A majority of residents in the British Virgin Islands believe the annual Virgin Gorda Easter Festival should be scrapped this year.
This is the finding of a BVI News survey conducted on the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda from February 13 to 16 on 162 respondents.
The survey was commissioned after government’s recent announcement that it was spending the usual $100,000 to put on the event from March 31 to April 2 this year.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they did not support the government’s decision.
The other 37 percent respondents wanted the event to be held.
Reasons for answers
More than 35 percent of respondents said hosting the festival this year is a waste of money.
They said the money could be better spent assisting affected residents and/or rebuilding infrastructure damaged during the hurricanes.
On the other hand, more than 18 percent respondents said the Easter Festival is part of the BVI’s culture and needs to continue despite the hurricanes.
Another 10 percent believe hosting the festival will help boost tourism and, by extension, the economy.
However, 14 percent of respondents said the government should be focusing on recovery this year and not the annual jubilee.
Five percent believe that hosting the event this year sends a wrong message to the international community.
They believe the BVI should not be hosting Easter Fest while soliciting donations and assistance to rebuild the territory.
On the contrary, three percent of residents said hosting Easter Fest will send a global message that BVI is resilient and truly ‘open for business’.
The survey also found that 0.6 percent of respondents believe residents are no longer feeling the after-effects of the September 2017 hurricanes so government should continue with its plans to host the festival.
Culture Minister Myron Walwyn said this month that he has no intention of cancelling the event ‘unless the people of Virgin Gorda decide that they do not want Easter Festival celebrations’.
A total of 51 persons from Virgin Gorda participated in the survey.
Sixty-four percent of respondents on that island do not support the festival.
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