Pirates Week in children’s hands

School children may end up deciding if Pirates Week should be renamed, the Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said this week.

Mr. Bush, answering questions on his government’s proposed budget in the Finance Committee last Wednesday, revealed that he planned to launch a renaming competition in schools in Cayman.

When his United Democratic Party was elected as government in May’s election, Mr. Bush announced he planned to drop the name Pirates Week from next year. He has said he favours a name along the lines of ‘Heritage and Cultural Week’.

Speaking in response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts, Mr. Bush told the committee: ‘When I took over government, I was barraged by questions about piracy… and whether we had any historical dealing with piracy and that was when hijacking was going on in Somalia.

‘I took the position that we should change the name… I still believe that we should do that. Work needs to be done on how that is done and if it is done,’ he said.

Mr. Bush said he believed the festival should better reflect Cayman’s shipping and turtling history.

‘When questions, as usual, in this country start to abound and people start to carry on that ‘you’re doing the wrong thing’ and ‘this has its own brand’ and ‘Disney World has piracy’, we say fine, let us put it out to schools for a renaming competition.

‘If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,’ he said.

Mr. Tibbetts insisted he was only bringing up the subject because he wanted to know if the name change would be covered in the current budget proposals. He said: ‘I am not suggesting for one minute if I gave a personal opinion that it wouldn’t be different either.’

This year’s Pirates Week has a budget of $417,355, compared to last year’s budget of $283,651.

Mr. Bush said the latest budget figure was considerably higher because a new director and deputy director for the festival had been hired and severance money had also been paid.