The Cayman Islands Government has appointed its first-ever Ombudsman, under the provisions of the Ombudsman Law, 2017.
The successful candidate, Sandy Hermiston, is currently General Counsel for the Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner for Alberta, Canada. She brings more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer to this new position, 27 years of which have been spent in public service.
Ms. Hermiston is expected to take up her new post on Wednesday, 13 September, according to the Portfolio of the Civil Service.
In heading up the Ombudsman Office, the Canadian national will serve as Complaints Commissioner and Information Commissioner while overseeing data protection and whistleblower legislation.
Ms. Hermiston’s duties will involve monitoring the public sector by investigating and arbitrating complaints made by the public against public bodies. The Ombudsman’s remit, under the provisions of the law, will cover all government ministries, portfolios, departments and sections, statutory authorities and government companies. She will also act as the independent oversight body for the Police by receiving and investigating complaints made by the public, pursuant to the Police (Complaints by the Public) Law, 2017.
“I look forward to working on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands to help make a positive difference in their lives”, said Ms. Hermiston. “I embrace the opportunity to lead this office through a period of change and expansion of its remit. These are exciting times”.
Her appointment was made following a selection panel last month. Panelists included Her Excellency Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Sophia Harris of Solomon Harris and Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for England.
“We are very pleased to have attracted a public servant with Ms. Hermiston’s proven leadership skills. She has a wide variety of experience of government oversight, including fairness, whistleblowing, freedom of information and complaints against professionals,” said Governor Helen Kilpatrick.
In total 31 applications were received for the senior management position. Five persons, including a Caymanian, were shortlisted for interview.
Ms. Hermiston’s extensive legal career includes high profile work as the general counsel for the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation and the corporate counsel of the Workers’ Compensation Board of the Northwest Territories.