How sweetly heaven’s angels sang

On behalf of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Grand Cayman, I read this tribute in honour of our colleague and friend, Mrs. Estella Scott-Roberts.

We extend our deepest condolences to her husband Rayle, her mother, Mrs. Corrine, her in-laws, family members, colleagues and friends.

The members of BPW are deeply saddened by this tragedy and mourn with her family and the community the loss of such an out-standing woman. Words cannot express how deeply we affected.

Estella was dedicated and committed and though short in stature, she was a true powerhouse and she stood tall for those affected by the evils of domestic abuse and gender violence.

She held firm beliefs in what was right and did not sway nor allow others to change her mind.

She lived her life as a fine example for all of us especially in how to stand tall, how to be a voice against domestic abuse and gender violence and she showed us how to stand as an advocate to seek change and resolutions to counter the effects.

Estella used her time and God-given talents to assist those who needed help and in doing so she made a difference. That difference was not only felt by the victims but felt throughout the community.

She had firm convictions that life for all citizens should be free of violence and she lived her life giving and making that truth come to fruition.

The challenge then to each of us is to make a renewed effort to take a firm stand and that we will continue her work.

That commitment should also be that we will stand together as a community and see that violence is eradicated from our islands.

Let that commitment also be that we will use our time and talents for the greater good of all citizens in our islands, regardless of colour, class, or nationality.

Let each of us make a commitment that we will treat each other with respect and dignity, that we will never allow ourselves to use violence as a means to resolve differences.

We must do as Estella did.

Reach out to those in need.

Do not let fear or intimidation soften your voice against wrong.

Take an active stand against domestic abuse and gender violence.

One person can make a difference.

Estella showed us by example the ‘power of one’.

Look around you…see the crowd here today? …that is the ‘power of one’.

As we pause and reflect on this great humanitarian and advocate, as we recall the memories of times shared whether on a personal or professional level, we all soon realise that we have much in common and that resounding echo is ‘she stood tall though short in nature and she made a difference’.

The Business and Professional Women’s Club recognises that there are many forms of domestic abuse and gender violence and have always lobbied and advocated for change and programmes to address these issues and BPW stands committed to continue that work.

BPW recognises that some of the forms of abuse are, but not limited to are financial, mental, psychological, verbal and physical.

BPW recognises too that men are sometimes victims and we assure them that the same resources and programmes are available to assist them.

We as a community, and that is every person here in these islands, have felt the impact of the weekend of October 11.

We have all been left with a huge void.

When we realised and accepted to some degree the magnitude of the evil that had visited our islands, we were left dumbfounded and deeply wounded. It seemed surreal but even though we are hurting and will for a very long time, we all will truly honour Estella when we stand together, united and not as those who only pay lip-service.

It is incumbent on all of us to not let fear of reprisal keep us from continuing the work that meant so much to Estella.

We must also not shelter or protect those who have committed this act. We must report what we know so that justice can be done not only for Estella but for all of us.

To the perpetrators – you have not succeeded.

We, the citizens of these Islands, have had enough of violence and we, united will stand, side by side and we will carry on until violence is not a part nor is accepted in our community.

You cannot intimidate us.

We are dedicated to fight this evil, by whatever means necessary.

But we will not seek revenge or allow ourselves to use violence because if we do then you would have won.

Estella will always be remembered and her life will not have been in vain.

To the men here today – thank you for standing with us.

Thank you for being a part of this march to say that you will no longer tolerate violence and abuse in our Islands. We need you to take an active stand. We need to hear your voices for peace. There are so many boys that need a man’s guidance in his life so that he can reach his full potential. Reach out and help today.

T all of you, will you be here next year?

Will you?

Will you continue to stand with us?

BPW urges the citizens of these islands to be vigilant not only in self protection but in being your neighbour’s keeper and by reporting any act of violence and abuse to the police.

To the citizens of these islands, remember we cannot make a difference if we pretend that violence and abuse against any citizen is not a violation of us all.

Remember too that we cannot make a difference if we deny and turn a blind eye and a deaf ear so that one citizen is denied being a productive member of our society, nor can we make a difference if we deny there is a propensity to violence here.

BPW encourages all citizens to work diligently in teaching alternate resolutions to conflict and to remember that children learn what they live.

We are deeply indebted to Estella and so we must continue her work.

We miss her, our friend, advocate and colleague but we resolve to not let violence, anger or fear dictate our response.

Psalms 23 is my favourite reading and I have found great solace there. Perhaps you know a hymn or have a special reading. I encourage you to read it and find peace and comfort in it. Know too that our heavenly Father ‘sees each tear that falls and he does hear us when we call’.

In closing I say Estella is still with us.

She will never be forgotten.

We will keep her memory alive, always.

‘How sweetly heaven’s angels must have sung October 10, 2008, when they escorted our angel home’

How sweetly they must have sung.

We pray for God’s continued mercies and protection to these islands and we pray that he will send angels to comfort us in this our time of grief.

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