Speaking with BVI News last night, Dr Wheatley said Virgin Gorda has not had an Easter Festival for two straight years because of the pandemic and it was refreshing to see as many persons come out to celebrate over the weekend.
“You could see people were ready to come out and celebrate with their families, celebrate with their friends and visitors came from many different places and the quality of the performances was very high and all in all I think it was a huge success and something we can build on coming out of the pandemic,” the Culture Minister said.
The Minister told our news centre he, along with the Festival and Fairs Committee, is already planning for the July/August celebration and no time will be wasted in ensuring emancipation festivities goes ahead as planned and is also successful.
“As soon as that event finishes, we have one or two days off and we are planning again. We have new leadership, the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee, a fresh vision of where we can go, and I think Easter was important to give us momentum and to identify areas that can be strengthened. We certainly identified areas where we can strengthen, and we look forward to a very good July/August Festival,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Minister of Culture said some of the key areas that can be built on is a stronger partnership with the different stakeholders in the territory that are responsible for the planning, execution and promotion of Festival celebrations.
“We want to strengthen our engagement with all the key stakeholders. The business community, the community at large; strengthen our engagement with institutions like the Tourist Board, strengthen our engagement with various community partners; persons from even different nationalities and things like that. I think moving forward we are going to see more collaboration and also strengthen our public relations.
Even engaging with the media. Engaging with them early and getting them on board as a key partner in promoting the festival and supporting the festival,” Dr Wheatley said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said there are monies approved for the July/August Festival celebration and his ministry is looking to raise more money through sponsorship and fundraising. However, he said people can expect a celebration that emphasises emancipation, the territory’s history, and its culture.
“Expect a festival where we pay close attention to spending; that we are fiscally responsibly, accountable, that we abide by the principles of good governances, transparency, accountability and persons can expect all those things and more,” Dr Wheatley stated.