Queen awards Dr. John Lee an OBE

HSA forensic DNA specialist Angela Marie Tanzillo-Swarts receives Honorary MBE

Dr. John Lee has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to Cayman's fight against COVID-19. - Photo: Danielle Coleman

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his outstanding contribution to health services in the Cayman Islands, Governor Martyn Roper announced Friday.

The queen, in her birthday honours list, also conferred on Angela Marie Tanzillo-Swarts, forensic DNA specialist at the Health Services Authority, the award of Honorary Member of the British Empire for her contribution to Cayman’s capacity and ability to carry out wide-scale testing.

Several members of the local community are also being honoured for their work in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

In a statement, the governor said, “These awards recognise the many people across our community who played a significant role in the battle against the virus, including healthcare, emergency responders, charitable organisations, civil service and private sector.”

The statement quoted Lee as saying, “I am incredibly proud and humbled to receive this honour from Her Majesty The Queen. Cayman’s unique strengths of integrity, clear thinking, indomitable spirit, resilience and perseverance have allowed us all to successfully face the challenge of the COVID disease.

“I thank all of those in Government and healthcare for their unswerving support and those closest to me for holding me through the darkest times.”

Angela Tanzillo-Swarts has received an Honorary MBE for her work in enabling Cayman to carry out wide-scale COVID-19 testing. – Photo: GIS

Tanzillo-Swarts said in the statement, “It is very gratifying to have been able to be of service. I am honoured and humbled by the recognition.”

The governor has also awarded a Certificate and Badge of Honour to several people in recognition of “their exceptional service to our community during this pandemic”. He said these are a “unique and special one-off set of awards to reflect the unprecedented situation in which we find ourselves”.

The awards are as follows:

For meritorious services rendered during the COVID pandemic and for services rendered to the government and people of the Cayman Islands:

  • Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon – Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose – Cabinet Office
  • Chief Officer Eric Bush – Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs
  • Chief Officer Wesley Howell – Ministry of Employment and Border Control
  • Acting Chief Officer Nellie Pouchie – Ministry of Health Environment, Culture and Housing
  • Chief Officer Teresa Echenique – Ministry of Community Affairs

For meritorious service rendered during the COVID Pandemic:

  • Jennifer West – Meals on Wheels
  • Rob Imparato – Meals on Wheels
  • Woody Foster – Managing Director, Fosters
  • Marie Eden – Cayman Food Bank
  • Phillip Hyre – Cayman Food Bank
  • Wil Pineau – Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commence
  • Tara Nielsen – Acts of Random Kindness
  • Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil – Clinical Director, Health City
  • Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne – Royal Cayman Islands Police Service
  • Danielle Coleman – Director, Hazard Management
  • Paulinda Mendoza-Williams – Director, Department of Children and Family Services
  • Suzette Ebanks – Chief Information Officer
  • Cheryl Neblett – First Legislative Counsel
  • Commandant Robert Scotland – Coast Guard
  • Commandant Bobeth O’Garro – Cayman Islands Cadet Corps
  • Maria Leng – Deputy Head, Governor’s Office
  • Simone Eade – Policy Adviser, Governor’s Office
  • Lizzette Yearwood – Chief Executive Officer, Heath Services Authority
  • Dawn Cummings – Chief Financial Officer, Health Services Authority
  • Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriquez – Medical Officer of Health, Public Health/Health Services Authority
  • Hazel Brown – Chief Nursing Officer, Heath Services Authority
  • Joseph Woods – Acting Director, Port Authority
  • Chris Duggan – VP Dart and Special Constable RCIPS
  • Joan West-Dacres – Deputy Chief Officer, Community Affairs
  • Andrea Fa’amoe – Deputy Chief Officer, Ministry of International Trade Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs
  • Kathryn Dinspel-Powell – Deputy Chief Officer, Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs
  • Graeme Jackson – Director, Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Jon Japal – Department of Planning
  • Superintendent Adrian Seales – Royal Cayman Islands Police Service
  • Claudia Brady – Department of Commerce and Investment
  • Tristaca Ebanks – Ministry of International Trade Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs
  • Kristy Watler – Cabinet Office
  • Lauren Knight – Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Tasha Ebanks-Garcia – Office of the Deputy Governor
  • Ventisha Conolly- Ministry of Tourism, District Administration and Transport
  • Roy Tatum – Office of the Premier
  • Laura Watler – Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Winston Sutherland – Director, Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Delia Hydes – Portfolio of the Civil Service
  • Lauren Knight – Portfolio of the Civil Service

For meritorious services rendered to the Financial Services industry:

  • Dax Basdeo – Chief Officer, Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs
  • Michelle Bahadur – Director, Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs

For meritorious services to Public Health and to the people of the Cayman Islands:

  • Richard Simms – Director, Department of Environmental Health

For achievements in leadership and innovation within the Department of Commerce and Investment

  • Ryan Rajkumarsingh – Director, Department of Commerce and Investment

For meritorious service to the commissions supporting democracy and services rendered during the COVID pandemic:

  • Deborah Bodden – Commissions Secretariat, Portfolio of the Civil Service

In his statement, the governor congratulated to Lee and Tanzillo-Swarts on being recognised by Queen Elizabeth II.

“Dr. Lee played a unique and pivotal role, in the full glare of press and public attention, in our response to this crisis,” Roper said. “He helped steer our Islands to safety during a highly difficult period in our Islands’ history.

“He carried out his duties calmly and confidently providing outstanding public health advice as confirmed to me by Public Health England. He was a reassuring presence for the wider community.”

Of Tanzillo-Swarts, the governor said, she did “more than anyone to enable Cayman to develop a reliable testing capability and capacity, which made such a crucial contribution to the success we had in responding to the virus. For our Islands to have conducted over 40,000 tests is an outstanding achievement.”

The governor also congratulated all those awarded the Certificate and Badge of Honour “for their commitment, dedication, and sense of duty in supporting people across our entire community”.

He said, “Our Islands are blessed to have people of this quality and standing who are prepared to work so hard for our community. They have all demonstrated CaymanKind at its very best.”

An awards ceremony will be held “in the next couple of months” at Government House, said Roper, so that awardees can receive their certificates and badges with family and friends.

Roper added, “Today’s events at Red Bay Primary show we are not out of the woods yet in dealing with this complicated and dangerous virus. But the awards today can give us confidence that we have so many people with ability, skills, effectiveness and dedication to deal with whatever arises.”

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well deserved by all and especially by Dr. Lee for guiding us through this pandemic without any loss of local lives or indeed serious outbreaks.

    I am so proud of our government. While many far larger countries dithered and procrastinated they acted swiftly to prevent this virus ever taking hold.

    Well done.

  2. Congratulations to Dr Lee and only a select few civil servants. And congratulations to the sadly minimal number of private sector recipients. It absolutely boggles the mind that so many other civil servants are getting rewarded for simply doing their jobs.