The people of the Cayman Islands, I know, will join with me in mourning the passing of the late Lady Thatcher, who passed from this life today, Monday, 8th April, 2013, in her 87th year. Lady Thatcher, the so-called “Iron Lady” was the first, and to date remains the only woman to have served as British Prime Minister; and has also thus far been the longest-serving post-war prime minister (1979-1990).
Here in Cayman, she is embedded in the collective memory for other qualities as well. To a community whose women have always ably ‘held up their half of the sky’, Mrs. Thatcher provided powerful affirmation, with her way of unpretentiously drawing on her roles as wife and mother, to inspire her comprehension of the subtle and far-reaching ramifications of public policy. Cayman’s women have long showed a similar capacity to combine professional and public leadership roles, while retaining their vital roles in the home.
Lady Thatcher’s sheer willpower and adherence to principle are legendary; and she showed great depths of courage, requiring exemplary personal and political strength, in dealing with huge challenges from the union strikes to the Falklands War, at times without even the support of her own party. Cayman joined the cause in support of the Falklands effort, with the sense at the time that Mrs. Thatcher would have come marching out to stand with us, had we been in a similar situation.
Whatever one’s feelings about the politics of the often deeply controversial Iron Lady, I believe the people of the Cayman Islands were impressed that she had a resolute drive to pursue change for the common good – perhaps the characteristic most valued in leaders, in our understanding of how representative government ought to work. The people of the Cayman Islands accordingly mourn the passing of this great Lady with a genuine respect and affection, and on their behalf, as premier I offer our public condolences to her family and others close to her.
May her soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon her.