50 years ago: Phone connection made with Little Cayman

In the Nov. 30, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

“During the month we have been glad to see many coming home, guests with Capt. Donald McLaughlin of Creek have been the Vendryes Fosters of St. Petersburg. Mrs. Naomi is the only sister of the late Capt. Burke Ritch. They stopped by to cheer the bereaved ones, and have now gone on to visit with two sons and their families in Panama until the spring.

“Visiting with the family of Capt. McNeil Foster and with her father, Mr. Mackie Scott of the West End is Effie, Mrs. Leon Foster who, with her husband who is retiring from Trinidad Shipping, plans on settling here, at home.

“Returning briefly to the old home at the Creek we have been glad to see Misses Ellise and Grethel Myrie and their little niece Donna whose dad, Edward, is also home on vacation from National Bulk Carriers. They came from Jamaica. Ellise is now resident in the U.S.A. and is on vacation from Indianapolis, Indiana. Unfortunately she took a chill from which we hope she will soon be recovered. Grethel is cashier at Saba’s Kingston.”

In the Dec. 7, 1966 edition, Ms. Ritch wrote:

“The Cable & Wireless (W.I.) antenna array, the heart of the Cayman Islands overseas communication system which is situated on the bluff at Stake Bay, is now being tested.

“The tower is 57 feet high, the dishes are 30 feet each in diameter. One dish is beamed toward Jamaica (Montego Bay). On the tower are antennae mounted for the link with Little Cayman, which will have a manual telephone system installed at the Southern Cross Club.

“Speaking of Little Cayman it was a thrill last Friday to speak over the telephone to Mr. Herbert Foster, employee of Southern Cross Club. As the saying goes, the voice was ‘clear as a bell.’ Mike Harvey of Cable & Wireless was down there the same afternoon to complete the installation of the V.H.F. equipment. He has been assisted in this work by Carol Scott, engineer of Southern Cross Club. Our technician Burnard Tibbetts installed the telephone switchboard on Monday, Nov. 28. Little Cayman’s telephone system is that of a radio subscriber to the Cayman Brac Exchange. There will be private telephone communication within the two islands. Calls to Grand Cayman and overseas are through CBX.

“The high level of demand for service exceeds the supply but there will be some telephones in each district of the Islands.

“With regard to the hospital fund, it was at 146 pounds, 7 shillings and 9 pence.

“Enthusiasm both in the Island and in the States supporting this project has reached beyond the expectations of the Committee. Words of encouragement and donations are being received each week. Our goal is 5,000 to 8,000 pounds. The Committee reminds American friends that there are just three weeks left of the 1966 tax year, and that this is an excellent opportunity to give to a worthy cause. Let us at home remember that continued support is necessary to make a hospital become a reality.”

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