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Statement from Cayman Islands DG finding on Jennifer Ahearn

From the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Statement from Deputy Governor Franz Manderson following the request by the Public Accounts Committee for disciplinary action to be taken against Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn.

I have carefully reviewed the correspondence from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), recommending that I take disciplinary action against Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn, and all accompanying material related to her testimony.

The brief facts are as follows:-

In response to a question about appointments to the Medical and Dental Council (MDC), Ms. Ahearn said:

“I believe and I don’t have the list in front of me, but I believe that there has been continuity. I don’t think that there has been a change that we’ve changed the board wholesale. But again I am speaking from memory and not from paper in front of me and I don’t know for certain. But certainly a recommendation from the Ministry when appointments are being considered is to make sure that there is some continuity for that very reason, to ensure that there is some consistency from one to the next as those appointments are being made”.

The PAC suggested that Ms. Ahearn’s testimony was grossly inaccurate and borderlined on an attempt to mislead the PAC.

I do recognise that, in light of the actual gazetted changes in the membership of the MDC, the Chief Officer’s recollection could be considered mistaken or erroneous. However, I believe that it is plain to see that the language Ms. Ahearn used in her response to PAC clearly indicates she was speaking from her recollection, and at the same time she acknowledged that she could well be mistaken.

In fact, the Chief Officer’s statement contains no less than seven caveats by which she sought to emphasise that, while offering a response (presumably with a view to assist the PAC), she was speaking from her recollection and simply could not answer the question definitively or conclusively.

It is, therefore, my opinion, based on the evidence, that there was no attempt to mislead the PAC in any way. Given this, and my investigations and advice from the Attorney General’s Office, it is my finding that there is no basis for disciplinary action against the Chief Officer. As such I am duty-bound to dismiss the complaint.

I would like to emphasise that I hold only the utmost respect for the work of the Public Accounts Committee and expect all civil servants to demonstrate the same in their dealings with PAC.

To help facilitate this I will instruct that all civil servants must inform the Committee if they have an imperfect recollection of matters when appearing as witnesses. They should request an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the matter or to provide an answer in writing.


IMAGE: Deputy Governor Franz Manderson FILE


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