Dozens of people gathered in the vicinity of Hog Sty Bay along the waterfront in George Town on Friday, 25 June, to celebrate the renaming of Harbour Drive to Seafarers Way.
The name change, which came on International Seamen’s Day, was a symbolic gesture to pay homage to the seamen who departed Cayman’s shores as early 1930 to make a living as sailors, only to then remit their earnings so their families at home could survive.
“There was a time when Caymanian boats with Caymanian captains and crews sailed the waters, fishing, ranging for turtles and carrying goods and people to and from our Islands across the western Caribbean to Jamaica, Cuba, Central and South America and the southern United States,” Premier Wayne Panton told Friday’s crowd.
The event was organised by Celebrate Cayman, and included poetry, music, and speeches from past seafarers, as well as the unveiling of road signs at three different intersections.
“Harbour Drive, now Seafarers Way, has always been the most commercial section of Grand Cayman,” said Richard Arch, who reflected on the location’s significance to Cayman’s economic history.
Arch spoke of the many schooners that were built and launched from the shipyard which was once located a stone’s throw away from Hog Sty Bay, as well as several ships which ran aground in the area.
“While I am grateful for all the government, both present and past, has done to celebrate Cayman’s seamen, I would like them to dedicate this entire area as place of national cultural significance,” said Arch – a comment that was well received by many in attendance.
During the event, Celebrate Cayman Chairman Alfonso Wright encouraged the sons and daughters of former mariners to join the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association, “as its members were dwindling due to the passing of aging sailors”.