Finance committee hears Pirate’s Week could survive

| 09/10/2009

(CNS): The campaign to save Cayman’s longest running and perhaps most popular annual festival could still survive beyond this year. During this week’s Finance Committee hearings, the leader of government business indicated that the idea to rename the festival was still being put before the schools, but he seemed to acknowledge the opposition to changing the name of the Pirates Week Festival, giving hope to supporters. McKeeva Bush noted that if the decision was his alone he would change the name but he said we would see what was going to happen.

Leader of The Opposition Kurt Tibbetts asked if any final decision had been made regarding the festival, for which $417,355 has been allocated in this year’s budget, an increase from last year’s $283,651. In response, Bush confirmed that the plan to rename was still in the pipeline and that he hoped the schools would come up with a new name that was acceptable to all. He also explained that the increase in financing for the event was down to filling the post of director and introducing the deputy director’s position.

Bush also told the committee that he still believed the nameshould be changed as, he said, when he took over as LoGB he was barraged with questions when travelling overseas about the country’s direct links to piracy and it was also at the same time when modern day pirate activity by the Somalis had made headlines with kidnappings and hijacks.

“I took the view we should change the name,” Bush added. “I still believe we should do that, but work needs to be done on how we can change it. Our history is about tall ships, seafaring and turtles.” He said when faced with questions about piracy, it was a fine line, but he understood that people pointed to Disney having a pirate connection. He said we would see what the schools came up with but, “if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Since the announcement of the possible name change there has been a strong lobby behind the scenes to keep both the name and the theme as central to the festival, and an official campaign to ‘Save Pirates Week’ is soon to be unveiled. Suggestions have also been made within the wider tourism sector of taking the festival out of government hands and making it an entirely private and commercial event funded by local business.

Meanwhile, this year’s festival preparations are well underway and this Saturday novices can learn how to dress like a pirate at a special workshop taking place at the Pirates Week Office at 11am, hosted by Cayman’s own Las Tortugas Pirates Darwin and his crew. For full details on this years events log on to

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  1. Luke Skywalker says:

    The month itself shall be renamed "MacVember" in honour of the greatest pirate to ever walk on this earth

  2. Anonymous says:

    Look at those salaries! Is this what the civil service calls being underpaid???  Okay, maybe it’s only a few of the top dogs and the obvious McKeeva supporters (who get a few extra dollars to do just as he says) who make this kind of money but this is why those of us in the private sector are outraged!! 

    Really anyone who believed McKeeva when he claimed the country wasbroke should be outraged by this kind of salary.

  3. anon1 says:

    Here is one suggestion on how to steer Pirates Week more towards the real heritage of Cayman and its schooner building and seafareing background. Give some support in the budget to the Cayman Maratime Heritage Foundation and the Cayman Catboat Club.

    It is a disgrace that since hurricane Ivan, no Government PPM nor UDP have seen fit to fund these two important organisations that are so vital to preserving Caymanian History. They still do not have a lease on what used to be their clubhouse next to Lobster Pot resturant after 5 years of promises from Government.

    Gome on McKeeva, help these hard working band of Caymanians who are members of these two organisations. This group have perservered on their own dispite the efforts of Government to see that they fail.

    I am sure that if we did a national festival around the theme they strive to preserve that it would be as successfull as Pirates Week ever was and would be done for half the cost.

  4. Joe Average says:


  5. Oh Lord Shiver Me Timbers !!! says:

    Having decided that running a law firm was not profitable in Cayman anymore I have formed the Church of the Modern Day Pirates.  We specialise in saving the souls of pirates and nation building.  All we need is $450,000 to get started.  Where do I fill out the forms?

    • Joe Average says:

      typical law firm pirate.  Sounds like a scam to me.  Are donations tx deductable?

      Before donating I want a written guarantee my soul will be saved!!

      or at least preserved for scientific research.

      • Oh Lord Shiver Me Timbers !!! says:

        We are happy to give a written guarantee that your money will be returned to you if your soul is not saved in the afterlife.

  6. Joe Average says:

    What would pirates do??

    They’d plunder!!!!!

    This year’s Pirates Week is dedicated to Wall Street.

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    The problem is, the church is     involved in everything in Cayman. They had their nose stuck in the constitution; pirates week & now the idea of a lottery. What ever happened to separation of church & state? That should be in the constitution. God requires nothing from us. We should take care of each other.

    • Anonymous says:

      The churches are always at the root cause of all of Cayman’s problems.

      Only when most of them have been closed down will there be any chance to improve things.S

    • Anonymous says:

      Just ask your pastor to volunteer to either pay taxes from the church so as to help pay the bills and wholly distribute the collection plate to the needy, or alternatively to support a lottery to cover these things.  Which will they pick?

      Neither, because they are unwilling to help and unwilling to give up their own money.

      Why do you support them?  You don’t need them to deal with God.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to misunderstand the idea of separation of church and state. It is not about silencing the churches on pertinent issues. Churches, like any other organization, have freedom of speech to address any issue they care about.  

      This society would have fallen apart a long time were it not for the church yet it is not completely fulfilling its role. Were the church truly involved in everything we would not be faced with many of the social ills but at least it serves as a counterbalance to the motives of greed that inspire so many policies.   

      For the record, it was the LOGB (not the churches) who made the announcement about the name change for Pirates Week. It was the government of the day which invited the Churches as an NGO to participate in the constitutional negotiations.         

  9. Michael Lockwood says:


    For years Pirates Week had a dedicated full time administration organising and promoting the event worldwide throughout the year. To make the event truly successful this ‘behind the scenes work’ needs to be done over the year to pave the way for the volunteers to help when the festival nears.

    When Mr. Bush announced the change of name, it seems residents and fans worldwide made their opinions known over the internet and in local media that it was not the best way forward.

    Pirates Week 2009 is going ahead full force and just as in past years the administration is continuously begging for residents to volunteer and participate to make the festival a success, to no avail. Where are those people who spoke out against the name change when volunteers are needed?

    The new Director and Deputy along with the existing Chief Administrative Officer and staff have been working tirelessly to organise this year’s event. Those people who continuously criticise the administration and the way the festival is run spit in the face of these hardworking people. My father put in 16 years of hard work as the Director and I encourage those who truly care about Pirates Week to volunteer.    


    My father served as the lone Director for 16 years with a skeleton staff of 3. The festival has grown and there is a bigger market and even with a deputy director there is still 4 people working

  10. Mozzie Fodder says:

    Can you say U-turn?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone notice that he said "I took the view that we should change the name" NOT "we" the party, "we" the government, and CERTAINLY NOT "we" the PEOPLE.

    Got to love this democratic country we live in.

  12. anonymous or else says:

    What is totally funny is the idea of the head Pirate not wanting Cayman Islands to be associated with pirates.  Maybe he wants it to be named Leaders of Cayman islands week. (Same thing longer name) Then again its more like the usual "Its succesfull and therefore must be stopped" which is along the famous Pirate (Caymanian Goverment) line" The Beatings will continue until morale improves".  Good one!

    On a totally serious note;  what do I have to do to get one of hundreds of very lucrative but totally uneccasary jobs in Goverment.  What exactly are the requirments????  I can say AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaarg!  And I will study the pirates code. I promise on my honor! I’m also very greedy, dishonest, and know how to lie with the best of them. (although I still have much to learn) OOh wait and I have my own boat.

    Seriously I will take the Deputy directors job for just $100,000 Caymanian in gold or jewels and the leaders can split up the rest.  You can contact me at  Looking forward to hearing from you

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bernie is finally getting his hands on lot of money for kissing Macs posterior for so long. Congratularions Bernie.

    Well I wonder just how bad the economy is that we can afford all these slush funds.

  14. Anonymous says:

    "he was barraged with questions when travelling overseas about the country’s direct links to piracy."  This made me laugh out loud!  With all due respect to Mr. Bush some of us travel overseas a great deal. We discuss Cayman with many different peoplew. I have never once been asked anything about Cayman’s "links to piracy", let alone faced a "barrage of questions". Where does he come up with this stuff?

    • ex-expat says:

      Not hard to see that there are more pirates in Cayman right now then in the "good old days".  And not only are they doing much better financially but no more walking the plank!  The worst that will happen is not getting re-elected for the next 4 years.  How bad is that? And you don’t even have to steal-own a boat.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mac is (mistaken) and I’m surprised Kurt didn’t pick up on this. There has always been a Director of Pirates Week and therefore there has always been a budget for that post.

    The increase in the budget is not for the Director’s post but rather for Bernie to have a job and some more "slush fund money"

    What we have now are two people doing the job that one person has been doing for over 30 years…..and lets not forget this is all for a one week event.

    I bet you Celebrations or Lions Productions could put this one week event one for a fraction of the cost.

    But we are so broke so lets do it this way instead nah !!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    An increase of over $125,000 to the budget of Pirates Week to cover the cost of a Deputy Director….do we really need to be spending so much on a one week festival…does it take a year planning to carry out all of this.  Come on Cayman wake up…it’s time to save, not waste.

    I would like to find out how much the Director and Deputy make? 

    This is ridiculous.

    Can the Tourism Attraction Board Manage this ‘attraction’ a bit better, or is it part of the ‘cronyville’ that is growing on this rock.

    Anybody have any ideas…