More than 100 individuals and organizations who helped shape Cayman were recognized on a windy Monday morning Heroes Day ceremony.
The people recognized included vestrymen, justices of the peace, and the architects of Cayman’s Coat of Arms. These officials guided the territory through crucial periods of development, said Premier Alden McLaughlin.
“It was the conferral of our coat of arms that began our incredible journey as three small islands in the Western Caribbean that emerged from relative obscurity on to the world stage,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Up until 1958, life in
the Cayman Islands was summarized by the legendary phrase, ‘the islands time forgot.’”
Around this time, Cayman was a dependency of the then-British colony Jamaica, making the territory what the premier called “the lowest form of constitutional status known in the Westminster form of government: a dependency of a dependency.”
Mr. McLaughlin recognized the late Commissioner Major Alan H. Donald as a key figure of making Cayman a distinct jurisdiction.
In 1957, Mr. Donald put forward a motion to legislators for
Cayman to attain world recognition as a semi-autonomous territory of the United Kingdom. His proposal was approved by the resolution of the Legislative Assembly of Justices and Vestry in April of that year.
Mr. McLaughlin also recognized Reverend Arthur W. Saunders and James “Jimmy” B. Ford for their assistance with the design of the coat of arms.
More than 50 other vestrymen and justices of the peace were recognized at the ceremony. Only two of them, Captain Owen Murphy Farrington and Charles Lindbergh Eden, are still alive. Mr. Farrington was the only honoree present, as Mr. Eden is hospitalized.
“First of all, I want to ask you to remember in your prayers my colleague Mr. Eden, who’s in the hospital since
Christmas,” Mr. Farrington said, adding, “From when the justices of the peace and vestrymen agreed on what the coat of arms should look like until today, spans 60 years. That 60-year journey was not without challenges, but through the grace of God, we arrived to where we are today.”
The late vestrymen and justices of peace who were honored are as follows.
- West Bay: Spurgeon Andrew Ebanks, Capt. James Cadian Ebanks, James Stafford Ebanks, John GarstonSmith, Capt. Charles Ebanks Glidden, Capt. Thomas William Farrington, Thomas Abram Ebanks, John Samuel Smith, Samuel Osbert Ebanks and Lee Alfonzo Ebanks.
- George Town: Edgar Ducan Merren, Ormond Lauder Panton, Hugh Malcolm Coe, William Wallace Bodden, Allen Berkley Bush, Capt. Rayal Brazely Bodden Sr., Edmond Samuel Parsons, Ernest Ottey Panton, Thomas Frederick Hill, Major Joseph Rodriguez Walter, Desmond Vere Watler, James Ashford Panton and Otto Gordon Hurlston.
- Savanah: Emis Mortimer Forbes.
- Bodden Town: William Benjamin McCoy, George Hermadin Ricketts, Harold Stewart, Alfred Biddle Bodden, James Lobner Berry, Richard Phillip Bodden and Thomas Logan Bodden.
- East End: William Allen McLaughlin, Norman Rudolph McLaughlin, Lincoln Benjamin Bodden and Austin Burns Conolly.
- North Side: Kenneth Norman Chisholm, Olney Albury Ebanks and Bertram Ebanks.
- Prospect: Alfred Lawrence Thompson Sr. and James Carl Thompson.
- Sister Islands: Capt. Charles Gerald Kirkconnell, Capt. Keith Parker Tibbetts Sr., Capt. Robert Clifton Foster, Arnold Athelin Foster, Capt. Edwin Ellis Walton Jr., JamesNathaniel Tibbetts, Aston Shedden Rutty, Waide Taylor Foster, John Cummings Lazzari, Capt. Reginald Bloomfield Kirkconnell, Lawford George Lawrence and Dennis Haley Foster.
More than 60 organizations that have served the community for more than 50 years were also be recognized at the ceremony. These include Cayman Airways Ltd., the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, the Hungry Horse Restaurant and this newspaper, the Cayman Compass.