First Celebrate Cayman event unveils Coat of Arms Royal Warrant

A significant moment of Caymanian history was made on Monday when Captain Owen Farrington, one of only a handful of surviving JPs who served in government in the late 1950s, unveiled a copy of the Royal Warrant that assigned Cayman’s Coat of Arms at a special ceremony held in the grounds of the Glass House. The original Royal Warrant was lost in a fire at the old Government administration building in 1972, so the acquiring and unveiling of a copy of the original Royal Warrant was an important moment for people in Cayman, because it underscored the significance of the Coat of Arms as the first symbol of Cayman Islands identity.

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The unveiling of the Royal Warrant was part of a special celebration that included an inspection of the RCIPS by Governor Anwar Choudhury and a presentation by Premier Alden McLaughlin on the history and general importance of Cayman’s Coat of Arms.

“When we examine the story line that bridges the gap between Cayman’s early settlement and rapid ascendance to becoming a world class leader in financial services and tourism, the issuance of the Coat of Arms represents the seminal moment that arguable triggered the chain of events that places the Cayman Islands on the path to modernity,” he said, adding that the Coat of Arms was Cayman’s first internationally recognised symbol of identity, its rich imagery telling the story of who Caymanian’s are, their history, culture, earliest industries, constitutional relationship and faith.

Premier McLaughlin credited former Commissioner (equivalent of Governor today) Major Alan Hilliard Donald with initiating the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms in the late 1950s. The Royal Warrant assigning ’Armorial Ensigns for the Cayman Islands’ was eventually approved by the Queen’s command on 14 May, 1958.

Having lost the original signed warrant in the fire, government felt it was essential that a copy be produced that would help Caymanians understand their history.

As a result of the loss of the Royal Warrant, Premier McLaughlin said: “Almost two generations of Caymanians have known nothing about how our Coat of Arms came to exist. Until now the story, along with the Coat of Arms, had been lost. Today we celebrate the return of a facsimile of the Coat of Arms which has been prepared by the Garta King of Arms at the request of the Cayman Islands Government.”

MLA Ezzard Miller then read a list of the JPs and Vestrymen who ran Cayman’s government at the time of the development of the Coat of Arms and the audience, which included government representatives and other dignitaries, was then treated to a rendition of ‘Come back home to our Island’ by Cayman Folk Singers. Captain Owen Farrington then took the important step of unveiling the Royal Warrant and Coat of Arms and Governor Choudhury read the original Royal Warrant. Musical interludes were also performed by Jubilate, a collection of musicians from Cayman’s primary schools. A brand new recording of Cayman’s National Song was then played, produced by Lisa Scott, the granddaughter of the song’s original author, and her husband Dan. Refreshments were then served to the attendees who were thankful that the rain had held off for this momentous occasion.

By Lindsey Turnbull, Caymanian Times