Four individuals who’ve made significant contributions to planning in Grand Cayman were honoured at the first Central Planning Authority awards.
Held 22 November as part of this month’s World Town Planning Day activities, the awards recognized outstanding contribution to preservation, development and planning as well as for lifetime achievement.
Honourees included Sir Vassel Johnson, Cayman’s first financial secretary and former EXCO member for Development and Natural Resources from 1984-1987, for his contribution to preservation; the late Clarence Flowers (Senior), who received an award for outstanding contribution to development on the island; Kenneth S. Ebanks, Director of Planning, for his outstanding contribution to planning; and Linda McLean, who won a lifetime achievement award for her contributions to planning.
The awards, held at Government House, were attended by the families of the honourees; Governor, Stuart Jack; Minister of Planning Kurt Tibbetts; Acting Cheif Secretary/Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Planning Kearney Gomez; Chairman of the Central Planning Authority Dalkeith Bothwell; and CPA members; planning officials and members of the development community.
Robert C. Bodden was master of ceremonies for the event, which included the presentation of awards and a speech by CPA Chairman, Dalkeith Bothwell.
Prior to the family of Sir Vassel Johnson accepting his award, his son Bradley read a bio on his father who was Cayman’s first financial secretary and former EXCO member for Development and Natural Resources from 1984-1987. Amongst Sir Vassel’s many accomplishments during his period in EXCO, which have had a lasting impact on Cayman’s environment and tourism industry, are the Marine Parks Regulations; the creation of the National Trust; the completion of the George Town water and Seven Mile Beach sewerage systems; the protection of endangered species; the establishment of a cooperative farmers’ market; the development of a building code; and the introduction of licensed local land surveyors.
The family of the late Clarence Flowers (Senior) was on hand to accept his award for outstanding contribution to development on the island. His grandaughter Dara Flowers read a touching bio that described how Mr. Flowers started the first concrete block company on the island in 1952 thus making structurally sound homes a reality for islanders. C.L. Flowers and Sons was the first of several businesses he owned including Flower’s Bottled Water and Flowers Air Dispatch Services, Owen Robert Airport’s baggage handling company and aviation security team.
Kenneth S. Ebank’s daughter Jodi Hydes read a bio on her father which described his contribution to planning in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Ebanks has worked for the Cayman Islands Planning Department for over 27 years and he regards his greatest achievements thus far as changing waterfront setbacks to help curb beach erosion; working with local developers to improve Caymanians’ chances of becoming home owners; and significantly improving the rate of enforcement of building codes and other regulations.
Kyle McLean, son of the Planning Department’s Finance and Administrative Manager Linda McLean, read a bio on his mother before she accepted her award. He described how Ms Linda’s civil service career began 34 years ago when, as a young high school graduate from George Town, she obtained a clerical officer’s post in the Planning Department. More than three decades later she is currently Administration and Financial Manager and claims the distinction of being the longest serving member in Planning. Of no little significance, she is also known as the ‘go-to’ person in her department.
In his opening remarks CPA Chairman Mr. Bothwell thanked all the former CPA chairmen for their contribution to the community. He called the night’s awardees ‘pioneers’ who paved the way for the CPA and the Planning department to embark on bold change.
‘The CPA, along with Planning Department staff, have picked up the torch from these pioneers and are busy preparing our beloved islands for the future through the review of existing laws and regulations and with stakeholders’ input-formulating a new Development Plan that will enable us to tackle the pressures that affect development, preservation, and our social and economical status.’
He continued by saying ‘Our goal is to do this in a holistic and strategic manner that will not only develop new legislation, but will provide a road map for future generations as they pick up the torch and look to improve the planning processes for the betterment of our beloved Islands.’