The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) hosted the prestigious 15th Annual Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on July 17, 2018. The packed house was a true reflection of the importance of this industry to the Cayman Islands. The Awards were graced with the presence of several leaders and officials including Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson; Police Commissioner, Derek Byrne; Tourism Councillor, David Wight; Chief Officer Stran Bodden as well as Director of the Department of Tourism, Rosa Harris. Tourism Ambassador and winner of last year’s Tourism Speak-Off, Zariah Anglin, was also present to celebrate with CITA. Gaetan Babin, planning committee member, had this to share about this year’s awards: “…Fifteen years of Celebrating the Best in Tourism in the Cayman Islands was held last week in a spectacular venue at the Ritz Carlton. Attended by the several leaders of our Industry and by government officials, the sold-out event known as The Stingray Awards, has been compared to the Oscars of the Cayman Islands. I would like to extend hearty congratulations to all the nominees and the winners of the prestigious glass blown Stingray Awards.”
Set to the ambiance a crystal theming (15th anniversary), the evening began with a beautiful presentation of the National Song performed Mrs. Karen Edie-Turner followed by a blessing of the meal by Mr. Tim Adam, a past CITA Board member and long-time supporter of the awards. The co-hosts for the night were radio personality and morning show host on Irie FM, Hurley’s Media, Dane Ramoon, as well as former Miss Cayman Islands, Tonie Chisolm. CITA President Theresa Leacock-Broderick, welcomed everyone to the evening’s proceedings and Councillor David gave remarks on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism.
Andrew Ebanks received the Rising Star Awards for Excellence which is bestowed upon a younger entrant to the industry and he said: “Winning such a prestigious award as the ‘2018 Rising Star Award’ gives me such a sense of accomplishment and I have to admit that the best and rewarding part about it is just being a nominee … with all the people cheering and supporting me along the way. Being able to work in the tourism and hospitality industry in the Cayman Islands everyday gives me a sense of pride and I just hope this achievement can help encourage many others to continue to add value to our island guests as the tourism and hospitality can be so rewarding in more than one way and that once you work hard and commit yourself success will come. I’m truly humbled and honoured to be chosen as this year’s Recipient and wish to congratulate all the nominees on such a wonderful night of excellence”. Similar sentiments were shared by William Chisolm from Cayman Turtle Centre, who received the Employee of the Year awards for the Allied/Attractions category, saying “I’m so honored and grateful to be the recipient of this award, to be recognized by such a great organization. None of this could be possible without my coworkers from our good morning jokes to their mad coffee brewing skills to lifting our spirits to get us through anything the day might throw our way. My goal is to educate them in a fun manner in the hopes that they will be leaving with a smile on their faces and a seed planted in their minds about the conservation that they can probably add/adjust or change in their day to day lives i.e. something as simple as switching to reusable bags when they go shopping!”
Crystal Marshall of Seven at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman won the esteemed Restaurant Manager of the Year Award for her commitment. Ms. Marshall remarked that she absolutely did not expect this award and was so overwhelmed when her name was called. She shared “What an amazing night! Truly grateful to be honoured and held in such high company. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by an amazing team of outstanding individuals and to be able to what I do every day on the platform that the Ritz-Carlton provides. ”
In a video that was put together for the awards complements of Hurley Media, Lifetime Achievement Recipient for 2018, Nancy Easterbrook imparted “I was blessed to be a part of a Cayman family and a world-wide family of divers. I met so many people who are just incredible, who shared knowledge, adventures and guided and supported me over the years. It is them, my amazing staff and my incredible loving family that I must thank for this honor. I would not be here being it not for all of them.”
The winners of the 2018 Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards are:
Manager – Trudy Veers – Cayman Brac Beach Resort
Employee – Adriana Airinei – The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Manager – Ned Jerris Miller – Cayman Turtle Centre
Employee – William Chisholm – Cayman Turtle Centre
Manager – Crystal Marshall – The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Employee – Denise Solomon – Marriott
Manager – Sharon Maher – Reef Divers Ltd.
Employee – Daniel Dixon – Go Pro & Seasports Diving
Diamond Award – Garfield Ebanks – Marriott
Rising Star – Andrew Ebanks – Islandlife Watersports
Lifetime Achievement Award: Nancy Easterbrook - Divetech
The Association took a moment this year to also recognize individuals that do not fall within the standard Stingray categories. The Association had recently committed to serve as Business Watch Coordinator for its members in partnership with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). The aim of this initiative is to promote awareness and facilitate training and communication amongst CITA member businesses regarding safeguarding property and personal safety. At the awards on July 17th, Officer Jonathan Kern was acknowledged taking a lead role in this collaboration and for his work so far. Officer Fabian Connor was also specially acknowledged for bringing smiles to visitors while promoting safety amongst persons in the George Town/Waterfront area.
CITA appreciates all who came out to celebrate and those who supported in a special way, including the Westin Grand Cayman Beach Resort (programme sponsor); The Department of Tourism (reception sponsor); Hurley’s Media Group (media sponsor); The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman (venue sponsor); Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa; Consolidated Water; Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort; Picture This; Vernon Photography; Island Art and Framing; Cayman Airways Limited; One World Entertainment; EventPro; Celebrations and Cayman Spirits Company.