North Side celebrates Cayman Thanksgiving

From left, North Side’s Community Development Officer Flavia Gardner, Edna Moyle Primary School student Simon Hansson, and North Side residents Sue and Andrew Gibb. - Photos: Brian Watler

Schoolchildren joined local seniors and other residents of North Side Saturday to share a meal and discussions at a joint Celebrate Cayman and Cayman Thanksgiving dinner last weekend.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller hosted the event, which was attended by about 50 adults, at the district’s Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre.

The Celebrate Cayman initiative is part of the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the islands’ first national symbol, the Coat of Arms.

The community dining and discussion experiences, dubbed “Beloved Table Dinners,” were held across the three islands to enable residents to consider their collective vision for the future of the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Thanksgiving observance, a weekend-long national celebration designed to honor Caymanian heritage, culture and way of life, culminates on the first Sunday in December each year.

According to a press release, Mr. Miller, speaking at the event, observed that “food surpasses technology in connecting us at all levels of society – certainly in the most meaningful way.”

He told the district’s seniors, “So your generation got it right: Dining together, as you seniors instinctively know, is the most meaningful way of connecting people.”

Mr. Miller said that today’s seniors’ keen awareness of how far the Cayman Islands have come over the past 60 years has equipped them to reliably judge the type of future most befitting the Cayman Islands.

As part of pre-dinner cocktails, MLA Ezzard Miller serves homemade rolls with jam, made by North Side Olympian Ronald Forbes. From left are Carla Watler, Pastor Conway King of Wesleyan Church and Rhoda Smith.

Among ideas shared at the dinner was the notion that youth is the greatest “untapped opportunity” for the Cayman Islands. Seniors called for greater attention to education, jobs, and more appropriate ways of responding to the needs of the youth sector, especially for the growing at-risk and offending members. They recommended greater emphasis on parenting training seminars.

In addition to employment and education, the range of ideas at the dinner extended to issues such as drugs, the spiralling traffic problems and the need for more effective public transportation, and the preservation of the environment, the press release stated.

Seniors at the dinner, at which the master of ceremonies was Archie Whittaker, said the benefits of living in Cayman that they most value were freedom of religion, the comparatively low crime rate, the relatively peaceful and charitable nature of communities, and good, accessible healthcare.

Among the guests at the dinner were Kelcey Huggins, Edna Moyle Primary School’s Year Six teacher, who chaperoned students who sang the Cayman National Song and a Christmas carol. The eight students who attended were each assigned to different tables at which seniors sat, so that each grouping included one or two children. At the end of the meeting, each adult attendee was presented with a Celebrate Cayman tool kit for hosting Beloved Table Dinners.

Feedback on Saturday evening’s discussions has been forwarded to the Celebrate Cayman steering committee for incorporation into the national pool of ideas generated by the Beloved Table Dinners across the Cayman Islands, Mr. Miller said.