As the events for this year’s emancipation festival get underway, Premier Andrew Fahie has urged residents and would-be offenders to steer clear of criminal behaviour.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Prime Time Festiville in Road Town on Friday, Premier Fahie said: “If you respect what our ancestors have gone through for our freedom, then this festival you will not get involved in any criminal activities, you would not get involved in anything illegal, you will not get involved in any fights, but instead you’ll use this time to unite.”
“You will use this time to build up each other because that is what festival is — a tribute to our ancestors and their blood is speaking saying: ‘children, respect what we have done because we have made a great place for you and we want you just to make it better’,” the Premier stated.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said he believes residents have forgotten the things that brought the territory to its present stage of development.
He further said he believes an overall shift in public mentality is needed going forward.
“We need to get back to basics as a people, as a country and start working together as those slaves did in the early years to get us our of slavery and out of bondage into a progressive [society] … We have a long way to go in this territory but we have to do that collectively and working together as a people to move to get us to the next step of our country’s development,” Penn said.
Never forget the BVI’s culture
Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley reiterated the importance of safeguarding the history of the BVI and urged residents not to disregard the true purpose of emancipation festivities.
“It can’t be all about who’s coming to sing, it can’t all be about which artiste is singing, it can’t all be about having a good time, it has to be about preserving our culture, it has to be about preserving our history and our heritage. It has to be celebrating from which we came, it has to be about remembering the struggles and the sacrifices of our ancestors,” the minister said.
He also acknowledged the efforts of those involved in organising the historic occasion and assured the public that while it will be a good festival, he and his team will be working to improve it as they advance.
“Show gratitude to the Chairman of the Festival & Fairs Committee, all the sub-committees, the executive committee — everybody who’s working hard to make this thing happen … These persons are volunteering and I have a spirit of gratitude for their sacrifices.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Time Band along with Parade Marshalls Yvonne Mactavious and Leon ‘Kazak’ Jeffers all received plaques of recognition for their long-time contribution to emancipation festivities and the cultural development of the BVI over the years.
The opening night saw hundreds of persons being fully entertained by a number of acts including DJ Carly Cartel, the BVI Heritage Dancers, Razor Blades, Xtreme Band — who performed a Prime Time tribute — OMG and Rock City who ‘rocked’ the crowd with popular hit songs until the closing.
The Road Town Festival Village will remain open until August 6, 2019.
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