When the Commonwealth Flag was raised Monday morning outside the Government Administration Building in George Town, it was one of 850 hoisted in observance of Commonwealth Day around the world.
Governor Helen Kilpatrick, assisted by Police Inspector Ian Yearwood, raised the flag before a contingent of government officials, members of the Legislative Assembly, honorary consuls, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and members of the public.
This is the third year the raising of the Commonwealth flag, an initiative launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat in the U.K., has occurred. The flag, which was illuminated overnight, will remain flying for 24 hours.
At the ceremony, Premier Alden McLaughlin read the Commonwealth Affirmation after the honorary representative of the Royal Commonwealth Society in the Cayman Islands, Lemuel Hurlston, read a message from the outgoing Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma.
Soon after the flag hoisting, students of Cayman Islands schools met at the Legislative Assembly to hold a Youth Parliament, where they debated two motions, one on abortion and one on public transport.
Queen Elizabeth II, in her Commonwealth Day message released to mark the day, called on citizens to be open to ideas and encouragement. “By including others, drawing on collective insights, knowledge and resources, and thinking and working together, we lay the foundations of a harmonious and progressive society,” she said.
“The greater the diversity of those included in such a shared enterprise, the greater the gains. Each of us has cause to celebrate the sense of belonging expressed in our 2016 theme: ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth.’”
She also called on people to put the notion of an inclusive Commonwealth into practice by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association that includes 53 independent countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, the vast majority of which were formerly under British rule.