Wednesday 19 February, 2020

National Heroes Day celebrations had lots of surprises

Image Source: Government Information Service

Image Source: Government Information Service

Attendees at the 17th annual National Heroes Day celebrations today in George Town, Grand Cayman enjoyed a special surprise as five new memorial busts were unveiled at the celebration. 

The focus of this year’s event was to honour those who pioneered the development of the Cayman Islands’ first written Constitution. The ceremony also celebrated the first four women who bravely stood in the 1959 general election and reflected on the journey to the modern-day Cayman Islands.

The busts of five national heroes were unveiled by the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA and included: the late Dr. Hon. Roy Edison McTaggart, Hon. Desmond Vere Watler, Hon. Sybil Joyce Hylton and Hon. Thomas William Farrington, and the only living recipient, Hon. Sybil McLaughlin. The busts of the remaining national heroes will be unveiled at a future date. 

A vibrant parade and awards ceremony, attended by His Excellency the Governor, Mr Martyn Roper and the Premier Alden McLaughlin, included contingents from various uniformed services and community organisations. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service/Band, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, the Prison Service, Cadet Corps, Girls’ Brigade, Scouts and Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinders marched through the streets to Heroes Square where the event was held.

Hundreds of residents and visitors joined in the celebration. 

“Today’s unveiling is very special to me and I am honoured to share in it with everyone here. These busts of our national heroes memorialise great labours of love, courage, achievement and heritage – all things great of Caymanians and Caymanian culture” said Hon. Alden McLaughlin. 

Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP – Minister of Culture added: “While we are here today to pay tribute to the heroes of the past I also want to pay homage to the countless heroes amongst us who continue to contribute to the development of this country.”

“I hope this special unveiling serves to inspire new brave, heroes to follow in these footsteps. Such service and courage is a powerful demonstration of the best of our Caymankind spirit.”

Announced by Cabinet Secretary Mr Samuel Rose, wreaths were also laid in tribute to all of the Cayman Islands’ national heroes and nation builders, followed by a moment of silence. 

Brother Robert Ebanks said the prayer, high-schooler, young Miss Jamie Ebanks sang a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem, while Mr Arek Nicholson performed the national song Beloved Isle Cayman by to everyone’s delight. 

The Edna Moyle Primary School Quadrille Dancers also provided colourful traditional entertainment at the event.

After the ceremony, attendees and guests sampled fare from local cooks at food stalls in the George Town Public Library car park, while being entertained by live local music. 

Awardees also had the chance to have their photos taken along with the Hon. Premier and the Hon. Mr Seymour in Constitutional Hall (formerly the George Town Town Hall).

The George Town Library also showcased several exhibits. These included those from: the National Museum (highlighting the first written constitution), the Bodden Town Heritage Committee (Constitution historical artefacts and women in Caymanian history) and the Business and Professional Women’s Club and Gender Equality Cayman (showcasing their organisations). 

National Heroes Day is organised by the Protocol Office.

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