The Cayman Islands will join other Commonwealth countries and territories in celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II this year, marking her ascension to the throne in the United Kingdom upon the death of her father King George VI in 1952.
Mary Lawrence, chairwoman of the Cayman Islands celebration committee, is asking families and organisations to support significant events taking place to mark 60 years of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s reign over the British Empire, of which the Cayman Islands remains an overseas territory.
On Saturday, 26 May, a beacon run starting at West Bay and North Side will end at Pedro bluff with the Acting Governor Franz Manderson lighting the beacon being erected on Pedro bluff. The beacon will remain lit until the 5 June.
At Pedro Castle, a proclamation will be read by Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush declaring the Diamond Jubilee celebrations officially open in the Cayman Islands.
On Saturday, 2 June, the committee, along with the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee will host a luncheon with funds going to support athletes participating in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The committee will also host a “flotilla” at 6pm in Hog Sty Bay and people are encouraged to participate with decorated boats. At 11pm, a fireworks display will light up the sky.
On Sunday 3 June, churches will host a special worship service and jubilee luncheon as part of the celebrations. The official prayer has been circulated to be read in churches. At 2pm, the official church service of thanksgiving will take place at the Elsmlie Memorial Church in George Town.
On Monday, 4 June, which is a public holiday, uniform and civic groups will gather at the Government Administration Building to make its way to the Legislative Assembly Building for the Queen’s Birthday celebrations and day of international culture and food.
The events will be duplicated on the Sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with Wanda Tibbitts and the committee heading the events on the two Islands.
On World Environment Day, trees will be planted around Grand Cayman. The goal is to plant 6,000 trees by the end of the year; 1,000 for each decade of the queen’s reign in the Cayman Islands.
The Commonwealth Society is also launching a Jubilee time capsule with a collection of stories, pictures and memorabilia of the past 60 years to mark the occasion. Lemuel Hurlston, committee deputy chairman, is encouraging schools and the community to get involved, which can be submitted online at www.jublileetimecapsule.org.
The Cayman committee is also working on highlighting the Queen’s visit to the Cayman Islands and encourages communities to participate with materials to be on display at the George Town Public Library. Flags, commemorative coins, memorabilia and stamps will be available from the museum. The official emblem for the Jubilee can be found on the royal website.
“The problems we have had in developing our country is we have never focused on our history. Our children and grandchildren need to know who we are and how we got where we are. I am hoping that these events will help us focus once again on where we came from and how we got here,” Ms Lawrence said. “The Quincentennial celebrations brought to the forefront that we did have a past, history and culture as a people and we hope this Jubilee celebration will imprint in peoples’ minds once again that the Cayman Islands are a part of something big and something great.”
Ms Lawrence said cost of the events will not be as much as Quincentennial celebrations. “When it comes to finances there is not enough money. Most of the things done during Quincentennial will act as a backdrop for the celebrations,” she said.
When asked if the Christian Heritage Park on North Church Street will be a part of the celebrations, Ms Lawrence said there is not enough money to develop that area at this time.