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I want to congratulate you all for the hard work and for your achievements and to also congratulate and thank your spouses, your children, your other support folks who have helped you get this far along your journey.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin

Published 2nd November 2018, 11:4am

Delivered on 1st November (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered) Good evening everyone, Iím delighted to be here this evening as you celebrate this most auspicious event in your lives as graduates. I want to congratulate you all for the hard work and for your achievements and to also congratulate and thank your spouses, your children, your other support folks who have helped you get this far along your journey. As I sat there just now and thought back, it is 40 years this month since I graduated from High School. In those days, graduations were in November because they wouldnít let you graduate until you got your results; it was a different time. 40 years, and I think back on the decisions, and some of the bad decisions that I was prepared to make at that age when I thought that high school graduation was something really special and that was just about all you needed to get on in life. And I have a number of people to thank for persuading me that I needed to go beyond high school education, if I truly wanted to achieve the things that I had the ambition for in this life. Principal among them was my father, who I will never forget said to me, he said my son you canít see it, but the day is coming in this Country when youíre going to need a university degree to drive the garbage truck. Well, we havenít quite reached there, but those of you who have sought employment and are in employment will understand what he meant, that if you really want to get on you do need to do what you all have done and some of you will continue to do as you move from one level to the other from Diploma to Associates to Bachelors and on. So I want to commend you for having understood the critical importance of education, which as Mr. Ritch just said is not a destination, but an ongoing process, important to your life and your ambition and ultimately your achievement. So I want to encourage you to seek out, in whatever you do, whatever vocation or profession you pursue, something for which you have real passion. For if you ever discover what you truly love to do, youíll never really work a day in your life. I was not a particularly good student; the teachers said it wasnít because I didnít have the ability; it was because when I was younger the pursuit of happiness was far more important to me than the pursuit of anything else and so I didnít really work that hard. But a point came when the penny dropped and I understood that to achieve, you really had to work hard and that has been the basis for me and all that I have been able to do in my life. Finding the legal profession which was something that I loved deeply and then an outlet for my desire for public service, Iím just about completing in five daysí time eighteen years as an elected member. And so I have always had, since I qualified as a Lawyer, a reason to get out of bed every morning and a job that I wanted to go and do and achieve at, if you can find that in whatever your pursuits are, you will have done the most important thing for yourself and indeed for whoever you work for. Because when you actually find something that you want to get up in a morning to go and do that makes you a happy person. So I encourage you to seek out those opportunities, I wish you all the very best in your further endeavours and I look forward to helping you celebrate some more of those occasions, those of you who remain here or elsewhere in Cayman. I want to conclude these remarks by paying tribute and acknowledging the tremendous service of two, believe it or not, of my former high school teachers who are still here at UCCI. Old teachers never die, they just keep graduating. The first I want to mention is Professor Emerita Calvin Bromfield, who taught me A level English forty years ago, he must have been a boy. He was one of the most inspiring teachersí that I had, even though he came to the school late in my school career at what was then the Cayman Islands High School. And finally to say, or to acknowledge with some sadness that tonight is the swan song of your President, J.A. Roy Bodden, who taught me A level history forty years ago. Before that, Mr Bodden had been a teacher in the Government school system, before he went off for further studies to University in Canada returning as I said to the Cayman Islands High School to teach A level history, particularly American history. So he had a long and distinguished career as a teacher in the public service before going on to be elected and serving sixteen and a half years, latterly as Minister of Education and then to do a further nine years now as President of UCCI. That is truly a lifetime of public service, which warrants I believe not just applause here, but truly national recognition. And he would be disappointed, because Iím not in his head and his heart, but I do believe that heís most proud of being an author. And heís been the author of a number of seminal works, about the history of these islands, particularly the political history of these islands and our social history. And although he has been recognized very much for those over the years, I do believe as he leaves this scene, more and more people are going to come to understand how critically important those works of his are. To our understanding recognition and appreciation of what life in these islands was like, the struggles, the successes and the pride that we can have in being Caymanian. I want to thank you Roy for all that you have done and indeed look forward to the promise of more of those works as you go into happy retirement. Again, I thank you all for the invitation to be here and the opportunity to say a few words and again my warmest congratulations to the graduates.