September 20, 2019

Cayman Islands: PSPB Pensioners’ Appreciation Event a rousing success

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More than 400 people attended the Public Service Pensions Board Pensioners’ () Appreciation event at . James from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 12 April 2017.

A light, refreshing breeze greeted visitors from across the length and breadth of Grand Cayman, many of whom were bussed there and back for free thanks to an arrangement between the PSPB and Webster’s Tours.

Staged under tents in the green and spacious grounds of the historic home, the event celebrated the steadfast contributions of the fund’s pensioners on the 25th anniversary of the board.

Clusters of tables decked in the board’s distinctive purple and grey colours, within sight of the sea and the old great house allowed attendees to sit in comfort and catch up with old friends while thumbing through the packed programme, which promised plenty of live entertainment, a generously provisioned buffet-style meal and beverages, speeches, prizes and give-aways.

Kearney Gomez, master of ceremonies at the five-hour event gave the opening remarks. The former Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Works, a 43-year civil service veteran kept the audience entertained with snippets titled “Remember When,” and recollections of civil service life in between introducing the roster of dignitaries and entertainers.

He also gave the apologies of the Minister of Community Affairs, Youth and Sport, Hon. Osbourne Bodden, who was to have given remarks.

Following prayer, the blessing of food was given by James Watler.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson then took to the podium. Speaking without notes, Mr. Manderson addressed the crowd which included National Hero Sybil McLaughlin and John Jefferson Jr.

He gave thanks to several people including Jewel Evans Lindsey, the PSPB’s Managing Director who had run the entity since its conception and her staff. In particular, the Deputy Governor praised the MD for having the foresight and good heart to recognise the good that [the funds first members] had done.

He noted that while it was not unknown these days for pension funds to lose money, the competency of staff meant that the PSPB fund was now worth more $1.5 billion.

In outlining the defining contributions of the fund’s 1,800 pensioner members, Mr. Manderson recognised that the retirees were among those civil servants who had laid the foundations that had allowed the fund’s year-on-year growth. He further suggested that their diligence and professionalism while public servants had not only made the civil service a great place but the Cayman Islands great, too.

Today is about you,” he said of the event. In scanning the crowd he saw, “many of our legends before us and those who made my job easier. People I worked with and admired.”

It really is a great pleasure to be in your presence…we all want to be where you are (retired).”

In her Vote of Thanks, Mrs. Lindsey Evans said that the pensions fund allowed its members to retire with dignity and respect.

She thanked the Deputy Governor, describing his oratory as “warm, generous and spontaneous, reflecting the high esteem we hold our pensioners.”

The speech-making over, young music group Jubilate performed several well-received pieces including “We Believe”.

The group was followed by the John Gray High School Band which played a medley of time-honoured standards.

Interspersed among the proceedings were spot prizes and plenty of giveaways donated by the event’s many sponsors and the PSPB’s Member Services team.

Another performer at the Pensioners’ Appreciation event was Nasaria Suckoo Chollette. The noted artist gave three readings of her poetry, including the humorous ‘Dan de Pan’ and the woman-centered ‘Lord, I didn’t know.’ Each poem, performed using rich Caymanian diction and idioms, was applauded by the audience which enjoyed hearing the local poet at her best.

During the event the food stalls did brisk business serving up conch soup and rolls, Cayman-style beef, fried fish and festival, curry chicken, patties, heavy cakes, turtle stew and fresh food platters. A combined effort from the local supermarkets and local vendors, the buffet did not disappoint. Heaped plates in hand, many made their way back to their tables to eat and drink in the incomparable view. Eatables were washed down with water, homemade swanky and tamarind juice with several attendees going back for seconds and for foil-wrapped carry-home.

When not eating or listening out for the spot prize numbers and the performers, attendees walked over to neighbouring tables to catch up with friends before making their way over to the advice, information and sign-up booths in a separate tent.

Manned by the staff of the Health Services Authority, CINICO, Meals on Wheels, the Seventh-Day Community Outreach, Lions Club Food Pantry and the PSPB, the kiosks had a welcoming air and visitors came away with invaluable advice, useful giveaways and bags of provisions having had blood sugar and blood pressure tested.

Swanky Kitchen Band closed out the live entertainment segment of the event in fine style filling the cool evening air with lively beauty of Cayman folk arrangements.

While some still sat talking around tables come 7.30 p.m., the lights had dipped over the horizon replaced by the headlights of the last of the busses heading out of Pedro and the journey home.

(GIS)

Captions and photos by :

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Jubilate perform at the PSPB Pensioners’ Appreciation Event at Pedro.

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Poet Nasaria Suckoo Chollette reads her poems during the Pedro-based event.

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Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson gave well-received remarks.

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One of several prize-winners at the PSPB Pensioners’ Appreciation event at Pedro.

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Food and drink were plentiful at the Appreciation event.

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Attendees lined up to get free CINICO and PSPB advice.

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Swanky Kitchen Band closed out the five-hour event.

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Hundreds of PSPB retirees enjoyed the fund’s Pensioners’ Appreciation event at Pedro St. James.

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PSPB Managing Director, Jewel Evans Lindsey gives her Vote of Thanks.

(GIS)

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