Prince Charles’ whirlwind tour of the Cayman Islands would not be complete without a trip to Little Cayman’s Central Caribbean Marine Institute.
The royal visit generated big excitement on the smallest of our three islands.
An enthusiastic crowd was in place long before His Royal Highness’ scheduled arrival at CCMI last Thursday (28 March) in Little Cayman.
“It’s a very important island and we are being visited by a very important man,” said part-time Little Cayman resident Janet Freemantle.
“For Little Cayman to get a visit by the future king, I think it’s huge, and I think the whole community is really excited to see him on the island,” said Little Cayman resident Peter Quilliam.
“There’s only a small crowd here so it be a good chance to actually see him in person,” said Meredith Guderian, also of Little Cayman.
Many did get an opportunity to shake the hand of the future king before he toured the research station with CCMI director Dr. Carrie Manfrino.
“Prince Charles is incredibly outspoken about the oceans, we have that synergy, it is incredibly important to make sure that that message gets out to the world, and we think that there could be no better format especially across the overseas territories then for him to be here with us today to reinforce and indoors all of the great efforts that all of the young scientists are making,” said Dr. Manfrino.
The Prince got up close and personal with students from Cayman International School, part of a CCMI educational programme.
“We are all excited and sort of like, it is something that we never thought would really happen,” said 7th grade CIS student Evie Sweetman.
“I was just amazed that he was just coming to such a small island in the Caribbean to see the CCMI building,” said 7th grade CIS Student Josh Cowell.
CCMI staffers helped explain the science behind coral bleaching to their royal visitor through an interactive experiment, and the royal tour of CCMI would not be complete without taking in a view fit for a prince through a telescope.
“The United Nations is reporting that 70% of coral reef’s in the world are threatened,” Dr. Manfrino told Cayman 27.
While the situation may look dire for our oceans, Dr. Manfrino stressed to the Prince that CCMI’s scientists are working to find solutions.
During his visit, the entire student body from Little Cayman’s school – both of them – assisted Prince Charles in unveiling a commemorative plaque.