Mister Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to update the people of the Virgin Islands on the plans for a 2020 Emancipation Festival. Many persons in the community have been questioning whether this would ever be a reality due to the complications caused by COVID-19. I can reassure the fine people of this Territory that there will never be a time while I am sitting in this Ministerial seat that we will not celebrate our emancipation from slavery in some way, shape, or form. Our ancestors worked too hard for too long and went through too much to be ignored.
Mr. Speaker, since taking office and appointing a Festival and Fairs Committee to plan this year’s activities, I have been sounding the same refrain that we must celebrate our heritage and culture, give opportunities to our local cultural artisans, and to be fiscally responsible. Based on those criteria, we have had successes and opportunities for improvement.