Today’s Editorial for September 23: Culture, heritage should be taught

The Cayman Islands laid to rest two outstanding women who knew a thing or two about Caymanian culture this past weekend.

People from all over Grand Cayman made the trek to North Side this weekend to remember the lives of Virginia McCoy and Stella ‘Nell’ Smith as they went to their final resting places.

With them went two lifetimes and a wealth of knowledge about what Cayman is all about.

And they happily shared their knowledge of Caymanian traditions with their children and those in the community.

They did it with glad hearts.

Both women will be sadly missed by their families, friends, the North Side community and the country at large.

Sadly, as more and more of our native Caymanians get older and pass on, we are losing our hold on our cultural heritage.

That’s why it is so important that we get those who know most about Cayman’s heritage and culture into our schools to educate our youngsters.

We’re willing to bet they would gladly do it – for free.

We know that some in Government took exception to our editorial of 19 September in which we questioned the need to spend at least one million dollars to promote Caymanian culture.

We question it because in October last year the Cayman Islands Traditional Arts Council was established to “identify, encourage, cultivate, promote and foster all traditional arts of our Islands.” Its benefactor is in fact Harris McCoy III, the son of Virginia McCoy who North Side buried Saturday.

Also on board is attorney John Meghoo who provides legal services to CITAC free of charge. It is endorsed and supported by the Cayman Islands National Museum.

CITAC is registered as a not-for-profit central organising authority, with a mandate of preserving, promoting and protecting local cultural expressions.

We would hope that Government meets with CITAC President Wray Banker before reinventing the wheel.

We question the need for the motion because the National Museum has done and does much to preserve Cayman’s culture and heritage.

We question it because people like Chris and Trina Christian, owners of Cayman Traditional Arts, have taken the traditions that were once a way of life to Caymanians and organised a method for these trades and teachings to be passed on to Caymanians and visitors alike.

We question it because the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, another non-profit, is already funded by an annual government grant as well as contributions from private enterprise and individuals.

We question it because the Cayman Catboat Club works diligently to ensure our younger generations know about our catboating history and pass along catboat building knowledge and sea trips at no charge.

We applaud MLA Alfonso Wright and the other backbenchers for recognising the need to ensure our culture and heritage is preserved and not allowed to die.

To do that we need to tap the resources we have here – people like Miss Nell and Miss Virginia – who have so much to share with the younger generation, at no charge to the people of the Cayman Islands.

Much work is already being done to preserve Cayman’s culture and heritage and we contend that visitors who want to learn more can do so by tapping in to the organisations and people mentioned above.

And for the record, the Caymanian Compass is not and has never tried to stifle the tongue of the Caymanian language, and it never will as long as the publisher and editor remain in their respective seats.

We uphold all things Caymanian, especially our language, people, culture and heritage.