The Cayman Islands celebrated the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday in traditional British fashion, with a parade, an awards ceremony and a garden party at Government House.
Members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, in their ceremonial uniforms, led the parade along the waterfront before the official ceremony inside Elmslie Memorial United Church.
Charles Watler, dubbed the “father of the Immigration Board,” received the prestigious Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal.
Philip Rankin was honored with the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for his service to the financial services industry and as chairman of the board of Cayman Airways.
Keith Parker Tibbetts Jr. also received the Badge of Honour for his work to establish a Disabilities Law in Cayman, while John Gray High School music teacher Frances McConvey was granted the same award for her contributions to music and the arts.
The rain, which forced a change of venue from the steps outside the Legislative Assembly, held off long enough for Governor Helen Kilpatrick to officially inspect the parade, which also included contingents from the Fire Service, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the Girls Brigade, the Scouts and Cub Scouts, the Veterans Association and the Cadet Corps.
Inside the church, the governor led three cheers for the queen on her 91st birthday before handing out the awards. The winners and their families then adjourned to the governor’s home for a garden party.
Mr. Watler, who worked for years on the Immigration Board and also set up the prison computer club and helped establish vocational programs at HMP Northward, said it was an honor to receive the MBE.
“I’m very excited and happy, especially to be here with all my friends and family and well-wishers. This award is really for the community,” he added.
“The community gave me the opportunity to do all these things.”
Mr. Tibbetts said his work on the disabilities policy and law was a “labor of love” and he was most pleased to see the strides that had been made on the issue in Cayman.
“I only found out about a month ago that the governor would be giving me this award. I very much appreciate it, but my real interest is in what I can help do for the disabled people. That is all the reward I need.”
He said there was still a lot of work to be done.
“There are ramps that need to be built, elevators, access buttons. I’m humbled by the opportunity to work towards the end,” he said.
Ms. McConvey said she was happy to see the difference in the amount of music programs and opportunities available to children in the Cayman Islands compared to when she first arrived on the island in 1984.
“I feel very humbled because I am only part of a much bigger picture. It feels very special to have an award in the Cayman Islands.”