BVI News

Wheatley braces for backlash from those who wanted regular festival

Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said he is anticipating backlash from residents who were disappointed in the cancellation of the usual events associated with the territory’s emancipation celebrations.

Dr Wheatley gave that indication during the Festival of Culture & Praise event which was held at the Stickit in Long Look, Tortola on Wednesday.

He said: “I am grateful for all of you who have come to this Festival of Culture & Praise because right now the Festival of Culture & Praise is not the most popular thing, and we are going to take a lot of blows for not having J’ouvert.”

“We are going to take a lot of blows for not having the drunkenness and the revelry and all of that type stuff right now because that is more popular than praising God and thanking God for your freedom, and celebrating your history and your culture,” he added.

Minister Wheatley said that he stands firmly by his decisions which were made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he believes the manner in how the BVI celebrates emancipation should reflect the work and value of the territory.

“I am not going to take a step backwards. I have to tell you I’m going to march forward with courage and conviction because my ancestors deserve it,” he said.

Unity needed to overcome COVID-19

Dr Wheatley also encouraged unity amongst residents, stating that he believes it is needed if the BVI is to successfully overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I guarantee if we don’t come together, we are not going to survive what it is we are about to go through because really and truly, we are just at the beginning of the hard times based on COVID-19 and all the other challenges we have,” the minister said.

Also sharing similar sentiments was Territorial At-Large Representative Neville Smith. He called on residents to put love and God back into the society since those two essential elements of the community have been absent.


Meanwhile, during the eight-hour long community event which was also streamed online, four persons were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the festival over the years.

They are Reole ‘Limping Jack’ Frett, seasoned artist Cedric Turnbull, stilt performer Andrew ‘Charlie’ Turnbull and Moviene Fahie who has been involved with the festival for more than three decades.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hon. Wheatley. I understand the important of history. But, to balance the scale between history and modern times some consultation with the public should have been an option months in advance of August. Nobody actually expected the norm, however, if a consultation or meeting with the public was considered you would realize that you could have blended history with the modern times. For example, plate pole competition between villages (adults and young) in which the older heads introduce the young persons to this piece of history. That is my contribution but others may have theirs. But, you would have only listened if the public on a whole had an opportunity to voice their ideas. But, oh I forgot VIP does not have to listen to us and run this show their way.

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    • Comment says:

      True, and we could have discussed the history of the plate pole and many would learn that it was a Europe custom. Then we would collectively decide if we should continue this colonial demonstration that we have incorporated into our culture.

  2. Improvement says:

    This years festival was the best in the last 40 years. Hopefully this will be the new normal for future Festivals.

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  3. Don’t mind that says:

    The majority of people who want the jump up don’t care nothing about our culture or BVI heritage. If they want just a jump up, tell them go elsewhere.

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  4. Me says:

    Minister you did the right thing.

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  5. My say says:

    The Minister should not face any backlash behind not having regular festival. You people that is B****ing need a swift kick.

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  6. Nonsense says:

    The backlash coming your way has nothing to do with festival. It has to do with the fact that you are obviously not ***** for a leadership position. You have sat back and let the Premier r**n this Territory and you have dismantled all the good things that Hon. Walwyn has done with Education. We were bamboozled into thinking that yourself and Hon. Sharie were youth with promise and would take us to the next level. Instead you all enjoy the brand new jeeps and pomp, while sitting back mum at all the BS that is happening in the Territory. When the NDP was in power everyone had a voice and had solutions, now look at what is happening, everything in a haphazard manner and for the FIRST IN HISTORY we have a UK appointed Governor more or less running the show because of the inept elected officials. Hon. Sowande you are a w***e of t**e and we will send you back to the College to teach because that’s where you belong.

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  7. LOL says:

    The Minister acting as if we didn’t have Festival because he wanted to. The reason we didn’t have anything is because they didn’t know where to start with planning that’s all it is. They decided not to have it because they couldn’t have it, not because they didn’t want to have it. Complete and utter waste of space.

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  8. reality check says:

    So most slaves in the Caribbean came from the Congo, this has been genetically proven now the Congo was ruled with an iron fist by Belgium and Leopold II check him out as he forced the bible on the continent and you still praise it when it was the very book that enslaved you.
    * Ephesians 6:5, “Slaves obey your earthly masters with respect and fear and sincerity of heart, just as you would show to Christ.”

    Here the Bible says for slaves to obey their master as if he was God himself.

    * 1 Timothy 6:1, “All who are under the yoke of slavery should regard their masters as fully worthy of honour, so that God’s name and our teaching will not be discredited.”

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  9. .... says:

    Anyone who felt that we needed the normal festival activities is very senseless and ungrateful.Look at the bigger picture, should the BVI have a spike in Covid case, our healthcare system cannot/ will not sustain the pressure. Did y’all even consider how many ventilators we have in the BVI vs the population. it makes no sense to bash the current Government.

    Some folks are only concern about jumping up…and not concern about the actual issue at hand.

    Y’all complain about everything.

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    • @.... says:

      Nobody was looking for us to have regular festival at all so cut that rubbish. What everyone was hoping was since we have no active cases we could free up a little and let at least the Monday rise and shine tramp go on and have one night in town, one in east, one in carrot bay just simple with local entertainment and a few vendors could make money. With all the private events that went on for those days do you think we accomplished anything? People were still out partying having fun so stop with the excuses. As another poster said the reason we had nothing is because like everything else they have no plans.

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  10. Onestripe says:

    The worst part is when the people tried to have lil fun here comes those one stripe humans we is and must ack as such.

  11. Unread historian says:

    What rubbish!

    The people who were put into bondage were not any centralized location, but in fact were from all across Africa, from the east, west, north and south, and they were captured, encaged, sold and shipped from all regions in equal amounts.

    Why do some not read and or study a topic before they go pontificating on it?

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  12. people says:

    mr wheatley do not study what no one says you did the right thing other countrie cancalled their festival ad carnivals so we in the bvi is a set of edots to keep festival to please a few again you did the right thing our hosptal is not big enough to hold a gppd hundred sowhen you had keep festival what would be used if there was a break out the covit is talking to us but e people in the BVI is not seeing persons should be glad that the Governmet is doing all it can to prevent any issues so you cannot please everybody just do what is right and donot let people run the affairs of the contry especially when it comes to covit 19

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  13. He did the right thing says:

    Ok, so if the minister had go on with festival to please you ungrateful ingrates and people started popping up positive which you will be in a couple of weeks, you same ingrates will be throwing the Minister under the train wheels saying it was his fault.

  14. True says:

    The Minister did the right thing. You ungrateful people that was out here being selfish to satisfy your selfish needs not social distancing, the police should have blasted your A**es with rubber bullets and tear gas.

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