September 17, 2021

Cayman Islands Premier gives thanks

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premier-alden-mcLaughlinCayman Thanksgiving 2014

By Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA

I know that we are in the midst of the busy Christmas season, but it’s time once again for us show our gratitude for our multitude of blessings.

Four years ago an innocent child asked her parents why the Cayman Islands did not set aside a specific day to give thanks for all that we have. After all, she observed, other countries take time to stop, share a meal, fellowship and offer gratitude. Fortunately for us, that little girl’s parents took her question to heart and set into motion what is becoming a new annual tradition – Cayman Thanksgiving. As was recently announced in the Legislative Assembly by our Minister for Culture, Hon. Osbourne Bodden, Cabinet has agreed to officially recognise the first Sunday in December as Cayman Thanksgiving

This first Sunday in December, marks the official end of hurricane season; one of the many things for which we can be thankful.

God has spared us the wrath of another atrocious storm this year and for that we are extremely grateful. But there are so many other reasons for us to give thanks.

I believe sometimes we forget, in the grand scheme of things, that Cayman is blessed beyond measure. We hear and read of wars, famine, starvation, crises – well the list goes on – in other countries. Sometimes I believe we have become a country of bickering people. Cayman Thanksgiving is meant for us to stop sniping, reflect and join together for fellowship and a meal. It is also about our Caymanian heritage, which is steeped in food, music, faith and sense of family; it’s what still connects us as a people.

The best way to be thankful, I think, is to use what you have for the greater good.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, he tells us that Jesus finds favour in those who actively care for their fellow man. Beginning in verse 35 Matthew writes “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to visit me”.

Jesus was telling the most righteous among him that whenever they had taken care of their fellow man, they had also cared for Him.

We are called to care for our brothers and sisters and that includes all and sundry who live in and visit the Cayman Islands.

I invite you to begin the celebration of Cayman Thanksgiving on Saturday, 6 December, in Lower Valley where Thanksgiving and Market on the Grounds have been combined to give us Market and Music at the Grounds at the Agricultural Pavilion. It’s going to be a free day of entertainment and camaraderie. While you are there, get a plate of food, let your children have fun with some of the planned activities, or buy locally grown provisions to create your own Cayman Thanksgiving meal.

Many of our churches will also be holding special Thanksgiving services on Saturday and Sunday. Going to a church service is always a good way to show our thanks.

As many of our traditions in the Cayman Islands go, food is an integral part of the festivities. That includes Cayman Thanksgiving. You can host a dinner, be a guest, prepare traditional Caymanian food or go to any of the restaurants offering a Cayman Thanksgiving-themed dinner.

I said earlier that we have been spared the wrath of another hurricane this season. That means many of us have stocks of hurricane supplies, including non-perishable food. I encourage you to take those supplies to a food bank or fix up a basket of goodies for a family or person in need.

We indeed do have so much to be grateful for in Cayman.

I want to publicly thank Kayci Rose for asking that innocent question of her parents four years ago and for her parents, their friends and the many dedicated volunteers for sharing this vision with the rest of the country, setting into motion one of our newest and most precious traditions.

Please take this weekend to show kindness to each other and show your thanks for all our many blessings.

On behalf of Government, my family and myself, I wish you a happy Cayman Thanksgiving.

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