Ending a four-and-a-half year term that made her one of Cayman’s longest-serving governors since the post was established in the early 1970s, Helen Kilpatrick bid farewell to the Cayman Islands in a small sending off party at Island Air Monday afternoon.

The event was attended by Premier Alden McLaughlin and Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush, as well as Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, senior civil service leadership and a number of other Legislative Assembly members.

Shortly after her arrival at the Island Air facility, Speaker Bush told Governor Kilpatrick that he would not have minded her staying in the Cayman Islands after her term in office was up.

“You’re one of the few recent governors I’m sad to see go,” Mr. Bush told Ms. Kilpatrick.

“Thank you, Mr. Bush, that is a very great honor,” the governor responded.

Mr. Manderson will be filling in as the territory’s acting governor until the arrival of new Governor Anwar Choudhury, scheduled for March 26.

“I think it will be a smooth transition, although they’re both coming from very different backgrounds,” Mr. Manderson said. “The new governor is a diplomat. [He’ll] engage with the community, be accessible, promoting our good governance and human rights.

“[Ms. Kilpatrick] and I had a really great relationship. I’m certainly going to miss her. She’s been a great boss.”

Ms. Kilpatrick had time for one last police guard review outside the Island Air hangar, after which she was driven to her waiting Air Canada flight.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick poses for a photograph with her daughter Olivia Connolly, who is remaining in Cayman, and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson at a reception at Island Air Monday immediately prior to the governor’s departure from the Cayman Islands. – Photo: Brent Fuller

The outgoing governor said she would be retiring from the U.K. civil service following the Cayman post and going on vacation in Sri Lanka and Bali shortly after her Cayman departure. She said she’s largely uncertain what the future holds.

“The variety of the work and the vibrancy of the beautiful Cayman Islands have spoiled me and I would not relish returning to cold, dark London on a full-time basis,” she said.

Although Governor Kilpatrick will not be staying in Cayman, her daughter, Olivia Connolly, will be remaining here on a work permit.

Ms. Connolly said she’s been offered a six-month contract as a paralegal at a local law firm and that her mom has a place to stay if she wishes to return as a visitor.

“I think she’ll come back and visit before long,” Ms. Connolly said. “The best part about [our time in Cayman] is seeing that mum has been the happiest she’s ever been in her life.”