Today’s Editorial June 09: Pirates Week still a draw

Indeed, just what is in a name?

That depends on how much branding has been done, especially when it comes to a festival that was started in 1977 to boost tourism to the Cayman Islands during the slow season.

If it is time to rethink Pirates Week, its name and the events held during the event, some forward planning must be done.

Firstly, we would like to see some numbers from the Department of Tourism on just how many visitors come to the Cayman Islands for the Pirates Week celebration. Secondly, we would like to see just how much money the festival pumps into our economy.

We would bet that the numbers still support Mr. Jim Bodden’s decision to form the festival in the first place.

If it’s not drawing tourism dollars and is truly a festival for Cayman heritage only, let’s change the name and the events to correspond with what the festival should do.

We are aware that the term pirate can conjure negative images of dastardly crimes and misdeeds. One only has to mention the name Somalia to know that pirates aren’t good things.

But to say that pirates – good ones and bad ones – had nothing to do with the history of the Cayman Islands is wrong. The good ones were called privateers, but somehow Privateers Week just doesn’t have the same ring or drawing potential as Pirates Week.

Maybe something along the lines of Swashbuckler’s Week? How about Buccaneer’s Break?

If we’re not going to lose the Pirates Landing and all the other pirate-themed events during the renamed Pirates Week, it seems silly to change the name. Much money has been spent over the years branding this festival and getting word out to the international community.

A quick Google search on the Internet of Pirates Week automatically pulls up Pirates Week of the Cayman Islands as the top search. Anyone on the website today will see that the festival, which is sponsored by Digicel, is slated for 12-22 November.

We have to wonder too if Digicel, which has been the principal sponsor since 2005, was consulted about the proposed name change.

A name change may calm the souls of a few, but we bet Mr. Bodden is spinning in his grave.

We implore for more research and planning be done before such a drastic change is made.