Canover Watson wins YCLA award

A man of a humble upbringing who believed he could do anything if he put his mind to it won the 2007 Young Caymanian Leadership Award.

Canover Watson

Canover Watson holds the 2007 Young Caymanian Leadership Award he won at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Saturday evening. Photo: Alan Markoff

Canover Watson, the managing director of Admiral Administration, became the seventh recipient of the YCLA during a live televised event at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Saturday night.

In accepting the award, Mr. Watson said life was about choices and he challenged Cayman’s youth to believe in themselves.

‘Choose to be your best in whatever you do and the world has no choice but to see you as the best,’ he said.

Mr. Watson spoke of his unassuming upbringing, growing up in West Bay the son of a mother who was a domestic helper and a father who was a mason.

‘My family was not rich and I was not particularly gifted,’ he said. ‘But what I did have was a belief in myself that I could do anything I wanted to do if I put my mind to it…’

Mr. Watson told today’s youth that their only limitations came from themselves.

‘If you strive to be average, then you will only be average,’ he said.

As a recipient of the YCLA, Mr. Watson pledged to do everything possible to help create opportunities for Cayman’s youth and to make a difference in young people’s lives.

‘I believe in you,’ he said.

Mr. Watson also recognised the other four finalists – Michael Joseph, Daniel Reid, Joannah Small and Nichelle Welcome – and said they all truly exemplified what it meant to be a young Caymanian leader.

The keynote speaker of the event was Steve Doocy, co-anchor of the U.S. television newscast Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel.

Mr. Doocy spoke of the difference between merely being a boss of a business and being a leader of a business.

‘A boss says go, and a leader says let’s go,’ he said.

Mr. Doocy said that to be successful, people had to risk failure and rejections.

‘Sometimes in life you just have to take chances,’ he said.

The theme of this year’s YCLA event, Growing Leaders for Tomorrow, was supported by more than 1,000 live plants decorating The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman ballroom. All of the plants, which were arranged by the Dart Foundation and Camana Bay, are native to the Cayman Islands and included sea grape, silver thatch, ficus, and frangipani.

The YCLA judges looked at various attributes of the five finalists in making their decision to choose Mr. Watson. Those attributes included professional accomplishments, ethical standards, involvement in the community and leadership abilities.

All five finalists received awards made from native Caymanite stone created by Horacio Esteban. Mr. Watson also received a Cartier watch from Kirk Freeport and $20,000 in stock.