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Cayman Islands Government

LA Clerk Retires

In the LA, the Clerk, Wendy Lauer Ebanks, and LoGB the Hon. McKeeva Bush.

After 28 years' service in the Legislative Assembly, Clerk Wendy Lauer Ebanks retires tomorrow (Friday, 31 July).

Leader of Government Business and Premier Designate, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP, acknowledged in the LA recently that Ms Lauer Ebanks would be missed as would her grasp of House procedure and practice.

Highlighting her competence and efficiency, Mr. Bush noted the retiring Clerk's abilities in organising and conducting the LA's activities as well as in establishing the LA website, www.cila.ky.

"The public is generally unaware that the LA office is a behind- the-scenes hub of activity. Nor do they know that for the last eight years, it has been Ms Lauer Ebanks' hand guiding those activities," Mr. Bush said.

He thanked her on behalf of the Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Official Members and MLAs for a job well done.

(Mr. Bush's written statement on Ms Lauer Ebanks' retirement is attached to this release. Mr. Bush also made extemporaneous remarks at the time.)

Statement by the Leader of Government Business and Premier Designate

The Hon. W McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP

On the retirement of the Clerk of the LA, Ms Wendy Lauer Ebanks

Madam Speaker, after almost three decades of continuous service to the Legislative Assembly, Clerk of the LA Ms Wendy Lauer Ebanks will be retiring on 31 July.

To put it plainly, Ms. Lauer Ebanks will be missed as will her impressive grasp on House procedure and practice, the development of which dates back to 1981, when she joined the legislature as Deputy Clerk. She served in that capacity until her promotion to Clerk in 2001.

However, her civil service career was actually launched in 1979 in the Portfolio of Agriculture and Lands. She went on to work with the Central Planning Authority and then the Education Department under the former Chief Education Officer Mrs. Islay Connolly, before joining the Assembly.

I know Ms Lauer Ebanks credits her service under Mrs. Connolly as a learning experience that served her well throughout her career.

But it was when she joined Ms Sybil McLaughlin, the first female Clerk of the LA in the Commonwealth, that Ms Lauer Ebanks began to absorb the future National Hero's professionalism and passion for her work. Regarding her as a mentor, Ms Lauer Ebanks still feels the deepest appreciation for Ms Sybil, who she says was her inspiration, instilling in her a high regard for all aspects of parliamentary procedures.

And so it continued; aided by other dedicated staff, Ms Lauer Ebanks has kept the LA office ticking efficiently and precisely. If a job needed doing, she ensured it was done. If the House sat late, with or without notice, she has been there to make certain that matters progress smoothly.

Throughout the years, she has approached all aspects of her LA responsibilities with the same gusto and enthusiasm. The public is generally unaware that the LA office is a behind the scenes hub of activity. Nor do they know that for the last eight years, it has been Ms Lauer Ebanks' hand guiding those activities.

She has organised the sittings, meetings and sessions of the Assembly with well-oiled proficiency. She has approached associated areas with similar competency, ranging from the establishment and management of the LA website, to the maintenance and production of the Hansards.

Her attention to detail and solid organisational skills have indeed characterised Ms Lauer Ebanks's role as Clerk. They have also stood her in good stead in her work on behalf of the MLAs with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's numerous activities. And the same applies to her involvement with our Youth Parliament, which I am happy and proud to say began in 2001 under my watch.

Our Standing Orders are our rule book and the LA Clerk must demonstrate a keen ability to understand and grasp its complexities. Ms Lauer Ebanks has consistently demonstrated this mastery, whether working in her own capacity or as directed by the Speaker.

But there is more. To remain meaningful, Standing Orders have to be dynamic in nature, changing to suit developing parliamentary needs. Again, Ms Lauer Ebanks has proven a valuable team-player. She has always been able to grasp the intent of MLAs in that regard.

And then she had to contend with the LA office's space limitations. Over the years it became increasingly congested, hardly able to accommodate the wealth of materials generated in Parliament. But as Clerk, Ms Lauer Ebanks' leadership ensured peak efficiency, despite the lack of space.

Again, some of us present will recall 2003, when staff had to contend with evacuating the building as a result of serious maintenance and health issues. Once more, Ms Lauer Ebanks led her team, first to Kirk House where a working Parliament was set up, and thence to Cayman Corporate Centre, while the LA repairs continued. But no sooner had the staff returned to a refurbished LA building than Hurricane Ivan struck, causing water damage and attendant mould problems.

Throughout it all, Ms Lauer Ebanks and her staff continued to work with customary effectiveness, adjusting to major changes as our legislature grew. Thus, when the Governor ceased to be the LA President and the Speaker became Head of Parliament, Ms Lauer Ebanks was once more an integral part of developments.

And I know she views the LA website with justifiable pride. Ms Lauer Ebanks consolidated material for inclusion in the website, which was launched in 2007. It is now the primary source for obtaining information on the LA and its work.

Then in addition to her myriad LA duties, Ms Lauer Ebanks has worn one more critically important 'hat.' She is the dedicated and loving mother of Anne-Margaret, a bright high school graduate and a recipient of one of this year's United World College scholarships in Swaziland.

Thus on behalf of my fellow MLAs, my Cabinet colleagues, and you, Madam Speaker, I thank LA Clerk Ms Wendy Lauer Ebanks and say kudos for a job well done.

I wish her the best of everything in the coming years and pray to God to continue showering her with His blessings. One thing I know for sure: Whatever tasks she may undertake in the future, she will bring to them her customary dedication, efficiency and style, all of which will continue to stand her in good stead.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Bina Mani