As a critical part of its plan to become a world-class uniformed service, the Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs announces the appointment of an interim Chief Fire Officer for the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS).
Mr. Paul Walker, a senior manager with 30 years of fire and rescue experience, has been appointed to serve a one year interim appointment with the department.
He is currently finishing a five-year tour as the Chief Fire Officer for the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom, and will begin employment with the CIFS by the middle of Q4.
Ministry leaders explained that during the interim period, a recruitment exercise will be carried out to permanently fill the substantive role.
The Chief Officer for the Ministry, Dr. Dax Basdeo, explained: “A one-year interim appointment is necessary to allow the three recently promoted Deputy Chief Fire Officers adequate time to pursue further professional development and qualifications that will enable them to meet the requirements of the role of Chief Fire Officer. Without an interim chief, it is difficult for the deputies to manage their current job responsibilities, cover the responsibilities of a Chief Fire Officer, and pursue their own professional development.”
Within the last year the Ministry has placed a significant emphasis on succession planning, with the introduction of coaching for senior management positions to ensure that interested officers are better prepared for advancement to positions of leadership.
It has also invested considerable effort in the comprehensive revision of the organisational chart and job descriptions for personnel within the Fire Service, which now reflect the United Kingdom National Occupational Standards (UKNOS) for all fire officers so that each post has a clear indication of the requirements. This enhanced clarity also supports officers in their pursuit of promotions within the Fire Service.
Acting Chief Fire Officer, Brevon Elliot, said the department is committed to using these standards to build on its capability as a critical emergency response agency.
“The mission of the CIFS is to ensure the safety of the people of the Cayman Islands and its infrastructure,” he explained. “We are dedicated to developing and promoting the highest quality of fire officers, and we will continue to invest in on-going professional development opportunities that will take our first responder capabilities to the next level.”
This is directly aligned with the Ministry’s on-going mission to foster an internal culture of leadership development within the service.
In-keeping with this, Acting Chief Elliott will accompany members of his senior team to Fire Rescue International (FRI) in Atlanta, Georgia, a conference and expo hosted annually by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), which is attended by thousands of the most prominent fire and emergency service leaders from across North America and around the globe, for high-calibre learning, collaboration and networking.