Archive for May 22nd, 2010

Outstanding community member honoured

Outstanding community member honoured

| 22/05/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Vernecia Watler was recognised for her kindness to children when she became the 2010 Child Month Award recipient. The Carol Ann Patricia Williams-Campbell Award named for an exemplary foster parent who passed away, is presented to a member of the community who has contributed to the welfare and development of children. Wattler’s award was received in her absence by her son, Olivaire Watler, at the recent Child Month church service at Savannah United Church. In a later interview with government Information Services, she said, “I have always loved children; I started out babysitting neighbourhood children and later began helping the smaller children with their homework."

She said, "I firmly believe that as members of the community, we must continue to take seriously the role of shaping young hearts and minds into the well-rounded adults of tomorrow. I feel very blessed to serve the young people of the Cayman Islands, and I am humbled by this honour.”

Minister of Community Affairs and Housing Mike Adam congratulated “Miss Vernecia”, noting her community spirit and selfless service over the years. He said the country owed her a debt of gratitude for her contribution.

Department of Children and Family Services Director Deanna Look Loy also congratulated her, calling the honour “well deserved.” “Miss Vernecia has the community and children at heart. She is always actively working to better their lives,” Look Loy said.

Known as one of the signatories who petitioned the government for the right to vote, Watler has served the community in various capacities for more than five decades. In Scouting, for example, she has served the East End Cub Scout Pack for many years. She was a member of the Scout Association Executive Committee, and also led the Cayman Islands contingent in the first Caribbean Cuboree, held in St. Lucia in 1995. Among her many Scouting awards is the Silver Crocodile, the association’s highest.

Watler is a Justice of the Peace, and a life member of the National Trust. She also holds a Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour, is the recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, and an award from Rotary Sunrise. A member of the Gun Bay United Church, she has served in several capacities in the Women’s Fellowship, including President for Gun Bay, Island Council President for all the local United Churches, and President General for Jamaica and Grand Cayman. She has also taught elementary and Sunday schools and has received many church awards. Her name is also etched in the Wall of Honour in Heroes Square.

Child Month Committee Chairperson Cassandra Parchment said Watler was named from among an exemplary group of nominees. The selection was done based on several criteria, including volunteerism for more than three years in support of children and their issues.

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Museum passes on Cayman traditions

Museum passes on Cayman traditions

| 22/05/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Whether custard-top cornbread, cassava cake or “Nigga Bible”, the National Museum’s traditional arts programme, dubbed “The Exchange,” is a hands-down success, attracting so many participants that thereis a waiting list despite added class sections. Organized by Museum Education Officer Nasaria Chollette, the traditional arts programme has been developed as a means of passing down traditional arts skills and thus preserving important aspects of Cayman’s cultural heritage. The programme commenced in April with a series of cooking classes, but will eventually branch out into other areas such as embroidery and wood carving, says Chollette.

Instructors for classes are local masters of the art, with the custard-top cornbread taught by Mrs. Virginia Suckoo, and cassava heavy cake taught by local singer/song writer KK Alese. Next will be the traditional Nigga Bible cake, on 1 June. The series of classes is being hosted by Rhonda and Isaac Edie of Edie’s Décor at their Savannah Meadows home.

"In my youth the furthest thing from my mind was learning how to bake Caymanian traditional cakes or ‘heavy cakes’ as we know them,” said participant Alta Bodden-Solomon, NCVO youth & community worker, personal assistant to the NCVO’s CEO, and wife of artist Gordon Solomon. “Now a wife and mother of two, I have a desperate need to connect to all things Caymanian and past, including my own.

“I felt that this class was a must for me and, along with my husband Gordon, who hadn’t baked anything (except fish before), I feel a sense of fulfillment. I guess you could say that, as our first custard-top corn bread ‘baked up’, so did my pride in myself, my family and my Caymanian people.”

Commenting on the attention that the series has attracted, Chollette said: “The classes have been full to overflowing, so much so that I have a waiting list for classes, despite having added two sections to each class to accommodate all interests.” Chollette added that she was considering requests for children’s classes.

Speaking about the recent cassava cake class, Chollette said that instructor KK Alese, the well-known local singer/songwriter, expertly passed on the traditional art taught to her by mother Rhonda Edie — and even added a couple of secret ingredients herself.

Secret ingredients or not, participant Summer LaRue commented enthusiastically on the cassava-cake class experience: “I feel that the class was imperative for me (to attend) as I learnt how to gauge the right consistency of the batter for making the cake,” adding: “I don’t think I could have pulled it off on my own the first time! Since the class I have made three cakes! My mother-in-law (who is Caymanian) says mine is better than hers (not so sure about that!). Needless to say, I’m quite popular at work now, too! Ilook forward to many more classes to come!”

With regard to future classes, Education Officer Chollette says that further cooking and baking classes will shortly be advertised. “We encourage all to check our Facebook page so they can keep up with the class offerings. We anticipate next featuring Biscuit Cake, Duff and Johnny Cake.”

Anyone interested in being listed for classes and receiving information may email Chollette at

In addition, Chollette is inviting persons to serve as hosts of the home-based events. Anyone wishing to host a series of three classes, one per month for three months, should contact Mrs. Chollette as soon as possible.

Hosting the sessions in homes is an important ingredient, said participant Sushella Annon, as it creates that extra warmth: “The whole experience was a great one! The ‘classroom’ environment was very welcoming and I totally enjoyed myself. The final product was way better than I thought, and everyone who sampled it was asking for more!”

Voicing similar sentiments, Bodden-Solomon summed it up: “I’d encourage anyone that has a few hours to join, learn, enjoy and pass it on!"

The June 1 Nigga Bible class is being held at the Edie’s residence. Further details are available on registration.

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