In a break from tradition, Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service, Franz Manderson, gave the most coveted civil service award to two honourees on Wednesday, 7 March 2018, as part of the Deputy Governor’s Awards.
Aubrey Bodden and Tristaca Ebanks were both named the Cayman Islands Government Employee of the Year (2016-2017) in front of co-workers, family and friends. The “year” was also non-traditional, as it spanned 18 months to align to the 2016-17 financial year in the Civil Service. The ceremony at the Cayman Islands National Gallery saw 18 employees of the month nominated for the prestigious prize covering the period of July 2016 to December 2017. The joint honourees were two of the 14 women and four men that were finalists.
The other nominees were Shiann Palmer (Credit & Debit Administrator), Sara Dixon (Clerical Officer Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing), Ernie Pearson (Needs Assessment Officer, Needs Assessment Unit), Ephramie Holgate (Prison Officer, Her Majesty’s Prison Service), Donna Ebanks (Customer Service Officer (temporary) Facilities Management Department), Leanora Wynter-Young (Social Work Manager Department of Children and Family Services), Tamara Reid-Vernon (Acting Deputy Chief Officer Immigration Officer, Department of Immigration), Kimberley Herrera (Accounts Officer, Portfolio of the Civil Service), Lauren Knight (Internal Audit Manager Internal Audit Service), Mervin Manderson (Senior Immigration Officer, Department of Immigration), Ezron Anderson (Senior Immigration Officer, Department of Immigration), Karen Rivers (Budget & Planning Manager, Budget & Management Unit), Gina Whittaker (Receptionist & Photo ID Technician, Elections Office), Leticia Goring (Assistant Director, Department of Labour & Pensions), Omara Whittaker (Customer Service Liaison Officer, General Registry Department) and Shelda Seymour (Accounts Officer, Needs Assessment Unit).
Mr. Manderson, who is currently Acting Governor, said the bar had been exceptionally high and that the joint winners had tied in the all-important evaluation scores.
“All of our finalists are distinguished by their willingness to work tirelessly in the pursuit of excellence,” he said. “In recognising each of these exceptional public servants, we are making great strides to becoming a world-class civil service.”
Ms Bodden who was nominated under the theme “Most Professional,” as the employee of the month in September 2016, is Government’s first-ever chief internal communications officer. She was a Cabinet Office policy analyst when nominated. Ms Ebanks, a personal assistant in the Ministry of Home Affairs, was nominated the employee of the month under the theme “Most Customer Conscious” in March 2017.
All finalists received Caymanite catboat awards from Mr. Manderson following video messages from each nominee, and brief remarks from their managers. Ms Bodden and Mrs. Ebanks each received an employee of the year plaque and $1,000 cash award. They will also represent the civil service by accompanying the Deputy Governor at events during the year ahead.
In their acceptance speeches, the winners explained the reasons for their work ethic and thanked those who had helped and inspired them.
Acting Deputy Governor, and Chief Officer for the Portfolio of the Civil Service, Gloria McField-Nixon also congratulated the winning finalists. “The results of this year’s programme demonstrate the high calibre and stiff competition which existed among the 18 finalists,” she said. “They are all winners and consistently exemplify our core values of passion, integrity and professionalism. Ultimately, Tristaca and Aubrey were selected as the employees of the year to represent these outstanding finalists and the civil service overall, because of the special magic each possesses. Their engaging spirits, love for public service, commitment to continual improvement and track record of exceeding expectations gave them the extra boost.”
A video message was screened from the outgoing employee of the year Philbert McFarlane. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the four former recipients of the annual award.