Published 25th March 2019, 9:34am
Levi Allen, Acting Senior Manager, Organisational Development and Operational Support for the Public Works Department (PWD), humbly accepted his award during the 6th Employee of the Year ceremony at the Harquail Theatre last night, Thursday, 21 March.
“I am thankful to the Lord that it was His will,” Mr Allen said. “There are so many worthy candidates also in the running, which is a testament to the excellent team within the Government. The Civil Service has been doing great things for the community for many years. I am appreciative for senior leaders taking the time to celebrate our achievements.”
Acknowledging that his success is the product of teamwork, Mr Allen declared: “The programmes I work on are examples of the Civil Service coming together across departments to ‘Make Lives Better’.”
Chief Officer, Portfolio of the Civil Service, Gloria McField-Nixon; Chief Officer, Ministry of Commerce, Planning & Investment, Alan Jones; Deputy Governor Franz Manderson; 2018 Cayman Islands Government Employee of the Year Levi Allen, Public Works Department; Governor Martyn Roper; and Director of Public Works, Max Jones
Mr Allen was the sole candidate to have been nominated this year under the theme of Talent Development. This category was selected not only as a result of his day-to-day role with the department but also due to his leadership of PWD’s Construction Trades Apprenticeship Progamme, one of the main projects which led to his nomination for the Deputy Governor’s Award.
Praised for his gift in training others to earn a livelihood, Mr Allen is harnessing the talent of the gifted men and women in his department to act as trainers and mentors. And, in so doing, he is helping them to make the lives of those we serve better.
Through this vocational training programme, young Caymanians are receiving technical training and professional qualifications to embark on careers in the public and private sectors. Mr Allen also designed the programme in order to benefit PWD employees by empowering them to serve as the trainers and mentors. Today, the programme provides a critical talent pipeline to the local construction industry.
Levi Allen pictured with PWD Director Max Jones and Deputy Director (Operations) Niasha Brady
In total, the Employee of the Year Ceremony featured 12 exceptional finalists, who gave Deputy Governor Franz Manderson two sleepless nights as he weighed his decision. Addressing the finalists, Mr Manderson said, “Just by making it to this event, it is clear that you are all already winners. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, I encourage you to continue to serve as role models who inspire others.”
The Master of Ceremonies, Courts Administrator Suzanne Bothwell, kept the programme flowing smoothly throughout the evening. Following an instrumental version of the National Anthem by the UCCI Pandemix steelpan band, Tamarra Davis from the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands performed the National Song and President of the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association, John Bothwell, gave a prayer.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr Martyn Roper, officially opened the ceremony and spoke to the anticipation that was evident, saying, “It has been noted that this evening is equivalent to the Oscars for the Civil Service.”
The Governor also praised the Deputy Governor for being a truly inspiring leader, saying “We can all learn so much from his positive, can-do, solution- and customer-focused approach.” And Mr Roper thanked the Civil Service, saying “Every individual has an impact, whether on their teams or externally.”
The Deputy Governor’s Award Programme relies on nominations from various agencies across the Civil Service and the selection of Chief Officer’s Choice recipients each month. Toward the beginning of the awards evening, the Ministry of Human Resources & Immigration received special recognition for the second year in a row as a result of its participation. Since the Programme’s inception, it is the only Ministry/Portfolio to submit a Chief Officer’s Choice awardee every month (first as the Portfolio of Internal External Affairs, then the Ministry of Home Affairs, and now the Ministry of Human Resources & Immigration).
Auxiliary Constable Fabian O’Connor, who is perhaps more widely known as “The Dancing Policeman”, was also in attendance as one of the 33 additional recipients of the Chief Officer’s Choice Award in 2018. As part of the evening’s programme, he received further acknowledgement in a surprise presentation by Chief Officer McField-Nixon, who presented him with a new “Creating Moments of Magic” award.
Explaining the background to this award, the Chief Officer shared that, on 18 March, a couple on a cruise spontaneously decided to get married in the Cayman Islands. After encountering AC O’Connor on the waterfront, he put the principles learned in a recent customer service workshop into practice – the first of which is “We will resolve your query or get you to the person who can as soon as possible in a positive and courteous manner”. From finding a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Officer to personally serving as Best Man, AC O’Connor went above and beyond his call of duty to provide a customer experience the couple will surely never forget.
After these awards had been handed out, the spotlight focused on the 12 finalists, who were each in turn introduced by their Chief Officer, Head of Department or manager. The audience was then treated to short videos in which each nominee described in their own words what they do to make the lives of those we serve better.
The anticipation grew as the audience of finalists, colleagues, family and friends anxiously awaited the final announcement of Employee of the Year by the Chief Officer of the Portfolio of the Civil Service, Ms Gloria McField-Nixon.
Ms McField-Nixon shared that Mr Allen’s nomination form really summed everything up, nominating him for Pursuing Excellence in Talent Development and recognising him as “The Best and Mostest” and “Most determined to do more”
The 12 Employees of the Month for 2018 who automatically became finalists for Employee of the Year are pictured above with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon and AC Fabian O’Connor (at left, holding his Moments of Magic award).
In date order, the finalists were Levi Allen, Shanda Reid, Sacha Rankine, Mitzi Watson-Jervis, Shushan O’Connor, Carol Best-Gould, Sophia Wilson-Leslie, Ryan Rajkumarsingh, Chadd Bush, Wesrol Nyack, Stephon Johnson & Stafford Millwood. If you missed their video features on the Hub, click here to hear from each of them directly in the videos that were shared during last night’s ceremony.
The Deputy Governor’s Award Programme was launched in July 2012 and has named seven Employees of the Year to date. Previous winners are: Nicholas McLean (2012-2013), Venice Tatum (2013-2014), Gidget Powell (2014-2015), Philbert McFarlane(2015-2016), and Tristaca Ebanks & Aubrey Bodden (2016-17, 18 month period). Below, all seven recipients of the Employee of the Year award (including Levi Allen) are pictured with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon.
Photos by Tara Bush (Portfolio of the Civil Service) and Wil Bignal Photography