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Local News 15 Sep, 2022 Follow News

Minister for Home Affairs, Youth, Sports, Heritage & Culture, Hon. Bernie Bush gives the opening remarks at the National Hero

By Staff Writer

Nominations are now being accepted for next year’s National Heroes Day awards and the public is urged to make a special effort to take part in this gesture of national pride and recognition by submitting their preferences early.

The deadline to submit your choices is midnight on October 16th.

For the 2023 National Heros Day awards, the theme is “Volunteerism and Charitable Services” - acknowledging those persons and organisations which have over the years selflessly given of their time, expertise, funds and who in other ways have made a lasting contribution to the Cayman Islands.

As explained by the Nominations Committee, “Volunteerism and Charitable Services, for the purpose of National Heroes Day represents those notable persons and not-for-profit organisations who have met the criteria of having a significant impact in shaping and building our country.”

On the theme for the 2023 awards, it says: “National Heroes Day 2023 is acknowledging and celebrating Volunteerism and Charitable Services, which means any person or not-for-profit organisation who without compensation, has made an exceptional contribution to and in the Cayman Islands.”

This year’s theme covers both the individual volunteer and the not-for-profit organisation/charitable services.

The nomination process is being coordinated by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage (MYSCH). The submissions will be reviewed by the Nominations Committee and a shortlist presented to Cabinet for approval and final selection.

Nominations Committee officials Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Alanis Linwood Amor, and Carl Brown were guests on the Caymanian Times programme Cayman Conversations, encouraging the public to fully take part in honouring outstanding Caymanians and organisations they consider worthy of carrying the mantle of national heroes of the Cayman Islands.

“We are asking and we’re imploring our members of the public to please nominate those heroes, those unsung heroes in the community,” said nominations committee official Alanis Linwood Amor on the programme.

“A lot of them we all know them. They’re well known in our communities, and they go and do what they do without no recognition. So this is a chance for the government and for all of us as a whole to recognise, celebrate and honour the volunteers and charitable organisations.”

There are four categories of which three are for individual nominees and the other for organisations.

As detailed in the criteria, individuals nominated in the category of volunteers must have “exceptionally contributed to voluntary service in the Cayman Islands” for over 20 years (for the award category “Pioneer” only).

For a charitable service to receive an award, it must have made “an exceptional contribution to the development, enhancement, safety and wellbeing of the community”. It must also be an established not-for-profit organisation with 20+ years in service; registered and in Good standing with the Cayman Islands General Registry; provide services in the Cayman Islands, and be internationally recognised.

It’s the first time that charitable organisations are being recognised in the National Heroes Day awards, a welcome inclusion as noted by nominations committee official Carl Brown.

“It’s the first time that organisations and groups NGOs have been allowed the ability to be recognised for their contribution. So, for example, we have service clubs, like the Lions Club and the Rotary Club, who have been remarkable in their contribution over time,” he observed.

“For what they have done and what they’ve accomplished, without them the Cayman Islands would not be what it is today. That is without dispute... These are part of groups that have contributed without remuneration, who have done so with their time and literally with their lives to change other people’s lives,” Mr Brown remarked.

All nominations this year must be submitted online. To ensure data security no paper submissions are being accepted. For those persons who may require assistance with making online submissions, a special facility has been set up at the Cayman Islands Public Library where technical support is being offered for this purpose.

The nominations are open to all qualifying persons and charitable organisations throughout the Cayman Islands with a special appeal to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to ensure that their nominations are in.

The categories are:

EARLY PIONEERS - An individual alive or deceased who has been the founder or an exceptional contributor to the development of voluntary service in the Cayman Islands prior to 1980.

PIONEERS - An individual who has made an exceptional contribution for 20+ years to voluntary services in their role, impact, reach, engagement, and inspiration in the Cayman Islands.

PHILANTHROPISTS - An individual who has made monetary donations to not-for-profit organisations in the Cayman Islands exceeding $1 million KYD.

CHARITABLE SERVICES - Any not-for-profit organisation that has made an exceptional contribution to the development and enhancement, safety and wellbeing of the community in the Cayman Islands for 20+ years.

National Heroes Day 2023 falls on January 22nd, the 4th Monday of January. The national day of recognition started in 1993 and was made a public holiday in 2003.

In earlier remarks about next year’s observation, Hon. Premier Wayne Panton described the occasion as “one of the largest cultural events in the domestic calendar.”

Commenting on the 2023 theme focussing on volunteerism and charitable services he said: “ Their commitment to serving our communities, whether it is through assisting vulnerable groups, or ensuring social cohesion, without compensation and fanfare, is a form of heroism that deserves recognition.”

The Hon. Minister for Culture & Heritage, Bernie Bush said: “Each year thousands of residents volunteer their time, skills and resources to various causes which support the development and enhancement of our country. Such selflessness and commitment to improving the lives of others is an essential component of what it means to be CaymanKind.”

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