Despite putting a strong bid to be designated city status George Town, Cayman Islands has been edged out by the capital town of Stanley in the Falkland Islands to become the first UK Overseas Territory to receive that status.
This was the first time Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies were eligible to bid and only one of each was chosen.
Douglas, in the Isle of Man, was awarded the first city status for a Crown Dependency.
In a message from London where he has been on an official visit, HE Governor Martyn Roper commiserated: “I know many of you will join me in my disappointment in learning that despite a very strong application George Town has not been successful in achieving City Status.”
He added: “I know an incredible amount of work by the Cayman Islands Government went into the application and we were very close. However, there were a considerable amount of applications, 38 bids in total.”
Mr Roper said Cayman should take great pride in the quality of its application and look ahead to future bidding rounds.
“I believe we would stand a very good chance at the next round,” he confidently stated.
The competition for city status is part of the celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
It was last conferred in 2012 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. For the first time this year, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories were allowed to apply.
This last round of civic honours takes the number of official cities in mainland UK to 76, with 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland, plus one each for the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.
The Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition required applicants to demonstrate how their unique communities and distinct local identity meant they deserved to be awarded city status. They were also required to highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage.
A BBC profile of the winning cities notes that for Stanley in the Falkland Islands, the award coincides with the 40th anniversary of the successful war waged by the UK to reclaim the islands after they were invaded by Argentina.
The BBC also noted that members of the Royal Family have regularly visited the islands, including the late Duke of Edinburgh in 1957. In 2016, the Duke of Cambridge spent six weeks on the islands as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.
For Douglas, Isle of Man, it noted that the Queen is patron of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which started in Douglas. Its Royal Hall plays host to annual flagship concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society and the Manx Last Night of the Proms
Other than Cayman and the winning entrants, the only other submissions from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies came from Peel in the Isle of Man, and Gibraltar.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (the private estate of the British sovereign) Steve Barclay said: “It is also incredibly reflective of Her Majesty’s global outlook and years of international service that applicants from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have been selected as winners for the first time. I look forward to the world coming together to show our pride and gratitude to Queen Elizabeth II on the Jubilee weekend.”
Elaborate celebrations have already started in Cayman, the UK and the Commonwealth to mark the auspicious and historic anniversary of the Queen’s 70th year on the throne this year.
It has been pointed out that being elevated to city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there.
Research shows that the town of Perth in Scotland which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, has reaped the full benefits, with the local economy expanding by 12% in the decade it was granted city status.
Applications were opened last year and almost 40 locations from across the UK and beyond put forward their bid to become a city. The applications, which were asked to follow a clear structure were subsequently evaluated by a panel of experts and Cabinet Office ministers before a recommendation was put to Her Majesty The Queen.
‘Letters Patent’ - royal official notifications - will now be prepared which will confer each of the awards formally and will be presented to winners later in the year.
GT - STILL A GLOBAL POWER-PLAYER
Meanwhile, even though George Town just missed out on being elevated to city status in the realm this time around, the capital town of the Cayman Islands can nevertheless take pride in its current ranking in the index of global cities.
According to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, George Town is classed as a global city (power city, world city, alpha city, world centre) for its influence on the global economic network. That system ranks cities on the basis of their importance to the operation of the global system of finance and trade.
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