Cayman celebrates monarch’s birthday

“Your Excellency, the parade is formed up and ready for your inspection, sir,” Police Inspector Courtney Myles announced to Governor Anwar Choudhury on Saturday morning at the Queen’s Birthday parade and ceremony.

Mr. Choudhury spent several minutes striding up and down the rows of police officers, prison guards and fire officers standing at attention. Soon after the governor gave his approval, the crowd gathered in front of the Legislative Assembly stood for the United Kingdom’s national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” followed by a 21-gun salute, and the parade participants giving “three cheers for the Queen.”

Those were just some of the ceremonial rituals played out on Saturday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 this year. Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday is April 21, but most of the Commonwealth celebrates the occasion in early June because the better weather allows for outdoor parades.

Residents who have dedicated themselves to community service endeavors were also awarded for their contributions. Headlining the list of awardees was philanthropist Olive Miller, who was named an Officer of the British Empire on Dec. 31 and received her award on Saturday.

Ms. Miller was one of three Cayman residents who were recognized in the U.K.’s New Year’s Honors List. Dr. Bill Hrudey, who has since passed away, and Betty Baraud also received MBEs.

Ms. Miller called the OBE award the “crown” of her career, which includes a laundry list of achievements over the decades, including founding what is now known as the Girls’ Brigade in Cayman in 1946, helping start the Cayman Islands High School in 1949, and opening The Pines Retirement Home – where she currently resides – in 1983.

Some of Ms. Miller’s handiwork was on display at the ceremony: The Girls’ Brigade was one of several youth organizations that participated in the parade. A special exhibition on the life and service of Ms. Miller was also held in the George Town Library.

On Saturday, it was announced that another Caymanian was being bestowed an MBE: Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is being awarded for his charitable works and his dedication to the public service.

“I have enjoyed a lot of support during my entire civil service career and now as deputy governor. I want people to understand that they helped me receive this as well,” Mr. Manderson said of the honor. “I’ve had great support from my family, great role models and a dedicated group of civil servants, including chief officers, who support me. So, I would like people to celebrate this as their award. I have not done this by myself.”

Three residents received the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, which is given to adolescents and young adults who complete a number of self-improvement and community-service exercises.

The honorees were Kimberly Carlos, who volunteered at the Cayman Islands Red Cross; Lauren Williams, who was an assistant teacher with the Girls’ Brigade in West Bay; and Daniel Reid, who tutored young students through the “Horizons” Peer Group Tutoring program in Toronto, Canada.

Cayman was just one of multiple Commonwealth jurisdictions that celebrated the Queen’s birthday on Saturday.

In the U.K., the country’s military marched throughout the Buckingham Palace square to commemorate their monarch. In that ceremony, newly minted royal Meghan Markle captured much of the attention, with Harper’s Bazaar and other publications focusing on what she wore to the event.

“From her appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to her romantic carriage ride with her husband, the Duchess of Sussex is already fitting in well with the rest of the royal family,” Harper’s reported.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the event was celebrated with less enthusiasm. In the British Virgin Islands, only three of the territory’s 13 legislators attended, after there were calls to boycott the event altogether to protest recent U.K. legislation that will force the British Overseas Territories to establish public beneficial ownership registries.

“The glaring absenteeism comes amid the ‘public registers’ controversy between the BVI and the United Kingdom,” reported BVI News. “The U.K. is being accused of infringing on the territory’s constitutional rights – a so-called offence that is not sitting well with several locals.”