Participation in the 60 anniversary festivities is of high importance to the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee, so much so that Chairman of the Committee, Marvin Blyden stated that he will be using participation as a reference for which organizations have genuine interest in the Territory.
Speaking at the festival launch block party on Saturday, Mr. Blyden noted that there are many country associations functioning in the Territory and stated that he is very hopeful that they will be part of the festivities and will be inviting them to do so: “I know there are a lot of associations around here. Every month you hear about different fundraising efforts from the Jamaican Association, the Guyanese Association, NAPS (Nevis Alliance Progressive Society) and everybody…I will be looking very keenly August Monday to see who is participating; who are with us just for being with us sake. Please note, it is not what the BVI can do for you, it is what you can do for the BVI since you are here among us. A lot of you all are taking good strides in trying to help us. Some are staying on the side, and we want to change this whole concept this year,” he said.
The Festival Chair explained that this year’s success hinges on the participation of all and extended an invitation to the Associations to join in the activities and to make a parade entry: “I am very serious when I ask all those associations to come on board,” he added.
Similar participation sentiments were expressed by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn in January at the presentation of the 2014 festival slogan and theme. At that time the Minister explained that increased participation was one of the goals of the 60th Anniversary Committee and that every effort is being made to involve all the various sectors of the community in the celebration.
“We would like to see more local participation in all the activities. Plans are already in place for all schools to be actively involved in the August Monday and August Wednesday parades this year. The Director of Culture is working closely with the Department of Education to ensure that every single school enters at least one troupe, floupe or float in the parades,” Hon. Walwyn said.
The Minister added: “The Virgin Islands is quite a melting pot of different cultures and persons who now call these islands home from all across the world. I want to invite those residents to also join us for our 60th Anniversary Festival Celebrations. Many of those groups of individuals participated in the Premier’s Christmas around the world celebrations and we want to invite you to be part of the events for the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Please come and share part of your culture, by entering a troupe, floupe or float in the parade and support all the nightly activities for 60 Years of Celebration with Cultural Class: VI Festival 2014, Let’s Play Mass!”
He also invited the churches to participate in the parade, and commended that the St George’s Episcopal Church under the leadership of Father Ronald Branche for their 2013 entry in the August Monday parade.