Coat of Arms pioneers honoured

| 28/01/2019
CNS Local Life
George Town Primary School choir performs at the ceremony (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

(CNS Local Life): At the National Heroes Day celebration held Monday, 28 January, 54 honours were bestowed to the vestrymen and justices of the peace who were instrumental in the creation of the Cayman Islands’ Coat of Arms. The dignitaries attending the event, held in Heroes Square in George Town, included Governor Martyn Roper, Premier Alden McLaughlin, Cabinet ministers, families of the coat of arms pioneers and the general public.

McLaughlin hosted the event along with Minister for Culture Dwayne Seymour and Celebrate Cayman.

Commenting on the pageantry of the day, “My heart was filled with pride as I watched those precious children walking past while waving flags and hearing our National Anthem, God Save the Queen,” McLaughlin said in a government press release. “These are meaningful symbols of who we are as Caymanians, as is our Coat of Arms.

“It was the conferral of our Coat of Arms that began our incredible journey as three small islands in the northwest Caribbean Sea that today have emerged from relative obscurity onto the world’s stage.”

In his welcome remarks, Alfonso Wright, executive chairman of Celebrate Cayman, noted the significance of culturally-focused events for the community. “Celebrate Cayman has been a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and foster national pride,” he said.

“It has been a delight to see such a high level of engagement from the public and it is through the public’s continued interaction with these national celebrations that we will see a deeper connection and appreciation for the Cayman Islands and our culture.”

A colourful parade to commence the day’s celebrations included the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service band, as well as detachments from the RCIPS, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, the Prison Service, Girls Brigade, Scouts, Cadet Corps, and Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinders, the press release said.

Proceedings were officially opened with a conch shell blowing by Eugenio Myles of Cayman Brac, after which the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, McKeeva Bush read the proclamation before a procession of children of all ages walking in pairs, hand-in-hand, waving Cayman Islands flags.

Cayman Brac’s Levonne Ryan said a prayer to bless the celebrations, while the National Anthem was sung by Rudy Myles as the Union Flag, Cayman Islands National Flag and the Celebrate Cayman Flag were hoisted into the air. The George Town Primary School choir also performed a musical special.

Following opening remarks by the premier, family members of 1956-58 vestrymen and justices of the peace who played a role in the creation of the Coat of Arms, received a framed certificate honouring these pioneers.

Captain Owen Farrington and Linberg Eden, the two living vestrymen from that period, received a Celebrate Cayman anniversary coin. The Leader of the Opposition, Ezzard Miller, specially recognised architects of the Coat of Arms.

The National Heroes Commemoration, honouring the Cayman Islands’ nine National Heroes, was delivered by Marzeta Bodden, deputy executive chairman of Celebrate Cayman and this year’s master of ceremonies. More than 60 ‘founding organisations’ were also recognised for their 50-plus years of service to the people of the Cayman Islands.

These recognitions highlighted the growth of various industries and sectors on the three islands and the long-standing role of such organisations “along our journey to modern-day Cayman Islands”, the release said.

Led by Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, wreaths were laid in tribute to all of the country’s National Heroes and nation builders, after which a moment of silence was observed.  

The Cayman Islands Scout Association gave a “touching salute in tribute of the late Joanna Clarke”, who was instrumental to the scout’s programme. A performance of the National Song by Erica Assai alongside the Savannah Primary School choir closed the ceremony.

The awards ceremony was followed by the Coat of Arms travelling exhibit in George Town Library. The main exhibit is open at the Cayman Islands National Museum in George Town until June 2019.

The granting of the Cayman Islands’ first Constitution in 1959 will be the focus of the 2020 National Heroes Day.

See photos of National Heroes Day celebration below, supplied by GIS (click to enlarge)

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Category: Events

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We seem to have a lot of persons referred to as Captain. I am not convinced that some of these persons were ever in charge of an ocean going vessel. Maybe the seaman’s association could confirm this in some way, e.g. persons name and the name(s) & dates of ships they commanded.