Saint Lucia: National Emancipation celebrations commenced in Saint Lucia on August 1, under the theme “Enkindling our Consciousness.”
The Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information is spearheading Emancipation celebrations assisted by a team of stakeholders including the Cultural Development Foundation, the Folk Research Center and the Events Company of Saint Lucia. For the first time, the observance will be celebrated throughout the entire month of August, into September.
On August 3, the Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee held a press conference highlighting the importance of the observance. The panel included the President of the Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee, Earl Bousquet; Representative of the Lilly Ching Soto- Organization of American States (OAS); Monsignor Patrick Anthony of the Folk Research Center; and Drenia Frederick Creative Director of the Cultural Development Foundation.
Creative Director of the Cultural Development Foundation, Drenia Frederick, underlined the three-year plan for emancipation celebrations. She indicated the commemoration will focus on awareness of the past, its effects on our society, and work toward improving our future.
“We started with developing and iconizing a hero of Emancipation. We started off in Dennery, iconizing Petronille,” she said. “Our hope is to have a hero from each district because slavery was spread around Saint Lucia.”
She noted the significance of the iconizing slave heroes.
“This is significant because most people don’t realize that there was resistance before Emancipation was officially announced by the British Empire. There was resistance in Saint Lucia during that period, and what is significant and interesting to note is that most of the resistance was led by women. This is an important focal point because it does say something about Saint Lucian women and how they have held society together.”
Monsignor Patrick Anthony said the expansion of Emancipation celebrations may help to remedy social ills.
“This will hopefully blossom and become a movement for social transformation and social reengineering,” he said.
The Organization of American States is providing support in the execution of this month’s Emancipation activities. Head of the OAS in Saint Lucia, Lily Ching Soto, commended organizers on the execution of the events that have been held.
“The power that these initiatives have to express and transfer cultural heritage is amazing. We are proud to be able to provide organizational support to the CDF and the Government of Saint Lucia.”
Emancipation activities will end on September 15.