Vincentians flock to Victoria Park to celebrate Independence
National pride was evident on the 39th Anniversary of Independence, as many Vincentians ventured to Victoria Park clad in the colours of the flag, to witness the national parade.
It was a hot and sunny day on October 27, and with no clouds in the sky to block the already strong rays of the sun, the cadets, the girl guides, the coastguard, the fire department, the rangers, nurses, and various other uniformed groups, stood at attention to be inspected by Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, minutes after 8 a.m.
Decked out in full uniform, the sweat was already visible for some troops, and the heat already took its first casualty before the police band could play their first marching notes.
Those in the stands, especially young children, were equally decked out, but in yellow, green and blue.
It was then time for the police band to start the parade, and they were the first to cross the field.
Following this, the cadet corps marched forward to form the human ‘39,’ to represent the number of years that St Vincent and the Grenadines has been independent.
Applause greeted this part of the show, as the onlookers noted their appreciation, which ended as the National Anthem began playing. The 21-gun salute sounded immediately after this.
The police then led the march past, followed by the coastguard, nurses, girl guides, cadets, rangers. The youngest members of the parade were the last in line.
After the march past ended, the Prime Minister delivered his official message to the nation on the 39th anniversary of Independence, starting by saying, “Our modern, progressive, liberal-democratic nation-state known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines acceded to formal, constitutional independence 39 years ago. Despite the material limitations of our small-island developing state and our excessively burdensome external challenges, including adverse climate change, we have built most assuredly a country which, according to the United Nations’ human development indices, is located at the higher end of the category called ‘middle-income developing country’.”
Throughout, he commented on the progress of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the issues of crime and climate change, and made 10 announcements including the formation of a Sports against Crime Initiative, and the appointment of a new sports ambassador in Ian Allen, among others.
Towards the end of his speech, he commented, “This blessed place called St Vincent and the Grenadines is our home; this place belongs to us; we own it; it is up to us to make it better, to make it the best it can be.”
Throughout the entire speech, the factions remained standing at attention on the field, facing the Prime Minister, under the unrelenting sun.
After the celebration, the troops, again with a viewing audience, made its way along the length of Kingstown, eventually reaching their final destination of the Financial Complex.
The Brownies section of the Girl Guides’ Association, joined the ranks for the march through Kingstown and were observed singing loudly throughout, “We are the Brownies, the mighty, mighty Brownies.”