Cayman celebrates the Queen’s 88th birthday

George Town was transformed into a site of much pomp and ceremony on Saturday when it hosted a parade and awards ceremony in honor of the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Band led the parade that featured detachments from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Her Majesty’s Prison Service and local veterans. 

Cayman’s youth also took part in the morning’s celebrations with detachments from the girls brigade, scouts, cub scouts and cadet corps.  

Later, all were invited to a garden party at the home of the queen’s representative in the Cayman Islands, Governor Helen Kilpatrick. The garden party had been an annual event, but this was the first time since 2011 that it had been held. 

The ceremony in George Town recognized Karin Thompson and Leonard Hew in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and also awarded the recipients of the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour, and young recipients of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.  

A veteran family lawyer, Ms. Thompson was named a Member of the British Empire in recognition of her services to the protection of children and to the community in the Cayman Islands.  

Ms. Thompson has a long history in the field of law and helped lobby to gain ensure law degrees from the Cayman Islands Law School were internationally recognized. She is also a founding member of the Caymanian Bar Association, played a significant role in developing the island’s Domestic Violence Law, and also contributed to the passing of the Children Law. 

“I am very touched and slightly embarrassed; this is really humbling,” Ms. Thompson said. “I am filled with a sense of pride for my children, for all the children and the voiceless victims I have endeavored to champion.” 

Mr. Hew was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to development of sport and to the Cayman Islands community. A founding member of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, Mr. Hew started as a government wireless operator and now owns Hew’s Hotel and Restaurant Supplies, as well as Hew’s Janitorial and Macdonald’s Restaurant. 

He has volunteered across an array of sports, also as a newspaper sports editor and radio commentator for Radio Cayman, and contributed to the development of the Lions Swimming Pool in 1986.  

Mr. Hew said the award “came as a complete surprise.” 

“Although what I’ve done over the years wasn’t in expectation of awards, I’m very appreciative of the honor and am truly humbled to have been recognized,” he said. 

Also recognized during the ceremony were Dr. Saratchandra de Alwis-Seneviratne and Thomas Wood, who both received the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to medicine and the community and services to the civil service and community, respectively. 

Dr. de Alwis is the former head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at the Cayman Islands Hospital who has since entered the private sector with a strong focus on infertility, cancer screening and pain relief. 

Mr. Wood has worked as the building maintenance supervisor at the Public Works Department for 35 years. He was recognized for his hard work and dedication in his field. 

Mr. Wood said he was very appreciative of his award. 

“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I was shocked when the Governor called to tell me I had received it.” 

The day also honored Cayman youth and announced three recipients of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award including Jose Ardila, Mia Burke and Allison McDonald. 

Awards recipients and guests then decamped to the garden reception at the Governor’s House where Governor Kilpatrick and Premier Alden McLaughlin toasted the Queen. 

Ms. Kilpatrick she said the day could not have been more of a success. 

“It gave everyone the chance to honor the Queen’s birthday, come to [the] Governor’s House for some hospitality, and enjoy the sunshine,” she said. 

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Governor Helen Kilpatrick inspects the ranks at the Queen’s Birthday parade in George Town. – Photo: Laura Buttigieg
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