Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the
news that Estella Scott-Roberts had vanished overnight. It takes very little to
resurrect the desperate feelings of that October 2008 weekend. It is still an
open wound;. It still aches and maybe it comes as a surprise to realise that
the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation is already preparing to mark the second
anniversary of her death.
Set up on 31 October, 2008, just weeks after her tragic
passing, the ESRF was created by Estella’s husband Rayle Roberts not only to
preserve her memory, but to continue her work, raising broad awareness of the
issues she so passionately confronted: domestic and sexual violence and gender
Advocating gender equality and a life free of violence
for all, the foundation and its board of directors remains constant: Rayle
Roberts, chairperson; Melanie McLaughlin, vice-chairperson; Novelette Ebanks,
treasurer; Tammy Ebanks Bishop, secretary; and Sara Collins, legal advisor, and
its membership continues to grow.
Rayle, what are the objectives of the foundation?
Our objective is to advocate for a life free of violence
for all and to speak out against issues such as domestic abuse, sexual violence
and gender inequality. These social ills are most-often visited upon women and
children. Opposing them is a crucial cause and it is something that drove
Estella every day. Her passion and commitment were enormous, and anyone that
mourns Estella owes to her memory an effort to make our Cayman Islands a better
place to live.
What are some of the major achievements of the foundation
in the past two years?
Let me just list a few of things;
We launched the “Be the Change campaign” and conducted a
series of Radio Cayman education sessions about the five steps to being the
We introduced the “Call to Men” campaign and video
presentation at local primary schools and Rotary clubs.
The foundation has observed Sexual Assault Awareness
Month each April since 2009 including running newspaper ads and distributing
flyers on “The Myths and Facts of Sexual Assault”.
Last year in the midst of the election campaign, and as
part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we co-hosted with the Cayman Islands
Crisis Centre’s an event called “Breakfast with the Candidates”.
What does the foundation mean to you, Rayle?
It’s been a terribly difficult time and not a day goes by
that I don’t think of Estella.
Still, you have to keep going, keep moving, and the
foundation has been a tremendous resource for me, both personally and
Each one of us, including me, can “Be the Change” in the
local effort to end gender violence, which is the main message of the Estella
Scott-Roberts Foundation. We urge each member of the community to join us in
being an active participant in changing attitudes and ending violence.
The theme for our activities this year is ‘Silence Hurts
– if you SEE something, SAY something’ – and the Foundation will be leading the
How has Cayman business community been supportive of the
ESRF has received some wonderful donations from
individuals, businesses and non-profit organisations, and the board members and
I are very grateful to all of them.
Just in June this year, Appleby contributed US$11,125,
gathered as part of their employees’ yearlong contributions for “Dress Down
The Caribbean Publishing Company donated $10,000 to the
foundation in February this year after their first annual Yellow Pages Open
Charity Golf Tournament.
We received US$3,360 thanks to the foundation’s 2nd
annual Christmastime fundraiser, “Mistletoe”, which is organized by Matthew
Wight, Kenrick Ebanks, Sidney Shaw and Abacus,owners Markus Mueri and Neil
In February last year, the DTMC Group Ltd donated
US$3,375 as part of a friendly competition with Abacus Restaurant’s “Mistle
Ttoe” Christmas donation just one month earlier.
The Young Business and Professional Women’s Club’s made a very generous donation of $5,300 last
September as a result of the funds they raised through part of research by
their Sexual Harassment and Stalking Taskforce.
Dms Broadcasting and Cayman Free Press gave us free
advertisements for our five-steps public service announcement as part of the
“Be the Change” campaign.
Rowena Lawrence, who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in November
2009, raised CI$1,850 in sponsorship for us.
And LIME employee, David Smith, raised $3,500 in
sponsorship from LIME employees across the
region when he ran in last year’s Paris Marathon.
What plans does the Foundation have to recognise the
second anniversary of Estella’s murder?
We have a month long schedule of activities planned for
the month of October using the theme – “Silence Hurts: If you SEE something, SAY something”. With the help of our media partners, We will
be launching a public awareness campaign for the month with an event planned at
the Harquail Theatre on October 17th.
How can you find out more information on the Foundation
and its work?
You can contact us by email at [email protected],
by telephone on 938-6300- or simply by asking any one of the foundation’s
directors or members.
Or you can visit our website at www.ersfoundation.org.ky
How can the business community – both organisations and
individuals – assist the foundation?
Contributing time, talent and financial support are three
of the ways Cayman’s good corporate citizens can assist the foundation. Monetary donations to ESRF can be made to Cayman National
Bank Account Number 012-32856 (CI checking).
We encourage anyone that wants to help to contact us. We
would love to hear from them.