The Independence Military Parade may have been smaller and shorter this year, but the uniformed guards stepped up to the plate to deliver excitement, the crowd favourite being a band of female police officers who enamored with their smooth moves and nod to the trends.
The Victoria Park had changeable weather on the morning of October 27; the rain pouring down as Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Governor General Dame Susan Dougan arrived.
However, a few minutes later, the sun came out in full force, shining onto the stadiums, steps, and fences that had been painted to reflect the colours of the Vincentian flag, which were also occupied by persons dressed from head to toe in the colours of the flag.
The Governor General, as is her annual duty, received the royal salute, and accompanied by the Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John, and the Parade Commander Superintendent of Police (SOP) Timothy Hazelwood, inspected the guard.
This required her to walk the length of the line up, past the Police Band, the police officers, the Special Service Unit (SSU), the Coastguard and the Cadets.
Usually the Parade would have more uniformed units,
but the scale was reduced this year. Covid-19 protocols were in force as persons were given masks and asked to sanitize.
The Police Band then slowly trooped from East to West, led by a female drum major.
When they returned, the Band picked up the pace, with the drum major twirling her mace satisfying the anticipation of the people. The Band could be observed grooving with their instruments, to the tune of local songs.
After this, the salute to the nation or the 21-gun salute, and the playing of the National Anthem were executed.
Waiting in the wings was a band of female police officers, who were ushered in by notes of the police band.
Positioning themselves in the centre of the ground, the officers performed moves from the popular trending dance for “Jerusalema” while getting into different military formations. Their soundtrack for this performance was Jamesy P’s “Siyahbonga”.
See video of the performance by the women police officers here:
Appreciative noises from the onlookers was proof of their success.
Following this all Units commenced the March Past in both slow and quick time.
One of the more excited viewers was George King, in his full costume of a floral jumpsuit, snake staff, bouquet of flowers, and horned helmet, who is now a common attendee of state occasions.
Following the Parade, the Prime Minister delivered his address on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of Independence, titled “More progress, prosperity, and development ahead amidst challenges.”
“Forty-one years ago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines formally regained its Independence which it had lost in 1763 when Britain assumed suzerainty of a country that was then known by its citizens, the indigenous Callinago and Garifuna people, as Yuremein or alternatively, Youlou and the Begos. For over 200 years, British colonial domination completely remade our country,” the Prime Minister informed.
After his speech, which included a series of announcements on initiatives, the final salute was conducted.
There was no “Up Town” salute this year.