With the continued phased internal and external reopening of the territory and no active cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) locally, the question is now whether this year’s staging of the BVI’s annual emancipation festivities will be held.
According to Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley, authorities are yet to decide whether to host the 2020 celebrations, which are only weeks away from its regular scheduling.
“I am waiting on the [Festival & Fairs] Committee to formally make a recommendation,” Dr Wheatley told BVI News on Sunday. “Let me hear from them so I can be more definitive.”
The minister further said a press conference on the matter will be held soon.
The annual festivities are typically held in early-August and is considered a seasonal economic driver for the territory, as it attracts many visitors and local vendors. It is also known to pull massive crowds at the various events that occur.
The question of whether this year’s festivities should be held comes amid the sudden resignation of Festival Committee Chairman, Carnel Clyne.
Announcing the resignation in the House of Assembly last Thursday, Dr Wheatley said Clyne stepped down from the post because of “unforeseen personal responsibilities which will impact his performance as Chairman”.
In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in the cancellation of one 2020 festival event so far — the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival, which is also known to drive some level of economic activity to the sister island.
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