Who will be Cayman’s new chief medical officer?

Regarding the replacement of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr John Lee, Governor Martyn Roper noted in his Speech from the Throne last November that he was “delighted to have supported Cayman in recruiting Dr Autilia Newton , formerly of the UK Health Security Agency’s Overseas Territories “adviser, to temporarily assume the role of Marketing Director until a permanent successor can be identified.”

Dr Newton, expert in infectious diseases and health protection (subspecialty of public health) has extensive experience as a consultant in communicable disease control. She also has prison health expertise as well as significant public health experience outside the UK.

Dr Newton worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak as Head of Mission for Public Health England and in Indonesia to provide emergency aid after the 2004 tsunami.

In March 2020, Dr Newton led a consultation team from Public Health England (PHE) to discuss Cayman’s strategies on preventing COVID-19 as well as supporting local efforts to improve laboratory services at the Health Administration Services to allow testing on the island for COVID-19.

She also toured the overseas territories providing support in a similar capacity in 2020.

In August 2021, Dr Newton made a temporary stay in Gibraltar, as Director of Public Health following the departure of Dr Sohail Bhatti from his post.

There have been discussions in local circles as to whether a Caymanian will be appointed to the post of marketing director after Dr Newton’s temporary stint. Names that have been mentioned include Dr Eryka Simmons (who would have served as Acting Medical Officer of Health), Dr Sidney Ebanks, Dr Darley Solomon and Dr Ruthlyn Pomares.