Seniors across the Cayman Islands attended the Older Persons Month Gala, the annual observance’s close out event on Saturday, 26 October 2019.
Held at Margaritaville Beach Resort, the gala had a packed programme, compered by Dr. Kenrick Webster and Ms Patricia Hanlan. Formalities began with the Opening Prayer by Older Persons Month Ambassador Mrs. Beulah McField followed by the welcome from Department of Children and Family Services Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams.
In his remarks, His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, congratulated DCFS on the range and number of events it had staged throughout the month before thanking seniors for their many, continued contributions to the development of the Cayman Islands. Furthermore, he highlighted several Government initiatives that show its continuing commitment to safeguarding the welfare of its rapidly ageing population.
Other attendees included the Governor’s wife, Mrs. Elisabeth Roper, Councillor for Education Barbara Conolly and former Director of Social Services Mrs. Deanna Look Loy.
Chairperson of the Council of Older Persons Ms Lucille Seymour gave greetings in which, she urged seniors to stay connected and retain their zest for life.
“It is evident that the Council, set up by the Older Persons Law, and the policies of DCFS with regards to the advancement of older persons and them ageing positively, are mutually inclusive,” she noted.
“Both organisations are determined to ensure that the Cayman Islands becomes a more age-friendly society. The gala epitomised this determination and it is safe to say that the future is bright for Older Persons in the Cayman Islands,” she concluded.
Seniors socialised throughout the four-hour event, catching up with friends and visiting the photo booth. Attendees also watched a Powerpoint slide picture presentation of this year’s Older Persons Month events. During the three-course meal, guests won spot prizes for: answering OPM questions; being the oldest attendee (North Side resident Mrs. Thelma Range, 99 years old) and for being the longest married couple (George Town residents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bodden, wed for 63 years). The latters’ prizes included a two-night stay at the beach resort courtesy of Margaritaville’s management.
Asked which of the many OPM events they had particularly enjoyed, Mrs. Bodden said: “I have bad hips and was surprised that I was in fact able to enjoy the excursion to Crystal Caves that was part of the bus tour. I’d never imagined I’d be able to go, so that really was the highlight for us.”
Older Persons Month Ambassadors: Mrs. Idalee Scott, Mrs. Beulah McField were given bouquets and Mr. McFarlane Conolly received a boutonniere in recognition for their services, Ambassador Mr. John E. Ebanks having his sent apologies.
Musical entertainment was provided by the Regeneration Band and by DJ Super C. Guests, including Mr. and Mrs. Roper, danced to a selection of Soca and old time favourites before the Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique crowned Mr. Herbie Martin and by Mrs. Annie Rose Scott the gala’s Dance King and Queen.
Well-received impromptu singing performances were given by Mr. Roy Bodden, Mr. Rupert Ackerman and Mr. Crosby Walton.
DCFS Director said: “Our Ministry’s unwavering commitment to Cayman’s seniors is what has made Older Persons Month a success. Underpinned by the Older Persons Policy 2016-2035 and our newly-formed Elderly Services Team, the Department is constantly looking to enrich the quality of the services we provide for our ageing population.”
|Older Persons Month Gala attendees included (L-r): Older Persons Month Ambassador Mrs. Beulah McField, Councillor Barbara Conolly, Mrs. Elizabeth Roper and H.E. the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper (Photos by Elphina Jones, GIS)|