Cayman mourns loss of veteran reporter

| 25/11/2019 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service
Carol Winker, veteran court reporter

(CNS) UPDATED with CJ’s comments: Following the passing of Carol Winker, one of Cayman’s best known and much loved local reporters yesterday, aged 79, the chief justice has said he was deeply saddened by the news as he held her in the highest regard. “I first met Ms Winker in the early 1980s when I frequently appeared in the courts on behalf of the Crown and she was present to cover proceedings as a reporter,” Chief Justice Anthony Smellies said.

“She was always very careful to ensure the accuracy and fairness of her reports and to that end would from time to time ask for clarification of legal points. That kind of “consultancy” relationship continued between us after I became a judge and I ensured that whenever she felt the need to have clarification on issues that I or another colleague should be available. So high was the regard with which Ms Winker was held that she was never denied audience. We were all assured of her objectivity, fairness and dedication to getting the story “right”.    

“So reliable were her reports on cases that they came to be cited in Court under the affectionate moniker “the Winker Law Reports”. She was the consummate professional,” he said before adding, that the Judicial Administration will be announcing a tribute to mark her contributions to the reporting of court proceedings.

“Cayman has lost a journalist of the highest order. May her soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon her,” the senior judge stated.

Winker, who worked at the Cayman Compass for some three decades and specialised in reporting on court proceedings, lost her battle against cancer early Monday, 25 November. Despite being ill for some time, Winker had continued working until just a few months ago and had been determined to return to the work she loved so much after treatment.

Friends and family who were with Winker to the end said they were heartbroken and that she had fought a valiant battle and defied all logic, reasoning, explanation, science and medicine. But she passed peacefully sometime after 5am Monday.

Winker originally came to Cayman from Wisconsin, USA, in the 1970’s as a teacher, but she settled and made a life in North Side. A career change saw her moving on to the local paper, where she became the most recognised face in local media and was often seen on her bicycle riding between the courthouse and the newspaper offices.

A walking encyclopedia when it came to the local criminal justice system, especially case history, her news reports were often depended upon by the courts and cited in legal arguments because of their accuracy.

Winker was funny and engaging, with an unforgettable, quirky personality. She was much loved by many, especially those of us in the media who knew that her generosity of spirit was endless.

We will miss her deeply.

Statement from the Attorney General, Samuel Bulgin: “Ms Winker was the embodiment of fair and accurate journalism. She would at all times strive for accuracy over headlines. She prided herself on fairness and factual accuracy. In that regard she would often seek clarifications on issues she wasn’t clear about. It was not unusual for counsel to telephone her for unofficial verification of what was said in the criminal courts. She was a very courteous reporter. We will all miss her and her journalistic attributes.”

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Category: Local News, Media, Obituaries

Comments (25)

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  1. Tammie Chisholm says:

    I learned of Carol’s passing while I was off the Island. When I first met her she told me she didn’t like me and never would. Of course our relationship grew and, with birthdays only a couple of days apart, grew to become friends. I will truly miss her and our quiet, private conversations. She was a hard nut to crack, but I got in there. I will always treasure my time working with her at the Compass and catching up with her after I left the newspaper. Rest in peace Ms Carol. You were a true treasure and you remain with us in our memories.

  2. Anonymous says:

    SIP Ms Carol. I was pleased to post publicly and to share the following with her back in August: #WhileWeCan..
    Ms Carol Winker is a very, very special person. I consider to be as Native as any.
    A career educator/journalist, her conscience led her to cover courts..civil and criminal.. where she reported on the routine and mundane rites of island life, yet also focussed on cases involving children, families and others sidelined at the bar and by society.
    I don’t recall where she came from years ago..but she has always belonged to Cayman..and vice versa.
    Her wry sence of humour, twinkling eyes did belie surprising care and personal concern, as reflected in her quiet enquiries..which made me appreciate all the more this gem of a lady.
    I worked alongside her for years, yet she never saw my Government/ Cabinet Office PR position as combative to the free media.
    One to point out any fallacy or squash a rogue printer’s devil, she also complimented good work. I recall her calling me very emotional about an adoption interview/feature article I once wrote during Child Month.
    She was also on the National Cultural Foundation jury panel which read and awarded my first play with the top prize.. The Navigation Tree. She also personally expressed how she loved my humour in it.
    While she was never a mother, as far as I know, she has all the right instincts.. and shares them intuitively.
    Royalty, elections, nature, arts and culture are some passions of this unpretentious sage, who could adapt to any task – even if with consternation.
    She has lived a sparse, conservative life..yet was at the centre of the public eye as she rode her bicycle to and from the courts. She somehow remained invisible and neutral.
    So, even as the very institutions she esteems now fade away or morph to new shapes, she must be one of those faces etched in the hallways of time for these Beloved Isles Cayman.
    Unassuming, she would not relish such public accolades; yet she deserves these, and so much more.
    With Love, Thanks, Best Wishes, and God’s Blessings!

  3. Court Reporters' Office says:

    Carol is dearly missed at the courthouse. She was a wonderful person and very well respected. May her soul rest in peace. Karen, Karen, Carol and Stacy.

  4. Alan Markoff says:

    I am very saddened to read this. I worked with Carol for more than a decade. Her work at recording the happenings at court provided an invaluable service to this country.
    She was not only our court reporter when I worked at the Compass, she was also the staff librarian and really the staff historian.
    We had many talks over the years about Cayman history. She was a private person, but I even coaxed a little personal history out of her. I was very surprised to hear tales of her youth, about driving a motorcycle across the United States and into Central America. That is just one of a number of things I will always remember about her. There was also the fact that she rode her bicycle to court from the office every day because it was easier than finding parking in town. She did that well into her 70s.
    Once, when we rearranged the office seating, she was given a desk in a corner that faced the wall. She hated facing the wall so much, she attached a bicycle mirror to her computer so that she could see what was going on – and who was lurking – behind her.
    She hated the temperature in the air-conditioned office so she wore a fairly heavy jacket and gloves with the fingers cut out so she could type. She’d still complain it was too cold!
    She didn’t have a lot of time for most of the office hijinks. Usually, the most you get out of her was a begrudging smile if you told a good joke. Everyone once in a while, if you tickled her funny bone, she’d let out a spontaneous belly laugh. I can hear it now. She’ll be missed.

  5. Liquid Smoke says:

    Rest In Peace Ms Winker thank you for every word written or said in our local media that made sense and these islands a better informed or interesting place to reside you have now completed your last assignment and or only regret is that we wish you were here to see it in print.

  6. Cayman Mon says:

    A class act! May her soul rest in peace.

  7. Elvis says:

    She always complained to me about something or other yet I always gave her a cheeky reply, it always ended with a last remark from her and a cheeky smile. R.I. P

  8. Anonymous says:

    Always professional, thoroughly accurate, able to keep secrets, a moral person and a loyal family friend to the Roulstones’

  9. Anonymous says:

    Condolences to her family.
    People should not be dying of cancer on a small island surrounded by sea.

  10. George Alleyne says:

    Sleep well Carol. I hope to meet you in that other place one day.

  11. Done reach @ says:

    I can remember Ms Winker from 1976 when I fisrt started to attended West Bay primary school ,she was a great teacher, RIP.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A sad loss but a great legacy.

    • Anonymous says:

      She was an iconic figure and her contributions to journalism have been profound. May her soul rest in eternally peace.

  13. Henry Muttoo says:

    During the 1990s and for years after, Carol was a staunch supporter of the work CNCF. She was a great believer in Cayman and lived as a Caymanian, who was always engaged with this society and it showed in her reporting. CNCF will always remember you, Carol, and will treasure your work. You were one-of-a-kind. May a flight angels sing you home, Carol.

    CNCF 25/11/2019

  14. Anonymous says:

    Rip Ms. Winker

  15. Anonymous says:

    RIP Ms. Carol Winker.

    • Anonymous says:

      A major loss to the local media. I worked with her and can personally attest to her integrity and work ethic and her kindness.

      She will be greatly missed.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I always enjoyed reading her reports. May she RIP.

  17. Anonymous says:

    She was one of the last of a dying breed of unbiased, accurate and concise reporters. She will be missed.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Such a sad and huge loss. She was amazing and leaves a legacy. Sincerest condolences to her family

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