Re-enactment of 1979 flag-raising goes upside down
October 30, 2009
Re-enactment of 1979 flag-raising goes upside down

What should have been a night of precision and splendour ended on a sour note, when a re-enactment of the 1979 flag-raising ceremony went awry.{{more}}

To the disappointment and dismay of the thousands gathered at the Arnos Vale Playing field on the eve of the 30th anniversary of independence, the hoisting of the national flag, which was to be the climax of the three-hour long event, did not go as planned, when the flag was lifted on the flag pole upside down.

On October 26, 1979, David Yearwood was presented by Premier Robert Milton Cato with the new national flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a soon to be independent nation.

Yearwood, a Regimental Sergeant Major, took the flag to the pole where it was raised to the delight of those gathered at the Victoria Park.

This event was expected to be replayed as part of the celebrations last Monday night, with a new flag, which has been in use since 1984, and different Prime Minister (Dr. Ralph Gonsalves) at the helm.

But this was not meant to be.

Nerves may have got the better of the Regimental Sergeant Major Anderson, who unfortunately placed the flag incorrectly on the halyard.

The flag unfurled before reaching to the top of the pole and was revealed to be upside down when it got there.

Spectators were heard voicing their disappointment and embarrassment about what occurred on their way out of the venue, noting that foreigners and visitors were present to witness the historic event.

The event was also streamed live on the Internet.

The disappointment capped off a night that showcased the talent of Vincentians in the song, music and the performing arts.

Dance routines performed by schools, churchurches and community groups such as the Diadem Dancers, Arabesque, Avenues and Urban Experessions, gave spectators a historical walk through time, from the arrival of the Europeans, the rise and fall of paramount chief Joseph Chatoyer, to the defeat and deportation of the Garifuna people.

Dances also celebrated this country’s rich culture and traditional pastimes.

Spectators were also treated to local artistes, such as Lexi, Ipa, Bomani, Rasum, Becket and the Vibrating Scakes, backed by the Cantemus choir, performing their patriotic renditions penned over the years.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, before handing over the flag to be hoisted, addressed the crowd, wishing all a happy independence, while paying reverence to this country’s leaders, past and present.

Monday’s event, produced in part by the Vincy Homecoming Committee, was part of activities to commemorate not only the 30th anniversary independence but also the Vincy Homecoming programme. (JJ)