Cayman’s annual Remembrance Sunday parade and ceremony in Grand Cayman has been cancelled, the Protocol Office announced Friday evening.
The cancellation was due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the risks posed to elderly and vulnerable veterans as well as other attendees.
“We took the decision based on the current gathering cap at 500 and the advice of our trusted medical experts to do what is best to continue to protect those who are most vulnerable in the country,” Meloney Syms, chief of protocol said in the statement.
The decision, she said, was taken by the Cayman Islands Veterans Association and “we fully support them”.
Cayman Brac officials, in consultation with the Veterans and Seamen Society of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, have decided to proceed with their ceremony, which is set for 8 Nov.
Even though the Grand Cayman ceremony has been cancelled, Syms said the public is encouraged to still give to the poppy appeal.
“Poppies are symbolic of those who have given their lives while fighting for the freedoms enjoyed today,” she said. “Members of the public are encouraged to wear their poppies with pride. Although they can be obtained free-of-charge at various locations, the public is invited to give donations to support local veterans.”
Syms added by wearing poppies, “we honour the vulnerability of our aging veterans and give back to them. We appreciate that this is deeply saddening for so many across our islands.”
Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, commenting on the cancellation, said despite all the changes that have come with 2020, everyone is encouraged to find alternate ways to “remember those who made the ultimate sacrifices on our behalf, until we are allowed to once again come together”.
Those attending the Cayman Brac ceremony have been asked to assemble at 10:30am on the lawn of the District Administration Building or, in case of inclement weather, at the Aston Rutty Centre.
For those unable to attend the ceremony, the Protocol Office said it has organised remote and socially distanced ways to honour veterans, including an hour-long televised special airing on 8 Nov. on the Cayman Islands Government Youtube channel. Show time will be announced early next week.
The community, the statement said, is invited to lay wreaths throughout the day at the Cenotaph, at the Elmslie Memorial United Church on Harbour Drive, George Town, from 11:30am.
Social-distancing measures will be in place.
The public, the statement added, is asked to join in marking two minutes of silence at home or in the workplace at 11am on 11 Nov. (11th hour/11th day/11th month).