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Three new staff members were recently added to the ranks at the Ministry of Communications, Works & Infrastructure. They are (seated l-r) Telecommunications Officer Kern Owens, Personal Assistant to the Honourable Minister Leisa Welcome and Manager Recreations, Parks and Cemeteries Unit Craig Nixon. Standing in the back is Minister of Communications, Works & Infrastructure the Hon. V. Arden McLean and Permanent Secretary to the ministry Carson Ebanks.

Published 6th November 2006, 11:26am

Three talented, community-minded Caymanians have recently been added to the staff at the Ministry of Communications, Works and Infrastructure (CWI).

Ms Leisa Welcome has been engaged as Personal Assistant to the Hon. V. Arden McLean; Mr Kernilon (Kern) Owens as Telecommunications Officer with the Office of Telecommunications and Mr Craig Nixon as the Manager for the ministry's new Recreations, Parks and Cemeteries Unit.

As a 14-year veteran of the civil service, Ms Welcome has contributed her expertise to the Pensions Board, Ministry of Tourism, Personnel and its Training Unit prior to joining the Ministry of CWI. Her extensive experience and certification in Personnel Practice from Chichester College, she believes, has prepared her for the many challenges she faces on a daily basis.

Hailing from East End she is an active member of her community, serving as secretary for the East End Action Committee and vice-president for the East End Primary School Parent Teachers Association.

"Working with the minister has been interesting and eye opening for me...it is fulfilling when members of my community call for assistance and I am in a position to assist them," she said.

Her responsibilities include maintaining the minister's diary; drafting responses to parliamentary questions and Cabinet submissions, making travel arrangements for the minister as well as secretarial and administrative duties.

Kern Owens commenced his public service career over six years ago following a 22-year career with Cable & Wireless. Inspired by the late Gordon Jacobus, a retired US physicist, and teacher Michael Trickett, Kern became the first Caymanian to obtain a Class C Amateur Radio Licence in the late 1970s. From there he went on to obtain his undergraduate qualifications in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the UK's Anglia Polytechnic University, and in 1994 his post-graduate degree in Engineering Management from the University of Lancaster, also in the UK.

Striving to remain involved in his church, St George's Anglican, and community, Kern serves as the deputy-chairman for the Electrical Board of Examiners and is a member of the Electrical Law Review Committee. He is also a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the National Society for Professional Engineers.

His responsibilities as the Head of Department at the Telecommunications Office include managing the government's communications network and functioning as technical advisor with regards to telecom issues. "This is a challenging position," he said. "My aim is to enhance the technical operations and further develop the department so that it may be in a position to embrace national challenges."

Craig Nixon, who is scheduled to join the Recreations, Parks and Cemeteries Unit later this month, says he greatly enjoys seeing tangible improvements to his environment coming to fruition.

"There is something stimulating about identifying problems and resolving them through the process of design," he said. "I like to do what I can to help improve our physical environment."

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Miami, experience with a local architecture firm and more recently his own property consulting firm, Craig brings knowledge and experience to the table. His job will entail managing all public parks, cemeteries and lands designated for public purposes. Some aspects of town planning will also be involved.

Craig is a past President of the Leos Club of Grand Cayman and a member of the National Trust and Liquor Licensing Board.

"The addition of these three capable Caymanians will strengthen the existing structure of the Ministry of Communications, Works and Infrastructure," the Hon. Minister McLean said. "Further recruitment will take place to ensure that the provision of services that the ministry and its departments, units, sections and statutory authorities are providing is raised to a higher standard."