Seven people have been picked this year to be Older Persons Month ambassadors.
“Our seven older persons were chosen as they each have an impressive history of service in their respective districts,” said Department of Children and Family Services Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams.
The seven ambassadors are Trevor Eyston Watler of East End; Jane Ramoon of George Town; Norma Arelia Scott of Cayman Brac; Franklin Churchill Bodden of Little Cayman; Mary Lawrence of Bodden Town; Margaret ‘Lizzie’ Powell of West Bay; and Lucille Douglas of North Side.
“We are very much looking forward to them taking part in the observance, in which they will be sharing the importance of this year’s theme: ‘Life Stories: Then and Now’ with both their peers and the wider community,” she added.
During October, the Older Persons Month ambassadors will be sharing aspects of their own life stories as well as attending several of the observance’s events throughout the Cayman Islands. “In doing so, it is hoped they can encourage others to share their own stories to promote a greater degree of intergenerational understanding and acceptance,” organisers said in a press release announcing the ambassadors.
Below are biographies of this year’s ambassadors, as supplied by the Government Information Services.
Eyston Watler, East End
Trevor Eyston Watler was born on 2 Sept. 1936 in Gun Bay, close to the home he built and still lives in to this day. A family man, he was married to his schooldays sweetheart Vernicia née McLaughlin, his wife and soulmate for 55 years, raising four children together.
At 18 years old, Mr. Watler joined National Bulk Carriers and retired from an eventful life at sea after 28 years. Undaunted by the less than ideal studying conditions while a seaman, he studied every opportunity he got: sitting the Second Assistant exam in Cape Town, the First Assistant exam in Kingston and the Chief exam in Mobile, Alabama, all while his ship was in dry dock. This singlemindedness (passing each exam at first sitting) meant that he valued getting an education and the sacrifices acquiring such knowledge takes. Such drive later led to him playing a pivotal role in helping youngsters reach their own career goals.
Jane Ramoon, George Town
Jane Ramoon, affectionately known in the community as ‘Aunt Jane’, was born 22 May 1940.
As the oldest of seven maternal siblings, in a close-knit family, she has always had a nurturing nature. In fact, her protectiveness not only benefitted her younger brothers and sisters, but extended beyond their yard and out into the wider central George Town community.
In earlier years, Ms Ramoon earned the nickname of ‘Mother Hen’, for her knack of ensuring that all the children were taken care of at any social function that was taking place.
Norma Arelia Scott, Cayman Brac
Norma Arelia Scott was born on 4 Feb. 1934, in the Creek, Cayman Brac. She is the mother of five adult children and lives in West End with her husband of 65 years, Henley Scott.
In her younger days, Mrs. Scott worked at Eldemire’s Guest House in the Creek and then as a grocery store clerk. A friendly and outgoing person, she also operated a bed and breakfast at her home.
Mrs. Scott is a well-known Brac resident, who is talented, knowledgeable and an active member of the community.
Franklin Churchill Bodden, Little Cayman
Franklin Churchill Bodden was born on 17 Jan. 1944 to Iva Jocelyn and Winston Churchill Bodden in Little Cayman, where he was schooled until 1957 when the family moved to West End, Cayman Brac.
At 16 years old, he began his life as a seafarer, travelling to Rio de Janeiro before setting sail on the Harold H. Helm from Santos, Brazil, to numerous ports in the Persian Gulf, Sumatra, Singapore, China and the west coast of the USA.
Mary Jannet Lawrence, Bodden Town
Former Speaker of the House Mary Jannet Lawrence has lived in Bodden Town since the age of 7 when she arrived to attend school. Born in Nicaragua of Caymanian parents Copeland Bodden and wife Otilla Bodden née Bodden, she was taught to be proud of her Caymanian heritage and roots, anchored in the family after which her town is named.
She went on to teach in public and private schools; and also worked as a print writer, editor and publisher. An authority on the history and development of Cayman, Mrs. Lawrence is often called on to research topics from her personal files. She also undertakes speaking engagements, and has been a commentator on local radio.
Margaret ‘Lizzie Powell, West Bay
Born by the light of a flickering kerosene lamp, in the wee hours of 4 March 1937, Margaret ‘Lizzie’ Powell (née Ebanks) is the daughter of the late Florence and Allen Ebanks.
Growing up in West Bay, she spent many a daylight hour jumping in the sea from the high rocks of the ironshore behind her home.
Other childhood amusements included spinning homemade gigs (tops), skipping rope, and playing marbles with knickers from the cat claw plant, as well as with homemade marbles. The latter were made by pounding rocks, then wetting and moulding the dust to form balls which were then dried in the sun.
Lucille Douglas, North Side
One of this year’s Older Persons Month Ambassadors, Lucille Douglas is a woman of many callings. The cheer-giver is also a teacher, caregiver, and transportation provider.
Born on 23 July 1941 and raised in North Side, having lived in the district all her life, Miss Douglas knows the needs of her fellow Nor’siders.
Her readiness to help led the late Edna Moyle to call her ‘the Florence Nightingale of North Side’.
A number of events have been organised throughout the month to celebrate Older Persons Month. For the full list of events, click here.
To register for any events or to get further information about events in your district, contact: West Bay 916-7902 (Vanda Powery), George Town 925-4083 (Dorline Welcome), Bodden Town 924-3309 (Carol Bodden), North Side 926-0490 (Flavia Gardener), East End 925-5543 (Delmira Kirchman), Cayman Brac/Little Cayman 948-2331/929-7932 (Kerry Parchman).
For further information, contact the Department of Children and Family Services – Grand Cayman 949-0290 or Cayman Brac 948-2331.