From its days as “the islands time forgot” to its present position as a leading offshore jurisdiction, the people of the Cayman Islands have always been the main attraction drawing visitors, and new residents, to these shores. What’s Hot met four of these community treasures, spreading “Caymankind” to all they encounter.
Affectionately known as “Speedy Gonzalez” by colleagues, Desmond Whittaker says he is “always moving fast, with a smile on his face.” He has been a porter with Customs Border Control for over 16 years, being among the first faces to greet visitors and returning residents and among the last to wish them well upon departure.
Caymankind to Desmond is engrained in the way Caymanians treat people. “I always go the extra mile to help people,” says Desmond, “and I enlighten them on Caymanian culture, and local plants such as the Silver Thatch trees.”
Desmond’s friendly manner has won over legions of fans, with many travelers calling him from overseas to check that he is working during their planned arrival.
Mr. Arthur’s convenience store has survived numerous hurricanes as well as the arrival of larger competitors over its 100-year-plus history.
Arthurlyn is the daughter of original owner Arthur Bodden and worked in the shop throughout her childhood and then for the last 30 years since returning from living in the U.S.
Arthurlyn enjoys “everything” about her job, but specifies talking to people, answering questions and talking about the island and its people.
Regulars visit daily, while overseas visitors return year after year. “Friendliness carried us back then, and still does,” says Arthurlyn, who believes Caymankind is a product of how Caymanians have been brought up – to be kind, helpful, and respectful of their culture.
“Many people have said about Cayman that it’s not about the beaches, it’s about the people, and it’s true,” she says.
Eziethamae “Zeta” Bodden has long served her community and championed Caymanian heritage and its preservation. She is a member of a lengthy list of community groups including the C.I. Red Cross, C.I. Cancer Society, West Bay Heritage Committee, National Trust for the Cayman Islands, C.I. National Museum and many others.
“Caymankind is showing kindness, hospitality at its best, lending a helping hand and spreading love,” she says. Zeta exudes these values, even receiving an MBE for her services to the community in 2009. She credits her parents, Joseph and Ima Ebanks, as also being community ambassadors, a trait which was obviously passed down.
Her career has spanned the hospitality industry and public sector, allowing her to utilize her community spirit in publicfacing roles throughout.
Officer Fabian O’Connor
The Dancing policeman
Assigned to the Community Police Department, Officer Fabian O’Connor has been interjecting fun with road safety since 2017, guiding pedestrians in his own friendly way which has earned him the moniker “the dancing policeman.”
Much loved by locals and visitors alike, Fabian says that his community facing role allows him to meet people from all backgrounds and countries.
“This presents me the opportunity to show Caymankind by greeting everyone I encounter with a warm Cayman smile,” says he. “There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve done something to make someone else’s life better. Whether it’s assisting pedestrians or supporting people in distress, knowing you’re doing a job that is positive for those around you is a significant plus. This is Caymankind.”