Aviation pioneers were honoured at a special awards luncheon on Saturday, 22 January.
Representatives of all eras of Cayman’s air history gathered at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa along with dignitaries, government representatives and families to receive special awards for their part in making Cayman accessible to the world over the last 50 years.
Premier Bush said that on behalf of the government, it gave him great pleasure to recognise the many individuals who had founded, helped develop and pioneered the many sectors of the aviation industry and its support services and contributed significantly to the stable development of the aviation industry.
“Over the last 50-plus years we have been privileged to have visionaries such as Owen Roberts, Commissioner Ivor Smith and Gerrard and Edward Bodden, who were instrumental in establishing airports across our three islands. This was no easy task; their success is attributable to the many, many men and women who contributed to the progress and development of the aviation industry, some of whom are seated here today and others are represented by their family. Of course, it is also important to remember those pioneers who are not here with us.
“To the 50 Caymanian awardees, let it be known that I and the government sincerely appreciate your work as developers, founders, pioneers and support staff; work that has drawn us a long way into the future. It is a foundation to our main two industries today, and as we continue to diversify as a nation and as a people, the aviation industry will continue to be our main link with the rest of the world,” he said.
Following a luncheon, special framed award certificates and specially-made aviation pioneer pin badges were given to 50 individuals to commemorate their contribution to the Cayman Islands aviation industry. Presenting the awards were Minister of Community Affairs, Gender Affairs and Housing Mike Adam, the Premier, Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture Mark Scotland, plus Richard Arch.
Mr. Bush paid tribute to the recipients of the awards and noted that this was a history that had some difficult moments on the road to achievement.
“Many, many people have worked hard and gave their life to build these islands; some have been recognised such as Owen Roberts but I often wonder where we would have been without the vision of our own people who struggled through those earliest years.”
He added that it was a pity that younger generations did not know of the sacrifices and hardships that had gone into the establishment of the aviation industry.
“I am encouraging [people] to put it in a book because perhaps then the younger ones will grasp exactly how much it took to build these islands.”