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Running head: PRIDE WORKSHOP II 1

PRIDE Workshop II

Paullete Jane McField

International College of the Cayman Islands


PRIDE Workshop II

The Cayman Islands are known for the spectacular beaches, diving, delicious cuisines

and friendly people. However, for the second PRIDE Workshop, Mrs. Janet Holness conducted a

very informative workshop on the Cayman Islands’ history, heritage, and culture. One interesting

aspect for me was learning that slavery happened on the Islands.

Expectantly, slaves were forced to work, while they catered to their white owners. In

1834, slaves in the Cayman Islands became “apprentices.” This meant that slaves were taught a

trade by their owners. However, the apprenticeship system did not work for an extended period

because the owners did not want to train or pay the slaves. They did not want the slaves to be

self-sufficient. In the end, many slaves chose to stay with their Masters as they were incapable of

surviving on their own because they were not skilled (Holness, personal communication, 2018).

I also learned that the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all the slaves in the Cayman

Islands was on May 3rd, 1835 (Holness, personal communication, 2018). As a born Caymanian I

do not recall being taught in school or at home about slavery happening in the Cayman Islands. I

distinctly remember being taught about Christopher Columbus discovering the Islands or about

our seafarers’ heritage, amongst other things. While I could understand that it may have been a

painful period in our country’s history, we cannot deny or erase what has already been done. I

believe that minimizing this portion of history is an injustice to Caymanian people. All

Caymanians should be educated about the severe hardships of slavery that our forefathers had to


Furthermore, I could relate what I learned to what I read in the textbook, “Founded upon

the Seas” as it highlights Caymanian slaves and emancipation. According to Craton (2003),

“Recognition of this period of Caymanian history as a Slave Society is essential for a full

understanding of the subtleties of present-day attitudes toward class and race” (p.63). With the

author making this point about slavery it revealed another issue that many persons in the Cayman

Islands face; discrimination because persons are not from a wealthy family and racism. For me, I

do not think that racist people are born that way, but instead, I believe it is something that has

been passed down from generation to generation.

In conclusion, although, many exciting aspects of Cayman’s history stood out for me on

the day of the second workshop, I was most impressed by the instructor. Admirably, I was

amazed by the passion that Mrs. Holness displayed throughout both workshops. As I listened and

observed Mrs. Holness, there is no doubt in my mind that she loves her country and its people. I

am grateful for the time that I shared with this influential and inspiring woman. Hopefully, one

day I too can make a difference and inspire others and become an effective leader in the Cayman



Craton, M. (2003). Founded upon the seas: a history of the Cayman Islands and their people.

Kingston, JA: Ian Randle Publishers Inc.

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