewhat by the fine and principled man who’s been appointed.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You mean Linnie finally stepped down?

    Glory be!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Punch coming your way

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s just stunned from that sucker punch Wayne most likely dealt. Just watch this corner, he might back in the ring in another 4 years or sooner is things don’t pick up.

  15. Anonymous says:

    for 4,500 a month we better see some real action being taken on behalf of the consumer. can start with telling us who is actually selling the diluted fuel as ordered by the courts.

    • Anonymous says:

      $4,500 a month is actually cheap, when you consider EVERY government school teacher in Cayman now makes $5,000 a month. Regardless of their qualifications, experience, or performance grading.
      I’m hopeful we’ll finally get the names released along with the fuel quality reports, so we can see who’s selling gasoline and who’s selling swamp water.

      • Anonymous says:

        1:54 pm, remember school teachers are at least in the school rooms 5 days a week. OfReg are only in the meetings once a month, sometimes once every 2 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      $4500…That’s peanuts for a job of that large of a scope..

      • Anonymous says:

        Not really. The job is to Chair the Board not run the company. Unfortunately too many CIG-appointed Chairman think that it is their responsibility to run the SAGC.

        • Anonymous says:

          But when something goes wrong y’all bleating about where is the Board, where is the Chairman. Make up your minds, either they are responsible or they are not.

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