From exploration of opportunities in the metaverse to a youth panel advocating for a seat at the table to discuss national policies that affect young people, the 35th Anniversary Celebration Week of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) started with a dynamic all-day Conference on Tuesday April 19th. The stellar list of local and international speakers included Fabien Cousteau who, like his world-renowned grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, kept the audience spell-bound with his keynote speech, and Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan’s casting of a bright light into the virtual world of NFTs. H.E. the Governor Mr. Martyn Roper provided opening remarks, as well as conveyed a congratulatory message to the National Trust from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Honourable Premier Wayne Panton in his remarks shared the crucial relevance of an organization like the National Trust to the community and the vital importance of participating in and supporting Cayman’s sustainability and resiliency programmes. Other highlights of the Conference included a lifestyle panel which dazzled the audience with a presentation by designer Taryn Larock on how fashion can be sustainable by converting “ghost nets” from the oceans into swimwear, and an outstanding one by designer Isy Obi which was fascinating as it even showed how the incorporation of technology such as QR codes in clothing design can share Cayman’s stories with the world. There was also a robust panel discussion on what is needed for protection of built heritage and highlighted as essential pieces of Cayman’s heritage featuring Natalie Urquhart, Arthurlyn Pedley and Simon Boxall. Attendees were treated to a medley of folk songs by Dequan Smith on the cello, 2019 young musician of the year, accompanied by Frances McConvey on keyboard. A special thank you to Lisa Scott, great-grand daughter of the composer of our National Song, who sang our National Song beautifully, it was an incredible honour. Bella Rooney from ‘Protecting Paradise’ was on site interviewing attendees and there is much more to look forward to in the coming weeks as the National Trust will be showcasing video highlights of the conference.
The following day the NTCI hosted “Selling Mangroves” in the form of a free lunch and learn aimed at educating and inspiring members of the real estate and development industry along with interested members of the public on natural capital accounting, blue carbon, and the incorporation of mangroves into luxury and sustainable development. This seminar was supported by the Mangrove Rangers and the Ambassadors of the Environment who demonstrated the value of mangroves through the ecosystem services that they provide.
Chairman of the National Trust, Olson Anderson shared “As we celebrate 35 years, my vision is for the Trust to build membership, however not just members on paper but individuals who are actively engaged in and understand the work we do. The conference sessions provided much food for thought on the strategic direction of the NTCI for the next few years”.
Executive Director for the National Trust, Annick Jackman stated “The staff poured their heart into these two days of community education because we feel strongly that part of our legacy is to provide dynamic and stimulating conversations to the public so they are inspired to see and appreciate the value of an entity such as the National Trust and therefore feel compelled to engage with us in new ways. We are thankful to all our sponsors who made this possible”.
A heartfelt thank you to all of our sponsors for NTCI Conference Day: CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank our refreshments sponsor, Aureum Re our PPE station sponsor, AVS Audio Video Solutions for AV and Tech support, and Blue House Marketing for marketing support. A huge thank you to our event sponsors, Cayman First, T.H.E. Merren Design, Jupiter Block, and CUC for sponsoring student tickets.
A special thank you also to event sponsors for our Mangroves Lunch and Learn, Cayman Islands Mangroves Rangers, CUC, KPMG and Saxon.