(CMR) The Director of Agriculture (DoA), Adrian R. Estwick, is no longer employed with the Cayman Islands Government as he has taken “early retirement with immediate effect,” exclusive sources revealed to Cayman Marl Road. The shocking announcement came after a staff meeting was called with department employees at 3:00 pm Monday afternoon.
Estwick, who has been with the Department for over 34 years, attended the meeting along with ministry staff, including Chief Officer Eric Bush. Bush's announcement that the retirement was “with immediate effect” left many to wonder why it was made in such a manner. CMR understands his attorney, Lloyd Samson, was also present at the meeting.
The staff meeting was announced on DoA's social media page on Friday morning.
Estwick served as DoA director for over 15 years, but in recent times, staff issues have plagued the department, with a number of resignations and complaints having been levied against DoA. CMR understands one employee had been medically boarded due to an ongoing illness only to be asked to return and then subsequently terminated.
There have been other long-serving employees who lodged complaints with the ministry about HR decisions and what they called workplace biases.
Some farmers also reached out to CMR about what they say were ongoing organizational issues during the annual Agriculture Show, including a lack of supplies for their livestock and preferential treatment for some farmers.
According to sources, Estwick has not yet reached retirement age and appears to have admitted to performance issues as the reasons for his department. He left the meeting with a parting cautionary warning to employees, telling them they had better stay focused and perform or else.
Estwick's Deputy Director, Brian Crichlow, is expected to fill the position on an interim basis until the recruitment of a new director is completed.