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‘Finances of festival remain a concern’- Dr Wheatley

According to Minister for Education, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), the finances for the 65th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival remain a concern. Photo: Youtube
The slogan for this year’s festivities is ‘A Colourful Cultural Vibe as BVI Festival turns 65, submitted by Khadejae Hull, who is seen here being presented with a prize of $250 by Minister responsible for Culture Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), left, and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC), Mr Carnel D. Clyne. Photo: VINO
The slogan for this year’s festivities is ‘A Colourful Cultural Vibe as BVI Festival turns 65, submitted by Khadejae Hull, who is seen here being presented with a prize of $250 by Minister responsible for Culture Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), left, and Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC), Mr Carnel D. Clyne. Photo: VINO
Emancipation Festival activities in Carrot Bay, Tortola, in 2013. Carrot Bay has always had a strong component with their cultural fiesta and that this year, in addition to their customary activities, will be having a traditional ‘market day’, where local produce and cultural treats will be on sale. Photo: VINO/File
Emancipation Festival activities in Carrot Bay, Tortola, in 2013. Carrot Bay has always had a strong component with their cultural fiesta and that this year, in addition to their customary activities, will be having a traditional ‘market day’, where local produce and cultural treats will be on sale. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- With the budget to pull off the 65th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival surpassing a million dollars, Minister for Education, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), has said the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC)- rather than depending on the Government’s purse- is looking at alternative means of raising the needed finance as well as guarding against wasting resources.

“The finances of festival remain a concern,” remarked Dr Wheatley in a statement during the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on July 16, 2019.

He continued, however, that the VIF&FC has taken measures to generate additional revenue to support activities as well as making efficient use of resources without compromising the quality of the events.

In addition to that, Dr Wheatley said the Committee has also centralised the administration of finances to ensure spending is under control.

“I will keep an eagle eye on the situation because it is an area I take very seriously.”

Strong focus on culture

In holding fast to sentiments consistently expressed even before becoming an elected representative, Hon Wheatley also said he was keen to ensure the festivities have a strong focus on culture.

He added that he was pleased the Parade Committee, under the leadership of Ottley Hodge, chose to honour a number of persons who made sterling contributions to festival celebrations over the years through participation.

The honourees are Kenisha Sprauve, Jasmine Brewley, Myron Rubaine, Lashing Dogs, Xtreme Band and Heritage Dancers.

“This is a component I would like to see remain in our slate of festival activities, Hon Wheatley stated.

He added that Carrot Bay has always had a strong component with their cultural fiesta and that this year, in addition to their customary activities, will be having a traditional ‘market day’, where local produce and cultural treats will be on sale. There will also be a cultural dance and making of cassava bread on site, according to the Minister responsible for culture.

East End, Hon Wheatley said, also traditionally has a strong focus on history and culture and that new ways of highlighting the VI’s heritage and culture will be introduced this year.

“We will have a festival of culture and praise, which will include cultural demonstrations, plait poles, moko jumbies, cultural food, Fungi music among other activities.”

A Heritage Village in Long Look will be another addition to the festivities.

The cultural component for Road Town would be the Cultural Food Fair and Calypso Competition.

Dr Wheatley said at the conclusion of the festivities he will examine other ways in which he can focus on heritage and culture.

“While things are by no means perfect we will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, as my Premier always says. We will fix and go at the same time.”

‘Not just a fete or carnival’

In closing his statement, Hon Wheatley reminded of the true significance of Emancipation Festival.

“Mr Speaker, let me encourage the public to never lose sight of the true meaning of the celebrations. This is not just a fete or a carnival.

“This is an ongoing tradition in which we recognise our ancestor’s successful struggle against the vicious institution of slavery. We must praise God, dance, sing, eat, drink, and be merry in reflection of the divine favour and mercy we have benefitted from since our victory over the wicked institution of slavery.”

The slogan for this year’s festivities is “A Colourful Cultural Vibe as BVI Festival turns 65” and the theme is “BVI Festival 2019: Honouring all generations – Let’s commemorate the 65th emancipation celebration”.

The celebrations are scheduled to run from July 25 to August 10, 2019.

5 Responses to “‘Finances of festival remain a concern’- Dr Wheatley”

  • wize up (18/07/2019, 15:54) Like (10) Dislike (4) Reply
    why all the foreign entertainment associated with a VI culture activity if one resides in the VI and can not appreciate local performances then something might be wrong: some might recalls the days when we held fish fry throughout the year simply to generate money for upcoming festival now each and every thing is funded by government....heads up; I have nothing against foreign artist
  • at least (18/07/2019, 20:11) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    I admire the transparency of this new government
  • Quiet Warrior (18/07/2019, 22:47) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Hon Natalio “Sowande Uhuru” Wheatley (D-7), MEC, has the authority to cut the planned $1M budget down to a reasonable level. Sowande is expressing concern but action is he taking? Less talk and more action is needed. Festival is supposed to be about celebrating of emancipating our foreparents from the dehumanizing, brutal, exploitative.....etc actions of slave masters. It is about celebrating culture yet residents embraced international acts more than local acts; are we ashamed of our culture but big up other cultures?
    • @ Quiet Warrior (19/07/2019, 08:15) Like (0) Dislike (10) Reply
      The VIP is the only ones that can bring back our culture, thank god we voted VIP all the way...NDP all had island women wives


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