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O’Neal suggests referendum on ‘Easter’ festival

Dr O'Neal

Dr O’Neal

Political representative for Virgin Gorda Dr Hubert O’Neal said he wants the island’s festival to remain in the Easter season, but he would suggest that a ‘referendum of some kind’ be held to settle any controversy over the timing of the annual event.

“If there are any changes to be made, I think it should come from the community. There is nothing wrong with us having sort of a referendum of some kind to get the public’s opinion. I think that would be the most democratic way,” he said today (March 23) during the launch of the golden jubilee celebration of the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival.

Dr O’Neal noted that, although Easter is of significance to Christians, he thinks the historical timing of the event is also important.

“I know there is controversy about the time in which it is being done, because of course it (Easter) is also a celebration too of the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, the beginning of this festival actually was from the church – St Mary’s Church; my church that I went to.”

“I know there is talk of maybe moving the festival to another time. But, as Virgin Gordans, I think we need to be proud of our history and our culture and to remember the things that we used to do, and not let it go. So I would like to see in the future that this celebration remain on Easter weekend. And we continue to celebrate it as we have always done in the past,” added Dr O’Neal.

During the celebration this year, the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival Sub-Committee will honour its founding members. However, the venue will be named in honour of Bernice Sprauve, who is the only living co-founder who is yet to be so honoured.

While noting that four of the co-founders were at the launch today, the current head of the sub-committee Sasha Flax said it was best to uphold the tradition of hosting the event in Easter, especially considering that it is the 50th anniversary this year.

“I look at these four founders in front of me, and they started it off on that time (Easter), and we would like to stick with that date,” Flax said.

Meanwhile, minister responsible for culture Myron Walwyn reiterated that he is allowing the people of Virgin Gorda to decide when they want the festival to be held.

“This Easter festival belongs to the people of Virgin Gorda and any decision to change the date rests with the people of Virgin Gorda. And, whatever they decide, we will have to support as government. But we will not be the ones leading the charge; the Virgin Gorda people will make that decision,” added Walwyn.

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