Some individuals recognize early on what their calling in life is and for Loxley E. M. Banks, broadcasting was the call.
For the past 24 years as head of Radio Cayman, he has demonstrated the commitment to provide up-to-the-minute news and quality entertainment to all listeners.
‘As a voice of the people and informative news source, Radio Cayman is truly a community radio station that has proven its worth over the years,’ states the Certificate and Badge of Honour recipient. ‘It has been the major communication link for the Islands during two of the worst catastrophes these Islands have faced in the past 50 years-Gilbert in 1987 and more recently, devastating Hurricane Ivan. Radio Cayman has proven its worth in helping the community get vital information in the face of threats to our livelihood and the recovery afterwards as well as maintaining the true Caymanian spirit of resilience, faith, perseverance, love and respect for our fellow man and the heritage of our forefathers.’
During Hurricane Gilbert, Mr. Banks demonstrated his selfless commitment to ensuring that the people of Cayman remained informed. As winds raged at the height of the storm, the roof of Broadcasting House blew off and severed the antenna cables. Mr. Banks swiftly assessed the situation and, along with two other staff members, braved the howling winds and retrieved the cables. This allowed them to be reconnected and communication restored throughout the islands.
More recently, as Hurricane Ivan overwhelmed the Cayman Islands, he worked diligently to ensure that communication capabilities remained as long as possible.
‘As the storm began tracking more directly toward Grand Cayman, I realised that we were in for a battle,’ said Mr. Banks. ‘We remained operational up until around 7 or 8 am on Sunday when we lost power and the antennae tower went over in the wind. As soon as possible after the hurricane passed, we set up a mini studio at the Emergency Operations Centre at the Fire Station in George Town. We were in a very small booth in a very hot room that felt more like a sauna than a studio. I commend my staff for remaining positive and committed to getting information out to the public. Also the assistance we received from the EOC personnel was outstanding.’
A West Bayer through and through, Mr. Banks attended Miss Izzy’s all age school and then the government school at West Bay Town Hall. After he passed his first year exams, his parents, Mr. Jim and Irene (nee Henning) Banks sent him to high school in Miami, Florida where he graduated in 1956.
A four-year stint in the United States Air Force followed, during which he served with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and participated in one of the massive nuclear projects of the Cold War-Operation Hardtack.
After completing his military service, Mr. Banks worked for Dade County Public Schools (Florida) in the radio and television section until he returned to Cayman in 1975.
Married to Julene Banks, nee DaCosta, he still resides in West Bay where he is active in church and community events.
‘I am pleased to receive this honour,’ says Mr. Banks. ‘It makes me proud to be in the company of past recipients such as Miss Izzy, Beulah Smith and Andrew Powery, people who worked hard throughout their lives in their communities, maintaining the true Caymanian spirit.’