Pirates not banished from new heritage week

While pirate activities will not be banned from the new heritage type week that will replace the Cayman Islands’ Pirates Week Festival, they will not be the central theme.

This is according to the Leader of Government Business and Minister for Tourism McKeeva Bush at a recent post-Cabinet press briefing.

Mr. Bush made the decision to change the name of the festival recently.

‘It [the pirate theme] has some meaning for some people involved long time and it’s colourful to some extent, but it has some other connotations that we don’t need at this time either and it has nothing to do with the church. It is us as a country – us culturally,’ he said.

Mr. Bush said the intention is for a completely new, revamped festival, focusing on heritage and cultural celebration.

While a new name has not been officially allocated, Mr. Bush said he is thinking along the lines of something like ‘Heritage and Cultural Week’.

‘I want to see some emphasis on our seafaring background and it can happen. We had tall ships here, we had two master schooners, there was turtling here.’

Speaking about the Pirates Week Festival, he said, ‘It’s had its day. It was good when the national hero started it and it’s done well for this country and now it’s time for change.’

He said that people question what connection pirates have to Cayman.

The question was posed to him recently in New York, he said. ‘What relationship does Cayman have with piracy? And in the times we live in and what our business is today we have to really look at it.

‘It was good for the day; it done the deed.’

But he said the truth is that Pirates Week hardly brings any tourists to this country.

‘It’s a good celebration for locals to be at. We need to put some more meaning. I want to see some more school-children involved, depicting things Caymanian.’

Pirates’ Week was started in 1977 to give a boost to Cayman’s tourism industry during the off-season.

The Church community has long been against the association of pirates with the national festival.

But some locals were upset when they heard of the name change.

Daughter of the founder of Pirates Week, the late Jim Bodden, Mrs Mary Trumbach, said ‘Changing the name is an insult to my father’s memory and to me and my family.

‘If they change the name, who is going to come to a cultural week? Tourism will suffer and the vendors will suffer. The world wide economy is down so why change the name now?’

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