January 25, 2021 | Article by Patricia Ebanks | President of the Cayman Chapter of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Alumni Association.
Mrs. Shirlene Henriques, a 1974 graduate of the College of Nursing of the Northern Caribbean University, was this morning made an Officer of the Order of the Cayman Islands, at today’s (Monday, Jan. 25, 2021) Cayman Islands National Heroes celebrations in recognition of her medical and community services in the Cayman Islands.
Mrs. Henriques was among a select three persons made Officers. In addition, five others were made Members and two Companions.
The awards were presented by the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, in the presence of the Islands’ Governor, flanked by an array of local dignitaries, and witnessed by thousands attending the ceremony or viewing virtually.
These awards were the first to be bestowed under the revised Cayman Islands National Honours and Awards Law, originally enacted in 2010, but which remained in hiatus for several years.
Mrs. Henriques’s newest award is in recognition of her medical and continuing community services in the Cayman Islands over her lifetime.
Medical Career and Service
Among highlights of her many awards and achievements (too numerous to cover comprehensively), Mrs. Henriques graduated from NCU College of Nursing in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and became the first Caymanian to join the Cayman Health Services with this qualification. She also holds a master’s degree in hospital administration (1981-’85).
In 1995 she received the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert.Hon.) for outstanding work with AIDS patients.
In 2000, she was voted Alumnus of the Year by NCU and in 2006 was awarded NCU President’s Medallion.
Her local and international nursing career spanned 34 years, serving for most of these years at the Cayman Islands Health Services in such key roles as Nursing Supervisor/In-Service Education Coordinator, in which role she initiated the LPN (the Licensed Practical Nurses) programme; the AIDS Home Coordinator; and HSA Hospital Administrator.
Local and International Community Service
Her community service extends to international outreach and impacts. She is a former director of Cayman Islands ADRA (a branch of the international Adventist Development and Relief Agency), the Adventist Community Services Department, and the Health Ministries for the Adventist Union based in the Bahamas, serving the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas.
Today she remains dedicated to the service of both ADRA and the Adventist Community Services Department. She currently operates a Covid food distribution centre from her home and has separately initiated the Adventist Church’s soup kitchen community service across Grand Cayman, all undeterred by her physical disability. She received today’s award from the Premier of the Cayman Islands sitting in a wheelchair.
She is an active member of the Cayman Chapter of the NCU Alumni Association, which raises funds for scholarships, and in which she plays effective continuing supportive roles.
Among prior areas of service, she was Chief Nursing Officer of the Cayman Islands Red Cross and was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.