The recovery and building of the Cayman Islands after Hurricane Ivan was the central theme of the 14th Annual Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast held at the Westin Casuarina Resort last Friday morning.
Among those attending the event were Governor Bruce Dinwiddy and his wife Emma, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Cabinet and other members of the Legislative Assembly, Speaker of the House Linford Pierson and leaders of the local clergy.
Guest speaker Ormond Williams inspired those in attendance with his heartfelt and reverent address.
‘We are not gathered here for a social event to discuss business or politics,’ said Mr. Williams. ‘We are here as people of God.’
Mr. Williams said people should not cling to the events of the past.
‘Life is like a boxing match,’ he said. ‘It’s a series of rounds. We were knocked down in round nine of the year 2004. Whether it was a left jab or a right hook, we all found ourselves on the canvas of life on September 12.’
Mr. Williams said we might have been knocked down, but we were not knocked out.
‘These temporary troubles pale in the eternal glory God has in store for us,’ he said. ‘Though we pass through tribulations, all will be well.’
Mr. Williams challenged those in attendance to rethink their views on recovery.
‘For many, they are still recovering and there’s no end in sight,’ he said. ‘Remaining in recovery mode is like a deer in the headlights. Recovery does not help us focus on where God wants us to go.’
Cayman needs to move from recovery to building, Mr. Williams said. ‘Building compels a vision… We must talk about building the Cayman Islands. We cannot be caught looking backward. We must look ahead.’
Mr. Williams called for a renewal of the values of old that defined the Caymanian people.
‘We must not just be known as the fifth largest financial centre in the world. We must first be known for our righteousness.’
Mr. Williams said building Cayman was not just about construction.
‘Far more important than building our houses, businesses and infrastructure, is how we build our relationship with God and each other,’ he said.
The event’s programme had many readings and prayers from clergy members and distinguished guests such as the Governor, the Chief Justice, Chief Secretary George McCarthy, and Attorney General Sam Bulgin.
Mr. Bulgin called for grateful giving in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
‘One of the greatest joys in life comes from giving to those in need,’ he said. ‘And we always have something to give, be it our time, our finances, or our effort. Often, the very thing we take for granted may be a tremendous blessing to someone else,’ he said.
The morning also included a number of musical items, including powerful performances of gospel songs by Grenda Solomon and Victor Griffiths.
Minister of Planning Julianna O’Connor-Connolly and Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts both thanked Mr. Williams for his address.
Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly called for his address to be published in the newspapers. ‘It was far too important to be confined to just these walls,’ she said.
Mr. Tibbetts said he was sure that everyone in attendance was glad that they came to the Prayer Breakfast.
Speaker of the House and Chairman of the Prayer Breakfast Committee Linford Pierson said he found the event inspiring.
‘I think that following the devastation of Hurricane Ivan, it was important that Parliamentary and other leaders come together to give thanks to God,’ he said. ‘Our recovery requires spiritual building as well.’