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Robert Whittaker Retires

Assistant Director of the Department of Labour & Pensions (DLP) Robert Whittaker is set to retire on 31 December 2014, after 24 years in the Cayman Islands Civil Service.

Mr. Whittaker, the longest serving employee at the DLP, has played a major role in significant change at the department over the years. This has notably included the revamping of the Labour Tribunals in 2002, which divided the original body into six separate boards and saw the introduction of formal training for all new members.

He also assisted in the establishment of the Conciliation and Mediation Unit in 2002, which separated the Complaints Section from the Enforcement Unit.

In 2004, after Hurricane Ivan destroyed the then Department of Employment, he worked from a desk at the old Government Administration building, using back-up disks. This allowed the department to continue operations until it was able to set up a new office in Royal Plaza.

Praising his contributions, Director of Labour and Pensions, and Acting Superintendent of Pensions, Mr. Mario Ebanks comments; “I can’t say enough about Mr. Whittaker’s work ethic and leadership. His commitment, dedication and sincere interest in helping people are commendable. He will be missed.”

Acting Chief Officer in the Ministry for Employment, Mr. Christen Suckoo, echoed Mr. Ebanks’ sentiments saying, “On behalf of the Ministry I would like to thank Mr. Whittaker for his exceptional commitment to the Department of Labour and Pensions and his outstanding service to the Civil Service and Cayman Islands. I wish him the very best in his future endeavours and hope he enjoys his retirement which he rightly deserves”.

Since 2000 Mr. Whittaker has served as Assistant Director of DLP while simultaneously holding the title of Senior Labour Officer. From 1998-2000 he worked as Senior Labour Inspector, and prior to that was Labour Inspector from 1991 to 1998. In 1998 he also spent time seconded to the Turks and Caicos Labour Office.

For much of his tenure at DLP he also served as an ex officio member of the Immigration Board.

Another memorable moment in his career Mr. Whittaker remarks was winning the Civil Servant of the Year Award in 1997.

Within the wider community, Rotary Foundation International presented him with the Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2011 for his service to the community.

Mr. Whittaker graduated from Triple C School with honors. During his last year at high school a work experience programme introduced him to the field of law under the tutelage of Arthur Hunter O.B.E., of the firm Hunter & Hunter.

He later spent hours after school and on weekends assisting the late Annie Huldah Bodden, MLA, O.B.E., who practiced law from her own chambers. Both mentors Mr. Whittaker says helped to develop his passion for law which shaped his future career at the DLP.

Over the years Mr. Whittaker says he has worked with many extraordinary people. In particular he credits the department’s previous Directors, Captain Dale Banks and Ms. Joan Watler, for their leadership and guidance.

While he will miss his colleagues and the challenges of working in such a dynamic environment, Mr. Whittaker comments that he is looking forward to 2015 and the years ahead. He plans to spend more time cooking and enjoying the company of his family and his godchildren.

For further information contact: Janice MacLean