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VI Emancipation celebrations have shifted away from church & family- Hon Vanterpool

- said the celebrations may have slanted towards more revelry than reflection
Noting that Emancipation observances are a time to focus on the true meaning of Emancipation celebration and to reflect on the work that our forefathers did to get us to this stage of our development, Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool has lamented that the celebrations may have shifted from church and family related activities to more of revelry. Photo: VINO
The gathering at the Sunday Morning Well for the Emancipation Service on August 2, 2015. Photo: VINO
The gathering at the Sunday Morning Well for the Emancipation Service on August 2, 2015. Photo: VINO
Guest Speaker, Dr Joe B. Maddox. Photo: VINO
Guest Speaker, Dr Joe B. Maddox. Photo: VINO
From left: Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, Minister for Education and Culture Myron V. Walwyn, Dr Melvin A. Turnbull and Dr Joe B. Maddox. Photo: VINO
From left: Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, Minister for Education and Culture Myron V. Walwyn, Dr Melvin A. Turnbull and Dr Joe B. Maddox. Photo: VINO
According to Minister Vanterpool, the annual Emancipation Service at the Sunday Morning Well is probably one of the most important aspects of the Emancipation celebrations and is in fact the reason for the annual festivities. Photo: VINO
According to Minister Vanterpool, the annual Emancipation Service at the Sunday Morning Well is probably one of the most important aspects of the Emancipation celebrations and is in fact the reason for the annual festivities. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Noting that Emancipation observances are a time to focus on the true meaning of Emancipation and to reflect on the work that our forefathers did to get us to this stage of our development, Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) has lamented that the celebrations may have shifted from church and family related activities to more of revelry.

Hon Vanterpool was at the time addressing a gathering at the Annual Emancipation Service at the Sunday Morning Well on Sunday August 2, 2015.

More revelry than reflection

According to the Minister, the annual Emancipation Service at the Sunday Morning Well is probably one of the most important aspects of the Emancipation celebrations and is in fact the reason for the annual festivities.

“I have to say that in recent years we may have seen a deviation from the original church and family related activities in observance of our Emancipation celebration. We have seen a slant towards more of the activities that would encourage revelling, perhaps sometimes without the mental pause for the real cause. We have even seen a tendency of many persons to misinterpret the name of what we do here in the Virgin Islands by calling it a carnival rather than a festival…”

Hon Vanterpool then said it is therefore becoming increasingly important for VI leaders to ensure that every resident in the territory, especially children, understand the significance of the August festival in the context of the history of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean as a whole, “where we have come from, where we are today and where we are heading as a people.”

The theme for this year's festival is 'It’s an Emancipation Celebration of Reflection to be Seen; VI Cultural Festival 2015'.

Hon Vanterpool then asked how much have people been reflecting and examining the state of affairs of the Virgin Islands for the past 25 years or so and looking at developing a charter for the way forward.

Taking stock, focus on education

“It is time for us to take inventory of the state of affairs of the VI…to determine whether our progress is consistent with international best practices and to gauge whether our people here in the VI are realising an improvement in the standard of living from year to year.”

The Works Minister, who has used this occasion in the past to call for independence, said just like the corporate models businesses have for their sustainability, there are different stages where it would be necessary for the territory to re-adjust and create a new model for going forward based on certain crucial market conditions.

“One cannot continue to operate in the same mode while the environment around us is changing…although a small country we still have a relationship with the international communities that bears down on how we behave here in the Virgin Islands.”

He explained that the VI could not just decide to have its own education system and remain at the High School graduation certificate and expect to survive and operate in the global arena. This he said is one of the reasons the Minister for Education, Hon Myron V. Walwyn, has refocused his attention on the Caribbean Examinations.

This, he said, is where the reset comes in terms of revaluating and setting the pace and making sure that the VI remains on a solid footing for now and the future.

Remarks were also delivered by Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, Hon Walwyn and Dr Melvin A. Turnbull, while the Guest Speaker was Dr Joe B. Maddox of the United States of America.

The Emancipation Proclamation was read by Ms Anne Leonard.

22 Responses to “VI Emancipation celebrations have shifted away from church & family- Hon Vanterpool”

  • 123 (03/08/2015, 12:25) Like (8) Dislike (9) Reply
    Blah blah blah blah blah
    • Scary Mary (03/08/2015, 13:39) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      I totally agree with the Minister. There was a time when families enjoyed the true spirit of Festival. We spent time playing and praying together and thanking God for our freedom and ALL our blessings.

      Today, drunken bumping and grinding seems to be the only way the younger generation appears to know how to celebrate OUR emancipation. I say "our" because the celebrations are as much for me and my age group as they are for all other age groups, yet it seems anyone younger than 16 and older than 25 is not considered important anymore. Teenagers and young adults have dominated our celebrations for the past 15 years or more.

      I can't say for sure, but I imagine it would be a safe bet to say that our ancestors would be horrified at what Festival has become. If some prefer to call it "carnival", I think we should let them. It is certainly more circus like than was originally intended. The public debauchery we see today sure isn't what the dictionary describes as "Festival"!

      I blame the past 4 governments for allowing the demise of Festival. Our government funds the Festival and Fairs Committee, so I suggest the minister DO something about it, if you don't like it. Lavity Stoutt certainly would not be pleased, and I can tell you that as a certainty!

      This all lands squarely in the minister's lap! Only he can order the necessary changes if he wants Festival to become as wonderful as it once was. Perhaps the townies could learn something from the Carrot Bay Festival and get back to what's important? Why does the entire festival have to be one VERY long J'Ouvert?!
  • Well Sah (03/08/2015, 12:46) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Everything about this year's festival was a disgrace. Poor attendance in everything! This says a lot without saying a word!
  • Mark (03/08/2015, 13:30) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
    VI has shifted away from VILanders.
  • lots of wrong (03/08/2015, 14:32) Like (5) Dislike (14) Reply
    What`s wrong with the Festival? We are celebrating our freedom the way we choose. Give children who born here their birth rights, then you and the Pastor can start talking about what`s wrong and what`s right.
  • virginislander (03/08/2015, 14:39) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    From the time our emancipation celebration was pulled away from the churches on the island the celebration started going hell bound. Here in these Virgin Islands there are some people who can do anything they want and get away with it.. The celebration is now a disgrace for a Christian community. So much nakedness and obscene behavior.artists brought in from outside who have no respect for our people with the type of lyrics they sing,the behavior of people in general. What example is being set for our youngsters? The amount of tax dollars that goes into festival can be better spent for the development of these islands. It is time for us to understand what we are celebrating and stop having three festivals on the same island in one week.this should be a time for us to come together as one people.
  • ........ (03/08/2015, 15:09) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    We the majority have started our boycott of the ndp
  • be + (03/08/2015, 15:25) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I saying the same thing, we got other folks telling us how to run our show. Water down this year! Let's be Honest.
  • political snitch (03/08/2015, 17:14) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    I saw a government minister in the jouvert (appeared to be drunk) and it had that christian sunrise thing going on in the government complex and homeboy didn't even looked over there.
    • @political snitch (04/08/2015, 01:18) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Well why you didn't go to the Christian things if you were so concerned? Only ministers have souls that need saving? You were clearly in the Joubert so why couldn't he be there to?
  • ^ (03/08/2015, 18:02) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    our Emancipation celebrations should not be limited just to Tortola - they should be shared with ALL of the sister islands. Funds should be budgeted for ferries to provide at least one round trip daily (if even Sat - Mon) for persons to come over and participate in the festivities. Instead, I was appalled to hear of the huge sums of money the entertainers who are brought into our islands are paid. Who are they catering to? And then to hear we are a 'rich island' took the cake, icing and all! Is it because of what appears to be free flowing money?

    Festival, in my opinion, needs to be seriously revamped so that its true meaning will be evident and our culture can be preserved. Right now it is being viewed as a means of entertainment for some. This year's activities (or lack of them) and the lack of enthusiasm should have sent a strong message to the planners. Go back to the drawing boards, please!!!
  • wize up (03/08/2015, 18:59) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    I personally think that we keep trying to adapt to other people's culture and phasing out our heritage: BVI festival is now filled with foreign entertainment; these entertainers are paid big bucks, funds which should be better spent: don't misunderstand me foreign entertainment is wonderful BUT not during Virgin Islands festival, at a music fest yes!!!: residents of this territory should embrace the VI music NOT only the US dollar that we spending... The big joke, most of the foreign performances are sponsored by the ministry of culture ( what a joke!!!!)
  • qc (03/08/2015, 21:49) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    the elections is open so That crap needs to stop!
  • sense (03/08/2015, 22:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    well, you have ppl joining troops for the pure competition, you have people only in it for the money. Nobody wants to do it because they have any cultural pride or just because they value what freedom/emancipation is to us. Not like they even really know what they went through to appreciate it. Emancipation also had nothing to do with the church, but minister we all know the roll those tax free establishments play when people need a lil "bailout" so... I know why YOU are saying that, but my fellow bvislanders for the most part dont.... How do people value something they know nothing about? Just like some christians know jesus name, but jesus ain in their heart because they dont know his struggle....... Start teaching of our ancestors struggle. I bet you see a change! If the people are in dismay, then the government has failed to do its job......
  • Hmm (04/08/2015, 01:17) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I wonder how many of these people who are bawling 'bring it back to church' one would be able to find in church on Saturday or Sunday morning.

    I agree, I do feel that the message is either getting lost or half-told. I don't think people care about the message anymore. Some probably even go, 'blah blah blah' in their heads until they hear music to dance to.

    I agree that we need to do better with the amount of nudity and grinding that goes on at parade in particular. Every year I watch it and I wonder why these people —who, when you go to the club, you see them standing on the wall, too ashamed to be seen as 'loose'— suddenly feel that it's okay to be half naked in public and carrying on themselves they way they do. What switch in their brain turns off that was on all year 'round?

    My biggest complaint for this year's festivities was the noise level. I have lived in the town area for years and basically every year except this one village stops the noise at 2 or 3 in the morning. I've been okay with it since it's celebration time and it's only once a year but this year was ridiculous. Sometimes the noise didn't start until 1 or 2 in the morning and went on until 4 or 5, once, almost 6 in the morning. I understood that people wanted to celebrate but come-on! The Festival Committee needs to be more organise and make sure the entertainers adhere to their time slot. If the entertainer suppose to be on stage at 8 o'clock to give a performance for 40 minutes, make sure that they are there on time and don't go over their time limit. If the entertainer comes too late, don't put them on stage and make the entertainer compensate, with their own money, the people who came to watch them. You still have to be considerate of the people who live in the neighbourhood. We aren't all out partying to whatever hour and some of us have jobs and children and we need our sleep.
  • chupes (04/08/2015, 07:44) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    All I have to say is the culture minister should be ashamed of himself. When you make festival political, it will go to the dogs!
  • BVIslander (04/08/2015, 08:34) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    I agree with all these sentiments. people are celebrating and thinking that being alcoholics and end up "pissy drunk" as the old people would say, shows freedom. this is not freedom. sad to say, people are still in bondage, tied up. we need to get back to VI culture...... this is not the way it use to be. I myself use to take my kids to the parade and the last time I went to a parade was in 1999 I believe. I will never attend another. I believe that "gyrating ones pelvic, bending over with a man behind them, on the floor behaving disgustingly and people especially our young women being half naked in the parade is not something I want my 5 year old to be spectating. May God help this territory!!!
  • we the people (04/08/2015, 18:24) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    If censorship was to happen, failure will surely follow. Gov't like China and Russia and Canada have had to relax the control on issues such as this. The BVI Gov't and church community need to realize they can kill an initiative if you try to control. We can learn from the mistakes of control dominated socialist type regimes. The reality of Brazil and Trinidad carnival/festivals is a product of it's people embracing a global acceptance of a cultural explosion. Everyone wins.... and we certainly needs wins about now and into the future.
  • sad (08/08/2015, 15:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    and some venders that set up booths in the village and hired people to cook and serve the crowd, did not pay
    the people they hired. thats extremely bad for the whole thing. shouldn't be so. sure doesn't have anything
    to do with emancipation or morality.


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