A permanent memorial has been dedicated in honour of the late Cayman Compass journalist Carol Winker.

A wooden-and-wicker chair with a plaque bearing her name was unveiled in Courtroom 1 at the formal opening of Grand Court on Wednesday.

The chair, which will remain in the same spot she sat in for years, bears the message ‘In memory and honour of Carol A. Winker journalist and court reporter extraordinaire who served the people of the Cayman Islands for 34 years’.

Winker, 79, died last November after a battle with cancer.

She was known for her court reporting, but Winker covered all types of stories for the Cayman Compass and could usually be seen riding her bicycle between court and the newsroom.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie paid tribute to Winker and lauded her penchant for accuracy and fairness in her years of court reporting.

He pointed to the practice of attorneys often citing her articles in their arguments, which he said would later become affectionately known as the ‘Winker Law Reports’.

Smellie said Winker set a “standard” for all journalists who wanted to report on the courts, and they should follow her example.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, in his address at the opening, paid homage to Winker’s contribution, saying she was greatly admired by all for her credible court reporting.

In his speech, Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran also paid tribute to Winker, as well as Justice Charles Quin who also died last year. David Collins, president of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association, in his speech said, “Ms. Winker made a significant contribution as a respected journalist, renowned for her reporting on Cayman’s courts.”

He also highlighted the passing of Quin and attorney Kirsten Houghton. “Ms. Houghton, Justice Quin, QC, and Ms. Winker were beloved members of the legal fraternity. They will be greatly missed,” Collins added.

Special mention was given to Sir Edward Zacca, former President of the Court of Appeal.
Bulgin said Zacca’s memory will live on through the law reports of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean as a whole.

Carol Winker bio

Carol Winker, 79, was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
She graduated from Messmer High School in 1958, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Mary College in 1962. Later, attended Marquette University where she gained credits toward her master’s degree, which she earned from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

She then travelled to Belize and British Honduras for two years as a papal volunteer.

Afterward, she returned to the US and worked for the postal service before teaching at Lincoln High School in Milwaukee. She moved to the Cayman Islands in the mid-70s to continue her career in education as a peripatetic reading teacher.

She joined the Cayman Compass as a journalist in 1985.

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