SVG marks Emancipation Day with rally
August 6, 2004

SVG marks Emancipation Day with rally

There are signs of progress that Vincentians can identify with, 166 years after emancipation.
However, “we have to do more”. That’s one aspect of Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves’ address at the Emancipation Day Rally staged at Heritage Square last Sunday evening. {{more}}
Dr. Gonsalves stressed the virtues of love for each other and declared: “We must not allow politics to divide us.”
The programme, which was a cultural package mixed with reflection on this country’s history, must have influenced him,.
The Prime Minister expressed pleasure with cultural renditions.
Also at the rally, Culture and Tourism Minister Rene Baptiste expressed hope that the Emancipation watch, a feature of observances in the rural community of Diamond, becomes a national affair.
The Sion Hill Euphonium Junior Steel Orchestra, winner of that version of Junior Panorama activities for the last two years running was on show and kept the audience enthralled with their repertoire.
The Ancient Order of the Nyahbinghi deepened the programme with drumming and chanting. The Nyahbinghi family, well used to night-long rituals, with ises (praises) to their father Emperor Haile Selassie I, did not allow Emancipation Day to pass without emphasizing the African link.
Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves alluded to the Nyahbinghi contribution and commended their resilience; they having sustained their tradition even in “an hostile environment”.
Dr. Gonsalves again stressed the importance of hard work and discipline and urged listeners to take advantage of opportunities available.
For Dr. Gonsalves: “Emancipation is a process for the enlargement of our possibilities, individually and socially.”
He noted that the state provided the basis for the citizens to do well, but he pointed out that the individual had a responsibility to contribute to his or her elevation. He emphasized training, and on-going education, avenues to progress.
The programme had a touch of regionalism with the Shiv Shaki Dance Company from Trinidad and Tobago making two presentations.
La Gracia Dancers maintained their level of display with another appropriate performance, and the Avenues Dancers broadened the scope of African heritage with their interpretation of emancipation.
The group Naked Roots, with some younger drummers, guided by the experienced activist Nzimbu Browne, is ensuring the preservation of African culture.
Contemporary musical presentations featured some emerging and established artistes. The band Desmond Arthur and the Valley Jazz Crew slotted right into the emancipation groove. This outfit, with Arthur on keyboards, a bongo player, drummer, two guitarists, a bassist, two back vocalists, provided accompaniment to some singers. Papa Iston Lewis, a devoted Bob Marley fan, revived one
of Marley’s numbers Concrete Jungle. And calypsonian Wendell “Rasta Man I” Lewis, one ever so pleased to be
on stage, was at his typical and effervescent best. He entertained the audience with two lyrical and dramatic presentations.
And Aloma “Fatty Dan” Cadougan, with a young drummer to emphasize her song, gave the renditions which propelled her to second place in both the national and Calypso Queen competitions.
Emancipation Month activities continue with a variety of events. These include a radio play, a Breadfruit Festival, as well as a travelling exhibition on an Emancipation Bus.