More than 400 people attended a Public Service Pensions Board pensioners appreciation event at Pedro St. James last week.
Attendees were bussed in by Websters Tours from throughout Grand Cayman for the Wednesday, April 12 gathering.
Staged under tents on the grounds of the historic home, the event celebrated the contributions of the fund’s pensioners on the 25th anniversary of the board, according to a press release from organizers.
Pensioners sat at tables decked in the pension board’s purple and grey colors and caught up with old friends, watched the live entertainment and enjoyed a buffet-style meal.
Kearney Gomez, master of ceremonies at the five-hour event, gave the opening remarks. The former permanent secretary for the Ministry of Works, who is a 43-year civil service veteran, kept the audience entertained with snippets titled “Remember When,” and recollections of civil service life, in between introducing the roster of dignitaries and entertainers.
Following prayer, the blessing of food was given by James Watler.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson then took to the podium to address the crowd, which included National Hero Sybil McLaughlin and John Jefferson Jr.
He gave thanks to several people, including Jewel Evans-Lindsey, the Public Service Pension Board’s managing director, who has run the entity since its inception.
Mr. Manderson said the pension fund is now worth more $1.5 billion and has 1,800 pensioner members.
He said those retirees were among those civil servants who had laid the foundations that had allowed the fund’s year-on-year growth.
In her vote of thanks, Ms. Evans-Lindsey said the pensions fund allowed its members to retire with dignity and respect.
Following the speeches, young music group Jubilate performed several well-received pieces, including “We Believe.”
The group was followed by the John Gray High School Band, which played a medley of time-honored standards.
Interspersed among the proceedings were spot prizes and plenty of giveaways donated by the event’s sponsors and the Public Service Pensions Board’s Member Services team.
Another performer at the Pensioners’ Appreciation event was Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, who gave three readings of her poetry, including the humorous “Dan de Pan” and the woman-centered “Lord, I Didn’t Know.”
During the event, food stalls served up conch soup and rolls, Cayman-style beef, fried fish and festival, curry chicken, patties, heavy cakes, turtle stew and fresh food platters – supplied by local supermarkets and local vendors.
Kiosks throughout the day were manned by the staff of the Health Services Authority, CINICO, Meals on Wheels, the Seventh-day Community Outreach, Lions Club Food Pantry and the PSPB.
Swanky Kitchen Band closed out the live entertainment segment of the event.