Celebrating a life

| 13/10/2008

In the coming days and weeks much will be said about this weekend’s tragic murder. However, as a community we cannot allow Estella Scott-Roberts’ death to overshadow a truly exceptional life.

Estella was born in 1975, the only child of Corrine and Quellon Scott. Growing up in Spot Bay on Cayman Brac, Estella attended Spot Bay Primary School and Cayman Brac High School, followed by a year of A’ level courses at John Grey High School. At Florida State University, she took a double major in Sociology and Family and Child Science.

Returning home to the Cayman Islands in 2001, she was appointed to the position of Officer for Women’s Affairs in the Ministry of Community Development, Women’s Affairs, Youth and Sports.

On International Women’s Day in March 2003, the first safe house for victims of domestic violence in the Cayman Islands was established, with Estella as the driving force. She was the obvious choice of Director for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and held that position for three years, coordinating the community education programmes and the fundraising, as well as the day-to-day operations of the Centre.

In August 2006, she felt it was time for a break from the 24/7 stress and resigned from the Crisis Centre, taking up a position as Corporate Communications Manager with Cable and Wireless, though she continued to be actively involved in the fight against domestic violence. Always a staunch advocate of the rights of women and children, in May 2007 she was appointed to the Human Right Committee.

In this collective Viewpoint celebrating the life of Estella Scott-Roberts, we would like to invite everyone who has a fond memory of this extraordinary young woman or would like to share an example of her warmth, strength and courage to add a comment.

We start with these words from Patrice Donalds:

Estella was a staunch advocate for women and children who were the victims of abuse here in our idyllic Cayman Islands. Many of her friends knew her when she began with the Ministry of Community Affairs, when she became Director of the Crisis Centre, and know her now as standing with God. The people who perpetrated this tragedy will know God’s wrath because God never sleeps. They know what atrocities they committed that made them cross paths with Estella, and they know how culpable they are in ending her life.

What they don’t know is that they have made life for people like themselves, abusers, cowards, denizens of violence, more difficult in our islands, because all women and men will stand up for the rights of women and children even more vociferously now. Those cowards need to be afraid, very afraid.

Estella, died because she refused to live life by the cowards’ terms. This poem is fitting to honour her life and tragic death.

Fully Alive by Dawna Markova

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    The fight to end Domestic Violence in Cayman must be re-doubled.  We have made good progress since 1996 when the Business and Professional Women’s Club took up the challenge with the "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence" but education is still very important.  It is particularly important for our young men and women, they,  and the rest of our community must never be allowed to become complacent about violence of any type.

    It is not enough to just think about domestic violence on one day each year,  if we are to truly honour Estella’s life we must fight to eradicate these despicable acts  every day of the year, and to protect the vulnerable and the disenfranchised.  Estella has touched each of us in this community, with her strength and courage, and most of all with her commitment to making a better Cayman for all who live here.  As we celebrate her life we must all commit to continuing the fight.

    To Rayle and Estella’s family  I join with the thousands of people who feel your pain, and send you my deepest sympathy. 

    Joy Basdeo

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nominate Estella for YCLA 2009 Award!

    I say let’s all nominate Estella for the YCLA 2009 Award, as it is fitting to her.  It will be a post humus award, and i think it would show integrity on behalf of this Country to give the award to Estella!  This is a chance to stand up with integrity in this Country that has been shamed by this brutal horrific murder and execution against a Champion against Domestic Violence.  Let us prove that we are a Country with integrity, and will stand tall to face the reality of the horrific violence in our Country, even if it means it would be a little hard toeat a huge fancy dinner and hard to laugh with shallow chatter, thereby compromising the idea that Cayman is great and has no problems.  I say to stand tall and forget about shallow luxuries this time, and to give this Young Leader’s Award to Estella Scott-Roberts.  She is most deserving of it, and i think it belongs to her and to no one else this time!  Stand up for Righteousness, Truth and & Integrity!  That would be an Awesome way to honor her precious Memory.  Take a Stand!!!  The Nomination forms have just been recently distributed in the Compass and if you don’t have one, then get one or find out how to go about nominating Estella Scott-Roberts for the 2009 Young Leader’s Award!!  God Bless You. 

    NOMINATE ESTELLA SCOTT-ROBERTS FOR THE YCLA 2009 AWARD!!!  GOD BLESS YOU!!

     

  3. Arlene Whittaker says:

     

    I had the pleasure of meeting Estella in June of 2004. She and her husband were looking for a Boxer puppy. The moment I met her I could see immediately that she could be the best mom to one of my puppies. She loved her dog so much! It was fun to watch her around the "little guy". We got together at my house only once or twice a year but we chatted about our boys and all the mischief they would get into!  We would laugh and let the boys play until they were exhausted. She was a wonderful and caring person and I will never forget her and her beautiful sprit. I just wanted to share of a different side of this awesome woman.

  4. Human Rights Committee mourns Estella

    The HRC is deeply saddened by the loss of its member, Mrs. Estella Scott-Roberts and wishes to extend deepest condolences to her family and loved ones on the tragic loss of such a bright and talented Caymanian woman and human rights activist.  

    Among her various community activities, Estella was a member of the HRC, as well as a colleague and friend. Estella was a very civic-minded person, who selflessly volunteered countless hours to community work, including the HRC. 
     
    In her professional capacity, she began her career as the Officer for Women’s Affairs in the then Ministry of Community Development, Women’s Affairs, Youth and Sports. In her role at the Ministry, she was the Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Intervention Training Programme (DVITP), the National Committee Against Domestic Abuse (NCADA) and the National Policy on Gender Equity and Equality and she worked closely with the Women’s Resource Centre.   She later became the first Executive Director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC), a safe shelter for abused women and their children. Estella worked tirelessly to make our community a better place for women, men, young persons, and our wider community as a whole.   She was a much-needed role model for young girls and to her beloved Caymanian people.
     
    Estella’s colleagues at the HRC will be paying tribute to her at the upcoming Silent Witness March at 12:30pm on Saturday, 18 October 2008 and the HRC strongly encourages the entire Cayman community to also support the March. In particular, the HRC hopes for a strong show of support from the men and boys in our community, to take a public stand opposing violence against women and girls – in recognition and support of Estella’s life’s work against domestic abuse. 
     
    The Human Rights Committee is honoured to count Mrs. Estella Scott-Roberts as one if its members and remains forever thankful for her service and work to make the Cayman Islands a better place for all of us. The Human Rights Committee remains committed to continuing Estella’s hard work to ensure and protect the rights of women and children, two of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Thank you, Estella – for your passion and dedication in protecting the rights of our women and children. Cayman has truly lost one of its brightest young leaders, and she will be sorely missed by us all.
  5. Sybil McLaughlin says:

    I’ve always loved these words written so many years ago after the wars when so many people

    willing gave their lives for their country, I think they are appropriate to be repeated on the passing of a dear friend, ESTELLA

    "They shall not grow old as we who are left  grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM".

  6. Kay Dabrio says:

     

    It’s amazing that the same thing can be said a million times about the same issue but until it hits "home" that’s when you really pay attention.
     
    How many of us have heard the message about violence and did nothing?
    How many of us have never attended a single march against violence?
    How many of us have witnessed the bruises on others but pretend we didn’t see it?
    How many of us have heard someone in despair but said "oh they’ll be fine"?
    How many of us have encouraged this behavior in our attitude?
    How many of us ignored the signs?
    How many of us can truly pretend this ghastly murder didn’t happen?
     
    As small as Estella was her protest against inhumanity was a tall one. How ironic is it now that the very thing she spoke out against is what took her life….violence.
     
    Now do we have your attention?
     
    Take a vow with me…….
     
    "Estella we take our own reigns as a commitment to you and to our community, that in one way or another we will continue the struggle against violence and contribute to make our community and the world a better place to live in".
     

    Estella we love and miss you. You’ve certainly earned your wings. Rest in peace Angel

  7. Judy Singh says:

    I first met Estella in 2005 when I interviewed her for anews story about recidivism.  It was apparent to me within the first few minutes of meeting her that she was a woman of great integrity.  Though small in stature, Estella radiated a strength and sensibility that I think nearly any person who met her couldn’t ignore.  As I came to learn more about her and the several ways in which she stood up for what she believed, I saw that my initial assessment of her was far more correct than I could ever have imagined.

    I am so deeply saddened by the loss of this great figure in our community.  I was not close enough with her to call her a friend but professionally, she always made time to go on camera and speak out about issues facing women, children and society as a whole, always asking us to look into ourselves and ask ‘what is the right thing to do?’

    Estella was a role model by example, an example Cayman desperately needs in these times when we hurt each other so often.  I hope that we can all take even a little of this great example of ‘self’ that she spent her short lifetime to build for us and use it to remind us that we need to share this great responsibility of fighting for what’s right because if we’re not doing it, someone else is doing it for us. 

    Judy Singh

     

  8. Velma Powery-Hewitt says:

    Estella was ‘short’ in stature woman but a true powerhouse. Her height didn’t hinder her work or life. She was a loud clear voice against Domestic Abuse and Violence. She spoke of the evils it premeates on society. Estella stood for and believed that each of us have an attribute or talent which we can and should use for the betterment of mankind. She believed and lived a life that showed that we should make this world a better place because we were here. Her presence was a light to those in darkness and she was an ‘angel’ to many. Her life’s work isn’t over as this community will come together to say ‘No to Violence in any form’. In doing so, we continue to let her light shine. Angels have escoted another angel on the road to God and we are left and filled with her presence around us. Reach out and lift the load of that burdened mother, reach out and teach a child his alphabets, reach out and be a friend to that child hurting because Domestic Violence or some other evil has affected him/her, reach out and work even if for 1/2 hour a day with an organisation or on your own to make our community safer for all, reach out and love and in doing so you keep the flame of Estella’s life shining bright. She would be pleased. That’s what she would ask us to do. She is loved, her presence is missed but her work will go on. I close with saying the 23rd Psalms. May God have mercy on us all.

  9. From the Young Business and Professional Women’s Club Sexual Harassment & Stalking Taskforce:
     
    We are devastated by this loss. Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband, family and countless friends, and we mourn with you all. Estella’s contribution to our project has been invaluable, and she was always there when we needed guidance and advice as we moved towards our goal of providing legislative recommendations to protect victims of stalking and sexual harassment in the Cayman Islands. Estella’s beauty and eloquence were matched only by her passion for the plight of the women and children of our islands, and her life is an example to us all. God bless you Estella. Your legacy lives on in all of us whose lives you have touched so greatly.
     
    If I can stop one heart from breaking
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.
    — Emily Dickinson, "If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking"