The countdown to Independence begins

Some of the members of the NCC sitting at head table at the press conference where Independence theme was unveiled

Some of the members of the NCC sitting at head table at the press conference where Independence theme was unveiled

“Moving Forward in Unity to Build a Stronger Nation”.

That’s the theme for the 2015 independence celebrations to mark Grenada’s 41st anniversary of political independence from its former colonial master, Great Britain.

Minister of Culture and Heritage Senator Brenda Hood revealed the theme last week at the official launch of the celebration that took the form of a press conference that was also attended by other members of the National Celebrations Committee.

The celebrations this year, according to Sen. Hood will be over a three-month period and that as it was a national event, there was need for all Grenadians to partake in the event to express their patriotism.

“This year it’s going to be different whereby we are going to be starting our activities in February for the Best Village Competition. In February we will be undertaking our environmental project in all of the parishes, so the communities will come together to do some environmental work in their parishes”, she told reporters.

“…In March we will be looking at the food component, as you know in the past we did everything over a period of a week but this time we are going to be doing it over a three month period because we want more persons to get involved and in April which is Heritage month, we are going to be doing the cultural component of it”, she said.

The female government minister stressed that during the months of February, March and April “there will be activities throughout the length and breadth of this country including Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.

Sen. Hood announced that after an absence of seven years, the Prime Minister’s luncheon will return as part of the Independence celebrations.

“Seven years ago we had the Prime Minister’s Luncheon for the Elderly – this year we are going to have the Prime Minister’s Luncheon again and it will be in February…”, she remarked.

“…We are looking forward to that and I know that many of the seniors, the elderly would love to be there – they usually have a good time, they eat, they drink and they have a party so we are looking forward to that,” she said.

Sen. Hood also urged Grenadians to embrace National Colours Day and beautify the country as part of the 41st anniversary of Grenada’s independence.

“We are also going to be having national colours day and we want to encourage and I know that is not a problem because traditionally on that day, you have the children participating, you have the workplace and I know that there is some competitions taking place and I think this is what we would want to encourage also this year to get as many people as possible involved and the businesses in particular, schools, communities and you also can decorate your home and there is nothing wrong with that,” she added.

Chairperson of the Celebrations Committee, Dr Julie Dubois called on the population to see Independence Day as an occasion for reflection by all Grenadians.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s Independence celebrations as one that would unite us as Grenadians even more closely. This year we have planned many activities… the activities are planned for Grenadians. We encourage all Grenadians to support every activity that is being planned and it’s time to bring communities and friends and people together”, she said.

“…This year is going to be 41 years of keeping our country stable and despite the different little challenges we had in our history some of them were unpleasant but we still thank God that we’re a country that people choose because of the security they feel when they come here,” she remarked.

This is obvious reference to the two change of governments on the island in 1979 and 1983 by use of armed force – the overthrow of the elected Eric Gairy government and then the bloody carnage that took place on Fort Rupert when late marxist leader, Maurice Bishop was ousted from power.

One of the highlights of this year’s independence celebrations will be the annual Independence Calypso Competition, which will be judged in two stages – the preliminaries and finals

The competition will be held on January 31 at the Sauteurs Bus Terminus and Calypsonians had up to January 9th to submit their CD’s for judging.

According to committee member, Adrian Mark, some 14 artistes will be selected to challenge the reigning monarch, Sour Serpent.

“…(In) the preliminary round; we will judge the competition by listening to CDs, we’ll have three judges during the preliminary round and at the finals we will have five,” said Mark, the person responsible for the competition under the Celebrations committee.

The prize monies are as follows: First prize – $8000, second prize – $6000, third prize – $4000 and fourth prize $2000.

Calypsonians will also be given an appearance fee of $1500.00 each.

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