By Christopher Tobutt
Lots of people, not only from all across the Cayman Islands came out on Saturday 8 February to remember David Gerrard Powell) one of Bodden Towns most loved and respected citizens, in order to rename the Theoline L. McCoy Primary School’s football field in his honour.
It was a field that he helped make into the world-class football field that it is today, and for any of the kids who grew up in the 80’s and 90s in Bodden Town, and knew the rock strewn patch of land it used to be, they will tell you that was no easy task. Mr. Powell, an expert electrician by trade and a dedicated civil servant, was passionate about football, and did whatever he could to encourage it. Many who had come out on Saturday knew him as coach, mentor, friend, and also fellow teammate, who took part in the Reds and Blues – Bodden Town’s famous Sunday morning football teams. H.E the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper joined the Reds for a match against the Blues, alongside fellow teammate Hon. Dwayne Seymour who regarded Mr. Powell who spoke warmly about Mr. Powell, during the ceremony:
“As a fellow born and bred Bodden Towner, it is my absolute pleasure to be with each of you this evening at this momentous event which serves to honour a culture and sports icon, David Gerrard Powell. As I look out on the football field, a field that he himself helped build, I immediately feel the fond memories of my dear friend and mentor”.
“It is a privilege to be here as Gerrard’s friend and teammate but also as a Minister of Culture, I cannot think of a finer person to rename a football field after than this man who invested so much love, time and energy in the sport”.
Cutting everyone a generous nice slice of Bodden Town history, Mr. Seymour remembered the days before there was a proper football field: “We used to practice at the town Hall,” he said, “That was hard ground, ladies and gentlemen. Just dust, no grass. One of the goal posts was an almond tree, and the other was a block. The area around the school (the present-day field) was generally rocky, and not an ideal place for children to play. A plan was hatched to beg and borrow to make the field more beneficial for the school. The football team and the community, along with David Gerrard Powell, were central figures in the process. Mr. Powell used his skill and knowledge to arrange the lighting for the football pitch, Mr. Seymour said.
Hon Juliana ‘O’ Connor-Connolly, Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands explained the significance of naming landmarks after the Fathers and Mothers of the Cayman Islands: “This is our country that we’re nation-building, and we do whatever it takes; so it gives me a warm feeling of pride that we have reached a stage in our development that our people can be named (after buildings, and other landmarks) and our children in a school can look at a name, and say, ‘He went to Bodden Town School, and he was able to break those glass ceilings.’ The Bible tells us that some plant, some water, and others reap, today we are the happy beneficiaries of all of the wonderful positive, impactful seeds that he planted, so that we could have a field here.”