Biography of Dr. The Hon. Linford A. Pierson, OBE, JP, PhD, LL.M, MAPPC, FCCA
Life's Early Passages
Dr. the Hon. Linford A. Pierson was born in East End, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands on 24 February 1941. His life's early passages were positively influenced by the Christian principles taught to him during his early childhood by his parents, Varian and Cecily Pierson (of blessed memory). In commenting on his Christian upbringing, he stated: "I have always believed that one's Christian interaction with others should not be predicated on theological certitude, or religious dogma, but rather through a loving, flexible, and Christian relationship with others as inculcated in me by my Christian Seventh-day Adventist parents. We should always endeavour to discover our purpose in life by constantly seeking God's guidance."
From his early childhood Dr. Pierson has believed in the following maxim attributed to Hunter S. Thompson: "Anything worth doing, is worth doing well". This personal mantra led him in 1978 to become the first (born) Caymanian to qualify as a professional accountant. His favourite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." After returning from high school in 1959, followed by a one year stint (in 1960) as a seafarer with National Bulk Carriers, Dr. Pierson moved to George Town, Grand Cayman, in 1961 where he has since resided. The early passages of his life would, however, be incomplete without further mention of the year he served as a seafarer with National Bulk Carriers, aboard the Sinclair Petrolore. He has provided a fairly detailed account of the explosions and sinking of the Sinclair Petrolore on 6 December 1960 (see pages 28-30 of the book titled: The Southwell Years: Recollections of Caymanian Seamen and Those Who Served at Home--ISBN: 976-95034-3-6). This book was commissioned by the Cayman National Foundation, and compiled by Mrs. Consuelo Ebanks and edited by Ms. Carol Winker (both of blessed memory), to commemorate the Cayman Islands Quincentennial Celebrations in 2003, of the discovery of these beautiful Islands in 1503 by Christopher Columbus. According to Dr. Pierson, "The experience of that fateful day has remained a permanent fixture in my memory, especially as I reflect on the two members of the crew (a Caymanian and a Yugoslavian) who lost their lives in the explosions and sinking of the Saint Clair Petrolore".
Civil Service and Private Sector Careers
Dr. Pierson was employed for 16 years in the Cayman Islands Civil Service (1963-1979), where he filled a number of senior positions, including Principal Secretary (now Chief Officer) for Health, Education, and Social Services, and Deputy Financial Secretary (acting as Financial Secretary on several occasions). During the 1980s he was employed in various private sector positions, including local partner of KPMG/Thorne Riddell (the then Canadian Chartered Accounting Firm), and he held Directorships in a number of private companies.
Public Service Career including Minister and Speaker of Parliament
In the early 1980s Dr. Pierson served in the position of Director of Finance for Cayman Airways for two plus years, and as the Chairman of the Cayman Planning Authority for one year. He represented the District of George Town for 16 and a half years (1984-1988; 1988-1992; 1996-2000; 2000-2005) as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (now Parliament) of the Cayman Islands. He served as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for four years (1984-1988). He filled the position of Cabinet Minister for seven years. In his first term as a Minister (1988-1992), he was responsible for a number of utilities, including: The Water Authority and Cayman Water Company; Electricity Regulatory Authority; Petroleum and Fuel Department; Information and Communication Technology Authority, of which he was also the founding Minister. His responsibility included the Public Health Department; the Public Works Department (now National Roads Authority), among his ministerial responsibilities. As a Minister, Dr. Pierson also completed a number of other important projects, including the Cayman Islands Building Code, upgrade of the telecommunications system to accommodate the 911 system within the Cayman Islands, installation of the Bulk Storage Fuel Terminal in Cayman Brac, and establishment of the first Public Water Supply System in Cayman Brac.
In his second term as a Cabinet Minister (2000-2003), among the number of projects which he spearheaded, Dr. Pierson successfully negotiated the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, which had hitherto been monopolized by the single telecommunications company (Cable & Wireless). In 2003 Dr. Pierson was elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and served in that position until his retirement from active politics in March 2005. In addition to his combined public service, which spanned approximately 41 years (16 years in the Civil Service, 16 and a half years as a political representative, four years and 5 months as the Chair of OfReg, two years as Director of Finance of Cayman Airways, and one year as the Chairman of the Cayman Planning Authority, and one year as a member of the Board of Governors the University College of the Cayman Islands), he assisted in a number of Community Services, including as a Rotarian for 47 years (1968-2015), during which period he served as President of Rotary Club Central (1989) and Assistant Governor in District 7020 of Rotary International (2004-2005).
Chair of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office
The Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office ("OfReg") was created by the enactment of the Utility Regulation and Competition Law, 2016, which became effective on 16 January 2017. It was the first multi-sectored regulatory authority in the Cayman Islands, and is the independent regulator for the Information and Communications Technology, Electricity, Fuel and Water Sectors. OfReg is an amalgamation of the Information and Communication Authority, the Electricity Regulatory Authority, the Petroleum Inspectorate and Fuel Market, and the Water Sector. Dr. Pierson served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of OfReg for four and five months (Appointed 16 January 2017 and resigned on 31 May 2021). He led the Board of OfReg in their commitment to attain regulatory excellence, and to ensure safe, reliable, economic public utilities to businesses and the people of the Cayman Islands. In Dr. Pierson's Foreword to OfReg's first Annual Report for 2017, he stated that "initial success would not have been achieved without the dedication, attention to duty, and in many ways the tenacity of the Executive team ably led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. J. Paul Morgan (of blessed memory)."
Deputy Chair of UCCI Board of Governors
In 2014 Dr. Pierson was appointed by the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). He was later appointed as the Deputy Chair of the Board. He also served as the Chair of a subcommittee of the Board to review the financial viability of UCCI, the results of which provided a number of recommendations to improve the financial position of UCCI.
Representation of OfReg at TelecomsWorld in Dubai, UAE
In September 2017 Dr. Pierson represented OfReg at the TelecomsWorld Middle East 2017 Conference in Dubai, UAE, where he participated in several round-table discussions, including "Digital tipping point: the balance between digital and human customer engagement", and "Dealing with security threats in the connected world".
Member of NCU Board of Governors
In December 2019 Dr. Pierson was elected by the Executive Committee of the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to represent the Conference on the Board of Governors of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Mandeville, Jamaica. Members are elected at the quinquennial sessions in accordance with the NCU Operating Policy and Bylaws. Returning to NCU (his Alma Mater) on 14 January 2020 as a member of the Board of Governors was indeed an amazing learning experience for Dr. Pierson. NCU had expanded beyond his wildest imagination during his 60-year absence; having attended the then West Indies Training College (WITC) as a teenager from 1956-1959, (at 15-18 years of age). The Christian principles instilled in Dr. Pierson during this impressionable period of his life, together with his Christian upbringing, has served him well throughout his life.
A highlight of Dr. Pierson's attendance at WITC was the training he received as a member of the college's Cadet Corps. As a member of the Cadet Corps, it was mandatory to undertake the St. John's Ambulance First Aid and CPR Training Courses, which he was able to put to good use on 1 September 1957 at the Kendal Train Crash, in which over 250 people were reported to have died and more than 700 injured. This disaster was described at the time as the world's worst train disaster. The Cadet Corps were among the first responders to arrive at that terrible disaster site early in the morning, and as trained first aiders immediately started applying first aid treatment to as many of the injured as possible who had suffered broken bones, severe lacerations, and other serious injuries. On reflection, with both his maternal and paternal grandfathers coming out of Jamaica, Dr. Pierson believes that it is quite possible that he may have unknowingly provided first aid to a relative during that catastrophic disaster.
Dr. Pierson is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), having received his Associate Membership in 1978, and admitted as a Fellow of the Association in 1983. Following his retirement in 2005, Dr. Pierson earned a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Psychology and Counselling (MAPPC) from St. Stephen's College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 2008. The title of his thesis for his Master's degree is: An Evaluation of the Views of Respondents Relative to the Impact of Early Childhood Intervention Programs (ECIP) in Two Selected Communities of the Cayman Islands. In 2010 he was inducted into PSI CHI (The International Honor Society in Psychology). He went on to earn a PhD degree in Educational Psychology in 2012 from Walden University, USA, which he completed with a Program GPA of 4.0. His dissertation for his PhD is titled: Working Memory Training to Improve School Preparedness of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), published by Proquest Dissertation Publishing--UMI Publication Number 350857. A believer in the Motto of his Alma Mater (NCU) "Ubi Semper Discimus" (where learning never ends), Dr. Pierson completed an LL.M degree in International Commercial Law (with distinction) through the University of Salford in the UK in December 2021; the title of his dissertation is "A Critical Assessment of the Relationship between Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law in the Era of Artificial Intelligence".
Continued Professional Education
As an Educational Psychologist, Dr. Pierson maintains an interest in this discipline. In April 2018 he attended the interdisciplinary conference on Technology, Mind & Society, sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA), held in Washington DC, USA. The presentations focused on reporting and assessing current efforts to understand and shape the interactions of human beings and technology, for identifying priorities for future work, and promoting exchange and collaboration among participants.
In January 2019 Dr. Pierson pursued intense training at the 45th Public Utility Research Center (PURC) World Bank International Program on Regulation and Strategy which was held at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA. During the PURC program, Dr. Pierson also obtained certification from the Association of Public Management Group ("APMG") UK. APMG is a global accreditation, certification, and examination body specializing in certification schemes for individuals, organizations and software. Dr. Pierson passed the certification exam, becoming an APMG Certified Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Professional. As an Educational Psychologist, Dr. Pierson has published several articles on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the local press, and in other publications, in which he focused attention on the symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment plans for individuals suffering with ADHD.
Awards and Honorifics
In 2001 Dr. Pierson was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In 2002 Government honoured Dr. Pierson by naming the "Linford Pierson Highway" after him, in recognition of his accomplishments as Minister with responsibility for road works. He has been a Justice of the Peace (JP) since 1977, and a Notary Public since 1983. In 2012 Cabinet bestowed on former Premiers and Speakers of the Legislative Assembly the right to retain the title of Honourable (Hon.) in perpetuity. As a former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly/Parliament, Dr. Pierson has had this honour bestowed upon him. On National Heroes Day in January 2018, Dr. Pierson was honoured by the Cayman Islands Government with the Long Service Award as a Pioneer in Sports. In recognition of his achievement as the first (born) Caymanian to qualify as a professional accountant, he was honoured as the Caymanian Pioneer in Professional Accounting by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) in October 2016.
On 8 August 2021 Dr. Pierson was awarded a Doctor of Public Service Degree (honoris causa) by his Alma Mater, NCU, during its 98th Commencement Graduation Exercises held on 6-8 August 2021. These exercises were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The awarded degree was conferred on Dr. Pierson in recognition of his contributions of over 40 years of public service to the Cayman Islands.
Church and Community Service
Dr. Pierson continues to dedicate time to his church and community, and to follow God's leading in his life. He was appointed an Elder of the SDA George Town Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2016, serving as First Elder in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He also serves as a Member of the GT Church Board, and is an executive member of the SDA Cayman Islands Conference Executive Committee.
Dr. Pierson is married to Sharon, an Attorney-at-Law, and they have five children, eight grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.