Vestrymen and Justices of the Peace who were instrumental in getting the Cayman Islands its own Coat of Arms will be honored at the 2019 Heroes Day celebrations on Monday, Jan. 28.

“Celebrating the Creation of our Coat of Arms” will replace the previously announced theme of the 2019 Heroes Day, which was “Pioneers in Maritime Heritage.” Those Maritime pioneers will be recognized in the 2021 Heroes Day ceremony. Next year’s Heroes Day will mark the granting of the constitution.

“The grant of the Coat of Arms represents the seminal moment that started the chain of events that placed the Cayman Islands on the path to modernity,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said in a press release.

Queen Elizabeth II approved the Royal Warrant assigning “Armorial Ensigns for the Cayman Islands” on May 14, 1958. To mark the 60th anniversary of the occasion, the Cayman Islands government in May last year launched “Celebrate Cayman” – a year of activities and celebrations that included an educational road show that visited all the districts of the islands to help inform people of the history and significance of the Coat of Arms.

“The National Heroes Day is a highlight of our cultural calendar each year. The Ministry looks forward to working with the Protocol Office to ensure the 2019 event comes together adeptly and that the pioneers who saw the Coat of Arms instated, are duly recognized,” said Minister of Culture Dwayne Seymour.

The Celebrate Cayman website outlines how the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms came about. It states: “In 1957, the Commissioner Major Alan H. Donald put forward a proposal for a Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands. This resolution for the Cayman Islands National ‘Arms’ was passed on April 3, 1957, by the local Legislative Assembly of Justices and Vestry.

“On April 11, 1957, Government notice 33/57 was issued requesting all interested Caymanians who had ideas on the subject of the preparation of a Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands to submit ideas with illustrations.

“The Commissioner sought the help of The Reverend Arthur W Saunders to assist with the creation of our Coat of Arms. Reverend Saunders was an Englishman stationed in Jamaica with the Methodist Church in St. Lucea. He was also a member of the Heraldry Society and was associated with the Coat of Arms for the proposed West Indies Federation. James Ford, formerly of the Yacht Club/Ports of Call, now The Wharf, submitted a design which assisted in the formation of the present Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands.

“On Feb. 5, 1958, the Commissioner formally moved a motion to accept exhibit A as the desired design of the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms. The motion was seconded by Vestryman Alfred Lawrence Thompson, [who] was serving as a representative of Prospect. The Royal Warrant signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on May 14, 1958, assigned these ‘Armorial Ensigns.’”

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