Edna Moyle given royal gong

| 13/06/2009

(CNS): Former speaker of the House, Edna Moyle, has received an OBE in the Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours list. Moyle  was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the  British Empire (Civil Division) (OBE) for her “substantial contributions to politics in the Cayman Islands”, GIS said. In addition, Michael Needham the former head of the FCU has received the Colonial Police Medal (CPM) for meritorious service.

Governor Stuart Jack has also named three Caymanians to receive the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert. Hon.) — Dr Elsa Marie Cummings, Sharon Marie Martin and Julian Nicholas Reddyhough — for services to education and the community. The announcements were made at this morning’s Queen’s Birthday celebrations by Deputy Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks following the presentation of awards to previous honourees.

Moyle first ran for public office in 1984 and was elected the member for North Side on her third attempt in 1992 and remained an MLA until May this year. She also served as the House Deputy Speaker for eight years before becoming the Minister of Community Development, Sports, Women’s Affairs and Youth. In May 2005 she was elected Speaker of the House, a post she retained until her retirement this April.

Moyle has championed a number of causes, including an end to discrimination against women in the civil service. “I will never forget the day when Governor Gore called, advising me of my success,” she said.

She was also largely responsible for government establishing a women’s affairs office and she was a guiding force in the launching of Cayman’s Legal Befrienders Clinic, through which needy women can obtain free legal advice. Moyle also moved a Private Member’s Motion that resulted in the Family Support Unit and Cayman’s Crisis Centre.

Commenting on her OBE, Moyle said she was humbled to be recognised. “I am also grateful to my nominators for thinking my accomplishments were sufficiently worthy. I accepted on behalf of all the people and I want everyone to know that I will always be involved in the welfare of women, youth and children and will be happy to get involved in any way that government wants me to,” she said.

Needham began serving in the police force in the UK when he was only 17 and joined the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) in 1999 with a wealth of experience. Needham served as a detective inspector with the RCIPS and focused on reducing financial crime. He spearheaded the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU), dedicated to investigating fraud, money laundering, corruption and similar offences, and says it is one of his more treasured accomplishments.  

“In 2000 Cayman was blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce. Through our professional investigating officers, we were able to restore credibility to Cayman as a place to invest money and do business,” he said.

Needham also worked as head of the Marine Unit and was instrumental in acquiring additional boats and in establishing the marine base. He said he does not know why he was singled out to receive the Colonial Police Medal but ten previous commendations saw colleagues and others laud his professionalism, perseverance, devotion to duty, speed of investigations and conduct.

He said, “I always wanted to be a policeman. I had an uncle in the force and I was fascinated by the fact that officers were able to assist people and help communities feel safe. Although policing is risky and difficult, solving crime is exciting and rewarding. I would certainly do it all over again.” Needham is now Chief Compliance Officer at Butterfield Bank.

Dr Elsa Maria Cummings has been a driving force behind Cayman’s tertiary education for more than three decades and is being recognized with the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour for her services to local education. International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) opened its doors in 1970 to fill the local void in tertiary education by providing affordable, quality college-level study, Dr Cummins explained. 

Teaching Spanish and serving as chief examiner for the GED programme, Dr Cummins played a central role in the college’s administration, first as director of admissions, then dean, followed by the executive vice president’s post. And in 1990, after Dr Hugh’s retirement, she was appointed president of the college.

“The ICCI project became and remained a major focus in my life and I dedicated most of my energies to it,” she said. “We live in an era that requires you to hold vast amounts of knowledge – so get out there, become literate and progress beyond that. If you are educated, you can help yourself, and more importantly, you will be an asset to your community.”

Sharon Marie Martin’s recognition via the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour comes at the end of a school term that crowns her 31 years of teaching. Martin’s career in education began in 1978 as a Spot Bay Primary School teacher, and she is now Principal of George Town Primary School (GTPS). In the face of her school’s challenges, including structural damage caused by Hurricane Ivan and an at-capacity compound, Martin has continued to lead, cheer and push her students from one success to another.

The Certificate and Badge of Honour also goes to Attorney Julian Reddyhough (below), Joint Managing Partner at Maples and Calder a long supporter of The Pines Retirement Home. Reddyhough has been on the Pines Board since 1991, and in 2002 he was appointed chairman, a position to which he has currently been reappointed. He is currently focused on raising $3 million to fund a new two-storey block that will add urgently-needed space to the Pines, at a total cost of $6 million.

Speaking about the award, he acclaimed his staff and said,  “I am merely the figurehead. I am just grateful that The Pines is sufficiently important to the Cayman community that the chairman is considered worthy of this honour.”

He is also quick to acknowledge the generosity of local individuals, of government, and of business and corporate entities, which has combined to keep The Pines functioning over the years.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have made a previous post…and I haven’t seen it!!

    Edna might deserve the award for long term service..but we North Siders were forgotten in the time that she was there!!

    Mr Ezzard please don’t forget us, and you will be rewarded long before 16 years!!


    • Anonymous says:

      "I have made a previous"

      I’m a North Sider, thank God, and your comment about being forgotten is total BULL-you know what.

      As for Mr Miller, we shall see. He will do all kinds of little local tricks for a whle to let you know you were right to vote for him, but eventually his HUMUNGOUS ego will take him into areas he was in before, bullying and berating civil servants or HSA workers if he’son the HSA Board, and treading on Mark Scotland’s toes as Minister.

      He can’t help it! He’s Ezzard! He’s brilliant! Cayman’s first pharmacist! The only person who really knows anything about health care provision! The only person qualified to be Minister of Health!

      Er, but he’s not the Minister. Oh dear.

  2. Cerridwen says:

     Well said, Mr. Ritch.

    Congratulations, indeed, to Mrs. Moyle!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who is the Hon Chris Bryant who has evidentally replaced Gillian Merron? And why don’t we know anything about this? Just picked it up on another Carib. News Site? from June 9. Check out images on Google…Is this real?

  4. Sue and Harv says:

    Good for you, Miss Edna!


  5. Anonymous says:

    The problem with these awards are that they are meaningless to all but the recipients.  Almost every one is given simply because of cronyism or tenure and for every one recipient there are multiple people that are not recognised and contributed far more.  I think it is about time this relic of the British Empire was abolished

    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulations Edna, you deserve it, you have faithfully served your country. You did an outstanding job as Speaker of the House. Enjoy your retirement, you have earned it. God Bless.

    • Travis Ritch says:

      They encourge the acts, character and manner of behaviour and dedication for which they are awarded and if there are individuals who are worthy then I would remind the poster that the process begins with nominations.  I do not know how many are nominated that do not succeed but the grant of honours in the territories is necessarily limited because the descriptors for the different levels of award reference things like ‘major regional contribution’ or ‘national recognition in a given field’ and it is difficult to stretch those concepts to small islands. 

      The standard of honouree has to remain relatively uniform across the countries where honours are given.  Gordon Ramsay, for example, is a celebrity chef with fourteen Michelin stars, half a dozen wildly successful television programmes, and an unparalled level of dedication to his profession.  He has an OBE, which he shares with a couple dozen Caymanians who have done comparatively ‘less’ to deserve one because their contributions to society have been to a much smaller society.  He would likely have something higher if there were fewer or no questions about his character.  Had Edna Moyle done what she has done in the United Kingdom, she would doubtless now be Lady Edna.  That is how the balance is struck.  That is why only one Cayman-related person to date has been given a KBE: Sir Vassel Johnson, who can be credited with what you see when you drive to work.

      Are they often awarded to people who are being rewarded for the hard work of others?  Yes, but this is no criticism because life is just like that.  Cronyism is a stretch [at least here, check out Bermuda if you want to see cronyism] – patronage is more like it but even still those who appear to receive them for ‘no reason’ deserve to be honoured for long service in often thankless occupations.  Edna Moyle is doubtless a stateswoman of this country and needed no honour: that is why she received one.

      The government of the day no doubt has a strong influence where honours are concerned, sometimes an overbearing one.  I think we can expect to see more politically-motivated honours given under the new administration.

      Bottom line: when awarded for the right reasons, those three letters say as much about the person permitted to use them as any book about their lives.  Edna Moyle has spent the greater part of her life advancing democracy, respect, women, and the Cayman Islands.  She has driven from North Side to George Town nearly every morning and evening for decades and worked long and hard for the mutual benefit of every resident and citizen of this country and now she has retired to her tomatoes duly honoured for her service, and that is right.

      Congratulations to the Madam Speaker.

      • Anonymous says:

        "They encourage the acts"

        This is a really sensible, thoughtful post.

        Congratulations Edna. We will miss you in politics.

        • Anonymous says:

          My congratulations to Ms Marie Martin on this honour. Its been a long time coming. Ms Marie has contributed greatly to the education of our children, often under difficult circumstances, yet she has done so without complaint but with a dedicated and caring spirit. May God continue to bless you Ms Marie.

  6. Alex johnson says:

    Congrats mrs. Moyle, north side is on a roll  Congratulation to you.

  7. M.Bridger says:

    Where’s mine??!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well done Edna.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to all! However, I would have thought as a pioneer in tertiary education in Cayman Dr Elsa Maria Cummings merited a higher honour.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Ms. Edna well done, come on North Side time for another party