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Cayman Islands Opposition Leader hosts joint Celebrate Cayman and Thanksgiving Dinner


North Side MLA the Hon. Ezzard Miller told seniors on Saturday (December 1, 2018) that the most influential of all social media was people “breaking bread” together.

Mr. Miller was hosting a joint Celebrate Cayman and Cayman Thanksgiving dinner for seniors attended by some 50 adults at the district’s Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre on Saturday evening (December 1, 2018). 

The Celebrate Cayman initiative is part of the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the Islands’ first national symbol, the Coat of Arms.  The community dining and discussion experiences, dubbed “Beloved Table Dinners”, are being held across the three islands to enable residents to consider their collective vision for the future of the Cayman Islands. 

The Cayman Thanksgiving observance, a weekend-long national celebration designed to honour Caymanian heritage, culture and way of life, culminates on the first Sunday in December each year. Saturday’s North Side Cayman Thanksgiving also served to recognise the Islands’ safe passage through another hurricane season.

Speaking as the host for the evening, MLA Miller observed that “food surpasses technology in connecting us at all levels of society – certainly in the most meaningful way,” mirroring the words of Alex Atala, the globally renowned Brazilian chef, who said that as a social medium food surpasses the Internet and Facebook.

Speaking directly to the seniors of his constituency, Mr. Miller continued: “So your generation got it right: Dining together, as you seniors instinctively know, is the most meaningful way of connecting people.” The MLA added that sitting around the dining table remain as the best medium for the exchange of ideas and passing on of values, beginning with the most far-reaching building block of society—the family.

Mr.  Miller continued that it was therefore fitting for the seniors to get together to grapple with the issues, adding: “You, more than any other population segment, know that connections and shared hopes and dreams fashioned at the dining table are what have welded us together and made us what we are today in our homes, in our communities, and nationally.”

Mr. Miller said that today’s seniors’ keen awareness of how far the Islands have come over the past 60 years has equipped them to reliably judge the type of future most befitting the Cayman Islands.

Among ideas shared at the dinner was the notion that youth is the greatest “untapped opportunity,” for the Cayman Islands.  Seniors called for greater attention to education, jobs, and more appropriate ways of responding to the needs of the youth sector, especially for the growing at-risk and offending members. They recommended greater emphasis on parenting training seminars.

In addition to employment and education, the range of ideas at the dinner extended to issues such as drugs, the spiralling traffic problems and the need for more effective public transportation, and the preservation of the environment.

Among benefits of living in the Cayman Islands most valued by seniors were freedom of religion, the comparatively low crime rate, the relatively still peaceful and charitable nature of communities, and good, accessible health care.

MLA Miller said that he would be endeavouring to host more of these types of meetings featuring other population segments, including youth, and encouraged district churches, associations and neighbourhoods to host similar events.

At the end of the meeting, each attendee was presented with a Celebrate Cayman tool kit for hosting Beloved Table Dinners.

Detailed feedback on Saturday evening’s discussions has been forwarded to the Celebrate Cayman steering committee for incorporation into the national pool of ideas generated by the Beloved Table Dinners across the Cayman Islands.

The master of ceremonies for the event was Mr. Archie Whittaker. Spearheading arrangements on behalf of Mr. Miller was his staff officer for the North Side MLA Office, Mrs. Carol Saunds. Among the many volunteers who assisted with organizing and executing the North Side Beloved Table Dinner was photographer Brian Watler.

Special guests at the dinner were Ms. Kelcey Huggins, Edna Moyle Primary School’s Year Six teacher who chaperoned students who sang the Cayman National Song and a Christmas carol.  The eight students who attended were each assigned to different tables at which seniors sat so that each grouping had one or two children. The children also assisted with the serving of the dessert at the end of the evening.

Members from four of the district’s churches were represented, including a number of pastors.


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