Cayman's finest honored

Auctioneer Vicki Wheaton might have summed up the evening best when she tried to coax a higher bid for an item during the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Award gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on Friday night:

“Come on,” she said, “They protect your home. They protect your business.”

The man indeed raised his bid for the auction item which benefited, as did the entire glitzy evening, the Police Welfare Fund. That fund provides assistance to RCIPS members and their families in times of special need like serious medical conditions, and also helps supplement education expenses for the children of officers.

Raising money, however, was not the only purpose of the black-tie dinner affair; it was also to honor the brightest and best of Cayman’s police force. Event host, Commissioner of Police David Baines, personally spoke about each of the finalist nominees and their accomplishments before announcing the winner.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick and Premier Alden McLaughlin were on hand to present the awards to the winners of the various award categories. Also in attendance and sitting at the head table were several governors from other British Overseas Territories, who were visiting Cayman to participate in a conference hosted by Governor Kilpatrick. The visiting governors included Governor George Fergusson of Bermuda; Governor Christina Scott of Anguilla; Governor John Duncan of the British Virgin Islands; and Governor Adrian Davis of Montserrat.
About 450 people filled the Royal Ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton for the event and Commissioner Baines said he was pleased to see the event had sold out once again, a sign that Cayman Islands residents not only recognized the commitment shown and the good work done by the RCIPS officers, but because it raised money for the very important Police Welfare Fund.

The awards, which were decided by a four-person panel from various departments of the RCIPS after an open nomination process, were made in seven specific categories, with the most prestigious, Police Officer of the Year, going to Police Constable Dulcy Pennicooke, who is a member of the George Town Burglary Unit.

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“She is determined to pursue any line of inquiry,” Commissioner Baines said, adding that an indication of her good police work was the high rate of guilty pleas of those she arrested.

Commissioner Baines told of two instances where Officer Pennicooke was on plain clothes patrol and single-handedly thwarted crimes in progress, both of which were potentially dangerous.

“What more do you want from a police officer other than courage, commitment and professionalism?” he asked.

Also lauded for his efforts was Police Constable Donovan Chong, the runner up for Police Officer of the Year, who Commissioner Baines said attends and investigates some of the worst road accidents on Grand Cayman, always doing so with a friendly and caring disposition, something that gives comfort to accident victims and their families.

Other award winners included Police Constable Kenville Holder, who won the Police Welfare Award, with Vincent ‘Teddy’ Mitchell the runner up. Police Constable Barbara Dailey won the Diversity Award, with Detective Sergeant Sean Bryan the runner up. Erbin Tibbetts Jr. won the Special Constable of the Year Award, with Nickii Sonnenberg the runner up. Marticia Bent and Karen Westfield shared the top award for Support Staff Member of the Year.

The Community Award winners, who Commissioner Baines called “the citizens of the year,” went to security guard Jerry Williams for his role that led to the capture of the four men who robbed Cayman National Bank in 2012, and to two of the men – Alan Parada and Robert Micic – who assisted Commissioner Baines in detaining two of the armed offenders in the Diamonds International robbery in January 2014.

Commission Baines said that two other men had also assisted, but preferred to remain anonymous.

Several awards were also presented during the evening. Commissioner Baines recognized Police Sergeant Derrick Elliott as the longest serving officer in the RCIPS, noting that he had joined the police in 1974 at the age of 20. He also recognized Dr. Linda McField, who became Cayman’s first special constable 34 years ago.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman General Manager Marc Langevin also presented an award to RCIPS Police Constable George Powell for his efforts in assisting the hotel on various police matters.

Key sponsors for the event included Dart Enterprises Ltd. as the diamond sponsor; Caribbean Club, Pinnacle Media Ltd. and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman as the platinum sponsors; and Bodden Holdings Ltd., Chris Johnson & Associates and Magnum Jewelers as the gold sponsors.

At the end of the evening, Commissioner Baines gave a special recognition to Vicki Legge and Kate Allenger of Pinnacle Media for all the work they do in organizing the event every year, giving them tokens of appreciation and appointing them honorary special constables.

Mrs. Legge said she finds a special satisfaction in organizing the annual police gala, even though it takes hundreds of hours of preparation from the team of planners.

“We put a lot of effort into planning this worthwhile event because the dedicated officers of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and its support personnel deserve nothing but the best,” she said.


Plice Commissioner Baines and Governor Helen Kilpatrick present the Police Officer of the Year award to Police Constable Dulcy Pennicooke. – Photo: Stephen Clarke


Police Commissioner David Baines joins the audience in enjoying the gala’s auction and entertainment. -Photo: Maggie Jackson
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