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Festival to honour Turnbull, Lettsome, Blyden

Neil Blyden. BVI News Online photo

The Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIFFC) will use its 2017 Emancipation Festival on Tortola to honour three stalwarts of the community.

Alda Dawson-Lettsome is being honoured in East End, the late Neil ‘Melee’ Blyden in Road Town, and Oliver ‘Ollie’ Turnbull in Carrot Bay.

In relation to Road Town, Chairman of the VIFFC Trefor Grant said Blyden, who passed away this year, was instrumental in the staging of festivals throughout the territory, and in the development of local artistes.

“This year’s honouree is quite fitting. Mr Melee could always be counted on for his expert advice in productions, access to his international connections, and for promoting festival continuously and without favour on his radio station”.

In the meantime, over in East End, the VIFFC stated that Dawson-Lettsome is being honoured “for her contribution and support to the East Eend/Long Look festival, and also [for being] a former member of their committee”.

And, in relation to Carrot Bay, the Cultural Fiesta Fisherman Tournament Sub-Committee, headed by Judy Ann Smith, said Turnbull is being honoured partly because he hails from the village of Carrot Bay, and he has been fishing since he was a teen.

He has been hearing impaired from an early age when he was in primary school.

“This year we have chosen to honour Mr Turnbull because, despite his challenge, it does not stop him from following his passion of fishing,” added Smith.


Meanwhile, the VIFFC has announced the theme and slogan for this year’s festival, which is scheduled to unfold from July 30 to August 12.

It is: “A colorful kaleidoscope to be seen, creating a cultural scene for festival 2017”

The combined winning theme and slogan was submitted by Kayasha Mactavious and Tiana Hewitt.

“We also wish to thank community members who participated in the competition. Ms Mactavious and Ms Hewitt will both be presented with a cheque of $250,” said the VIFFC chairman, Grant.

Launch and official opening

Grant further announced in a press release yesterday (June 9) that the 2017 Emancipation Festival will be launched on June 15, along with the reveal of this year’s Mister and Miss Junior BVI.

The event will take place at the Moorings poolside, 5pm.

“The public is invited to join in the festival [launch] atmosphere with great music, enjoy the release of headliners for all villages, mix and mingle with contestants of the Miss BVI Pageant, Prince and Princess, and Mister and Miss Junior BVI; and view colourful costumes in this year’s August Monday and Wednesday parades,” added the VIFFC.

It disclosed that the official opening ceremony for the festival will take place on Monday (July 31), preceded by the annual Torch Light Procession.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, the Road Town village is expected to host one of its largest cultural nights, added the VIFFC.

While also noting that it plans to host a grand fundraising event on June 30, the VIFFC said it is continuously striving to heighten community participation at all festival events.

“East End Village will run from Tuesday (August 8) to Wednesday (August 9); then to Carrot Bay Cultural Fiesta on Thursday (August 10) to Friday (August 11) 2017,” the VIFFC said.

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