Voting begins for CCMI People’s Choice Awards

CCMI President Carrie Manfrino, left, and keynote speaker Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, right, present Claire Hughes with the People's Choice Award at last year's awards ceremony. - Photo: Maggie Jackson

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is inviting members of the public to vote for its People’s Choice Awards.

At its annual Festival of Seas gala in November, CCMI will recognise “exceptional contributors to local marine conservation efforts”, according to a press release from the institute.

The People’s Choice Award is a full audience participation effort, nominated and voted on by members of the public. This year, two People’s Choice Awards will be announced: an Individual and a Company/Organisation that has contributed in a significant way to protecting and/or restoring coral reefs in the Cayman Islands.

The nominees in the Individual People’s Choice Award category are:

  • Linda Clark for her work with Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, both behind the scenes and gathering signatures.
  • Bonnie Edwards for her work as a volunteer for Cayman Brac turtle patrol.
  • Bill LaMonte for his work with Plastic Free Cayman and mentor to Protect Our Future student organisation.
  • Michael Ridley who was behind Project Turtle Beach, which arranged to have security cameras on an extremely active sea turtle nesting beach.
  • Everett M. Turner Jr, Essi Evans and Cynthia Abgarian for publishing four books on Cayman’s natural environment and unique biodiversity.
  • Last year’s individual People’s Choice Award went to Claire Hughes from Plastic Free Cayman.

In the Company/Organisation People’s Choice Award category, nominees are:

  • Pirates Week Festival for moving away from single-use plastics at Pirates Week events.
  • Protect Our Future Cayman for its student environmental advocacy efforts.
  • STOAK’D Cayman for using plastic debris in art to raise awareness about conservation issues.

“Whether through a project, programme or event, all nominees have demonstrated leadership and commitment to bringing about a transformative impact on the ocean habitats, especially coral reefs, in the Cayman Islands. By featuring members of the community and their efforts on behalf of the environment, CCMI not only wants to recognise those who have made significant positive impact on the marine environment, but also to inspire others to get involved in conservation initiatives,” the organisation stated in the press release.

The winners of the People’s Choice Award and the Healthy Reefs Challenge will be announced at the annual Festival of Seas Awards and Gala event on 16 Nov. at Grand Old House.

Full details of each nomination can be found on the CCMI website at www.reefresearch.org/peopleschoice2019. Voting begins Monday, 16 Sept., at 8am, and closes on Sunday, 29 Sept., at 5pm. There is a limit of one vote per person in each category.