Governor Helen Kilpatrick was honored Friday, March 2, at an evening farewell reception on the lawn in front of Government House.
On behalf of the Cabinet, Premier Alden McLaughlin presented Ms. Kilpatrick with a set of dishes embossed with the coat of arms of the Cayman Islands.
It may have saved the departing governor from getting into trouble.
“This is amazing,” Ms. Kilpatrick said as she looked at a poster depicting the tableware. “It’s going to keep me from stealing all the crockery when I go.”
That joke was right in line with the remarks the governor had prepared for the crowd. Since she had been singing the praises of the Cayman Islands all week as she attended various events, Ms. Kilpatrick told the group is was time for her to complain.
She complained about the weather.
After experiencing the contrast between the island sun and the gloom of London, she said, she realized she could no longer live and work in her home country. Hence, her decision to retire upon leaving the governorship.
“The beautiful bright weather of the Cayman Islands has made me unemployed,” she groused.
She also complained about the good food that had made her a stone heavier than when she came.
“Lots of my nice clothes don’t fit me anymore,” she said.
And she claimed to be unhappy about getting together with her fellow foreign service colleagues in the U.K., where the primary topic of conversation is complaining about the respective governments they have to deal with.
“I’m complaining bitterly that I have nothing to complain about,” Ms. Kilpatrick said. “I don’t have anything to say. How boring is that?”
Others in attendance, who were treated to a variety of traditional food, from a whole roasted pig to fish and chips, and classical music by the Tropical Trio, spent time praising the governor.
Mr. McLaughlin called Ms. Kilpatrick “the best governor the island has ever had.”
Some of the guests in attendance said they appreciated the way in which Ms. Kilpatrick engaged with the community. From serving as an honorary Girl Guide to supporting various charities and even making a trip with the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman to Guatemala, where members of the group hiked into remote mountains to help impoverished people, the governor was described by many as accessible and down to earth.
“It’s like you’re talking to a colleague,” said Justin Bodden, president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman. “She’s very approachable.”
David Hardy, an investment manager with IFP, said he would run into her in public.
“You’d see her on the beach and she’d say hello to people,” he said. “And she invited us to a good few parties, so that helped.”
Finance Minister Roy McTaggart said she was helpful to government leaders but never pushy.
“She really left the governing to the government and only offered advice when it was needed,” he said. “She brought a grace and decorum to the governorship that was unprecedented.
“She will surely be missed in the community,” he added.
Ms. Kilpatrick is scheduled to leave Grand Cayman Monday afternoon.