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SVG is our share of God’s earth

SVG is our share of God’s earth

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Hon. René M. Baptiste, Minister of Tourism and Culture

Fellow Vincentians and visitors,

this year on October 27, 2005 – this Island Nation State would mark its 26th year of Independence. This was a remarkable journey for this young country. The march to Independence started since 21st October 1935 in my view, when our political forefather – George Augustus

Mc Intosh took the bold step of leading from the front – building a political awareness in the broad masses of the people; opening their eyes to the limits and possibilities of their political rights and political power. {{more}} The struggle against the colonial powers and their separation from the people they ruled, rather than governed was bruising. Incarceration and trial for crimes against state; then came in 1951 Adult Suffrage, the formation of political parties and trade unions – workers’ rights and political rights marching side by side in those remarkable times of 1950s, 1960s, and 1970’s.

Self Government in 1969 was the common pre- requisite stage to full independence for these Caribbean States. Political education was broadened and given more depth in the early 1970s. Our people are fairly well versed in many aspects of governance and government, due to the robust nature of our democracy, ever evolving.

The period – from 1979 to 2005 – from Cato to Gonsalves with Mitchell of 17 years, and Eustace of 6 months or so has seen great changes – from threat of arrest for recording and broadcasting parliament’s proceedings to the norm today of “live” radio and television coverage – to publishing bills in the weekly newspapers – to national consultations by the Government to inform the people – from a routine parade at park – to a crisp – eagerly awaited parade of groups and hundreds of flag – waving nationals – from sitting and walking around while the anthem is played – to the standing respect salute – to honouring our outstanding youths – to playing and listening to our own music – to a book or booklet from Dr. Edgar Adams these days – to expanding sporting functions – to listening for political “goodies” in the speech of the Prime Minister;

– 1979 Independence flag under Cato

– 3 diamond flag under Mitchell

– National flag law under Gonsalves, as well as constitutional reform.

Further, I must state that on my watch culture and cultural activities have seen a revitalization of all forms of the arts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The centre-piece of the home of dance and drama – The Peace Memorial Hall has been renovated; the art of the dance is now widespread.

The Retrieval of the Garifuna Culture is an essential part of the policy of the Ministry of Culture – We are now much more aware of the presence and importance of our ancestry and their role in shaping the Vincentian identity.

• The creation of Heritage Month

• The creation of Heritage Square

• The creation of the Breadfruit Festival

• The creation of Gospel Festival

• The publication of 25 Vincentian Folk Songs

• The passage of the Copyright Act to protect our ever – growing lists of performing and recording artistes.

• The creation of Emancipation Month

• The expansion of the Carnival festival as the branded “Vincy Mas” – as the premiere national cultural festival

• Producing theme songs –

• “March into history” – for History and Heritage Month

• “We need to celebrate Emancipation Time” – For Emancipation Month

• “Constitutional Reform” — To publicise and sensitize Vincentians on the Constitutional Reform process

• A diplomatic passport for our cultural Goodwill Ambassador – Alston Becket Cyrus

• The grant of a University Scholarship for Miss SVG

Let us together treasure these moments in time. This is our Country; Country always First, this country is our share of God’s earth to Vincentians, we are a people and a young nation of many faces. God’s blessings on our beautiful and peaceful country this independence, and always.

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