His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper, was joined by UK Minister for Armed Forces Rt. Hon Mark Lancaster, who is visiting the Cayman Islands, for the ceremonial poppy-pinning day. The ceremony was undertaken by Andrew McLaughlin, President of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association, and Shadden McLaughlin, who is an executive member. Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson also had their poppies pinned, marking the beginning of the season when members of the Veterans Association traditionally raise funds for veterans and their families in need, by selling the poppies.
Andrew McLaughlin said: “We have very few fundraising activities; we have the Veterans Gala Benefit Dance, and that will be on 19 October at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, and we also have the traditional poppy appeal. Today signifies the opening of the Poppy Appeal, where the Governor, the Minister of Armed Forces for the UK and the Premier, will be receiving their poppy, and that’s the official opening of the poppy season; so you’ll start to see poppies pop up all over Cayman, as people show their respect for the military and what they have done.”
Shadden McLaughlin said: “We are now in the tenth year of officially pinning the poppy on the County’s Governor, and we are delighted to advise the public that the poppy appeal season is now underway. We truly appreciate the community’s continued support. We must remember that freedom isn’t free, so please get your poppies and support the initiative until Remembrance Day of 11 November. One hundred percent of the money raised goes to helping our aging veterans and widows in need, in the Cayman Islands. All of the money stays on the island. The money helps support veterans with assistance such as food vouchers, utility assistance, or funeral expenses.
Mr. Mark Lancaster said: “As Minister for the Armed Forces, its good to be able to open the official poppy selling period. Its really important to remember the sacrifice that so many Caymanians have made over the years, and continue to make today.
Mr. Roper said: “It’s the first year that I’ve been here for the poppy pinning process, and I am delighted to be here today at this incredibly important time, and its really important that we remember all the sacrifices that those people made for us, so that we can be here today.
The Cayman Islands Veterans Association (CIVA) is a charitable, not-for-profit organization which seeks to ensure that every ex-serviceman or woman in the Cayman Islands has someone to whom they can turn for help when they need it.
CIVA is not just for war veterans, and its membership is open to all past serving members of the military forces (or merchant naval forces in war zones) of any commonwealth or allied country.
CIVA is an association of like-minded members of all ages, who share similar stories and memories of years gone by. Veterans come from all walks of life and have served in the armed forces in many different countries.
CIVA is a member of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL). The RCEL enjoys Royal Patronage; the Patron being Her Majesty the Queen. The Grand President is His Royal Highness Prince Phillip. The Cayman Islands Veterans Association also has close ties with the Royal Canadian Legion.