My comments are offered to dear Rayle and Estella’s family, friends and colleagues – indeed to the entire community whose grief must be almost unbearable.
My heart goes out to you. Please accept my deepest sympathy for this terrible, untimely and tragic loss.
It was my privilege and honour to work with Estella on the formulation of the Cayman Islands National Policy for Gender Equality.
She had then just returned to GC having completed her studies abroad and took up the post of project coordinator. Whatever anxieties I held about her capability to replace the excellent project management provided by Marilyn Conolly were quickly replaced by respect, appreciation and admiration.
Estella was industrious, boundless in energy and fearless in the face of any challenge.
She loved to learn and she balanced her competence and efficiency with tremendous emotional intelligence, which included her great capacity to laugh at life and self.
She loved life and she loved people.
Small as she was in physical stature, she was a powerful advocate of the rights of women. Policy formulation was not enough for Estella, who believed that ‘you had to walk the talk’.
Something practical, hands-on and tangible for women was needed in GC right then. That was another admirable thing about Estella – impatience!
If something is broken, why wait to fix it? Do so now!
So it was no surprise when she threw herself fully into setting up the Crisis Centre – a safe place for abused women. She made this her compelling mission.
Sometimes her phone calls or emails to update me on the activities of the centre would end with Estella’s characteristic `throw away’ remark followed by laughter ‘Oh, and I got another death threat!’ Others and I would worry about this more than she apparently did.
It was wonderful to see the friendship that blossomed into love between Estella and Rayle during the policy work. When she sent me the beautiful photos of their wedding and I remarked that only Rayle could cope with her fiercely independent spirit, she laughed and said, so true, that’s why I love him so much.
Estella, your stout heart, your loving, independent and free spirit will remain with us, always.
You never made it to the Bahamas to visit with Paul and myself and to meet my children who heard so much about you – you were such a fine example to them being in their age group – but we keep you in our hearts with love. Rest in peace!
Audrey Ingram Roberts