Dominicans are once again being called upon to put aside their differences and celebrate Dominica’s achievements.
This time, it is the Minister for Culture, Sports and Community Development, Roselyn Paul, who is making the appeal as the country prepares to celebrate its 42nd anniversary of Independence.
“So let us join hands, look at the bigger picture, work together and embrace new opportunities to rebuild our country in a more resilient manner,” Paul stated during the official opening of the 2020 independence celebration over the weekend. “This year, we observe our 42nd anniversary of independence with the theme “Embracing New Opportunities” and all of us no matter what field of work we’re in and no matter what part of Dominica we’re from, we need to embrace new opportunities for ourselves as we continue to build and develop Dominica.”
The celebration was launched with a grand showcase of the diversity of Dominica’s culture and the general public got an opportunity to witness the spectacle on a virtual platform which, the Minister said, all forms part of rebuilding a new and dynamic Dominica.
Paul promised an “exciting execution” of the independence lineup despite its virtual showcase due to the global pandemic, Covid-19.
“The momentum of expectation and excitement is really starting to build up both here in Dominica and abroad,” she noted. “The fact that we have been able to emerge fairly unscathed out of lockdown and curfew situations in Dominica that speaks to our resilience as a people. I think it will begin to give new life to traditional cultural activities and also create new ones as well.”
The minister highlighted the significance of Dominica’s independence celebration as an opportunity “to build nationalism and patriotism, strengthen our sense of national pride and to also promote all things Dominican and creole during the same month.”
She continued, “Independence celebrations usually bring to the forefront our love for our culture and our pride in being Dominica so let this be displayed and seen during the independence season and let it be reflected in our everyday lives all year round.”
Paul further encouraged all citizens to maintain a creole attitude of living and a Dominican and Caribbean identity whilst absorbing certain elements of the new globalized culture.
Chief Cultural Officer and Chairman of the Independence Committee, Raymond Lawrence, also spoke at the opening ceremony. He said a different approach was taken to organize the celebration in keeping with the guidelines and protocols of the Ministry of Health.
The celebration began last week with National Days of Prayer and the annual Friday Creole wear.
“This week Dominica will observe Dominica history week with the theme “Traditional Cuisine.” Lets not forget that it was traditional cuisine that played a role in sustaining our centenarians and giving them such longevity. This shows that our traditional cuisine is a healthy form of nutrition,” Lawrence said.
As part of history week, the E.O. Le Blanc Lecture on October 14, will be hosted and carried live on radio, Facebook and Youtube. This year’s guest lecturer will be former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Alix Boyd knights.
The following week, National Emblems Week will kick off with Flag Day on October 19, and during the same week, “we can continue to highlight our national flower or national bird or national dish among other emblems,” Lawrence indicated.
National Tree Planting Day has been scheduled for October 22 and with the assistance of the Department of Forestry, the Cultural Division is encouraging all to plant trees in an effort to replace what was damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
On the evening of October 22, from 7:00 p.m., an Independence Art Exhibition will be displayed via social media leading up to Creole Day on October 30.
Market Day with a Difference will be on the last Saturday of October whilst the following day – November 1– will be National Heritage Day.
On Dominica’s 42 Independence Anniversary, –November 3– a virtual National Day of Observance ceremony will be held from 9:00 a.m. to include the Prime Minister’s annual address to the nation and the national awards ceremony which will be carried live online, on television and radio. The said day, at 4:30 p.m., a virtual cultural gala will be presented.
Independence activities will culminate with Jounen Koudmen or the National Day of Community Service, November 4.
“We encourage all Dominicans to participate in some cleanup and beautification projects in your community. Help make Dominica even more beautiful than it is already.”
The Chief Cultural Officer also recognised the late Crawford Alexis whom he labeled as an “inspiration to the cultural community in Dominica and a cultural icon.”
Alexis, who was from the community of Portsmouth, was a veteran accordionist and jing ping proponent.
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Amazing! Really Amazing! Roosevelt Skerrit, Reginald Austrie, Ian Douglas and the entire Cabinet of Ministers are the architects of social and political DIVISION land DISUNITY in Dominica. These people have preached and practised DISUNITY like a religion. So much so that the country, at present, is more fragmented than ever before.
UNITY should not be used as a buzzword only around the celebration of our Independence Celebrations. It should be preached everyday of our lives.
Minister Roselyn Paul calling for UNITY is like a butcher calling for everyone to be vegetarians. You can’t plant corn and expect to reap sweet potatoes. Thou HYPOCRITE take the gravel from your eye so that you can see clearly to pick that from your brother’s eye.
Why is it that every year we celebrate independence without the mention of the one who brought us to independence. Yes I am talking about Patrick John he have paid his dues. And we should not be so ungrateful as to wait until he is dead to do so we all know he did wrong but without him we would not be celebrating 42 years. This is just like every thing else only after Le Blanc death that his name is coming up. Be it what it may we should never forget how we get here. How can we join hands and come together when we are living part of our history out .
The bigger picture is that this government has systematically ruined the social fabric of Dominica. Divisive and partisan politics have created a level of apathy and disdain over our island. There will never be unity with an organization that promotes active discrimination, welfare, and censorship in the land. That is the bigger picture, Roselyn. I hope you remove your rose tinted glasses to see the red flags, but I know it’s just a paycheck for you at the end of the day.