This year the BVI will be celebrating its annual Emancipation Festival virtually due to COVID-19, but Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie is encouraging persons to use the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the festivities.
In his emancipation message, the Premier said that the annual celebrations helps to bring their heritage back into focus at least once every year, but events like COVID-19 has interrupted this renewal process.
"But now that we are aware of this, we must fight harder to make sure our heritage stays alive so that our future generations know what they are a part of. Yes, for this year we will miss the colourful banners waving in the streets, having the Festival Village in Road Town; Rise and Shine, local bands and artists; international guest artists, Queen Show, Parade, Prince and Princess;— all the things that you usually enjoy huddled together," he stated.
Premier Fahie said this does not erase the fact that 'we' are a free people whose ancestors fought and died to give 'us' the life 'we' have today.
"It does not change the fact that the culture of our ancestors is alive in our hearts...Let us enjoy our Emancipation Festival 2020 in a manner that always reflects our respect and gratitude for the fight our ancestors did for us," he said.
This year's slogan is, "BVI Festival 2020: Be Fully Free: Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery as we Celebrate our Virgin Islands History!” and its being held under the theme, “Our Cultural Heritage in the Mix as BVI Celebrates its 66”.
"Mental slavery has to do with being unaware or unconcerned about the way mainstream channels are used to distort our perceptions of the world around us. It is like living in the Matrix; an artificial reality designed to exploit us," the Territory's leader stated.
He added, "So, as we celebrate from the safety of the virtual programmes, let us remember from whence we came, where we are now, where we are going, and where we will be. We can only come into our true potential when we free ourselves."
Premier Fahie emphasized that COVID-19, prevents us from having the usual mass gathering events.
"So, we have to use the technology and have virtual versions of these events. So this year, from 31 July to 5 August, is different as we are doing most of those activities, just in a different format. That does not mean that our focal point must change," he said.
He said it does not mean that the true meaning and reason behind the Emancipation Festival has gone anywhere.