Setting the record straight on A Pirates Week

Last week in the Observer we looked at the government plans to change the name and the focus of Pirates week from piracy to turtling schooners and other seafaring themes because they wished to “remove any perceptions of or associations with piracy from the Cayman Islands.”

Pirates who are associated with the Festival believe this rebranding to be a mistake.

Penny Phillips wrote us in response to the article.

I read with great interest the above article, as both I and my husband Peter had been involved in Pirates Week from its inception (although we have not been active for a great many years now).

However, in the interests of setting one part of the record straight, your statement that Jim Bodden and Mike Lockwood came up with the concept of Pirates Week is totally wrong.

At the time of the Pirates Week conception, the driving forces behind it were Jim Bodden, Rudi Selzer (then Deputy Director of Tourism) and Colin Panton.  The actual idea of the pirate theme came, I believe, from Colin Panton, who had frequently attended the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa/St. Petersburg and thought that a similar theme could work here.  Mike Lockwood, although being closely identified with Pirates Week from the time he took over the chairmanship in the early nineteen eighties, was not actually involved in the very early meetings, and was in fact persuaded by my husband, his then next-door neighbour, to get into costume and join in the working parties that were photographed for publicity shots the year before the actual festival started.   The attached  photos of some of us in costume, might be of interest to your readers.

Sadly, these bits of historical trivia are going to be rendered worthless if the festival now dwindles away into oblivion.

Kind regards,
Penny Phillips