On May 31, Derek Haines walked the three floors of Dart’s offices saying goodbye to employees of the organisation with which he was employed for 12 years, the longest stint in his working career.
“I worked for the police for 40 years in total, but this was the longest I was in any one place,” said the 69-year-old Haines. His police career, which started in Leicester in England, included stops in Hong Kong and Turks & Caicos before ending with 11 years as a detective chief superintendent with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
With Dart, Haines served as the senior manager security and community relations, a role that evolved over his time with the company.
“Coming to Dart was an exciting change for me,” he said. “Coming here was a new life with new challenges.”
Some of those challenges came in the form of a wide-ranging initial role that included Camana Bay operations.
“There weren’t that many of us at Dart then, so we all had to do several jobs. I did all the contracts for utilities. I learned about sewer systems. I found out the lift station was not an elevator,” said Haines, displaying his well-known sense of humour followed by laughter at his own jokes.
Although humour has always been a part of who Haines is — he routinely made Rotary Club of Grand Cayman members laugh when he served as its sergeant-at-arms — there has always also been a serious side, whether it was in chasing down criminals as a police officer, dealing with the post-Hurricane Ivan recovery or running marathons to help raise money for charities. His efforts have earned him several awards and accolades, including the Queen’s Police Medal in 2005 for meritorious and distinguished service. He also received an MBE as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015 for his community service after raising more than $1 million for Cayman HospiceCare by running six marathons in 12 months.
In 2005, Haines also received a special Rotary International Centennial Service award for his efforts in running the operational and tactical command of the Royal Cayman Islands Police after Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
“That was the finest command experience I had while I was with the police,” he said. “I’m not saying it was pretty, but it was a very useful and illuminating experience.”
STAYING IN CAYMAN
Although Haines has retired from Dart, he’s not retiring from the Cayman Islands or from working.
“This is my home now. I like the lifestyle here and I like living here. I’m the president of the Rugby Union, I’m a member of Rotary and the Bridge Club. My friendship base is here,” he said.
As would be expected from Grand Cayman’s “Marathon Man,” Haines isn’t one to pass his time lazing in a hammock, so he’s formed his own company, Haines Disaster Consultancy.
For all of his time at Dart — and even before that with the police — disaster management was part of Haines’ job. He’s attended the annual National Hurricane Conference in the United States each of the past 20 years and, together with his on-the-job experiences with disaster planning and management, has become an expert in the field. Because of that and his broader experience in law enforcement, Haines has been asked to rejoin the National Hurricane Conference’s Latin America & Caribbean committee, which he’s agreed to do.
With his consultancy firm, Haines will offer his expertise to businesses here in the Cayman Islands in an effort to help them analyse, reduce and mitigate disasters.
“I will be training people to plan and cope with disasters, from both a pre- and post-event perspective,” he said, adding that he won’t be addressing only hurricanes.
“We tend to see hurricanes as the big player on the field — and they are — but there are a number of other threats,” he said. “My advice to anybody is to have a plan for all possibilities. I think we have to be on our toes at all times.”
Another thing Haines isn’t retiring from is his charity work. He and his daughter Lizzy completed the 26.2-mile Mount Mee bush marathon in Australia this past April to raise funds for the Cayman Food Bank. He’ll also run the Cayman Islands Marathon in December to raise funds for that charity. His charity fundraising event planned for May 2019, however, makes marathon distances look short.
“I’m going to walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea along the GR 10 in France,” he said, adding that he expects the 538-mile walk to take about 50 days.
In addition to staying busy with his consultancy business, Haines will also remain active with Cayman Rubgy and the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, so his former Dart colleagues may still see him out and about. But he admits he’ll miss aspects of coming to work at Dart.
“Obviously, I’ll miss the people,” he said. “I enjoyed the interaction with the different departments and the chitter-chatter and banter with people. And since I worked so closely with the security and maintenance teams, I’ll certainly miss them.”