The men and women of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service took center stage Thursday night at Government House, when Commissioner Derek Byrne presided over the annual Outstanding Service Awards.
Sixty-two members of the service were commended for their work overseas during the last hurricane season, and eight awards were bestowed to deserving recipients.
The awards ceremony took place on a sweltering summer night, and it started with a video documenting the work the RCIPS did last fall in storm-ravaged Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. Acting Governor Franz Manderson praised the police for their dedication and hard work, and he said that the RCIPS has enhanced Cayman’s reputation both at home and around the world.
“It’s a pleasure for me to be here with so many of Cayman’s finest,” Mr. Manderson said. “Our vision in the civil service is to be a world-class civil service. What you have seen here this evening is that the RCIPS has led the way in making us world class.”
Police Constable Christopher Donaldson of the Community Policing Department, who works as a beat officer in Prospect, was named as the Police Officer of the Year, and he spoke about what the award means to him shortly after receiving the accolade.
“I’m a dedicated police officer who wants to serve and do the best I can to make this place a better place,” said Officer Donaldson. “The reason why I joined the RCIPS is I saw where I can make a positive impact in my community, to be a role model for young people. ‘I don’t trust the police’ is a regular statement used by the public. As a police officer, I want to make a change.
“I want to deliver professional service to the general public, the type of service I would want from a police officer.”
Anthony Ellis, deputy commissioner of police, announced the winners of the Diversity Award and the Welfare Award, which were distributed respectively to Auxiliary Constable Fabian O’Connor of the Community Policing Department and Tiffany Rankine from the crime scene unit.
Officer O’Connor earned notoriety earlier this year as “the dancing policeman,” an appellation he earned for the colorful way in which he directs pedestrian traffic on the waterfront crosswalks.
Kurt Walton, deputy commissioner of police, announced the recipients of the Community Spirit and Unit Citation Awards. Alfredo Powery of West Bay earned the spirit award for assisting the Community Policing Department in clean-up projects on numerous occasions, and the Criminal Investigation Unit won the Unit Citation Award for adaptability and determination throughout the year.
Auxiliary Constable Shawn Bazil of the Custody Unit was named Auxiliary Constable of the Year.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be recognized tonight,” AC Bazil said. “What’s more better for me is the reward, not the award. The reward of going to work on a daily basis and having to deal with the prisoners there in my department. If they’re OK, I’m OK. We have a lot of persons that have come into my department that are innocent. Some are guilty, and my duty is to take care of them until they attend court.”
Willian Petit was named Special Constable of the Year, and the Support Staff of the Year was shared between Wayne Bobb-Semple of the IT Department and Monique Burton of the Process Department.
“It’s amazing and very much so surprising,” said Mr. Bobb-Semple, network administrator for the RCIPS. “The fact that somebody actually took the time out to recognize me when you know you do so much work, that’s even much more amazing.”
Police media officer Jodi-Ann Powery spoke briefly to the press after the Outstanding Service Awards had been distributed, and verbalized why it is important for the RCIPS to recognize the best the service has to offer.
“It’s simple, really. It’s morale,” she said. “As human beings, we like to be recognized for the good job that we do. In order to boost morale and to show the officers their work is not being [done] in vain, this is the reason why. A lot of the time, members of the public would love to thank our officers, but based on the type of job we do, we cannot accept gifts or favors from the public. And so, we as an organization have made the decision to recognize those officers who the members of the public love so much.”