50 years ago: John A. Cumber school opens in West Bay

In the July 18, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story, titled “West Bay School Opens,” appeared:

“The official opening of the new school at West Bay took place last week Thursday. It has been named ‘John A. Cumber Primary School’ after the Administrator of the Cayman Islands (1964-68).

“Mr. Cumber himself performed the opening ceremony. He said that it was a great honour to have the school named after him. It was a great compliment which he appreciated.

“The Administrator spoke of the part played by members of the Legislative Assembly and the Director of Education in building the new school, and he singled out Mr. T.W. Farrington, a representative of the Board of Education, for special comment.

“His Honour said that the building was erected with Colonial Development and Welfare funds and was a gift from Britain. Two more such schools will be built this year.

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“Mr. Cumber saw a great future for education for the young, and wished that the pupils who will study in the schools will work hard and play hard.

“The Director of Education Mr. V.L. Jackson said he was very pleased to see that the school was almost completed and that it was possible to have an official opening before His Honour and Mrs. Cumber left the island.

“He said the new primary school for West Bay had been a long-felt need. It was included in an education plan drawn up by the former Education Officer Mr. C.A. Hunter.

“Several years ago a block was built to house the younger children. Lack of funds impeded the construction of other classrooms.”

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  1. Sir John A Cumber was a visionary in the development of the Cayman Islands. Records and history show that the foundations for our successful development occurred under his administration. He selected capable and ethical senior civil servants to implement his vision, such as the establishment of our financial industry, the formation of the Chamber of Commerce, the establishment of the MRCU and the development of an education system to meet the needs of the islands he foresaw – among others. Unfortunately his vision was largely discarded by the 1976 – 84 Governments, especially as it relates to our public education system, the results of which are clearly evident today as generations of young Caymanians have by-and-large failed to meet expected educational standards. Sadly, only the 1984-88 Government since has even come close to revising Sir John Cumber’s approach to well-planned development.

    Sir John Cumber should be named a National Hero and his statue should be the one standing proudly downtown.

  2. Kerith , I would say yes to Sir John Cumber should be a National Hero , but the governments since 1984 has disgraced Sir Cumber’s visions. Remember that after he left the Islands and people started changing and governments never stopped changing everything and everyone up to today .