Cayman’s first Leader of Government Business Thomas C. Jefferson was memorialized and laid to rest Wednesday.
Services took place to overflowing capacity at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church followed by interment at the West Bay Cemetery to the solemn booming of a gun salute and the haunting cadence of the sparkling bugle’s last reveille.
Rich words of praise were showered on a man whose remarkable achievements in office enabled his transition from top positions in the civil service to elected public life, with a quiet dignity and restrained grace that characterised all his actions on behalf of the people.
Members of government spanning the breadth and width of the civil service attended the funeral to pay their respects.
A tribute from the Cayman Islands Government, carried in the programme, gave perspective to the stellar achievements of Mr. Jefferson, describing him as a ‘man with a vision for himself, for the development of the Civil Service, and for his country,’ noting that ‘he had the backbone and leadership qualities to make this vision reality.’
‘Successive governments of the Cayman Islands have been wiser and stronger because of the foundation that he was instrumental in laying. Today, this Government stands upon this foundation,’ the tribute acknowledged.
‘We are grateful for Mr. Jefferson’s legacy to public service and the valuable lessons that he, by example, has taught us all. Many of our senior Civil Servants remember with respect how he balanced compassion with firmness, and how his abilities were grounded in his understanding of human nature.’
‘I pay tribute to his memory not only as former Civil Servant and Minister of Government, but I am doing so as a person whose life he profoundly touched,’ said Chief Secretary George McCarthy. ‘I count him among a small number of principled generous men who have positively impacted my life, and I stand here grateful for the blessing of having known him, and having learned from him. Leading by example was one of his hallmarks. When he pushed us to do better, we knew the spirit in which he intended it, and we received it accordingly. It is equally true that when he said to us, ‘well done,’ we knew we had earned a compliment of the highest order.’