‘Counselor to a nation’
Pastor Al Ebanks, the leader of the Agape Family Worship Centre in George Town, passed away late Friday, according to Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Wil Pineau.
Mr. Pineau announced the death of Pastor Al – who had been ill for a number of months – during a healthcare conference being held on Grand Cayman Saturday.
“Pastor Al led a life of service,” Mr. Pineau said to conference attendees, many of whom stood and bowed their heads in observance of a moment of silence.
Pastor Al, 52, most recently served as chairman of the newly formed Cayman Islands Constitutional Commission, which had responsibility for reviewing the country’s governance arrangements with the United Kingdom. He was also a long-time member of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority Board of Directors, which runs the Cayman Islands hospital system.
But Pastor Ebanks is likely to be remembered more for his church services and efforts to assist the less fortunate in the local community.
“When I heard of his passing, I was beside myself, distraught,” said Premier McKeeva Bush. “I really didn’t expect him to pass now.”
Mr. Bush said he and Pastor Al went to school together in West Bay as children, the Premier being just a few years older.
“The country has lost a good man,” Premier Bush said, adding that he wished to send condolences to Pastor Al’s sisters, wife and family. “He was a man of God.”
“He was just a counselor to the nation,” said Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, a long-time friend of Pastor Al’s. “I don’t know that there’s any other person in Cayman that has that level of love and respect as Pastor Al.”
Julene Banks, who served on the Constitutional Commission with Pastor Al, said she has known him since childhood.
“We have lost a wonderful, loving, compassionate man, but his light will shine on,” Mrs. Banks said.
In remembering Pastor Al, she quoted from Psalm 24 – the section of the Holy Bible from which Cayman’s motto – ‘he hath founded it upon the seas’ was derived.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.
“That sums up Pastor Al,” she said.
Pastor Al is preceded in death by his eldest son. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Pastor Al, whose full legal name is Alden A. Ebanks, was born on 20 January, 1959 on Grand Cayman.
In March 1979, he married Kathleen Bodden.
In 1987, he was ordained as a Christian minister and became the full time pastor at Agape.
In addition to service on the Health Services Authority board and on the Constitutional Commission, Pastor Al served at the Marine Institute, the National Youth Commission, and participated in strategic planning for both education and health services in Cayman.
In 2003, he was one of 500 people recognised as a nation-builder on Cayman’s Quincentennial Wall of Hounor.
Pastor Al served as co-chair
of the Chamber of Commerce working group on constitutional modernisation in the Cayman
Islands. In this role, he addressed the United Nations Select Committee of 24 on Decolonisation at the UN Headquarters in New York and also at a regional seminar in St.
Vincent. In 2009, he traveled to the UK with a delegation to finalise Cayman’s new constitution, which was approved by voters later that year.
He was awarded the Certificate and Badge of Honour from the Cayman Islands government.
In January 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of