I had considered not getting directly involved in discussions on the present situation whereby the future of the Pirates Week Festival, as we have known it for the past three decades, is in jeopardy, although I feel that I am eminently qualified to do so. Needless to say I am adamantly in disagreement with the apparently unilateral and popularly undesirable proposal by Hon. Mckeeva to end it, particularly for the reasons given by him.
Your article on August 16th. “Will Mckeeva….kill Pirates Week” and today’s article “Setting the record straight on Pirates Week”, including Penny Phillips’ letter have been very interesting and informative.
I do wish to correct one statement by Penny however. As I recall the events, the late Jim Bodden alone conceived the idea of an annual festival using the pirate theme and called in the late Rudi Selzer and myself to discuss it. He virtually threw it in our laps and instructed us to get on with it. I believe that Jim had seen some such festival either in Galveston or Tampa. I agree that the late Mike Lockwood was not involved in developing the original concept but was most certainly involved and participated in all events until later becoming the very able Chairman he was for so many years.
The first year, early 1977 Rudi and I regularly met and were ably supported by the late Jan Wren and Terry Rutty, now Mrs. Roger Smith. As I tend to have a fertile imagination it could well be that I came up with many of the ideas for much of the first and subsequent events, such as blowing up the ‘fort’ on the Hog-Sty-Bay Key, the island-wide Treasure Hunt and the Song Competition. I did visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras as well as the Tampa Gasparilla Festival to get ideas. I remember too actively stressing and includingthe Caymanian cultural, historical and traditional heritage aspects.
I am particularly happy to see the photograph of the original Pirate stalwarts published. This was taken in the living room of my house on the corner of South Church Street and Melmac Avenue. These were an astonishingly dedicated, well oiled [sic] team of volunteers who gave of their time and resources freely. There were many others that joined the Pirates Ship as time went on.
A. Colin Panton