Festival 2019, which is also the 65th anniversary of the annual Emancipation celebrations is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and anticipated in recent years. However, Minister for Education and Culture, Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley is urging residents to focus on the cultural aspects of the celebrations and significance to Virgin Islands heritage. In fact, the Minister said that he is hoping to keep the cultural momentum year round.

Hon. Wheatley told the members of the House of Assembly on 16 July that the cultural aspects should not be overshadowed and indicated that he will be seeking ways beyond the August festivities to keep the Territory’s culture and heritage in constant showcase.

“At the conclusion of this year’s festivities, I will examine other ways in which we can strengthen the 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,” the Culture Minister told the House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, Hon. Wheatley said that he is pleased that the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee has incorporated and infused the Territory’s culture in the various village activities.

Dr. Wheatley pointed out that in Road Town there will be two culture nights. He also noted there will also be a return of the Calypso competition. These cultural night events are expected to complement the cultural food fair and other ongoing cultural activities.

History is a great focus of the East End/Long Look festival celebration this year and it was announced that in addition to the annual features the sub-Committee has added other activities to showcase the culture of that part of the Territory and the Virgin Islands as a whole. “We will be introducing new ways of highlighting our heritage and culture.  We will have a festival of culture and praise, which will include cultural demonstrations, plait pole, Mocko Jumbies, cultural food, fungi music, among other activities.  There will also be a heritage village in Long Look as another new addition to the festivities,” Hon. Wheatley said.

It was mentioned that the Carrot Bay Fiesta which has always been cultural in nature will depict territorial heritage during its staging. “In addition to their customary activities, they will be having a traditional market day, where local produce, cultural treats will be on sale, they will have a cultural dance competition, and they will make cassava bread on site,” Hon. Wheatley pointed out.

As he urged residents to participate in the various cultural activities Dr. Wheatley noted that the celebration is in remembrance of Emancipation and not just to entertain.