‘Pirates’ and volunteers celebrated

| 26/02/2019
CNS Local Life
Long-serving pirates (from left) Darvin Ebanks, Orniel Galbraith and Duke Tibbetts with Melanie McField (centre) and District Heritage Ambassador (North Side) Jessica Ebanks (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

(CNS Local Life): ‘Pirates’ and volunteers who support the annual Pirates Week Festival were recently recognised at an appreciation reception held Saturday, 23 February. Every year, the festival office celebrates the work of everyone who contributes to what is one of the main events on the Cayman Islands calendar.

“For more than 40 years, Pirates Week has provided fun, fantasy and history to hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike who seek to experience a festival like no other in the Caribbean and to create long lasting memories,” said Pirates Week general manager Melanie McField in a press release.

The appreciation event, held at the Royal Palms Beach Club, included food and drink as well as words of gratitude to the dozens of volunteers who worked behind the scenes for the 2018 festival. In addition, awards were handed out to volunteers and sponsors committed to keeping Pirates Week one of Cayman’s main events every year.

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East End Heritage Committee chair Kendal Connor celebrates district named overall float parade winner (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Patrick Thompson, director of the Tourism Attraction Board, which manages the Pirates Week Festival Office, thanked those at the reception. “Volunteers like you are soldiers; sort of a covert army joining hands to make Pirates Week, our national festival, the best and most unique festival in the Caribbean,” he said.

Long-service awards were given to Cayman’s most well-known “pirates” – Orneil “Captain Gun Powder Wes” Galbraith, Duke “Big Cannon Jack” Tibbetts and Darvin “Captain Black Terrence” Ebanks – for their decades of involvement with the festival.

Galbraith was acknowledged for his 20 years of dedication to the event; he is the “Captain” of the international pirates krewe, “Las Tortugas Pirates”, which encourages membership and travels to Cayman to participate in the annual festival. McField also publicly acknowledged Galbraith’s willingness to assist in all areas, from building props and event planning, to travel to the Sister Islands and his sustained promotion of the Cayman Islands, its people and culture through his work.

Tibbetts, who has been involved with Pirates Week for 30 years was recognised for his willingness to travel abroad to promote the festival at the Gasparilla celebrations in Tampa, Florida, as well as his involvement locally beginning in his teen years. He is a member of the “Bloody Bay Buccaneers” pirate krewe and has put in countless rehearsal hours over the years swashbuckling with his fellow pirates and Red Coats at the annual landing pageant, the press release stated.

Ebanks was honoured for his 41 years of service to the people of Cayman for “his lifelong efforts to promote his beloved Cayman Islands” through Pirates Week. Ebanks is one of the original pirates, having played an integral part in each festival since its inception in 1977, the release stated. He has travelled to Japan, Latin America and the US in support of the festival. He is the “Captain” of the “Bloody Bay Buccaneers” pirate krewe and has appeared in numerous magazines, photos, television specials and other promotional media.

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Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Kate Crawford by District Heritage Ambassador Jessica Ebanks (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“We acknowledge and appreciate that the foundation of the festival’s success is built upon individuals such as Darvin, Duke, and Orneil and their commitment to the festival. Congratulations on your combined 90-plus years of service,” said McField. “Thank you for the many years of service and dedication to making our National Festival, Pirates Week, the success that it is today.”

Sponsors were also recognised for their continued support of the festival. Minister of Culture Dwayne Seymour received the award for sponsoring the National Song Competition, and Chief Officer for the Ministry of Tourism, Stran Bodden, represented the minister, Moses Kirkconnell, in receiving recognition for the ministry’s annual financial support.

Kate Crawford received the A. Mark Ebanks Memorial Volunteer of the Year award, and parade marshal and lead volunteer Marcus Gremli was also honoured for his selflessness, skill and years of continued service, the press release stated.

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Category: Culture

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