Concerts, clean up drives, health walks, cultural extravaganzas, firework displays, sporting activities and a calypso competition are among some of the major activities planned to mark Grenada’s 44th Independence anniversary celebrations on February 7.
Launched at the Ministry of Works conference room on Monday, the independence celebrations will be held under the theme, “One People, one Country, and our Responsibility”.
The main event on the day of independence will be held at the Kirani James Football and Athletic Stadium at Queen’s Park starting at 4.00 p.m rather than the usual 9.00 a.m. start.
The celebrations will begin with a health walk on January 20 (tomorrow) from the Lance in Gouyave to Victoria in St. Mark.
In outlining some of the planned programme, Producer of the Independence Celebrations, Royden Beharry said that the Independence Day activities will start at 2.00 pm at Queen’s Park with the Made in Grenada Expo.
“… I am telling you thus far, from all indications, loads of vendors will be there promoting their products. We have a number of manufacturers and agro processors that are on board”, he said.
“For the celebrations, we expect to have a number of items including performances by some of Grenada’s top cultural icons and entertainers as well as the great display of our Moko Jumbies, a number of the steel bands as well as some of our dance groups and other cultural aspects”, he added.
According to Beharry, after the traditional rally on Independence Day to be addressed by the Prime Minister, the citizens will be treated to another activity.
He said: “…We are going to have a special component which is the ‘This is home’ concert featuring some of Grenada’s top performers and also a number of surprises that you can look forward to”.
The FLOM band has been contracted to serve as back-up band for a number of performing artistes such as Sabrina Francis, Zorrina Andall, Tammy Baldeo, and All Anointed among others.
Beharry went on: “We will be having the live posse stand…so we’re encouraging everyone if you don’t want to go and sit in the crowded stand, we will have a posse stand area where we will be providing a number of giveaways for persons who are dressed in their national colours”.
Committee member, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Michael Francois gave an insight into what can be expected from the much-anticipated military parade.
He said the different units will assemble on Melville Street and then march into the Athletic Stadium where “we’ll have our forming up and we await the arrival of dignitaries”.
“Thereafter…we go into the march-past of the units. This year we will have seven armed units which will include units from the Special Services Unit, our Coast Guard, Her Majesty’s Prisons and our female platoons and male platoons and I can tell you it will be an experience of colour and splendour and beauty…”, he said.
“This year, we will be having a special display from a special unit of the Royal Grenada Police Force that is put together to put on that display…they are training and we have these officers practicing in a special location”, he added.
Apart from the armed units, ACP Francois disclosed that unarmed units like the Scouts, Girl Guides, St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, and Cadet Corp are expected to be a part of the military parade.
Chairperson of the National Celebrations Committee, former civil servant Ann-Marie Marecheau also gave a brief rundown of some of the other planned activities leading up to February 7.
She spoke of a planned islandwide motorcade on January 27 from Burns Point moving onto the East Coast of the country into St. David, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, St. Mark, St. John and then return into St. George’s.
“We continue on February 3 … moving to the big parish and because the big parish is so big, we are having three activities…”, she said.
According to Marecheau, the first activity starts at 4.00 p.m. focusing on a Craft and Vendors display, to be followed by a Flambeau March, and then a Cultural Extravaganza and Soca Fete at Victoria Park, Grenville.
Minister of Culture, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who also addressed reporters at the launch of the independence activities called for February 7 to be a day of unity for all Grenadians.
She said, “I believe that Independence should be one of the things that unite us – the common point where we can meet because we do have diversity in philosophy, affiliations, beliefs and so on and if that diverse team that we have in the committee could work together in spite of their differences, I believe that it behooves us as Grenadians to unite for that activity and in recognition of that time.
“I want to send an appeal to everyone, I think it’s a great time that we can look to have a ceasefire because let’s face it the fire is always there. I think it’s a time that we can call a ceasefire and come together. This is our country…our responsibility…the more you do…the more we showcase.”
Grenada is beset by a deep political divided among the “green” forces of the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the “yellow” banners of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
It has reached boiling point with PM Mitchell referring to Congress leader Nazim Burke as “Bound to Lie” and the NDC boss responding with the words “Bound to Thief”.
The deep division in the country is back in the forefront as the two parties prepare for the upcoming general election with the Prime Minister due to announce the date on January 28 at a rally at Beausejour in his St. George North-west stronghold constituency.