The Cayman Islands will offer a warm, final farewell to the first female National Hero and first Speaker of the House, Hon. Sybil McLaughlin, MBE, JP, who passed away last week. She was 93.
The official funeral will span two days. On Thursday, 19 May 2022, the late ‘Ms Sybil’, as she was affectionately called, will receive a lying in state accompanied by a Guard of Honour inside the House of Parliament. The lying in state, inside the ante-room off the main lobby, commences at 10 am and concludes at 3 pm.
and former Members of Parliament (formerly the Legislative Assembly) are invited to join the Hon Speaker and the Guard of Honour at the beginning of the ceremony.
It will be a poignant occasion since she had also served as the first Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, a distinction that was enhanced by her being the first woman to serve as clerk in the entire Commonwealth.
She was also Cayman Islands’ only living National Hero until her passing, having been conferred the title during her lifetime; all the other National Hero recipients received the honours posthumously.
In recognition of Ms Sybil’s distinction of being a National Hero, Friday, 20 May will be observed as a National Day of Mourning. The public is asked to observe one minute of silence at 9 am in her honour and radio stations are asked to pause their broadcasts for one minute of silence. All uniform branches are asked to wear black armbands or ribbons on that day as well.
Also on Friday, the official funeral service will take place at Elmslie Memorial Church from 1 pm. After the conclusion of the service, a Hero’s Farewell will take place at Heroes Square, which will include a 21 Gun Salute by the RCIPS. The emotive cadences of the Last Post and Reveille will also be sounded. The official flag draping the casket will be removed, folded and presented to the family.
In attendance will be His Excellency the Acting Governor, Mr. Franz Manderson, OBE; Premier, Hon. Wayne Panton, JP, MP; and the Speaker, Hon. McKeeva Bush, JP, MP and will include current and former Members of Parliament.
The final funeral procession will move from Heroes Square through South Church Street, turn on to Walkers Road past Ms Sybil’s home and onwards to Bodden Funeral Home. There will be no graveside service.
Both Cayman Islands and British flags are to be flown at half-mast on Thursday, 19 May and Friday, 20 May on all public buildings.
The official funeral proceedings over both days will be broadcast live on the Cayman Islands Government YouTube and the CIGTV channels as well as on Radio Cayman’s Breeze FM stations on 105.3 FM on Grand Cayman and on 91.9 FM in the Sister Islands.