Last modified: 2023-07-08 by rob raeside
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image by Graham Bartram, 21 March 2001 and António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2016
Official Name: Cayman Islands
Capital: George Town
Government Type: British Overseas Territory
Flag adopted: 14 May 1958
Coat of Arms adopted: 14 May 1958
I found that the white disc was removed from Cayman Islands
blue ensign on Flag Data Base (by Flag Institute) although before
it has white disc.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 3 June 2000
In 1999 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) department in charge of
flags, the DCTA, decided, in consultation with the College of
Arms, that the badges on many British flags were too small for
identification. They also did not match the newer flags granted
directly by the Queen, through the College of Arms, which have
much larger badges.
So the MoD decided to make the badges much larger - the size and placement of badges on British ensigns was a decision in the power of the Admiralty, and passed to the MoD when the Admiralty ceased to exists as a separate body. So the MoD was simply exercising its authority in the matter, for the better identification of flags.
This meant that the white discs had to get larger. In fact the discs had to be so large that they looked ridiculous and it was therefore decided to discard them as they were no longer necessary, the new badges being clear even without the discs. So the new illustration of the Falkland Islands, Cayman Islands and Montserrat in BR20 (the government flag book) all had much larger badges (but no change to the design of the badge) and no white discs.
Of course the MoD's authority on flags only covers flags at sea, so the Islands concerned are free to continue using flags with discs on land if they wish to, but flags for use at sea should no longer have discs (unless they are old flags still in use). The question of discs of red ensigns is more complex as the size and placement of badges is usually specified in the Statutory Instrument that creates them and it is not clear whether the long standing MoD/Admiralty power over the size and placement of badges can be used to alter a flag created by a Statutory Instrument.
Graham Bartram, 6 July 2000
I noticed that Cayman Flags have changed in 1999. I refer you to page www.flags.net/CYIS.htm.
Tom Rothe, 21 March 2001
Yes, the white disc was removed and the arms enlarged. Tom is
referring to the change made when BR20 change 5 was published.
Incidentally the Cayman Islands will be using the new flag at
next year's Commonwealth Games
Graham Bartram, 21 March 2001
The page for the Cayman Islands seems to attribute a new
Cayman Islands flag to an event that occurred on 25 January 1999.
From the postings, I gather that the event may be the appearance
of the amendments to BR 20 (the Ministry of Defence flag book).
The incorrect depiction of the Queen's Harbour Master (QHM) flag shown in the 1999 amendments to BR 20 reflects that the amendment does not necessarily reflect a policy decision regarding flags, even those of the defence establishment. BR 20 is a reference work issued by one agency of HM Government; it illustrates the flags of all nations. But if the Navy or MoD ever wished to alter the Queen's Harbour Master flag, they would necessarily speak through channels similar to those used by the Admiralty when they created the flag some 88 years ago. The work's effect on flags used outside the defence ministry cannot be greater.
James T. Liston, 15 June 2003
An article published on 11 December 2006 by Cayman
Net News Online contains interesting details on the
availability and use of the flag of the islands.
Full quote of the article:
"A call to remove some of the controls surrounding use of the Cayman flag was heard in the Legislative Assembly last week following Government Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Alfonso Wrights question about why the countrys flag was, he believed, rarely flown. Mr Wright complained that he had been to, so many events where the national anthem was being performed and at ninety-five per cent of these events there was no display of the flag. He asked what were the formal regulations and protocol regarding the sale of the Cayman Islands flag and the Chief Secretary, Hon George McCarthy, extolled the benefits of having the National Museum alone being responsible for the flag. Mr Wright said the flag should be seen more as increased visibility would result in higher levels of national pride.
The Cayman Islands National Museum is responsible for the sale of Cayman Islands flags, said Mr McCarthy. The flags are sold in various sizes and include the blue ensign, the land flag, and the red ensign, the marine flag. The Government recognises the Cayman Islands flag as a symbol of sovereignty. As such, a single official point of sale was designated for the Cayman Islands flag and the Coat of Arms. He explained that the single point of sale means that Government exercises quality control over the design, reproduction and sale of the National Flag.
Mr Wright said that Sovereignty was important but so was national pride. The flag is an important part of what we are about and we need to see the flag more often, he said. Can the museum look to having the flag distributed throughout the Island? Has the museum made any efforts to encourage any other points of sale? Mr Wright asked the Chief Secretary under whose portfolio the matter falls. Mr McCarthy articulated his reservations about not being to control the display and presentation of the flag, once the number of venues for sale increased, saying that he would rather not see the flag, at whatever size, lumped, without special care, with other artefacts at other outlets. I dont think the flag should be grouped as a bulk item, amongst other items, where it is being sold, he said adding that, for example, he would not want to see the flag sold in supermarkets. Pressed by Mr Wright to explore the possibility of increasing the distribution options for the flag, Mr McCarthy said he would ensure that this is done, but, he would also ensure that wherever the flag is displayed it is done with the appropriate dignity.
Ivan Sache, 16 December 2006
Quoting Brent Fuller, "Cay
Compass", 4 September 2007:
"A seemingly innocuous motion made in support of the Cayman Islands flag and national song sparked hours of contentious political argument Monday in the Legislative Assembly.
Government back bench MLA Alfonso Wright put forth whats known as a private members motion urging the government to adopt guidelines for how and where the Cayman Islands flag should be displayed, as well as drawing up protocols for occasions on which the national song is sung. Those included suggestions that the flag should be raised and lowered daily at all government buildings; that the Cayman Islands national song be sung daily at each primary and high school; and that penalties be established for improperly displaying or handling the flag. Mr. Wright also suggested that a new symbol representing education be placed in the countrys coat of arms. [...]
Opposition party members supported Mr. Wrights motion concerning the Cayman Islands flag or national song, but Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush did take exception to some of the offtopic comments. [...]
There was unanimous support at the end of the debate for Mr. Wrights motion, although Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said a few sections may have to be finetuned."
Ivan Sache, 8 September 2007
A "follow-up" to my recent message on this subject
was published in "The
Cayman Net News", 7 September 2007:
"Government has agreed to establish protocol for the proper use of the Cayman Islands Flag and National Song emanating from a Private Members Motion brought by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for George Town Alfonso Wright.
In his first motion since being elected in May 2005 the Government backbencher sought proper established protocol for the management of the Cayman Islands National Song as well as the display and management of the Cayman Flag. The newly established Protocol Office is to be put in charge of dealing with the matter. The motion passed unanimously in the Legislative Assembly (LA) on Monday 3 September. [...]
Noting that the flag is a symbol of pride that evokes patriotism in the Islands citizens, the motion [...] asked Government to consider:
- the raising and lowering of the flag at all prominent government buildings daily;
- the display of the flag at all government functions, wherever possible, especially where the National Song is a programme item;
- establishing a policy whereby the flag is raised in a ceremony each day at each school; and establishing a policy to guarantee that the National Song is sung in every primary and high school, public and private, each day of school.
Also being sought is the establishing of official protocol of standing to attention by all present while the National Song is played. Additionally, the motion asks that improper displaying and handling of the flag attract established penalties. In his contribution, Mr Wright also wanted included in the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms a symbol to reflect the importance given to education in the Cayman Islands. [...]
Minister Tibbetts, however, noted that some aspects raised in the motion would have to be fine-tuned for ease of putting the protocol into practice."
Ivan Sache, 10 September 2007
I recreated Graham Bartram's image, which, uses the big-sized coat of arms
that become the (British) MoD’s official spec in 1999 and may or may not have
caught up locally. I used another, bigger, rendering of the same
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2016
image by eljko Heimer and Antonio Martins, 05 January 2000
The blue ensign with the white disc seems to be used
everywhere (government site, American Express commercial, the
2000 chart from Shipmate, Znamierowski's books out now).
Steve Stringfellow, 17 June 2000
As you may know, currently the XIX edition of the Central
American Games are being held in El Salvador. On the flagpoles
there are hoisted the flag of the 31 participating teams. The
flag of the Cayman Islands is the Blue Ensign with the arms
within a white circle.
Even in the official web page of the Cayman Islands www.gov.ky the flag bears an white circle...
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 8 December 2002
The flag of the Cayman Islands was adopted in 1959. Prior to that, the Islands had used the British flag for all official occasions. Set on a navy blue field, the flag features the red, white and blue British Union Jack in its upper left-hand corner, and the Cayman coat of arms encircled in a pure white ground in the right-hand centre of the field. The maritime flag features a red field.
James T. Liston, 6 February 2002
The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory (the FCO has
decreed what we used to call "colonies" will no longer
to be called dependant territories) has issued A postage stamp in
remembrance of 11th September 2001, showing the Statue of
Liberty, the US flag, and the Cayman Islands Blue Ensign with the
arms in a white disc! The government of the Cayman Islands
website shows the flag as is shown on the stamp.
James T. Liston, 14 March 2002 and Dave Cox, 1 April 2002
Here is a response for my letter to Cayman Islands' government web-site www.gov.ky:
"I am writing to you in reference to your enquiry sent to the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs regarding the Cayman Islands flag. I have examined the National Archive's collection of government records for the relevant time period and I was able to ascertain the following:
- On 3rd April 1957 Cayman's legislative body passed a resolution to seek a grant from Her Majesty for a Coat-of-Arms.
- In a government notice, dated 11th April 1957, Commissioner Donald requested submissions for the Coat-of-Arms based on a template agreed to by the Advisory Executive Council. Deadline for submissions was 1st May 1957.
- According to Government file (ref: CERE/SYMB dated 1958-1974), on 13 January 1957 Her Majesty approved that the design of the Coat-of-Arms should be used on a white circular ground in the fly of the Blue Ensign as the Flag Badge of the territory.
- Government Notice no. 67 of 1958, dated 14 July 1958, published a copy of the Royal Warrant (signed on 14 May 1958) and a sketch of the Arms and Crest.
- The Coat-of-Arms and flag were not recognized in legislation until 1993. It was then revised in 1998 and amended in 2002. The original law specified that the use of the Coat of Arms and Flag is restricted for trade and business and that unauthorized use is subject to penalties. It also provides for the C. I. Government to issue guidelines setting out how the Coats-of-Arms may be used ,and how the flag is to be flown. There is no description of the Flag in the law. The subsequent legislation only pertains to the penalties and fees for use of the Ensign.
- In 1999 the British Ministry of Defence's publication Flags of All Nations (BR 20) removed the white background discs from the illustrations of both the Blue and Red Ensigns. However, the pure white disc remains on the official flag of the Cayman Islands.
In my examination of the records, I was unable to find any archival evidence to suggest a connection between the adoption of the flag and the 1959 Constitution. It should be noted however, that the Constitution does make mention of a "Public Seal".
I hope that you will find his response to your enquiry helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us again, if you have any further
Tamara Selzer, Archivist"
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 9 September 2003
According photos from the last two editions of the Islands
Games, and the Commonwealth Games, I should say that the official
flag (at sports at least) flown by the Cayman Islands is the
defaced British blue ensign with encircled emblem
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 10 July 2007
At the opening ceremony of Sydney 2000 Olympic games, the
Cayman Islands flag was still displayed with the white disk and
had particularly well noticeable large badge.
Pascal Gross and eljko Heimer, 16 September 2000
At Athens Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, the Cayman flag had a
pretty large white disc around a badge. The athletes were
waiving similar flags as well.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 15 August 2004
It was interesting to see that the flag of the Cayman Islands carried during
the Olympics opening ceremony was the previous version with the arms in the
centre of a white disc.
Bruce Berry, 28 July 2012
I noticed that the little mini-flags that the athletes were waving had the
version with no disc. Could the big flag have been a mistake on the part of the
Brendan Patrick Hennessy, 28 July 2012
I doubt it, I think the Cayman Islands NOC is responsible for the big flag (remember
that Bosnia's new flag was I think debuted at Nagano, Nagano wouldn't have known
about the new flag unless the Bosnian NOC told them), even if it is London's
responsibility the Caymans are a British possession, they should know.
David Kendall, 28 July 2012
Not a possession, but one of "The Overseas Territories". Source:
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
website, 'The Overseas Territories', last updated 16 July 2012, as consulted
30 July 2012
That's three different generic name changes, since I've been on FoTW, my friends - and that is not even ten years.
Colin Dobson, 29 July 2012
The protocol manual for the
London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual
London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations
for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag,
including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced
a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may
not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what
the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Cayman Islands: PMS 281 blue, 032 red, 348 green, 361 green, 292 blue, 109 yellow and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise. And the arms are on a white disc.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012
I watched the opening ceremony of the Winter
Olympics in Sochi and noticed that the flag used for the Cayman Islands is
the pre-2000 version i.e. badge on white disc. The Cayman Islands
representatives were carry table flags of the version with the larger badge and
Bruce Berry, 10 February 2014
This photo on
Flickr shows a flag for the Cayman Islands Fire Service. The flag is light blue,
with the Fire Service badge on a white background in the centre. The badge is of
the same basic design as that of (London's) Metropolitan Police - a many-rayed
star with a crown at the top, bearing a circular emblem. In the case of the
CIFS, this is the Cayman coat of arms, as it appears on the territory's flag, in
side a red border containing the black text " THE CAYMAN ISLANDS " / "FIRE
SERVICE". The white area surrounding the badge is separated from the field by a
black border, and is in the shape of a large circle (that would comfortably
include the star without crown) extended by a smaller partially overlapping
circle at the top, to include the crown.
Jonathan Dixon, 25 September 2010
The more accurate comparison is with what is referred to as the British Fire
Service badge, rather than that of the Metropolitan Police.
This badge is an eight pointed star (kind of like two squares placed on top of each other) and that, according to the Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, the eight points of the star represent such qualities as tact, gallantry and so on. See the interesting article here: http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/servicebadgesorigin which also states that the origin of what they call the British Fire Service Badge was in the Maltese Cross.
Variants of this fire service badge also tend to have a smaller number of minor rays in between the eight large ones, such as the six on the Cayman Islands Fire Service flag, whereas there are usually eight
depicted on the Metropolitan Police Service badge.
The coat of arms inside the circle is different from the one shown on the Cayman Islands flag alongside it, in that there appears to be no red on the fire service flag, only a pale blue field. The logo shown on the web site of the Cayman Islands Fire Service quite clearly shows that the lion should be on a red field, as in the main Cayman Islands flag.
(1) Cayman Islands Fire Service web site, as consulted 26 September 2010
(2) Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service web site, as consulted 26 September 2010
Colin Dobson, 26 September 2010
Cayman Islands is divided to 8 districts. There are no known
flags of those districts. The districts are:
- South Town
- Spot Bay
- Stake Bay
- West End
List based on Administrative divisions of the World.
Dov Gutterman, 29 October 2004
According to www.caymanprepared.ky
there are four of them:
- Tropical Storm Flag Alert: a red pennant
- Tropical Storm Flag All Clear: a green pennant
- Tropical Storm Flag Warning: two red pennants with black triangle pointing outwards
- Tropical Storm Flag Watch: red pennant with black triangle pointing outwards. Page 36 of this document states that in case of an alert, The Commissioner of Police will arrange to have one red flag hoisted at the designated buildings which I take are shelters:
Page 37 states that in the case of a watch, one red flag with black centre [is] to be hoisted at each designated building.
Page 39 mentions the warning sign, two red flags with black centres whereas the all clear sign one green flag is mentioned on page 40. (The form of the flags pennants is not stated or prescribed)
At www.gov.ky, there are photos of green pennant, and red pennant with black square (which does not contradict the term centre in the official text).
Judging from the context, the photos are placed on the internet as the need arises, so they may disappear, or be replaced, in future.
Jan Mertens, 13 January 2008
image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 July 2009
James B.Minahan, in his "Encyclopedia of the Stateless
Nations" presents two flag of these non-sovereign
territories as a proposed symbols after both of them attain the
Mr. Minahan presents "the flag proposed for an independent Cayman Islands is a field of wavy blue and white stripes charged with three green five-pointed stars." He doesn't elaborate who might be behind such a project and the search of Google doesn't return any independence oriented organization there.
The image of that flag shown in Minahan's book is black and white.
Among the richest people in the world, Caymanians display no hurry to achieve full independence, according to the poll judging public opinion there.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 2 July 2009