A prominent feature of the festive season in West Bay was the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party recently hosted by the Hon. McKeeva Bush, elected representative and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The 40th annual event was the largest gathering to date. Guests included His Excellency Governor Martyn Roper and his wife Elisabeth, Government dignitaries, as well as over 300 senior citizens and their family members.
The holiday festivities took place under a tent in the Christmas breeze of Northwest Point. The evening included carol-singing, Bible scripture-readings, cultural skits by Quincy Brown – as well as great food and conversations with long-time friends.
Organized by Mr. Bush and the West Bay West Enhancement Council, the attendees included over 150 elderly shut-ins, as well as handicapped persons. In his remarks, he noted that this Christmas social tradition began long before he entered the political arena 35 years ago, and that the event serves to unify the district as well as the wider island-community.
“This started as a small gathering in my home for a small group of seniors, and has grown to become an anticipated community-wide event,” noted Mr. Bush. Emphasizing continued unity between the people of his district, he told the gathering, “Although West Bay is now cut into four constituencies, we work together to do things like this…So as to not let the rush of the world take us to the point where we don’t get along.”
Governor Roper, in a brief address, emphasized the Cayman Christmas as a time for family, and encouraged everyone to take time to “count our blessings” and to appreciate our “oasis of peace and tranquility”.
He added that he and his wife are enjoying their second Christmas here, and congratulated Mr. Bush on beginning and maintaining this tradition, saying, “It’s outstanding that he has hosted this event for the past 40 years.” He also remarked on the excellent the local cuisine that he has enjoyed over the past year, and said that, in this regard, West Bay ‘takes the prize!’.
A highlight of the evening was an awards ceremony to recognise 17 outstanding citizens. Mrs. Glennis Smith was the key awardee. She was commended both for her outstanding contributions to those in her district, and for her outstanding work as someone who helped lay the foundation of the early financial-services industry, notably as a member of the legal fraternity – one of Cayman’s first professional legal secretaries.
The other awardees made similarly outstanding contributions in diverse areas – including education, sports, tourism, finance and community service.
The social was attended by members of Government, including Minister Joey Hew, Councilors Barbara Conolly and David Wight, as well as Opposition Member Kenneth Bryan. Councilor and West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks was again actively involved in the event, as was former West Bay representative Rolston Anglin.
Minister Tara Rivers extended apologies, as she was away on official business. Mr. Bush reminded the audience, however, of her forthcoming social event – the annual New Year’s celebration, to again be held at the Heritage Field, next to the Ed Bush Stadium in West Bay.
In keeping with the true meaning of Christmas, several minsters of religion also attended and participated.
Young people served and entertained their elders at the seniors’ party. Participants included Miss Jada Bodden, Miss Teen 2nd Runner-Up, and former Miss Teen Liana DaCosta.
Thanking everyone who contributed to the success of the evening, Mr. Bush said, “With the cooler breezes coming from the north, and the sprucing up of our district, there is a feeling of Christmas in the air.”
Thanking all who attended and contributed to the success of the evening, he says, “Special thanks to the guests, and to the volunteer committee which again did so much hard work, especially the young people. May the Good Lord continue to bless and protect you all through the season, and into 2020.”