Speech from the Throne: Governor Announces Acting Health Chief, Queen’s Birthday Holidays

Governor Marty Roper delivers the Speech from the Throne to Parliament on Friday, November 26 – Photo: CIGTV

Governor Martyn Roper, in his annual Speech from the Throne, announced the interim replacement of outgoing Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee and two public holidays to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th birthday in the throne, and reiterated the UK support for Cayman as it continues to fight. COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE

When Lee steps down in January, infectious disease specialist Dr Autilia Newton, who until recently served as the UK Health Security Agency’s (formerly Public Health England) Overseas Adviser, will assume temporarily the role.

The governor paid tribute to Lee “for his exceptional service, for which I know he will always be remembered by the Caymans.” He added: “His voice of calm and reason has reassured many of us during the pandemic, and the government has continued to benefit from his guidance throughout the pandemic.”

Newton will serve as interim chief medical officer until a permanent successor can be identified, Roper said, adding that she visited the Caymans in March 2020, “and brings a wealth of experience and d ‘expertise’.

Public holiday to mark the Queen’s 70th birthday

As Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 70th birthday on the throne in June next year, the governor said the Caymans, along with the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries and other overseas territories , would mark the historic occasion.

He confirmed that Cabinet had agreed that there would be a long weekend to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, with public holidays on Friday June 3 and Monday June 6.

Among the activities already planned for this weekend, by a committee established by Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, are a concert, fireworks, various neighborhood events, lighting, an air show and a trade fair. automobile, as well as a Queen’s birthday party and parade at the Governor’s Residence on Seven Mile Beach. There are also plans to launch a “Plant a Jubilee Tree” initiative across the islands involving local schoolchildren, Roper said.

Governor Martyn Roper delivers the Speech from the Throne, as MPs watch. – Photo: SIG

COVID Concerns

The governor noted that, in recent weeks, Cayman has faced widespread cases of community transmission of COVID. “My thoughts and prayers are with the people in the hospital and their families,” he said. “Let me also pay tribute to our courageous nurses, doctors and support staff in HSA and public health.

“I understand why the peak of cases is unsettling for our community which has lived for so long in one of the safest bubbles in the world. Yet the exceptionally high vaccination rate gives us confidence and is a major achievement of this government. This has enabled a significant number of people to take not only the first and second doses of the vaccine, but also boosters, and, with the implementation of lateral flow policies, will help us all to live so normally and safely. as possible. “

He added that the government’s decision to reopen the Cayman border as local cases of the virus increased was difficult, but said it was “the right decision” and an “important step forward on the road to recovery. “.

He also praised the government’s plan to test COVID protocols for a one-off cruise ship visit on December 28.

The governor said recent news of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus discovered in southern Africa was “of great concern to all of us,” and noted that the UK has already suspended flights from six countries of the world. Southern Africa.

“But there is a lot that we don’t know yet, so while this is a matter of great concern, it is not yet a matter of undue concern,” he said. said, adding that the UK’s commitment to supporting the Cayman Islands and its other overseas territories during the pandemic “remains steadfast”.

He said the UK will continue to provide the Caymans with vaccines, as well as therapeutics and antivirals.

The governor added that the boosters would soon be available to all adults on the island. Currently, only people over 40 are eligible to receive the booster.

Climate change

In his speech, delivered just before the PACT government unveiled its first budget since taking office, the governor welcomed Prime Minister Wayne Panton’s participation in the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, at the start of the months, claiming that this showed the Cayman world’s commitment to efforts to combat global warming.

He noted that Prince Charles congratulated the Prime Minister on the newly established Commonwealth Climate Growth Fund in Cayman, an investment fund for which Cayman has provided seed capital, which will focus on businesses and technologies that enable to mitigate and adapt the climate in the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The governor also referred to the UK government’s Seabed Mapping Program, a £ 1million aerial survey of waters in the Overseas Territories, which is currently being conducted in the three Cayman Islands. He said the information gathered in this mapping exercise would enable policymakers “to ensure that risks to the environment, life and ships are addressed and support compliance with international maritime obligations and support the development of economies. blue ”.

He added that the UK will provide £ 110,000 in funding for a Cayman-specific climate change risk assessment.

british engagement

Roper, who traveled to the UK last week to attend the ninth annual meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, said the event celebrated the partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories and ” your place in the British family “.

At that meeting, he said, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a pre-recorded speech in which he reiterated his commitment to the Overseas Territories. The governor quoted Johnson as saying, “We will stay with you now and regardless of whatever comes our way. “

Another indication of the UK’s support for the Overseas Territories, the governor said, was a recent announcement that students from the Overseas Territories, including the Caymans, are now eligible to apply for loans for tuition fees for UK universities and colleges. Cayman students already pay the same tuition fees as UK students, rather than the higher fees for international students, the governor said.

Roper also announced that the UK will send another team of trainers to Cayman to help train new recruits to the Cayman Islands Regiment next summer, noting that there are currently more than 90 members in the regiment, who he described it as a “great asset”.

He said the regiment had a proven track record in responding to the crisis, in how it helped distribute food to people in need who were in isolation, rebuild the field hospital for COVID patients and at her job cleaning up debris after Tropical Storm Grace.

In his speech, the governor also praised the work of some outgoing officials, including Director of Corrections Steve Barrett, who is leaving next month, and Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, who takes on a new role in Canada during the news. year.

Concluding, Roper said he welcomed the PACT government’s “steadfast commitment to the fiscal accountability framework,” adding that the pandemic “is far from over – caution and prudence are extremely important to the environment. ‘to come up”.

He said the government had his “full support” and that of the UK.

Read the full Speech from the Throne here.

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