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Cayman COVID Response – Recognising local heroes

Local News 14 Oct, 2020 Follow News

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee

His Excellency the Governor is delighted to announce a number of special awards to members of our community for their outstanding response to the COVID pandemic. This continues to have a serious impact around the world but our success in combatting and controlling the virus has enabled our Islands to enjoy, to a great degree, a return to normal life.

These awards recognise the many people across our community who played a significant role in the battle against the virus, including healthcare, emergency responders, charitable organisations, civil service and private sector.

The Governor is therefore pleased to announce the following awards:


Award of OBE

In recognising his outstanding contribution to health services in the Cayman Islands, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael John Lee has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Upon hearing of the award, Dr Lee said: "I am incredibly proud and humbled to receive this honour from Her Majesty The Queen. Cayman's unique strengths of integrity, clear thinking, indomitable spirit, resilience and perseverance have allowed us all to successfully face the challenge of the COVID disease.

“I thank all of those in Government and healthcare for their unswerving support and those closest to me for holding me through the darkest times."


Award of Honorary MBE

For her services to the COVID response in the Cayman Islands, and particularly her outstanding contribution to our capacity and ability to carry out wide-scale testing, Her Majesty The Queen has conferred the award of Honorary Member of the British Empire (Honorary MBE) on Angela Marie TANZILLO-SWARTS, Forensic DNA Specialist, Health Services Authority.

Ms Swarts said: “It is very gratifying to have been able to be of service. I am honoured and humbled by the recognition.”

These two awards form part of HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which was delayed to be able to recognise outstanding contributions to the COVID pandemic by healthcare professionals in the UK and across the world. While we did not experience serious health impacts like many other countries, these awards from Her Majesty The Queen, despite stiff competition, underline that the success Cayman has had in controlling the virus should be recognised.


Award of Certificate and Badge of Honour

His Excellency The Governor is also delighted to award a Certificate and Badge of Honour to the following individuals in recognition of their exceptional service to our community during this pandemic. This is a unique and special one-off set of awards to reflect the unprecedented situation in which we find ourselves:


For meritorious services rendered during the COVID Pandemic and for services rendered to the Government and people of the Cayman Islands:

• Chief Officer Gloria Mcfield Nixon - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose - Cabinet Office

• Chief Officer Eric Bush - Ministry of International Trade Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs

• Chief Officer Wesley Howell - Ministry of Employment and Border Control

• Acting Chief Officer Nellie Pouchie - Ministry of Health Environment Culture and Housing

• Chief Officer Teresa Echenique - Ministry of Community Affairs


For meritorious service rendered during the COVID Pandemic:

• Ms Jennifer West - Meals on Wheels

• Mr Rob Imparato - Meals on Wheels

• Mr Woody Foster - Managing Director, Fosters

• Mrs Marie Eden - Cayman Food Bank

• Mr Phillip Hyre - Cayman Food Bank

• Chief Executive Officer Wil Pineau – Chamber of Commence

• Ms Tara Nielsen - Acts of Random Kindness

• Dr Binoy Chattuparambil - Clinical Director, Health City

• Commissioner of Police Mr Derek Byrne – Royal Cayman Islands Police Service

• Director Hazard Management Danielle Coleman

• Director of the Department of Children and Family Services Paulinda Mendoza-Williams

• Chief Information Officer Suzette Ebanks

• First Legislative Counsel Cheryl Neblett

• Commandant Robert Scotland - Coast Guard

• Commandant Bobeth O’Garro – Cayman Islands Cadet Corps

• Deputy Head of the Governor’s Office - Maria Leng

• Policy Adviser, Governor’s Office - Mrs Simone Eade

• Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood - Heath Services Authority

• Chief Financial Officer Dawn Cummings - Health services Authority

• Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriques – Public Health - Health Services Authority

• Dr Hazel Brown - Chief Nursing Officer, Heath Services Authority

• Acting Director Joseph Woods - Port Authority

• Mr Chris Duggan - VP Dart and Special Constable RCIPS

• Deputy Chief Officer Joan West Dacres - Community Affairs

• Deputy Chief Officer Andrea Fa’amoe - Ministry of International Trade Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs

• Deputy Chief Officer Kathryn Dinspel - Powell – Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs

• Director Graeme Jackson - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Mr Jon Japal - Department of Planning

• Superintendent Adrian Seales - Royal Cayman Islands Police Service

• Ms Claudia Brady - Department of Commerce and Investment

• Ms Tristaca Ebanks - Ministry of International Trade Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs

• Ms Kristy Watler - Cabinet Office

• Acting Deputy Chief Officer Lauren Knight - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia - Office of the Deputy Governor

• Ms Ventisha Conolly- Ministry of Tourism, District Administration and Transport

• Mr Roy Tatum – Office of the Honourable Premier

• Ms Laura Watler - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Director Winston Sutherland - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Ms Delia Hydes - Portfolio of the Civil Service

• Ms Lauren Knight - Portfolio of the Civil Service


For meritorious services rendered to the Financial Services industry:

• Chief Officer Dr Dax Basdeo - Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs

• Director Michelle Bahadur - Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs


For meritorious services to Public Health and to the people of the Cayman Islands:

• Director Richard Simms - Department of Environmental Health


For achievements in leadership and innovation within the Department of Commerce and Investment

• Director Ryan Rajkumarsingh - Department of Commerce and Investment


For meritorious service to the Commissions supporting democracy and services rendered during the COVID pandemic:

• Commissions Secretariat Deborah Bodden - Portfolio of the Civil Service


The Governor said: “Many congratulations to Dr Lee and Ms Tanzillo-Swarts on being recognised by Her Majesty The Queen.

“Dr Lee played a unique and pivotal role, in the full glare of press and public attention, in our response to this crisis. He helped steer our Islands to safety during a highly difficult period in our Islands’ history.

“He carried out his duties calmly and confidently providing outstanding public health advice as confirmed to me by Public Health England. He was a reassuring presence for the wider community.

“Ms Tanzillo-Swarts did more than anyone to enable Cayman to develop a reliable testing capability and capacity, which made such a crucial contribution to the success we had in responding to the virus. For our Islands to have conducted over 40,000 tests is an outstanding achievement.

“I warmly congratulate all those awarded the Certificate and Badge of Honour for their commitment, dedication, and sense of duty in supporting people across our entire community.

“Our Islands are blessed to have people of this quality and standing who are prepared to work so hard for our community.

“They have all demonstrated CaymanKind at its very best.

“We will hold an awards event, in the next couple of months, at Government House for those who got awards to receive their certificates and badges with family and friends.

“Today’s events at Red Bay Primary show we are not out of the woods yet in dealing with this complicated and dangerous virus. But the awards today can give us confidence that we have so many people with ability, skills, effectiveness and dedication to deal with whatever arises.”

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