BVI News

Are emancipation festivities happening this year? Committee to make recommendation to minister

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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  1. Oh please says:

    This topic should not even be up for discussion. Ofcourse we cannot have carnival. It is madness when I listen to people, the BVI don’t have any Covid cases so let’s open up. That is silly. If by chance we don’t have any cases, that is only a temporary state. We must continue to act as if we have cases because we will and we probably do. The topic should be if we will shut down bars and clubs which by their nature cannot uphold the rules to stay safe. Other question when are these strippers and the like going to be sent home.

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    • Parent says:

      I agree with you 100%, home ain’t even build back as yet for families and they want to talk about festival.

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    • HRMPH says:

      More people leave the BVI for festival than come into the BVI.
      Are the airlines and ferries set up to get all the people off island that want to get as far away from festival as possible?
      It is not fair to make them stay and have to suffer festival!

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    • Facts says:

      They can’t even get online education handled but want to talk about festival? Better get them priories correct.

  2. Ahhhh says:

    So no one is let into the Territory but Im sure an exception will be made for some gang banger music group Also that day there will be no need for social distancing or masks. Open the Territory to tourists, visitors, charter boat owners and villa owners NO. Emancipation in the hood YES. This is what King Fahie says and this is what it will be.

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  3. Cancel says:

    Cancel that too or hold local only events

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  4. YBM says:

    I think the BVI should follow the USVI and have virtual showcase of local talent, maybe invite Rock City and IYAZ to participate. I think that would be a great idea

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  5. Forward ever Backward never says:

    What Festival activities are they talking about? Firstly, people will not be traveling. Secondly, to put on Festival at this time it will be mediocre at best. Leave that Festival talk alone please.

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  6. Sue says:

    I am worrisome to hear this conversation is taken place, the BVI economy is not at its best, the COVID19 has set us back and we are still struggling, monies were spend to purchased food during the COVID 19 and there is now the stimulus program which is money to be spend again. If the minister is talking about hosting festival then something is definitely wrong with the BVI government. He have the entire BVI wearing mask due to the COVID 19, and he saying 6 feet social distancing now he saying and I quote “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.” This is done right foolishness this should never happen. What is our country coming too? There are too many uncertainties.

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  7. Yes says:

    We absolutely have to have Emancipation Festival (not carnival) this year. Our Festival is about us…what our ancestors went through so that we can enjoy the lives we now live. We don’t need a single person to come from outside. We keep it small. Small stage, local bands and artists, less booths, cut off by midnight every night, more cultural. Queen show can still happen with limited tickets for social distancing and broadcast live (time delay so people who bought tickets have the advantage). Soca and Casio review/competition again with a limited audience. It won’t be perfect but we can still show our ancestors that we appreciate their sacrifice byaking our own sacrifices this Festival. March to the Sunday Morning Well and have the reading of the Emancipation proclamation. We can still commemorate this year.

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  8. Zoom festival says:

    Just do the whole festival on Zoom. That way no body has to travel anywhere. The entertainers can entertain on Zoom and the crowds can watch/listen at home and drink/eat whatever they want. Plus no late night driving while intoxicated.

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  9. Interested says:

    When the emancipation proclamation was read way back then,they asked everyone to go to the churches and give thanks.
    We will go to the churches and give thanks,Reveling was never the way recommended for emancipation celebrations.

  10. Rain Dance says:

    Anybody in their right mind will know that nothing is taking place this year.

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  11. Boo says:

    We Can atlease have the EastEnd and RoadTown Jouvert.We dont need village and parade.

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  12. true says:

    Let it become what it was supposed to be a celebration of freedom. The borders can stay closed but let everyone join in and have a party use all locsal on island acts.

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  13. Girly says:

    All we need is EastEnd and Town Jouvert

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  14. Clown soup says:

    Ayo really drinking that soup, save that money for the schools and to help the economy not everyone back on track

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  15. Queen says:

    East and Town jouvert and maybe have a town little parade with freestyle troupes?

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  16. Use Your Brain says:

    To add more debt to the current situation?

  17. smh says:

    How is it you can’t buy food, pay rent or electric but you insist on a party! Really, wth is wrong with people! If you can’t pay for it don’t get it or have it. Don’t expect the government to continue furnishing food and paying the bills.

  18. Yall dumb says:

    Let Us get this stress off our head and have EastEnd and RoadTown Jouvert.Yall complain too much about everything.Jouvert wouldnt hurt..leave vollage and parade for next year.

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  19. Have jouvert says:

    Jouvert is something where you have fun…We free our mind…Yall just dont like too see young people have fun..Jouvert wouldnt hurt at all..Let the fun begin

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  20. @Have jouvert says:

    You wanna have fun and free your mind? They should set up speakers all over the Island blasting religious music during jouvert hours.

  21. Diaspora says:

    What is the tall pole in the tent in regards to announcing the cancelling of the Emancipation celebration. I will be highly shocked as hell if the VI were to proceed in putting on the Emancipation celebration in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The territory and its residents endured some painful personal sacrifices to keep the number of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) confirmed cases and deaths low, ie, 8 and 1, respectively. Is Premier A. Fahie willing to fling discretion in the wind for a jump up? It will be highly disappointing if he were to.

    He has to put health and safety over a jump up as he put health over the economy in mitigating the impact of Covid-19. Other regional countries have cancelled their Emancipation celebration held at the same time months ago, i.e., Antigua, the leader of carnival in the region behind Trinidad and Tobago.

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