September 21, 2020

Diamond Jubilee speech delivered at Pedro Castle event


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From the Office of the Premier, Cayman Islands Government


Good people of the Cayman Islands.  We are here to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth ll – our monarch, and much respected member by our Caymanian family.

It’s no secret that we are proud of Queen Elizabeth.  More precisely, we are quite fond of her, and the throngs of people who lined the streets during her two visits to the Islands and came to her public appearances, are evidence of this.

Likewise, her family has received warm and honoured welcomes as well, as they have also charmed  our people.

The link between the Monarchy and the Cayman Islands is therefore more than just constitutionally based.  Yes, we are an Overseas Territory of the UK.  But as I’ve said, Cayman and the Monarchy are like family.

If one stops long enough to think about it, I believe it’s because we share similar values and characteristics.

We appreciate that the Queen has an evident love and respect for God.  We esteem her protectiveness and tenderness toward her family.  We notice her forthrightness, and her devotion to service; her loyalty, her gentility, and her patience.

And we also respect the fact that for 60 years, she has maintained that character, even when there has been personal chaos swirling around her, caused by family, finances or changing circumstances.  The Queen has a difficult role, and yet she handles it with such grace.

Despite her quiet personality, then, The Queen is larger than life.  Although I have given many descriptions of her character, there is one word that defines her best of all: Honour.  And so we in the Cayman Islands are happy to give honour, where honour is due, and by joining in this Diamond Jubilee celebration, we convey our best wishes and highest regard for our gracious and noble Queen.  So there can be no doubt about Caymanians’ respect for the Crown and for her Majesty

Tonight, however, is just as much for looking inward to recognise where honour is due.

I trust this will be a night to remember, for the Jubilee launch beginning with the memorable torch run and lighting of the permanent beacon at this most fitting venue, associated with the beginnings of our own traditions of democracy

Truth to be told, however, I hope just as fervently that this night will be remembered as a commemoration of some of the builders of our nation over the past 60 years, who  for decades, long before we learned some of the skills of the trade of marketing, long before there were ad campaigns, and brand developments, we were the brand.

It became a catch-word-that the visitors who came were more impressed by our people than anything else: so much so, that many came again and again – and this helped spur investment, and so on, so that the period of Her Majesties reign pretty well coincided with the period of Cayman’s modern growth.

It would be fair to say though, that this was the tip of the iceberg.  What you saw was what you got.

This represented Caymanians way of being; whether you were a carpenter or contractor, whether you were a nurse or cleaned the hospital floor, whether you were an elder of a church or ordinary member of the congregation, you did not separate yourself from the expectation of doing your best, and doing it ever. What you did for yourself, what you did for others – that was part of the general ethos.

It was also part of this ethos that the separation between what was good for me, and what would be good for you, was not so easily or so tightly drawn.

Now we know competition to be a primary economic good; then cooperation was a more powerful dynamic.

The phase after our men in their droves went to sea, was not a phase where our people stopped being hard workers, and stopped achieving.  Men came home and began adapting and ensuring that their children were going to be prepared for what was coming.  Women – the wives and mothers – didn’t lose their leadership skills, they provided large amount of the drive to embrace the new opportunities, much of the grounding that enabled us to continue our proud traditions of private good manners, and public graces.

We have in many ways been blessed, as a people: and our elders have behaved, and shown to the world such simple class is their ways of being, to make them  – to make us – justly renowned.

This is why we must celebrate them; this is why, while some of them still walk amongst us, we must shower them praise, and thank the good Lord for his guidance and watchfulness over their lives and ours.

And we’d better do it now; times are fast changing, and we have to seize the opportunity while they’re still with us.  Times are changing, the demands on families are changing, and the stress on governments is changing.  Caymanians seamen used to travel the world  – from Japan, to South Africa, to Greece; now the world is at our door; we serve interest around the world, and we have rapidly learned to serve them well.

We continue to learn to serve them because the requirements of business becomes increasingly complex, the technology to manage business transactions is evolving rapidly, and the regulatory framework here to keep one step ahead of all of this.

We have come a long way; when we face rough seas now they are across the negotiating table, seeking new business and ensuring Caymanians interest are protected.  We have come a long way.  To think that our eldest had few radios to go around, and now probably the only person who doesn’t walk with or work with a cell phone or some other personal computerized device, is a person who doesn’t really want one.

The challenges of governance press increasingly hard on those with responsibility.  This applies to Cayman and every other country in the world.  The current world economic stagnation has reminded us of all that; peoples around the world need to fully appreciate that making economics work so people can benefit, while ensuring that this is sustainable both socially and environmentally, is all a daunting task.

This is certainly not the time for undue shackling of the hands of our government; and moves of that nature, by certain elements of the UK government, are most unwelcome.

The people in and out of government, who made us what we became over the last 60 years, could not have done so had Cayman not already developed a tradition of robustly working on our own initiative, using our own strong sense of judgment  – and having been left alone, even encouraged in that way by the UK, until recent times.  As we celebrate the great nation-building contributions of our good and strong Caymanian people, we do so keen to look towards, to work for an even better future.  We can look back, but this is no time to turn back.   Let us pledge to work together, for the common – good.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you, and trust you enjoy the evening.

Hon. McKeeva Bush, Premier

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