In what has become one of Grand Cayman’s most anticipated events on the social calendar, guests gathered Friday evening for the annual Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Awards gala at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Nearly 500 guests, including Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, turned out for the black-tie affair. Commissioner of Police David Baines hosted the evening, supported by emcees Stuart Bostock of the Security Centre and entertainer Vicki Wheaton. Eleven-year-old Melody Allenger sang the national anthem and national song.
The evening, appropriately, belonged to the men and women of the RCIPS, most of whom serve selflessly and keep our streets, and ourselves, safe and secure.
All of the proceeds from the evening benefit the Police Welfare Fund, which provides financial assistance to RCIPS members, their families and dependents in special circumstances not covered by public funds. This could include personnel who are unable to continue services because of a serious medical condition, or who are injured or killed in the line of duty.
The evening is funded totally through the contributions of corporate and individual sponsors. No public funds are expended.
Dart Enterprises Ltd. was the Diamond Sponsor for the event, with Platinum Sponsors including the Caribbean Club, Diamonds International, Pinnacle Media Ltd., and the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
Commissioner Baines, aided by the governor and the premier, recognized the special contributions of his officers in six categories.
Edward Tinling-Miller was honored as Police Officer of the Year with police constable Kevin Bogle as runner-up.
Mr. Tinling-Miller, the community officer at John Gray High School and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre, said engaging with youth to help better their future is a major priority, along with his desire to help the community to maintain safety in all disciplines.
Detective Sergeant Charmane Huntley received the Police Welfare Award, and runner-up was Constable Keren Watson.
Ms. Huntley, who has served 24 years in the RCIPS, follows in her father’s footsteps – he was a police officer in Jamaica.
“Helping others, whether it is my fellow officer or a member of the public, and easing another person’s burden gives me the most satisfaction,” she said.
The Special Constable of the Year Award was presented to Pedro Echenique. Runner-up was Ransford Myers.
Mr. Echenique has been with the service for 27 years, working as a police officer for 17 years and most recently, 10 years in the Special Constabulary.
“As a youngster going to school, I always loved to see the police do their work, so I said that one day I wanted to serve my island. Once I left school, I did,” he said.
The Community Award, a tie, was presented to Archie Whittaker and jointly to Rhoda Ebanks and Sheena Ebanks.
Senior Police Constable Paulette Hines received the Diversity Award; runner-up was Cayman Brac officer Venice Tatum.
Ms. Hines said she received great satisfaction from helping others, adding there is no greater feeling than hearing the words “thank you.”
The Support Staff Member of the Year Award was presented to Sabrina Ramoon; runner-up was Marticia Bent.
Ms. Ramoon said she loves being able to help those who need assistance, while Ms. Bent said it was seeing how much her father – retired police inspector and current police chaplain Kim Evans – loved his job, that had encouraged her to join the force.
She said she had a desire to “assist my country in keeping it a safer place.”
Vicki Legge, publisher of the Cayman Compass, for the fourth year organized the gala and paid tribute to her support team from the RCIPS and the staff of Pinnacle Media: “The preparations for this most worthwhile event require hundreds of hours of work by our dedicated team. I’d like to recognize publicly Police Sergeant Winsome Prendergast of the RCIPS and Julia Simmons, Kate Allenger and Vicki Wheaton of Pinnacle Media. All of them, and dozens more, worked tirelessly to make this evening a resounding success.”