Beautiful Virgin Islands

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Premier says festival will be properly financed this year

Premier says festival will be properly financed this year

Premier Andrew Fahie has sought to assure the public that Emancipation festivities are expected to go ahead as planned and will be properly financed by the government this year.
Speaking to members of the media last Friday, Fahie said the government is currently working on sourcing additional funds to finance the celebrations.

“We are working towards getting additional monies. We are monitoring the money, but we are working towards that,” Fahie said.

The Premier said at the time when $60,000 was allocated to the Festival and Fairs Committee in the budget, the territory was still in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government was concerned about whether the festivities could go ahead in a physical capacity.

“So, there was not much funding allocated to festival. But since then, we have recognised that people are doing a much better job of being individually responsible with living and working with COVID-19 and we will be working with the Minister [of Culture Dr Natalio Wheatley] to ensure that festival happens in some shape or form in a responsible way,” Fahie said.

“We are still going to monitor COVID-19 but I still think we are comfortable to move in a direction to allow things to happen for festival. Maybe not to the magnitude of what we are accustomed to, but we must get back to it in a very prudent manner given all we have to face with COVID and all the other challenges that have arisen and I think we are getting there,” the Premier continued.

Fahie said any amendment to the current restrictions to accommodate festivals are under the purview of Health Minister Carvin Malone and his team. He noted that Malone has been doing a good job monitoring COVID-19 along with the Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Health Services Authority, the Chief Medical Officer and other members of the health team.

“We have moved the bar and increased the number of the 300 persons. So, we are getting there but we just don’t want to be complacent with our projects and fall back into any areas that we have long gone from. We have to guard against that, and we just have to take personal responsibility for each and every individual to do that. We are doing that, and I congratulate the people of the Virgin Islands once we keep doing that, I see we would be able to open more and more,” Fahie said.

Meanwhile, the Premier noted the recent resignation of the Chairman of the Festival and Committee Board will not affect the planning and execution of this year’s celebration.

“There will always be someone to fill the spot. I would like to thank the chair for all he has done but there will always be someone there to fill the spot and you move on. That is how I see life,” Fahie added.

Emancipation festivities in the Virgin Islands usually last two weeks beginning the last week of July and ending the first week of August. The last two celebrations have been held virtually because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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