(CMR) Cayman’s first governor, Athelstan Charles Ethelwulf Long, has passed away today at age 100.
Long celebrated his birthday in January and resided at a villa at The Pines Retirement Home, the senior care facility that has been his home for the past few years.
Born in 1919, Mr. Long was educated at Westminster School of Brasenose College, Oxford. After serving in World War II, during which he was a prisoner of war for three years. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese during his service in the Pacific theater. He also served in the foreign service after the war.
He worked in the Burmese civil service from 1946-47, and in northern Nigeria from 1948 until 1961, after which he was appointed deputy commissioner in Swaziland. He was awarded the Burma Star, which he described as his most treasured memento.
Long served as the Cayman Islands last “administrator” from 1968 to 1971. He then served as the first governor after being sworn in on November 3, 1971.
He was also a long-standing member of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association. After leaving his post as governor Long was succeeded by Governor Kenneth Roy Crook and he briefly left the Cayman Islands but returned some years later.
He served as chairman of the International Management Group, chairman of the Public Service Commission, and deputy chairman of the Public Service Pension Board from 1992-96, after which he retired.
In September 2017 his prized Burma medal was stolen in a break-in at an office in George Town. The medals were never recovered.
Long is survived by his son Charles Long, a prominent Cayman painter and his son Ronald.
The Opposition shared their condolences with CMR:
The Opposition wishes to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Former Governor Long. We are grateful for his service to these islands, particularly, during the transition of our governance structure where the post of Administrator was transformed to that of Governor. While he served as our first Governor for a short period, his efforts must be recognized and appreciated.
As Acting Governor I wish to express heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the first Governor of the Cayman Islands Mr. Athelstan C. E. Long, CBE, who passed away last night (Wednesday, 31 July 2019)
As a sign of respect for the contributions of Mr. Long, and his distinguished service to both the United Kingdom (UK) and the Cayman Islands, the flags of both countries will be flown at half-mast on all Government buildings for the rest of the day.
A distinguished former military officer, who spent three years as a prisoner of war during World War II, Mr. Long turned diplomat after hostilities ended. In this capacity, he served as the last Administrator of the Cayman Islands from 1968. Shortly before his departure three years later the title changed to Governor.
With his passing, the Cayman Islands have lost a friend and advocate for many decades. Mr. Long’s abiding love for these Islands and their people led him to return to the Cayman Islands five years after his tenure ended. Here he has remained ever since taking an active role in the community, in particular in the Veterans Association.
During these years he also served as an invaluable resource for his successors in the position of Governor.
To commemorate the life and achievements of Mr. Long, the UK and Cayman flags will fly at half-mast again from two days before his funeral (the date of which is still to be confirmed).
Acting Governor, Mr. Franz Manderson issued the following statement:
I have received the following message from the Governor who is currently overseas: “I was very sad to hear about the passing of former Governor Athelstan Long. I was fortunate to meet Mr Long twice, most recently at his 100th birthday party. As the first Governor of the Cayman Islands, Mr Long’s passing is a historic moment in the Territory’s history. He made a valued contribution to these islands and the UK through his service. I would like to express my condolences to Governor Long’s family. He will be greatly missed.”