Update, 3:30pm: Helen Kilpatrick was sworn in as the Cayman Islands’ 12th governor at a ceremony at the Legislative Assembly Friday afternoon.
Vowing to “well and truly serve the people of the Cayman Islands,” Mrs. Kilpatrick said her vision as governor was one of partnership and cooperation.
In a speech to the House after being sworn in, she outlined some of her aims and ambitions as the islands’ new governor.
She said she hoped to “drive forward the global reputation of Cayman to one of a dynamic,
well regulated, financial services center.”
“Of course, a
successful economy needs to have strong roots in good governance and the
careful management of public finances. Some
have already noted my background in this area, but I believe that effective
stewardship of public money is a shared responsibility – from the members of
this Assembly to those delivering front-line services for the residents of, and
visitors to, the Cayman Islands…,” she said.
She added that she supported steps being taken to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the public administration, including a recently announced plan by the People’s Progressive Movement government to proceed with Standards in Public
The new governor, whose remit includes security, defense and external relations, said she aims to work with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to address public concerns over robberies and burglaries.
She also touched on the subject of the natural environment, which she acknowledged was the responsibility of the elected government, saying she was committed to working with government and civil society to “ensure that these assets are managed and protected in a manner that befits
their incredible value.”
Mrs. Kilpatrick, the first female governor of the Cayman Islands, said she also planned to champion the rights of women and combat discrimination in all forms.
“I look to support efforts to have the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women extended to the Cayman Islands,” she told the assembly.
But her first goal would be to familiarize herself with all three Cayman Islands, she said, and get out into the community to meet the local residents so she could better understand their concerns.
Cayman Islands Governor-designate Helen Kilpatrick arrived at Owen Roberts International Airport on a Cayman Airways flight at 11:15 a.m. Friday.
Ms Kilpatrick was met by an honor guard of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, as well as Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin and Acting Governor Franz Manderson.
After saluting the honor guard, Ms Kilpatrick was introduced to various ministers and Cabinet members who had lined up along the walkway to greet her.
Ms Kilpatrick arrives at the Legislative Assembly at 2 p.m. for the official swearing-in ceremony. Later Friday, a welcome reception will be held in her honor at Pedro St. James at 7 p.m.
In a new twist on tradition, boy scout Juan Pablo Valerio, 9, presented the governor-designate with a basket of local fruits to welcome her to the Cayman Islands.
“I’m very excited,” Juan said. “I can’t believe I’m the first boy scout to ever present something to a female governor of Cayman.”
Winston Hayle, executive commissioner for the Scout Association of the Cayman Islands, explained that the governor is traditionally invited to the post of chief scout.
“For the very first time we’re having a female governor and that makes an interesting situation,” he said. “Hopefully, she will be agreeable to wearing a uniform because the position is a uniformed position.”
In past appointments, the governor’s wife has typically been invited to represent the girl guides.
“We share the same founder, so over the years the governor’s wife has always served as president of the Girl Guide Association,” Mr. Hayle explained, suggesting that there is a possibility Ms Kilpatrick might be able to lead both organizations.
Ms Kilpatrick’s appointment as governor is a break in tradition in more ways than one.
Rather than a career UK foreign office employee, Ms Kilpatrick, an accountant, has worked largely in London, most recently as acting permanent secretary in the UK Home Office.