Editorial for 9 August: The rename game

 

Premier McKeeva Bush announced last week
that several public institutions or facilities would be named after prominent
people, some deceased, some alive.

It is not unusual to name civic buildings
after prominent citizens, but they are most often deceased and it doesn’t often
happen with public institutions.

The University College of the Cayman
Islands, which already had one name change and re-branding in the past eight
years, will now have another. This will likely cause some confusion in the
public and inconvenience for those who already have diplomas from UCCI.

In addition, naming the college after a
person will now blur the line of it being a public institution, something
probably not in the best interests of the university. The same problems created
by the change of UCCI’s name hold true for the Cayman Islands Law School.

Then there’s Cayman Brac’s Gerrard-Smith
International Airport, which will now be renamed after someone else. This
exercise basically says that past Cayman Brac district commissioners Andrew
Gerrard and Ivor Smith were not worthy of having the airport named after them
in the first place, and that the government that named it erred in doing so.
This sets an unpleasant precedent whereby governments of the day can come along
and rename whatever they want.

Although there’s nothing wrong with
honouring citizens who have made significant contributions to society by naming
public facilities after them, the honour shouldn’t be given out so often that
the gesture loses its significance. Truman Bodden, for instance, already has a
sports stadium named after him. There’s a building at UCCI already named after
Benson Ebanks. Should we really be naming multiple civil facilities after one
person?

Our objection has absolutely nothing to do
with the people involved; indeed Benson Ebanks, Truman Bodden and Captain
Charles Kirkconnell all made invaluable contributions to the Cayman Islands.
But we feel it would be better to name things like the new government
administration building or the East-West Arterial highway after someone, rather
than renaming long-established facilities and institutions.

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