50 years ago: Administrator John A. Cumber talks Brac issues

In the March 22, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

“His Honor the Administrator, Mr. J.A. Cumber … and Mrs. Cumber visited the Brac from March 15th to 17th.

“A public meeting was held in the Secondary Modern School on Wednesday evening. The District Commissioner, Mr. D.H. Foster presided, giving a gracious welcome to His Honour and his wife and thanking the representative audience for attending.

“His Honour expressed his pleasure to be speaking in the building symbolizing an improvement long hoped for; his hopes for money for playing fields, which are a need in all three schools; in his delight in seeing the school really operative. He was particularly impressed with the attendance of over 80 scholars. The problem in education, which is true of the Caribbean as well as other parts of the world, is staff, and government is looking, if necessary, even beyond Jamaica for teachers. From these secondary schools, our children will be enabled to go on to prepare for professions and qualified positions.

“Communications: Air travel is developing in the islands – LACSA has given good service over nine years. The annual subsidy is 4,000 pounds. Though it took time they put a DC-3 in first class order to operate an international airline – now it is up to us to support it. The extension of the flight eastward to Kingston is an improvement ….

“Telephones: There is a temporary VHF link from Grand Cayman to Jamaica, through to Kingston, London and New York.

“Shipping: Mr. Dantzler’s plan for harbour development in Cayman Brac is a promising venture for these islands.

“Broadcasting: Technical advisors for a sound broadcasting station will be here the first week in April. Government has received applications for broadcasting licences. It will, in all probability, be operated under a corporation. The prospects of television are being explored.

“Agriculture: With Mr. C.D. Hutchings and Mr. McNamee in the lead we are beginning to get somewhere. The dairy and meat production centre for the island is on the Cayman Brac bluff. The possibilities of water supply are being examined.

“Medical: The new dentist has arrived and will soon visit Cayman Brac. The plans for the new health centre or public hospital are going ahead. Government’s plans and the hospital committee plans can be put together and we can build with a design to start with a nucleus and leave room for additions.

“Tourism: Although non fulfilment of bookings has been disappointing, in the overall figures there has been an increase of 8 percent, not including visiting businessmen.”

“The members of assembly enjoyed their visit to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – some had never been here before. On a similar tour in Grand Cayman some older members had not been in distant districts for years. Such visits are essential for understanding problems. It is thought it may be possible to have an Assembly meeting in Cayman Brac later this year ….

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