Caymanian officially in waiting for fire chief job

| 20/01/2022 | 27 Comments
Dwight Randy Rankin. CFO Designate

(CNS): After a long wait, a Caymanian has finally been selected as chief fire officer designate and will take over when the current CFO’s contract ends in September and he returns to the UK. Following what senior civil servants said was a rigorous and highly competitive recruitment process, Dwight Randy Rankin, currently a divisional manager, has leapfrogged over the deputy CFOs to take the top post.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service has been working for almost six years to find a Caymanian to head the service and three deputy fire chiefs had been appointed to work under CFO Paul Walker. But Rankin was not one of them. He had not been on the official track to the top and it is not clear if he has been afforded the same training opportunities as his senior colleagues.

Correspondence sent to the airport and ministry, seen by CNS, from an individual close to the CIFS questioned whether Rankin was sufficiently experienced or qualified to manage the aerodrome station, which could have a major impact on the running of the Airport Fire Service. CNS has contacted the ministry and other officials relating to this potential area of concern but we have not yet received a response.

Meanwhile, the three Caymanian deputy CFOs, Roy Charlton, Brevon Elliot and Tina Choy, who headed up the domestic, aviation and administration sections in rotation for almost three years have all taken part in extensive professional training.

The appointment of the deputies had been touted as the succession plan that would ensure a fully qualified Caymanian would take the helm of the fire service, avoiding the need for contracted overseas chiefs or consultant support.

Although he appears not to have had the same level of training or management experience as his colleagues, in a press release about Rankin’s promotion, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said he had demonstrated his abilities.

“The fire service has continued to invest in the professionalisation of its workforce and it’s paying dividends,” Manderson stated in a press release. “Mr Rankin has demonstrated his versatility as a leader in the emergency management space and as a first responder who serves the public with an obvious sense of urgency and passion. I call on the entire fire service and public to support Mr Rankin in his new role and to join me in celebrating the appointment of a Caymanian as the next chief fire officer.” 

Outgoing CFO Walker was initially appointed on a 12-month contract. However, this was extended by two years after he failed to identify a successor in that period. As one of the interview panelists, Walker said he was impressed with all of the candidates.

“In conjunction with other senior managers, I am looking forward to working even more closely with Mr Rankin to progress the department’s identified priorities, projects and activities together with the ministry,” he said

Officials said the recruitment exercise comprised a series of assessments, including submission of a ministerial briefing paper, leading an in-studio multi-agency media-press briefing, simulating a major incident, delivering a presentation on the key challenges facing the department, and answering questions posed by the interview panel.

Over the next six months, Rankin will work closely with Walker and CIFS senior managers, in tandem with the ministry’s executive team, to align the department’s strategic plans with the government’s new budget and strategic broad outcomes.

Key responsibilities will entail assessing emerging risks to better inform policy decisions, strengthening operational governance, and driving administrative efficiencies. Rankin will also continue building strategic partnerships locally and overseas to advance the CIFS’s programme of employee engagement and talent management.

Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Michael Ebanks said it was a privilege for the ministry to nominate a Caymanian to continue leading the Fire Service.

“It has never been clearer just how important the fire service is to the prosperity and resilience of our Islands. Our firefighters are always poised to push the boundaries on modernisation to protect, rescue, and save lives,” he said.

Rankin has been at the forefront of fire-rescue and national emergency management, frequently overseeing major operational incidents on land and on the ocean, officials stated in a press release.

With 28 years of experience and training, he has contributed to the implementation of strategic policies related to home affairs, including the establishment of the CIFS Inshore-Maritime Search and Rescue Unit, working in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Coast Guard and UK Navy.

He was also instrumental in delivering other policies, such as the amalgamation of the 911/fire dispatch to improve response, coordination and safety, in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety Communications.

Recently, Rankin has also helped to advance regional cooperation opportunities for the Cayman Islands, serving as the deputy chair of the UK Overseas Territories Search and Rescue Committee. Rankin will support the ministry to advance policies related to enhancing pathways to careers in public safety through collaborations with youth leadership organisations such as the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps.

“As part of the fire service’s evolving mission to prepare for, prevent, mitigate and respond to all hazards, I look forward to working alongside my colleagues, our partners and community members to tackle several strategic priorities,” Rankin said.

“I am proud to be a part of an experienced and dynamic team of fire-rescue and public safety professionals. Together we will work tirelessly for the people of the Cayman Islands, strengthening our culture of safety, investing in the professionalism of our firefighters, and embracing service innovation – all while ensuring that we retain the traditions of the Fire Service which are the source of much pride for so many,” he added.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Jonathan Adam says:

    Congratulations to you Randy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As far as I know a well respected Deputy Mr.Charlton didn’t apply for the post. A lot of speculation around the process. Know the facts before speaking is always a good start.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As far as I know one well respected Deputy didn’t apply and that was Mr.Charlton. Lots of speculation,facts are important before speaking.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mission accomplished.

  5. 345vFacts Cayman says:

    How many candidates applied and how many meant the shortlisting criteria based on the required Knowledge, Experience, and Skills, as noted below?

    Can anyone from the Ministry share this information with the public?

    I sure everyone would like to know n order to have a better understanding of the process..

    According to the DG, “the Fire Service has continued to invest in the professionalization of its workforce and it paying dividends. Mr. Rankin has demonstrated his versatility as a leader in the emergency management space and as a first responder who serves the public with an obvious sense of urgency and passion.”

    I am not sure how the DG’s comments “Pays Dividends” to qualifying any applicant outside of the legal requirements.

    someone please clarify if these are the required Knowledge, Experience and Skills?????!!!!!!!!

    4. Knowledge, Experience, and Skills

    · A Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science, Fire Management, Public Administration or related field and 8-10 years, with at least six (3) of those years at a senior management level; OR a minimum of 9 years of supervisory firefighting experience at a level which has afforded the opportunity to become familiar with all phases of departmental operations, supplemented by successful completion of supervisory courses in fire department administration and fire prevention and business or public administration.

    · Skill in strategic management of the emergency planning and business continuity functions.

    · Knowledge and experience in effective fire prevention and protection including, but not limited to, the principles, practices, methods, and equipment employed in modern firefighting including fire behaviour, chemistry of fire and fire dynamics, including extensive knowledge of fire suppression methods, practices and techniques.

    · Knowledge of the practices of government’s human resource management, organization, administration, budgeting and accounting.

    · Experience with and knowledge of Risk Management plan development, evaluation and implementation.

    · Knowledge of the requirements of airport operations including the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTAR) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations as well as standard airport operation and safety management.

    · Knowledge of apparatus design, operation, emergency scene deployment, and maintenance standards, principles of hydraulics.

    · Demonstrated ability to react calmly and effectively in emergency and stressful situations with rapidly changing priorities.

    · Knowledge in the use of fire records and their application to fire prevention and fire protection administration.

    · Leadership, decision-making and communication skills including command and control techniques for the safe and effective deployment of fire personnel at the scene of aircraft, structure, hazardous material, transportation, extrication/rescue, and disaster incidents or operations with the ability to direct and coordinate a multidisciplinary staff in firefighting, fire prevention, and fire service activities.

    · Proven ability to perform a broad range of human resource management responsibilities, including: leadership, supervisory, management and motivational skills which are essential to effectively and efficiently develop and utilize the organization’s human resources.

    · Proven ability to exercise sound judgment in evaluating situations and in making decisions.

    · Effective oral and written communication and public relations skills.

    · A level of physical fitness which enables them to handle the sustained, intense, physical effort often required to perform these duties.

    · Computer literate with working knowledge of Microsoft tools.

  6. Tom Sawyer says:

    Angus, sound like you know something, please do elaborate on your statement about the politicians chosen one?

    Sounds like this process needs to be FOI and made public. If the politicians had a chosen one how was the process going to be manipulated?

    Now you got me thinking!!

    So that means that it could have been manipulated for Mr. Rankin to be successful as well?

    I wonder who was on the panel?

    Angus do you know?

    Did they have an expert Fire Chief or Advisor from overseas as a neutral person or was the panel made up of the Chief, HR, and other members from the Ministry?

    Who created the process?

    Did all panel members contribute or was it created by the Chief?

    The Ministry is fairly new, who is the Fire Expert on putting together such process?

    Angus the public wants to know..

    I smell CORRUPTION but then again that’s how the Government operates!!!!

  7. Tom Sawyer says:

    To the OTAR’s expert who doesn’t realize that irrespective of the OTAR’s being utilize to audit the ARFFS operations. There is also an Airport Manual and Letter of Agreement which stipulates the ARFFS structure inclusive of the respective Job Descriptions and the relevant required qualifications. As such, I don’t think that persons are questing the fact the Randy Rankin is a Caymanian; it appears that they are questing the process.
    If I may predict the next announcement, I would say that they are going to announce that the current Chief will be granted a third contract to help further develop the new Chief. If memory, serves me correctly this was also a proposal by the previous Ministry
    Any bets!!! I have a $1,000.00 to put up that it will happen.
    I lost betting that the female would have been favored by the DG, so I need to try and make my money back.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good morning Wendy.

    Referring to the concerns [referenced in the article made by a person who was not named] of the promotion of Mr. Rankin having a “major impact on the running of the Airport Fire Service”, maybe I can assist. The following is by no means of answering to [those] concerns for the Ministry or the Airport.

    The CIFS (Aviation section) is governed,(audited, inspected etc.) under the Cayman Islands Civil Aviation Authority (CICAA) with approval from the Air Safety Support International(ASSI), which is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority. ASSI primary objectives is to provide a more cohesive system of civil aviation safety and security regulation in the UK Overseas Territories.

    Aviation in the Cayman Islands conform to the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTARs part 140) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO Annex 14 RFFS) which is a specialized agency of the United Nations, which again, provide systems of civil aviation safety and security regulation internationally.

    Both of the organizations have limited information which pertains to supervisory levels with the RFFS. As the PARENT organization of ASSI, the CAA UK has established Civil Aviation Publications (CAPs) of which the RFFS can be found in CAP 168 chapter 8 and 9. Below is an excerpt from CAP 168 CH.8 which defines supervisory levels for aviation RFFS.

    8.36 Aerodrome Operators are, or should designate a person who is, responsible for the overall control and management of the aerodrome RFFS, and this person should adopt the role of fire service manager. The RFFS management structure should provide for a competent person to take command of an emergency response throughout the promulgated hours of operation.

    Major airports in the UK utilize this system very effectively.

    I do hope that the above statement can bring clarity to the concerns.

    Congratulations Mr. Rankin.

    CNS: Thank you for this response. I edited the beginning because you appeared to think they were Wendy’s concerns. As the article says, she was noting that such concerns exist and she has seen the correspondence outlining them.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This 6 year “exercise”, very costly exercise btw (2 contracted CFOs), is a result of the lack of succession planning by ex-CFOs Kirkland Nixon and Roy Grant.

    Quite a mess they left yet Grant is still influencing on CIAA Board! WTF?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yah poor old Grant must be so disappointed he didn’t get is female Chief as he selected, supported and made sure he had pulled it off 🙃

  10. Anonymous says:

    Even politics in putting water on a fire

  11. Anonymous says:

    Speaking from inside, I can tell you this comes as a surprise to many, but also expected and appreciated by many of us; because of the bickering, news backing and throat cutting among the current Deputies neither one of them could be put into the Chief position. The only common denominator among the three of them was Randy Rankine and he used the information received from all three to his advantage. Randy is a smart, hardworking and loyal man, something we welcome. In all fairness he is not the most knowledgeable, educated or experienced and much of his shortcomings is due to the fact he did not move though out the ranks (with each rank you gain more experience and giving more responsibility), therefore much is lacking. Structure was taken out of the service since Mr. Nixon departure, hence the reason the Fire Service cannot be referred to as a Disciplinary Service, one of the biggest mistakes and sometimes I know is very dear to Mr. Rankine heart.
    Randy is a product of the importance of Discipline and second chances, and had it not been for the vision of Mr. Nixon and Deputies *Mr. Martinez (*this was the iron fist who ruled the Fire Service and enforce the discipline within the Service – he molded many of us to the men we are today) and Mr Grant. Without these men and their mentoring and strong discipline maybe today we would not be so proud of Randy. These men along with other like Mr. Webster, Robinson, Evans, Bodden and McLaughin, Scott and Bryan to name a few made us strong men.
    Chief Rankin, the Fire Service has been placed in your capable hands, it is in desperate need of a turnaround and I known you can and will do this. You a living example that shows “your beginnings don’t have to be you ending”. I am PROUD of you brother and look forward to working alongside you for the next few years. Cayman we can do this please give Chief Rankin a chance

  12. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Randy! We wish you well. One thing I know about Randy, he is humble and will not make this appointment go to his head and change-up his personality and approachability.

  13. Pew Pill says:

    Taking 6 years to identify a Caymanian CFO speaks volumes, and overriding the three Deputy CFO”S selected by the vastly experienced Mr Walker speaks even more volumes.However our indefatigable Deputy Governor is satisfied he has “demonstrated his abilities” even without the professional training his colleagues have had and evidently Mr Manderson knows a lot more about the Fire Service than the outgoing CFO.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is all about who kiss the most a$$ and not about qualifications and experience. The Civil Service failed when a junior officer surpass the 3 deputies for a post despite having less qualifications and experience. This was a favor as any of the deputies would have been the better selection.

      • Anonymous says:

        A precedent of A Junior Officer surpassing a Senior Officer, skipping ranks, under qualified, lack experience appointed to Senior positions started when the now three Deputies was appointed. This was the first time in the history of the Cayman Islands Fire Service that this was possible as this could never had happened under the leadership of Mr Nixon or Mr Martinez, political driven or interference from any Ministry. This decision was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs who obviously knew nothing about the reasoning of structure and it’s importance in a Disciplinary Service. This was the cause of the greatest breakdown of discipline and moral among staff in the history of the CI FIRE SERVICE. Seniority and ranking system was destroyed and casted aside by the Ministry of Home Affairs not Randy Rankine.
        Randy did not select himself Minister of Home Affairs and their selects did.
        Randy deserve our support !! Best of luck my friend, you will need it with this Caymanians crab mentality.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:17. Did you bother to read that the CFO was part of the interview panel. Wake up for God’s sake.

      I note that the Minister for the Fire Service has been quiet on this promotion.

      A Caymanian was promoted and yet silence. Is PACT really committed to Caymanians first? Or is it only the Caymanians we like first?

      Stop the crabs in the bucket and let’s celebrate this appointment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor man is about as qualified for this position as the DG is for his. Sad state of affairs.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:31am you are obviously in need of sleep. Leave our DG alone.

        He is highly qualified for his role and is doing an outstanding job.

        The lack of sleep definitely affects people judgments. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

  14. Anonymous says:

    With “several strategic priorities”, how can he miss!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I would have been happy with any of them taking the top spot. Congrats Randy!!!! Awesome news. You all will make a strong leadership team. Stick together, and have each other’s backs. Focus on being right and doing right. You got this!!!

  16. Angus says:

    I am so pleased to see this appointment. The civil service took the hard decision a few years ago and brought in a UK fire chief to train Caymanians. That promise has been kept.

    Also happy to see that the “chosen one” by the politician was not chosen.

    Keep politricks out of the fire service.

  17. Anonymous says:

    uh-oh spaghettios…
    this will not end well.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well done him.

    But the CIG (DG) should put out something more than the usual cut-paste congratulations for an appointment at this level that looks – though doubtlessly is not – unusual.

    Good luck on a post with many obvious leadership challenges.

    • Anonymous says:

      DG only says, world class, all civil service employees is working hard, doing a good job, ( we know not all are are doing that)

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