For Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, receiving his MBE from the heir to the British throne in front of his friends, family and colleagues is a moment he will never forget.
“It’s a real honour, certainly one of the most memorable nights of my life,” said Manderson after Prince Charles pinned the medal to his lapel in front of a packed crowd at Pedro St. James castle on Thursday.
Manderson received the award for a 38-year government career that has seen him rise through the ranks from his early days as an immigration officer to become the head of the civil service.
As he accepted the award, he said he briefly explained his role as deputy governor, and the prince quipped, “Does that mean you do all the work?”
Manderson said, “He thanked me for my service and said he hoped that I would continue to be successful.”
He added, “It is a great honour and privilege to receive the MBE. It is so special, not just to get it from His Royal Highness, but to have the people who worked with me and supported me for 38 years here with me to celebrate.”
Manderson was escorted by his mother Jenny Manderson to accept his award and accompanied on the night by his wife Nuvia, son Franz Jr. and daughter Alyssa, as well as a host of friends and colleagues from his long career.
He said he was thankful to all the people he had worked with over the years that had helped make his career a success. Manderson was named as Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, MBE, for his services to the Cayman Islands at the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in June last year.
Thinking back on his career highlights, Manderson recalled working 14-hour days as a young immigration officer.
He said he was pleased to have advanced from there to be deputy governor and to help transform the civil service to the point where it was universally well regarded by its employees and its customers.
Citing the fact that 225,000 government customers hit the green smiley face button to show their appreciation for government’s customer service at various outlets during the last year, he said satisfaction with the civil service was improving.
Of the royal visit and the investiture ceremony at Pedro St. James Thursday, Manderson said it was a wonderful visit and a proud moment for the Cayman Islands.
“We have a lot to be proud of. We have pulled off a significant royal visit,” he said. “Everyone came together to make it a special event and the royals will have left with a keen understanding of what Cayman is all about.”
He said he was impressed with how much time the royal couple had spent meeting and greeting Caymanians and how willing they had been to engage with everyone they met.
There were also awards presented by the prince on Thursday to Felicia McLean, director of operations and nursing at Jasmine hospice, and athlete Andrew Smilley. Both got Certificates and Badges of Honour. McLean received the award for her services to palliative care in Cayman, while Smilley received his for services to sport.