Immigration veteran hangs up badge

The Immigration Department held a dinner recently for long-serving officer Sonia Gould-Thomas.

With 37 years of service under her belt, the departing airport supervisor was surrounded by colleagues and family members during the farewell dinner.

Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson, the former Chief Immigration Officer, said, ‘Cayman is losing a great ambassador, one who has represented us exceptionally well at our borders, who never refused a challenge, and who has always been dedicated and committed.’

He added, ‘We thank you for your hard work, over what, if we include overtime, doubtless amounts to 40 years of effort.’

When Mrs. Gould-Thomas joined the Immigration Department in 1972, there were just over 10,000 residents. It was the same year that the Cayman Islands constitution and local currency were introduced and the tourism and financial industries were only fledgling developments.

‘We grew up together,’ said Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Kerry Nixon. ‘We shared lessons on life, economics and family matters, and we won’t be far away if you ever need us.’

Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor, Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith and other colleagues paid tribute to the colleague they dubbed ‘stateswoman’.