(CMR) Proving their tenacity, resiliency, and consistent performance, 13 recruits of the Cayman Islands Coast Guard (CICG) graduated to become junior officers in one of the newest law enforcement agencies in the Islands.
The 11 men and two women who took center stage at the commencement held Friday, 31 March 2023, at the CICG Headquarters on Hirst Road are the second batch of recruits to join the organization. Class 02 Graduates are all Coast Guard Recruits until such time as they pass their probationary assessments. The first batch had 16 graduates. The Coast Guard complement now stands 37.
Before receiving their certificates and pins, the graduands presented a smart march past and a guard of honor, which was inspected by His Excellency the Acting Governor, Mr. Franz Manderson. Heading the CICG team was Commander Robert Scotland. Leading the parade was Best All Around Graduate awardee Brandy Barnes, who also gave the graduates’ address.
Ms. Barnes also shared the Poseidon Award with fellow graduate Javon Watler-Christian for best academic performance throughout the basic seamanship training.
Other awardees were Michael Ford, Dimitri Myles and. Dru McLaughlin. Mr. Ford bagged the Neptune Award for attaining a consistently high standard for physical endurance and performance during the training. Mr. Myles received the Mark Luke Memorial Award for displaying the best tenacity and resiliency during the training. The late Senior Constable Luke was known for his loyalty, dedication, tenacious and brave service in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, including making rescues in 2006 and 2011. The award was presented by his wife Rochelle Luke.
Mr. McLaughlin secured the Leland Scott Memorial Award (presented by granddaughter Flinn Scott) for best-demonstrating leadership among his fellow peers throughout the training. Caymanian Commander Leeland Scott served in the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard from 1963-1978, including as its Commanding Officer from 1974-1978, the only Caymanian to have held this position.
Showering them with congratulations, speakers at the graduation emphasized the continued need for hard work and dedication to their vocation and the lifelong need to maintain integrity.
In his commencement address, Acting Governor Manderson emphasised, “Integrity is the foundation upon which trust, accountability and professionalism are built.”
He noted that as CICG members, the graduates would be entrusted with the immense responsibility of protecting the Islands’ waters, people, and environment, with their integrity continually tested in maintaining people’s trust while honorably discharging their duties.
The Acting Governor continued, “Integrity is about more than just honesty. It encompasses moral courage, ethical decision-making, and steadfast adherence to the principles of fairness, justice and respect. Your word and actions, both in and out of uniform, must consistently reflect these values. In the face of adversity, temptation or pressure, it is your unwavering commitment to integrity that will be the foundation of your professional reputation.”
He further advised them to choose their friends wisely, remembering that a true friend will never ask them or pressure them to break the rules.
Echoing the need for integrity, Lieutenant Commander Leo Anglin, in his course report, also underscored the lasting lesson learned by the recruits during training about the value of teamwork and their readiness to push through the toughest challenges.
“It is a great honor to be a member of the CICG, and it is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. With your hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence, you will help us achieve our vision of a world-class Coast Guard that can stand among the best in the world. Together, as a team, with integrity, you will protect and defend our islands,” he emphasized.
Ace graduate Ms Barnes highlighted the discipline, high standards, physical endurance and determination that were required to complete the rigorous training. She also lauded her fellow graduates for persevering and understanding the value of camaraderie and teamwork while representing “something bigger than ourselves: our three Islands”.
In his vote of thanks, Commander Scotland again congratulated the graduates, welcoming them warmly into the CICG family, where, he noted, they would be called upon to prove their mettle daily. He also presented the graduates their certificates while the Acting Governor and the Acting Deputy Governor, Hon. Gloria McField-Nixon, Cert. Hon. presented them with their pins.
Cayman Islands Seafarers Association President Denniston Tibbetts led the gathering in a minute of silence for lives lost at sea while Association Vice President Stanley Douglas rang a bell to sound the end of the watch.
Emceeing the event, National Cadet Corps commandant Colonel Errol Braithwaite added his voice to reiterate the continued need for hard work and reliability from the latest CICG officers as members of a uniformed service.
In attendance were Acting Chief Justice, Hon. Richard Williams, Attorney General Hon. Samuel Bulgin, Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, Commissioner of Police Derek Byrnes, other senior government officials as well as parents, other family members, and guests.
Jhenelle Colquhoon sang the National Anthem and the National Song while recruit Romell Welcome led the audience in prayer.