Premier thanks Cayman

| 31/01/2011

(CNS): In the wake of the tragic death of his 30-year-old daughter, Tonya Yvonne Anglin, the country’s premier made a public broadcast to the nation on Monday evening offering his appreciation to the people for their show of support. McKeeva Bush spoke of the immense grief and heartache of losing a child but said throughout it all he and his family were comforted by an outpouring of love, concern and care by thousands of people from across the three Cayman Islands, from the Caribbean and the rest of the world. “This past week has seen the best of our nation’s love and character, where we put aside all differences and came together to support one another. This love and support has sustained my family and me this past week,” he said.

The full statement of appreciation from the premier:

It is with a heavy and burdened heart that I come to you today, not only as your Premier, but also as a grieving father.

As most of you will know,exactly one week ago, my dear daughter Tonya passed away. Within one hour of arriving at the hospital, my wife and I were surrounded by concerned family members, friends, colleagues and Members of the Legislative Assembly, staff and so many others of you, my fellow countrymen.

The immense grief and heartache of losing a child cannot be put into words. The shock of it all was almost more than we could bear. My wife Kerry and I, our granddaughter Zariah, our son Barry and our son-in-law Chet, and our entire family, have been left trying to cope with this.
Throughout it all, we were comforted by an outpouring of love, concern and care by thousands of people from across the three Cayman Islands, from the Caribbean and indeed from the rest of the world. During this time, I was reminded of something I’d once read:

God’s love in action is the answer to every problem. Love in action is the answer to every problem in our lives and in this world. Love in action is the force that helps us make it to today, and it’s the love that will set us free. This past week has seen the best of our nation’s love and character, where we put aside all differences and came together to support one another. This love and support has sustained my family and me this past week.

We are believers in the Bible as the holy word of God and it tells us that He is our refuge and strength, and that we should at all times lean on Him and not on our own understanding. We (Kerry and I) always thought that she was ours to keep forever. But allow me to share with you a poem which was sent to usduring this past week by two friends. This poem has provided me with another perspective.

The Child

“I’ll lend you for a little time
A child of mine,” He said,
“For you to love the while she lives
And mourn for when she’s dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two and three,
But will you, till I call her back,
Take care of her for Me?
She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
And shall her stay be brief,
You’ll have her lovely memories
As solaces for your grief.”

“I cannot promise she will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn
I’ve looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true
And from the throngs that
Crowd life’s lanes
I selected you

Now will you give her all your love
Nor think the labour in vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
And take her back again?
I fancied that I heard them say:
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done!”
For all the joy thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
And love her while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay:
But shall the angels call for her
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand

I thought this was such an appropriate reminder that when God speaks, His will must be done. I believe that all of us as parents want the best for our children. My advice to all parents is that we have to believe and honour God first, and then carry out our responsibility to be good parents, even when unpopular with our children.

As a young child, I heard a scripture from my aunt, a great Christian lady, who was leading a prayer meeting – this scripture left an indelible impression on my life. It became our family scripture and guided me as a parent and in our grief, I commend it to you. It is Deuteronomy 1-10; I will read to you verses 6 through 9:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sitttest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

To all of you, both here and overseas, all who reached out to us with your thoughts and prayers, those who sent messages of courage, faith, hope and encouragement, to those who sent food, sent flowers, and those who visited us to give us the comfort that only good friends can give – my family and I sincerely thank you for your genuine support during our time of grief. We ask that you continue to lift us up in your prayers. We also ask that you remember all others who are mourning the loss of loved ones, continue to pray for them, as we will be doing the same.

Thank you, thank you all and may God bless you and your families. Good evening. 

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Comments (7)

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  1. Helen Mae Lazzari-Lerner says:

    Dear Mr. Premier and Family,
    Our sincere condolences to you and your family as we too share in your loss as Caymanian Americans.

    We, as Paul says in the scriptures, “have heard of your faith”.
    We thank God for you too.

    Our family would like to remind you of one very strong word, the RESURRECTION. We send you this word and hope you are strengthened by what this word will mean to you.

    Miss Levonne Ryan of Cayman Brac was always talking about this word in our Bible classes and so I hope you are sustained today and always by knowing that you will again see Tonya.
    Helen Mae Lazzari- Lerner
    A Bracker overseas that reads the Cayman news and knows what is happening to and with my people in The Cayman Islands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr Bush our Premier for your message as our Leader and that of a father the head of a family including your beloved wife Kerry, your dear son Barry, your grandaughter Zariah and son in law Mr. Ched Anglin. my sincere condolonces of the suddendeath of your daughter. May we continue as a country to Love one and other and support each other in these times. MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The death of Tonya, is a reminder to all of us; young and old. We all have our appoinment. this is one that we can not cancel or schedule to our convenience, we must all be prepared to meet our most hight God upon that great Jugment day. Mr. Premier, my sincere condolonces to you and your entire family, and may you ever look to our most high and powerful God, from whence all strength commeth. Keep you faith strong for only God undertands and can heal this pain that you and your family is being faced with. GOD BLESS YOU!

  4. Judy Miller - Former Head of Human Resources - CIMA says:

    My sympathies to the friends, collegues and particularly Tonya’s family.  I won’t forget my last conversation with Tonya.  She was so full of life and looking forward to a very bright and successful future.  My thoughts are with you and although I am no longer in Cayman, I continue to have a strong bond and wonderful memories of my time there.  Tonya will be remembered by anyone who knew her in Cayman and around the world.

  5. Michel Lemay says:

    Thank you Mr. Premier for your message as our Leader and that of a father the head of a family including your beloved wife, your dear son Barry, your grandaughter Zariah and son in law  Mr. Anglin in which all were touched by the passing of your daughter Tonya whose precious life touched many; either other family members and friends. I pray that you will all one day find closure in your hearts. The poem sent to you by your friends says it all. God is our Supreme being and we are all here on borrowed time until the day comes that we must move on to another level in which we need to prepare for. I too found it very refreshing that we all came as one, felt much compassion and your pains. While we at times must agree to disagree, as you so well said we must never loose sight of God, our Creator, our Omega and Alpha. May He continue to Bless you and your Families and our beloved Cayman Islands.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To the Bush , Anglin family,
    Please know that you will all continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. I can’t even imagine the sorrow that you are all feeling. Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts and reminders of God’s word.

    • Anonymous says:

      This sudden death has saddened my heart much more than I can describe. The throngs of people certainly showed the strength and the love that the West Bayers and the Islands on a whole have for Mack. Iknow that there were folks there that Mack and others know thay love him and support him.