Awardees and guests for the eastern districts spent a joyful and historic afternoon on Sunday, 24 January 2021 at Pedro St. James, Savannah on the second day of the weekend-long National Heroes Day celebrations.
The colourful parade, presentations and musical tributes led up to the presentation of National Heroes Day awards to honourees from Bodden Town, North Side and East End districts. The awardees also included some Cayman Brac and Little Cayman recipients who could not receive the awards at Saturday event on Cayman Brac. The event at Pedro continued to be by invitation only, in view of COVID
-19 numbers restriction.
Master of Ceremonies, Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Samuel Rose, Cert. Hon. JP, kept the proceedings lively at the event that celebrated Cayman Islands’ seafaring heritage.
Four contingents from the Prison and Fire Services, the Pathfinders and the National Cadets, led by the Police Band participated in the parade that started off the celebrations.
After the arrival of His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, OBE, and the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MP, Mr. Deal Ebanks and Miss Ariane Ebanks opened the ceremony with the traditional blowing of the conch shell.
This was followed by reading of the National Heroes Day proclamation by the Parliament Deputy Speaker, Hon. Barbara Conolly, JP, MP. Next smartly attired members of the CI Seafarers’ Association arrived to ring a bell to commence the Watch, a maritime tradition, and kept watch throughout the proceedings.
The National Anthem by member Coast Guard recruitment class, Miss Erica Assai preceded opening prayer by Pastor Kyle McLean.
Minister for Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, Hon. Dwayne Seymour, JP, MP, in his opening remarks, highlighted the historical role played by the Eastern Districts in the national history of the Cayman Islands.
In his keynote address, the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MP paid rich tributes to the seafaring heritage, underscoring the contributions, sacrifices and positive actions that laid a strong foundation for the Cayman Islands to thrive and progress.
A musicial tribute, Letter from Sea, by Mr. Andy Martin, Cert. Hon. was accompanied by the Barefoot Man and Sea N’ B band.
After remarks from President of the CI Seafarers’ Association, Mr. Denniston Tibbetts, the National Heroes Day Awardees received their medals and certificates from the Premier, Cabinet Ministers and MPs.
The seafaring pioneers were recognised as Early Pioneers, Pioneers, Excelled at Sea, Women in Seafaring, Memorial Scroll and Friends of Seafarers.
Seafarers’ Association members then led a brief silence to commemorate Cayman’s past heroes, veterans and seafarers lost at sea.
This was followed by a formal recognition of Cayman Islands’ active seafarers by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Arden McLean, JP, MP, himself a former seafarer. He lauded two Caymanians, both from the Brac, for being Still at Sea: Capt. Anderson Radley Scott, who works in Freeport, Texas as one among only 400 Mooring Masters in the world; and Mr. Gentry Lee Tatum, an Articulated Tug Barges specialist, working out of New York. Commemoration of National Heroes was by Acting Chief Officer, Mrs. Nellie Pouchie, Cert. Hon. and Ms Leisa Welcome, Civil Service Employee of the Year.
The closing ceremony featured the National Song, Beloved Isle Cayman, led by Mr. Arek Nicholson, followed by the ringing of the bell to signal the End of Watch by the CI Seafarers who departed in procession, to the singing of Come Back Home to Your Island by the CI Folk-Singers.