Royal couple complete whirlwind visit to Cayman

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, wrapped up their two-day itinerary on Monday by presenting Lashonda Powell with the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in a ceremony at Government House.

The royal couple returned to Grand Cayman on Monday after an overnight visit to Little Cayman, where they attended a private event at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute. Prince Edward has been a patron of CCMI since 2003.

At the award ceremony, Prince Edward offered some words of encouragement to the youth in attendance.

“Life is full of challenges and this award prepares for those,” he said. “The award also presents you with lots of opportunities. If you seize the opportunity you have today and learn from the skill and the experiences we give you here, then whatever opportunities life throws at you in the future, you’re going to have the confidence to be able to seize those, to go through those doors wherever they open up.”

Ms. Powell, a member of Savannah United Church, volunteered in the soup kitchen and as a leader in the Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade.

Her Gold Award challenge consisted of a five-day trek in Grenada, where she also completed a residential project. Ms. Powell is the 65th Gold Award winner in Cayman.

“I hope and trust that today’s events will inspire you to challenge yourself,” Katherine Jackson, Cayman’s chair of the Duke of Edinburgh Award committee, said at the event.

“You need to challenge yourself because life will challenge [you] head on.”

Rev. John Jefferson Sr., speaking before the ceremony, told the Cayman Compass that he hopes the event galvanizes youth.

“It reminds us of our heritage and the responsibility of the nation,” he said. “The hope of the nation rests in their hands, because we have a godly heritage.”

Rev. Jefferson served as the first chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh Award committee in Cayman from 1968 to 1976.

Earlier in the day, the Countess of Wessex spoke at an event hosted by 100 Women in Hedge Funds at the National Gallery.

“I’ll be looking to serve as an advocate for increased diversity in the financial services industry, as well as raising the industry’s visibility and appeal for young women considering their career options,” she said.

The countess became global ambassador for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Next Generations Initiative last November. It was launched to inspire access and network support to young women seeking to start careers in finance and investments.
“Mentoring is a powerful tool to aiding success,” she said.

Prince Edward, the youngest son of Elizabeth II, has been married to Sophie since 1999.

They have two children, Louise and James.

The couple left Cayman Monday afternoon.