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Baptiste wants bigger Emancipation celebration

Baptiste wants bigger Emancipation celebration

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If Culture Minister René Baptiste gets her way, observance of the 2008 Emancipation activities will be bigger than ever before.

Baptiste, speaking at the commemoration celebrations last Tuesday, August 1, is looking forward to establishment of closer links with West African nations so that the observation of Emancipation Day events would be more “heritage driven.” {{more}}

Baptiste wants Vincentian poets, and writers to come forward and create art out of the historical experience Baptiste praised former Calypso Monarch Glenroy ‘Sulle’ Caesar for his production of the song ‘Reparation’, which propelled him to the 2005 Calypso King title.

The Minister would like to see copies of that song distributed in schools so as to engender a spirit of consciousness among Vincentians.

Baptiste was serious about the reparation issue. She noted that Indians in the United States of America were repaid for lands, and that African nations, formerly colonised by the French were also rewarded. But she questioned, “Who will pursue the cause of reparation in SVG? Would it be the government, or Civic organisation?” Baptiste queried.

The Culture Minister, Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown, wants citizens to learn more of the experience of the 1834 to 1838 era.

Slaves were granted freedom in 1834, but they had to undergo a period of apprenticeship, which lasted for another four years.

Baptiste noted the return of slavery in certain West African nations. She was firm that Vincentians must “resist cultural penetration”, and is adamant that observances like Carnival, Emancipation and Christmas must retain their Vincentian heritage.

As far as Baptiste was concerned, there are “negative vibes” prevalent on our airwaves, but she praised the local radio station National Broadcasting Corporation, for its emphasis on conscious Vincentian packages on Emancipation Day.

Activities that day were highlighted with an Exhibition by a number of organisations including members of the Indian Heritage Foundation, and the Nyahbinghi Order.

In addition to the Exhibition, cultural package saw displays of indigenous culture, including African drumming, dancing, fashion, poetry, cuisine and Indian presentation.

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