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Queen's Birthday Honours

Ms Edna Marie Moyle, JP.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has recognized two outstanding members of Cayman's community in her 2009 Birthday Honours list.

Heading the list is Ms Edna Marie Moyle, JP. She is made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) (OBE), for her substantial contributions to politics in the Cayman Islands, especially as a North Side representative, as a Minister and as a Legislative Assembly Speaker.

In addition, Mr Michael William Needham receives the Colonial Police Medal (CPM) for meritorious service.

And rounding out the official birthday celebrations, His Excellency Governor Stuart Jack, CMG has named three Caymanians to receive the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert. Hon.).

Dr Elsa Marie Cummings and Ms Sharon Marie Martin are honoured for services to education, while Mr Julian Nicholas Reddyhough gains recognition for services to the community.

Edna Marie Moyle - OBE

Edna Marie Moyle is a multi-faceted person, one who balances myriad activities within the community. However, the underlying core of her endeavours has been the betterment of the people of Cayman, particularly the women and children.

She has long championed neglected causes and moved motions in the House, managing to bring about positive change on several occasions. In the process, she firmly made her mark on modern Cayman's history.

It is therefore no surprise that Mrs Moyle is being recognized with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for her substantial contributions to politics in the Cayman Islands, especially as a North Side representative, as a Minister and as a Legislative Assembly Speaker."

Born 19 January 1942 in George Town to Mr Will Banks Miller, a North Side builder of homes, hotels and schooners, and Mrs Celeste (née Ebanks), she is the youngest of ten children.

Her mother died when young Edna was only seven and after attending the North Side Town Hall School at the primary level, her father sent her to Jamaica's Knox College. She also completed commercial studies in Jamaica.

Returning to Cayman, Mrs Moyle worked in the private sector until 1966 when she joined government service, holding a range of jobs including personal secretary to the then Administrator, John A Cumber, as well as working as Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Then in 1979, she rejoined the private sector.

Ms Moyle first ran for public office in 1984, having been approached by voters in her district. She was elected the Member for North Side on her third attempt in 1992 and remained an MLA until May this year.

She also served as the House Deputy Speaker for eight years, before becoming the Minister of Community Development, Sports, Women's Affairs and Youth, concerns all dear to her. In May 2005 she was elected Speaker of the House, a post she retained until her retirement this April.

As Speaker, Mrs Moyle ran a tight ship, maintaining the dignity and decorum of the Legislative Assembly, even in the heat of debate; applying House rules fairly and impartially, and upholding minority rights and views despite being a member of the majority ruling party.

As an MLA, her accomplishments were legion. One cause she championed early in her first term in office was the call to end discrimination against women in the civil service in several respects, including the denial of maternity leave. As she recalls, "I will never forget the day when Governor Gore called, advising me of my success."

She was also largely responsible for government establishing a women's affairs office and she was a guiding force in the launching of Cayman's Legal Befrienders Clinic, through which needy women can obtain free legal advice.

Other positive outcomes from Mrs Moyle's support of women's causes in the House included the collection of gender-based statistics; the introduction of curriculum education on sex and contraception for teens; the placement of domestic violence on Cayman's public agenda; and addressing the inadequacy of sentences that courts could impose for crimes against women.

In addition, Mrs Moyle moved a Private Member's Motion that called for a separate family protection police unit to handle family issues with greater sensitivity. Government accepted the motion and the Family Support Unit was established away from police headquarters to handle all family-related matters.

She also supported a motion that called for a safe house for battered women and their children. Facilitated by landmark domestic violence legislation, reported domestic abuse incidents had increased; government accepted the motion and Cayman's Crisis Centre was born.

Yet she is still not content; as a cabinet minister she had set plans in motion to establish a youth remand facility but it has yet to become a reality. "I do want to see this facility materialize quickly, and I also want to see equal pay for women," she says.

And in North Side, Mrs Moyle has also worked diligently on behalf of her district's older residents and she was active in establishing the library, the health centre, the civic centre, police station and community park. She also worked to set up netball and basketball courts and to complete the Old Man Bay playing field.

And in spite of her busy and lengthy public life, Mrs Moyle has always been a devoted mother to her five children, Todd, Edward, Gillian, Rebecca, and Sean. Today, she enjoys spending time with her eight grandchildren.

Commenting on her OBE, Mrs Moyle says, "I am humbled that Her Majesty has recognised my contributions to the people of these Islands by bestowing this high honour on me. I am also grateful to my nominators for thinking my accomplishments were sufficiently worthy. I accepted on behalf of all the people and I want everyone to know that I will always be involved in the welfare of women, youth and children and will be happy to get involved in any way that government wants me to."

Other awardee profiles will follow.

For further information contact: Wosila Rochester