Plaque unveiling reveals decades-old family link

| 19/04/2018
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Barbara Wolfe, Dwayne Seymour, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Capt. Eugene Ebanks and Chris Randall after unveiling the plaque

(CNS Local Life): The unveiling of a plaque last week by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands to mark the donation of land on Cayman Brac, also led to the discovery of a connection between the family who owned the property and Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, minister and MLA for Cayman Brac East.

The plaque marks the donation of 12 acres of land on South Side to the Trust by the daughters of the late Dr Roy Herrman and his wife, Estelle. The donation was facilitated by the International Reptile Conservation Foundation, which works with the Trust to support the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and has assisted with several donations of land by owners resident in the US, stated a Trust press release.

Just before the unveiling ceremony held Friday, 13 April, O’Connor-Connolly found she had an unexpected connection to the family. The MLA had been delivered by Dr Herrman, who had saved the life of both her and her mother, Shirley Mae O’Connor, during a complicated birth, a government press release said.

The Herrmans spent a lot of time on the Brac during the 1950s and 1960s and were fortunately on-island when O’Connor experienced difficulties during labour. She could not be evacuated for help and, although he wasn’t a midwife, Dr Herrman was able to safely deliver the baby.

CNS Local Life

Barbara Wolfe (left) and Juliana O’Connor-Connolly

The plaque unveiling was attended by the Herrmans’ daughter Barbara Wolfe, who flew to the Brac from the US for the occasion. “I am so happy to meet Ms Wolfe and to be able to express my gratitude, not just for saving me when I was a baby, but for so generously donating this land to the people of Cayman Brac,” said O’Connor-Connolly.

Wolfe, who represented her three sisters, told the people attending the ceremony that her family was donating the land “for the turtles”. The Herrman family previously gifted the unique geological feature in the Brac’s West End known as “The Splits”.

During the ceremony, said the government press release, an “emotional” O’Connor-Connolly added, “I have waited 57 years to say thank you for saving my life. It is the result of this gentleman’s kindness and skill that you see a teacher, lawyer, premier, Speaker of the House and MLA stand before you today.”

The donated parcel which stretches from Bluff to sea, includes the first beachfront land to be owned by the Trust on the Brac where the District Committee members are very involved in protecting turtle nesting sites, said the Trust. The rest of the property is mostly seasonal wetland with a strip of dry forest under the foot of the Bluff. Preliminary exploration by the District Committee has discovered some rare flora, including one endangered species.

The plaque was officially unveiled by O’Connor-Connolly; Wolfe; Minister of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing Dwayne Seymour, Ministerial Councillor Capt. Eugene Ebanks and Chris Randall, chairman of the District Committee.


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Category: Community, Donations, Environment

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