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Former Port Authority director back at the helm

Government 12 Jul, 2022 Follow News

Former Port Authority director back at the helm

PACI MOTT panel at Press Conference

By Lindsey Turnbull

Paul Hurlston has been appointed the new director of the Cayman Islands Port Authority, taking up his position on 27th June, after a “competitive recruitment process”, having already served in the role previously for 14 years, Tourism and Transport Minister Kenneth Bryan announced at a press conference on Thursday.

Minister Bryan said Mr Hurlston comes at the appropriate time to provide the organisation with stability and strategic direction.

In the role of director, Mr Hurlston would oversee all harbour operations and the development of the authority’s multi-million dollar budge, Minister Bryan advised. He would also have the responsibility to ensure the Authority was properly resourced to operate safely and efficiently.

His experience and background made him well suited for the position, Minister Bryan said.

Cline Glidden, Chairman of the Port Authority’s Board of Directors, said the Authority had not had a permanent director for over three years, which had caused “some level of instability”. When the Board was appointed late last year they did an assessment and undertook a recruitment process but wanted to take a break before appointing a new director in order to assess the deficiencies because that would play an important role in making the decision in terms of the selection. Staffing had been found to be deficient and for over three years they had been operating without an HR manager, so that will be a priority for Mr Hurlston.

Another concern that had been raised was one of safety and that would be a priority for the new Port Authority director.

In addition, the board had initiated three sub committees: the Audit and Risk sub committee specifically requested by the Attorney General chaired by Jackie Scott; the Importers sub committee designed to deal with the greatest concerns by Cayman’s largest importers, chaired by Irma Arch; and the Enhancement sub committee chaired by the representative from the Chamber of Commerce, Richard Parchment.

Mr Hurlston said in the short time he had been back he had been reaching out to staff which he felt was important and so far the transition had been quite smooth.

Mr Glidden conceded that there was “discontentment” with Port Authority staff because there were staffing deficiencies at the deputy director level, a “significant concern” for the Board, so they were particularly pleased to hear that Mr Hurlston was intent on creating a strong succession process to put deputies in place to ensure continuity after his three year placement comes to an end.

And while a berthing facility for cruise ships is no longer being considered at the port, it was still important that they ensured that the country was equipped with best in class facilities. One example was improving on the customer experience for cruise, such as ensuring that there was shade, as well as make enhancement to the facilities with regard to cargo, such as reducing wait times and improving delivery times. They intended to improve on those facilities in Grand Cayman and also Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Mr Glidden added: “I think that one of the points that may have been missed is that the port has been limited for a number of years as to its improvements because there has always been a discussion or a plan for berthing facilities as a part of the bigger picture. With the government coming in and clearly stating its position, it now allows the port to plan instead of waiting.”

This had affected many areas, for example port tenants were only allowed a yearly lease because there was always the chance a decision would be made on the development of a berthing facility, however now the port could make long term plans, such as implementing shading. The Chamber has said it would join the Port Authority to possibly pay for shading via advertising, he said.

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