• BA flight - The flight for Indian nationals is in hand. The inbound BA flight on 2 July from London Heathrow will bring back a small number of passengers to Cayman. We will also be helping out some fellow Overseas Territory citizens by bringing in some passengers who are returning home to BVI. The BVI authorities have arranged a connecting flight and those passengers will transit airside, which will take them straight out of the airport and on to BVI. I think it’s important that we help our regional neighbours where we can with these flights.
• Defence Regiment - I am delighted that we received over 350 applications for the 50 part time reservists roles, of which a large number of the applicants were Caymanians which is welcome news. In mid-July we will bring out a training team of 14 from the UK who will go into two weeks quarantine on arrival and then will train the reservists throughout August. Following the training we hope to form the Regiment at end of August. The UK is also assisting us by shipping over uniforms and equipment for the Regiment. The five Junior Officers continue their training at Sandhurst, which is the best military training establishment in the world. My thanks to everyone from Premier down for all the work that has taken place to get us into this position with the Regiment.
• Meals on Wheels – Last week, I visited the East End, supporting Meals on Wheels who are doing fantastic work. I was accompanied by Jennifer West and Rob Imperato and also met all the people working in the kitchen and the drivers who deliver the meals. They are all doing incredible work for our community. I also met some East End citizens including Ms Melrose and her son, Ms Treva, Ms Janilee, Mr Evert Jackson, Ms Pamela and David, Mr Rankine and his extended family. Thank you all for making me so welcome.
• Watching the turtles - I was pleased to be invited to observe Cayman Turtle Centre’s egg translocation and nest implantation on Governor’s Beach. About 30 captive-bred green turtle eggs, almost ready to hatch, are safely placed in the sand and experts from the Turtle Centre carefully watch over them. I watched a nest of baby turtles emerge last year and make their way to the sea. A spectacular sight! Turtle Centre is a major tourist attraction (and will be again soon!) but also has important conservation role. I was also presented with a certificate for helping the setting free of a 3 year old turtle called ‘Martyn’ in West Bay last week.
• Statement on Domestic Partnership Bill - I know just how sensitive and emotive the question of same sex relationships is for many people on our Islands. Here is my full statement to the media.
“The publishing of the Domestic Partnership Bill today is a welcome step on the path to ensuring that the rights of everyone in the territory are upheld and that Cayman law is compliant with the recent ruling of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal.
During the COVID crisis I have been struck by how the community has pulled together to look after each other. There have been so many acts of kindness and tolerance shown to everyone across our communities - Caymanians and residents, but also foreign visitors and workers. The Premier set the tone early on with his clear statement that the government would look after everyone on the Islands. Whether it be providing food, shelter or medical assistance, including to ships in distress or helping foreign workers, stranded in Cayman or other neighbouring states to return home, we can be proud of how our community has acted in Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. I have received many expressions of thanks from foreign governments for our actions.
Our Constitution recognises our Christian values, the importance of rule of law, and our respect for human dignity, equality and freedom. These values apply to all and I hope that we all continue to show a spirit of tolerance and compassion to all members of our society.
In the Covid crisis, we have learnt more about what really matters. The wonderful value of human interactions that we lost during the lockdown. At a time when the Black Lives Matters campaign is rightly forcing all of us to look carefully at our own behaviours, I urge everyone to treat each other with renewed courtesy, dignity and respect at all times.”
• Catching up with the Auditor General - Good to catch up in the office with Sue Winspear, our Auditor-General, with appropriate social distancing of course. We discussed Covid expenditure, OFREG report, next PAC session, media and upcoming elections. Sue and her hard-working team have essential role supporting our good governance and strong international reputation.
• Be disciplined and continue to practice social distancing - Results continue to be are extremely encouraging, but to stay safe we need to be disciplined and continue to practice social distancing, basic hygiene and wearing masks in public places.
I welcome all the work that is going on to safely open our borders. However, we shouldn’t lull ourselves into a false sense of security, we have done well and we should be thankful for the position that we’re in, but as we look to open the borders there will be some element of risk and adopting those social distancing etc measures will hold us in good stead.