Brac celebrates 60th anniversary of coat of arms

Captain Owen Farrington, one of the original vestrymen (elected representatives) at the time of the issuance of the Cayman coat of arms, center, unveils the Royal Warrant on Thursday in Cayman Brac. - Photo: James Whittaker

Around 200 people, including schoolchildren, turned out in Cayman Brac Thursday for a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Cayman’s coat of arms.

During the ceremony, at the District Administration Office on the Brac, the Royal Warrant that brought the distinctive national crest into being was officially unveiled.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who told the story of the coat of arms to the gathering, said it was a symbol of Cayman’s national identity. He said its creation in 1958 came at a time when the islands were on the lowest rung of the colonial system as a dependency of another dependency – Jamaica.

With Jamaica charting a course toward independence, he said, the development of the coat of arms was one of the first steps toward Cayman’s leadership pursuing a different path, alongside the U.K.

He said the designers had insisted on three key elements – something that referenced the British connection, the link to the sea, and three stars to represent the three Cayman Islands.

The crest was the first recognition and symbol of Cayman and its people as distinct and separate from Jamaica, he said.

Mr. McLaughlin described the issuance of the Cayman Islands coat of arms as a seminal moment in Cayman’s history and one that set the islands on the path to modernity. He said, “Up until 1958 Caymanians eked out a hard scrabble existence based on subsistence farming, fishing, turtling and seamanship. They faced hardship the likes of which future generations will hopefully never experience.”

Education Minister and Cayman Brac legislator Juliana O’Connor-Connolly also paid tribute to generations of Caymanian leaders who had charted a course from those hard days to the economic prosperity enjoyed by the islands today.

There was music from students at the Layman E. Scott High School and Ms. O’Connor-Connolly even led a rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. Premier” for Mr. McLaughlin, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday.