Government and Society of Cayman Islands

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Government of Cayman Islands


The Cayman Islands is a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches. The present constitution, which came into effect on 6 November 2009, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory. It is the fourth written constitution issued for the Islands by the British Crown since 1959, though there is a history of over 165 years of representative government.

The Islands' constitution has evolved as the population and economy has grown. The Islands pride themselves on having an independent judiciary, emphazising that the Grand Court was established by the Constitution. In many forms of parliamentary government, executive and legislative branches are not totally separate. In the Cayman Islands, the people elect the members of the legislature, and the legislature elects the majority of the the Cabinet.

There is no second tier of local government. A district commissioner represents the governor in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

In February 2007 the newly formed Constitutional Review Secretariat was tasked with educating the public on constitutional issues and achieving national consensus on areas of constitutional reform, so Government could negotiate a new constitution for the Cayman Islands with the United Kingdom.

The new Constitution makes important changes to Government, including the appointment of the first Premier, Deputy Premier, Deputy Governor, and Minister of Finance; the expansion of the Legislative Assembly to 18 members; the appointment of an Electoral Boundary Commission to change district boundaries to allow for the new members; and the appointment of three new commissions to advise the Governor: the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, the Commission for Standards in Public Life, and the National Security Council.


The Cayman Islands has a chief justice, three full time judges, three part time judges, three magistrates and over 140 justices of the peace, some of whom serve as lay magistrates.

The governor appoints magistrates, judges, and the chief justice on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a body formed by the 2009 Constitution.

Justice in the Cayman Islands is administered at three levels - in the Summary Court (including the Youth, Juvenile and Drug Rehabilitation courts), the Grand Court and the Court of Appeal.

The Juvenile Court has general jurisdiction to try all summary offences committed by juveniles under 17 years of age. The Summary Court has a civil and criminal jurisdiction. ne magistrate normally exercises jurisdiction, although provision is made for two lay justices of the peace to preside in some circumstances. Coroner's inquests are held in Summary Court where a magistrate sits with a jury as coroner for the Islands. Appeals from the Summary Court lie to the Grand Court.

The Grand Court is a superior court of record and administers the common law and the law of equity of England, as well as locally enacted laws and applied laws. A dedicated financial services division of the Grand Court opened in November 2009.

Appeals from the Grand Court lie to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, composed of a president and not less than two judges of appeal. Further appeal lies, in certain circumstances, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.


Appointed by Her Majesty's Government, the Governor presides over the meetings of Cabinet and the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, but is a member of neither. The Governor also chairs the National Security Council, and, in accordance with the Constitution, is bestowed special responsibility for defence, external affairs, internal security, the police and the civil service.

Under the Constitution, the Governor promotes good governance and acts in the best interests of the Cayman Islands “so far as such interests are consistent with the interests of the United Kingdom.”

When required to consult the Cabinet, the Governor may only go against the Cabinet's advice if he or she considers it will negatively affect any of his or her special responsibilities, or if he or she is instructed to do so by Her Majesty through a Secretary of State.

The Governor is required to give his or her assent or notify that Her Majesty has given assent to a Bill before it can become a law.

The Governor, in addition to overseeing the civil service, also appoints members of the judiciary and various Commissions established by the Constitution.


Chief Magistrates or Custodes

  • 1750 William Cartwright
  • 1776 William Bodden
  • 1823 James Coe the Elder
  • 1829 John Drayton
  • 1842 James Coe the Younger
  • 1855 William Eden
  • 1879 William Bodden Webster
  • 1888 Edmund Parsons


  • 1898 Frederick Shedden Sanguinnetti, ISO
  • 1907 George Stephenson Shirt Hirst
  • 1912 Arthur C. Robinson
  • 1919 Hugh Houston Hutchings
  • 1929 Captain G.H. Frith
  • 1931 Ernest Arthur Weston
  • 1934 Allen Wolsey Cardinall, CMG (later Sir Allen)
  • 1940 Albert Colinridge Panton Snr, MBE (acting)
  • 1941 John Penry Jones
  • 1946 Ivor Otterbein Smith (later CMG, OBE)
  • 1952 Andrew Morris Gerrard, CMG
  • 1956 Alan Hilliard Donald
  • 1960 Jack Rose, MBE, DFC (Later CMG)


  • 1962 Jack Rose, MBE, DFC (Later CMG)
  • 1964 John Alfred Cumber, CMG (later Sir John)
  • 1968 Athelstan Charles Ethelwulf Long, CMG, CBE


  • 1971 Athelstan Charles Ethelwulf Long, CMG, CBE
  • 1972 Kenneth Roy Crook (later CMG)
  • 1974 Thomas Russell, CMG, CVO
  • 1982 George Peter Lloyd, CMG, CVO
  • 1987 Alan James Scott, CVO, CBE
  • 1992 Michael Edward John Gore, CVO, CBE
  • 1995 John Wynne Owen, MBE (later CMG)
  • 1999 Peter John Smith, CBE
  • 2002 Bruce Harry Dinwiddy, CMG
  • 2005 Stuart D.M. Jack, CVO
  • 2010 Duncan Taylor, CBE
  • 2013 Mrs Helen Kilpatrick, CB


Chief Secretaries/Administrative Secretaries/Deputy Governors and their Milestones

Hon. Desmond Watler CBE, JP (1971- 1976)

  • 39 years in the Service
  • First Chief Secretary was formerly Deputy Administrator
  • 1971 – Need to increase the service to keep up with the development in the private sector.
  • 556 permanent pensionable posts in the service including teachers.
  • Increase in salaries to attract better qualified staff
  • 1975 – Training made available through the UNDP and the British Technical Aid and Development Division
  • 1976 - Civil Service Review conducted

Hon. Dennis Foster CVO, CBE (1976-1986)

  • 36 years of service
  • 1977 – New Administrative Personnel Regulations introduced.
  • 775 civil servants in the Service
  • 1978 – Re-grading exercise carried out
  • 1980 – Report on salaries and grading commissioned in addition to a survey on manpower and the organisational establishment of departments.
  • 1981 – 1,129 established posts
  • 1982 – UK Representative established under the Chief Secretary.
  • 1357 established posts in the civil service.
$500,000 contributed to the Falkland’s Islands Crisis
1983 – First Royal Visit by Monarch.
Salary review undertaken
  • 1984 – Personnel Training Unit established.

Hon. Lemuel Hurlston CVO, MBE, JP (1986-1993)

  • 26 years of service
  • Post title changed to Administrative Secretary
  • 1986 – 1435 established posts
  • 1987 – General Orders introduced
salary review completed
  • 1988 – 1784 established posts
  • 1989 – UNDP Management Training Seminar conducted for 220 civil servants.
Salary review undertaken
  • 1990 – Management Services Unit established
  • 1992 – Title of Chief Secretary re-introduced.
Hay Job evaluation system introduced.
Orientation programme for new civil servants
  • 1993 – New performance appraisal system introduced.
  • Tent City opened.

'Hon. James Ryan CBE, JP (1994-2004)

  • 39 years of service

1*994 – Second Royal visit.

University of Miami MBA programme established.
5th Ministry created.
2096 established posts
  • 1995 – Job evaluation exercise completed.
New individual appraisal system starts
  • 1996 - Government Re-invention introduced
Review of the Civil Service
  • 1997 – Civil Service General Orders re-launched
  • 1999 – HRIRIS introduced.
2813 posts established.
Memorandum of Understanding with Cuban Government signed
  • 2000 – CIPD programme starts
  • 2001 – New Performance Management introduced
  • 2002 – General Orders
  • 2003 – Public Finance and Management Law drafted
  • 2004 – Hurricane Ivan

Hon. George McCarthy OBE, JP (2004-2009)

  • 35 years of service
  • 2004/05 – Civil Service Reform.
Public Service Management Law (PMSL) passed
Portfolio of the Civil Service/ Civil Service Appeals Commission created.
Quincentennial Celebrations.
Cayman Prepared website launched
  • 2007 – Civil Service College opened
The Governor’s Five Star Award for Customer (Service) Excellence (F.A.C.E.) was launched.
Hazard Management Cayman Islands formed.
Public Service Management Law introduced
  • 2008- Retroactive 3.2% cost of living increase given to civil servants
  • 2009 - Government agencies to have in place disaster response and continuity of operations plans

Hon. Donovan Ebanks MBE, JP (2009-2012)

  • 36 years of service
  • 2009 - First Deputy Governor
Hurricane Paloma,
Reviews of the Public Service (Phase1-3)
Implementation of the new bodies established under new Constitution.
Hazard Management Planning strengthened
  • 2010 - National CCTV programme started
  • 2011 – Prepared Government for implementation of the Bill of Rights
Developed Crime Reduction Strategy.
Commissions Secretariat established

Hon. Franz Manderson Cert Hon JP (2012-Present)

  • 2012 Introduced assessment centres for recruitment of senior civil servants
3.2% cost of living increase withdrawn
Orientation for new civil servants
Introduced Deputy Governors Award
Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles for civil servants
Launched Face-book
Review of Public Services Phase 4
Moratorium on Recruitment
Chairman of the Budget Delivery Committee
Procurement Review
Bill of Rights Training 5,300 public servants
800 uniform Officers trained in human rights
  • 2013 Rationalisation Review


The Cabinet is composed of the Premier, six other Ministers and two non-voting ex-officio members. The Cabinet is constitutionally responsible for the formulation of policy, including directing the implementation of such policy, as it relates to every aspect of government, with the exception of the Governor’s special responsibilities.

The Premier is appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the elected members of the majority party in the Legislative Assembly. The remaining six Ministers are appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Premier.

The ex-officio members are the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General. The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Governor in accordance with Her Majesty's instructions, whereas the Attorney General is appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

After consulting the Premier, the Governor allocates a portfolio of responsibilities to each Minister, but may not allocate any matter related to his or her special responsibilities to a Minister, with the exception of external affairs after approval from the Secretary of State. Under the principle of collective responsibility, all Ministers are obliged to support in the Legislative Assembly any measures approved by Cabinet.

Almost 80 departments, sections and units carry out the business of government. In addition a number of statutory boards and authorities are set up for specific purposes. By way of example, these include: the Port Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Immigration Board, the Water Authority, the University College Board of Governors, the National Pensions Board, and the Health Insurance Commission.

The Cabinet Members

Governor Member: Mrs Helen Kilpatrick, CB Portfolio: Office of the Governor

Premier Member: Hon. Alden M. McLaughlin, Jr., MBE, JP, MLA Ministry: Ministry of Home & Community Affairs (H&CA)

Deputy Premier Member: Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell, JP, MLA Ministry: District Administration, Tourism & Transport (DAT&T)

Ministers Member: Hon. D. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, JP, MLA Ministry: Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing & Infrastructure (PLAH&I)

Member: Hon. Osbourne Bodden, MLA Ministry: Health, Sports, Youth & Culture (HSY&C)

Member: Hon. Marco Archer, MLA Ministry: Finance & Economic Development (F&ED)

Member: Hon. Wayne Panton, MLA Ministry: Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce & Environment (FSC&E)

Member: Hon. Tara Rivers, MLA Ministry: Education, Employment & Gender Affairs (EE&GA)

Official Member Member: Hon. Franz Manderson, Cert. Hon. Portfolio: Portfolio of the Civil Service (PoCS)

Member: Hon Samuel Bulgin JP Portfolio: Legal Affairs (PLA)


Currently the 18 elected members of the Legislative Assembly represent the Islands' six districts, six from George Town, four from West Bay, four from Bodden Town, two from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, and one each from North Side and East End. The membership of the Legislative Assembly also includes the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General as non-voting ex-officio members.

The Speaker is the presiding member at sittings of the Legislative Assembly, and can either be an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly who is not a Minister, or a person qualified to be an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly.

The Governor must dissolve the Assembly four years after its first meeting, unless it has been dissolved sooner, and a general election must be held within two months of dissolution.


The following Order of Precedence, reflecting Government’s new structure as set by the 2009 Constitution, has been approved by Cabinet.

    1. Governor
    2. Premier
    3. President of Court of Appeals
    4. Chief Justice
    5. Speaker of the LA
    6. Deputy Governor
    7. Deputy Premier
    8. Ministers of Cabinet
    9. Attorney General
    10. Ministerial Council Chairs
    11. Leader of the Opposition
    12. Deputy Speaker
    13. Elected Members of the LA
    14. Justices of the Court of Appeal
    15. National Hero
    16. Puisne Judges
    17. Cabinet Secretary
    18. Financial Secretary
    19. Chief Officers
    20. Government Officers of the rank of Head of Department
    21. Honorary Consuls
    22. As at March 2010


The Cayman Islands Government committed to openness with the passage of the Freedom of Information Law, 2007. Individuals have the right to timely and complete access to government information, and they are not required to give a reason for asking for the information.

Ensuring the Law's implementation are the Freedom of Information (FOI) Unit within government, and an independent oversight body, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

FOI Unit The Unit is government's FOI advisor, trainer, and promoter. It coordinates the implementation of the FOI Law and Regulations across the public service by formulating and disseminating policies, procedures, and guidelines. The Unit promotes best practice within public authorities, trains Information Managers, and assists in raising public awareness.

ICO The Information Commissioner's Office monitors and reports on government's compliance with the FOI Law, and recommendations for reform to specific departments. Individuals denied access to information may appeal the matter to the ICO, which has the authority to investigate, make all findings of fact and law, and issue a binding decision. The Commissioner also promotes general awareness of the FOI Law, the public's rights and government's obligations under the Law.


Effective 6th September 2013



Educational Psychologist (Cayman Brac)
Occupational Therapist
Valuation Officer
Senior Labour Officer
Teacher (Primary ) with PE
Teacher (Primary)
Teacher (Reception)
Learning Mentor
School Inclusion Specialist (Primary and Secondary)
Teacher (Special School)
Assistant Support Services Officer
Human Resources Manager,
Mechanic II
Mechanic I
Combination Inspector - Commercial
Senior Statistician
Teacher (Secondary) – ALL SUBJECTS
Deputy Principal (Secondary)
Financial Administrator
Plans Examiner
Chief Fire Officer
Veterinary Officer
Senior Slaughterman
Immigration Officer II
Conservation Officer
Executive Officer/Records Officer
Assistant Building Manager
Appeals and Compliance Analyst
Crown Counsel (Civil)
Human Resource Manager

In a pro-active move the Cayman Islands Government has taken steps to minimise the potential impact of the global financial crisis and economic slow down on the government budget.

As such, with effect from the 27th October 2008, the Head of the Civil Service, under instruction from Cabinet, has declared a moratorium on recruitment across the Civil Service. However hiring will not inhibit the appointment of necessary and essential personnel such as policemen, doctors, nurses and other specialised positions.

As a consequence, there are currently reduced opportunities to obtain employment within all public service entities, including statutory authorities and Government owned companies.

In a pro-active move the Cayman Islands Government has taken steps to minimise the potential impact of the global financial crisis and economic slow down on the government budget.

As such, with effect from the 27th October 2008, the Head of the Civil Service, under instruction from Cabinet, has declared a moratorium on recruitment across the Civil Service. However hiring will not inhibit the appointment of necessary and essential personnel such as policemen, doctors, nurses and other specialised positions.

As a consequence, there are currently reduced opportunities to obtain employment within all public service entities, including statutory authorities and Government owned companies.