As Dominica launches its 37th Independence anniversary celebration against the backdrop of Tropical Storm Erika, Culture Minister, Justina Charles has called for a celebration of the Dominican spirit of unity.
The usually packed calendar of events was significantly watered down this year due to the impact of the storm but Charles said there are reasons to be thankful.
“There is still so much to be thankful for as a nation… it will be a celebration of the Dominican spirit and it is hoped that it will inspire us as citizens,” she said at the launch of the celebrations on Wednesday 7th October 2015. “Let’s therefore celebrate this 37th anniversary in a spirit of solidarity, in a spirt of togetherness, let us at the same time keep force on the ongoing recovery and building efforts.”
She added, “Six weeks ago we were affected and devastated by this storm and definitely we are aware that it affected many of our citizens and the country. It is most appropriate therefore that this year’s Independence celebrations reflect this special period that we are in.”
Charles, this is the reason that the theme for this year’s independence celebrations is “Rebuilding Dominica Together” and that togetherness in rebuilding the country should transcend all boundaries be it political, religious, social class, sex and age.
“We have had to scale down some of the activities or cancel others all together. We have had to redeploy our resources to the recovery and rebuilding effort,” she explained.
Events such as the sports and cultural competitions, the Creole pageants, the World Creole Music Festival, Creole In The Park and Heritage Day had to be axed and Charles explained that, apart from Creole In The Park, all the activities mentioned require government spending in order that they are held and are successful.
In addition, she informed, many of the country’s cultural groups and individuals were affected by the storm, hindering their participation in the celebrations.
This weekend the country will engage in national days of prayer and thanksgiving and Charles noted that this is another occasion for the country to remember those who have died and to pray for the relatives and friends of those affected as well as Dominica.
She said the other items on the independence calendar such as the Cultural Gala will take on a special significance.
The Culture Minister also urged Dominicans to focus on clean up and beautification around the island with the aim of restoring communities and the country.
Dominica became politically independent from Britain on November 3, 1978.
Independence celebrations run from October 8 to November 4.