December 13, 2018

Tribute to Mr. Kirkland Nixon from Cayman Islands Premier

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From The Office of The Premier

Tribute to

Mr. Kirkland Nixon, QFSM, IDSA, ,

It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that I acknowledge the passing of Mr. Kirkland Nixon, QFSM, IDSA, MBE, JP, a most special Caymanian, and to me a personal friend and mentor.

On behalf of the Government I extend sympathy to his widow, Melba, his daughters Tammy and Lorrie and the entire family. Kirkland was a retired civil servant and Cayman’s first Chief Fire Officer, serving in that post for more than 40 years. But he was more, so much more than that. Kirkland epitomised the best of Caymanian values: patriotism, hard work and diligence, honesty, integrity and fairness, frankness, common sense and judgement. These values endeared him to a wide cross-section of people in these Islands and beyond and shone through in the many roles he played in the development of these Islands and our people and the preservation of ‘things Caymanian’.

Kirkland was an exemplary civil servant and fire-chief, community leader and helper, advisor and doer, orchid expert and farmer – truly a man for all seasons. His included many years of work with the fire service and as an invaluable member of the National Hurricane Committee. His service on numerous government boards and private sector organisations, including the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, speak to a commitment to service to country and people rarely seen. On behalf of the Government and people of these Islands I pay tribute to a man whose lifetime of selfless service will endure long after his passing and will continue to benefit Cayman for generations to come.

He was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1979, and in 1989 was presented the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QSFM) and the Distinguished Service Award (IDSA) at the National Hurricane Conference.

In May 2013 Mr. Nixon was honoured by renaming the visitors’ centre at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park after him. That centre was renamed the “Kirkland Nixon Visitors’ Centre” in recognition of his connections and contributions to the Botanic Park. Mr. Nixon was instrumental in building the park, telling Joanne Scott – the then-governor’s wife – that it would be built the Caymanian way; one brick at a time.

Since 2013 he has been chairman of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, leading and championing the recent redevelopment of the Owen Roberts International Airport. Despite his illness, he continued to chair meetings of the Authority’s Board until March this year.

Mr. Nixon dedicated most of his life to his country – the Cayman Islands – giving us untiring service and humility that gained him the respect of all; his countrymen and our visitors. And he never asked anyone to do something that he would not do himself. He was a true leader and visionary.

When speaking at his retirement celebration in 2005 he said that his time of service had been a labour of love, supported by his family, friends and co-workers. Despite the retirement ceremony, Kirkland did not ever truly retire. Until now.

Now he rests from his labours leaving an incredible legacy of service and achievement. He is deeply loved and greatly respected and will be missed by all those who knew him and by the countless others whose lives he impacted.

As a mark of respect, the Cayman flag will be flown at half-mast at all Government buildings from 12 p.m. Monday, 30 April, 2018, until sunset Tuesday, 1 May, 2018.

From Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP

END

IMAGE: Wikipedia Alden McLaughlin

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