The 2010 Independence celebrations have officially been launched.
Under the theme “Creating Opportunities, Empowering Communities” a number of activities, which include the first ever National Art Coconut and Craft Exhibition, and Creole Food Fest and Fashion Show, will take place between September 25 and November 4 as the country celebrates its 32ndyear of independence.
At a media launch for the festivities held at the Government Information Service (GIS) building this morning, Chief Cultural Officer Raymond Lawrence called on persons to be aware that independence is more than just the upcoming activities.
“We must remember that independence is even more than the activities themselves. Independence is about nation building so whatever we feel we can do towards helping to build our country and not destroy it then we should try to do that. Whichever section of the society we are in, whatever jobs we hold, I think we can all make a contribution towards building Dominica as a nation,” Lawrence stated.
“We need to tell ourselves that we want to be part of the solution and not the problem,” he urged.
Minister of Culture Justina Charles, who addressed the media launch, assured the government’s commitment to the independence celebrations. She highlighted some of what she believes the country has achieved since it gained independence 32 years ago.
“After we got political independence our country has reached a stage where we can take decisions or influence the decisions that are taken to look at affairs of the persons within the country. It’s no longer influenced by British as was happening before,” Charles said.
“In addition to just political independence we have been able to take a lot of decisions in terms of our whole economy and what direction we want to take… Our foreign policy has allowed us to develop that relationship with partners that can assist us,” she said.
Meanwhile Minister for Community Development Gloria Shillingford, who also addressed the media launch, supported Charles’ sentiments.
“We have grown, we have matured. For one thing we are able to look after our own affairs… 32 years now, we have grown in education. To be able even in rough times to sail this country through austerity measures and bring it back at least on steady feet. We have been able to have a lot of self development…. In the farming industry I know some persons can probably can take me up for it but we have been able to hold on our own there,” Shillingford said.
She noted that this year’s theme was relevant “in view of government’s thrust to create opportunities which will empower individuals and by extension communities to develop themselves and in the long run to contribute towards national development”.
Shillingford encouraged Dominicans to celebrate independence with a deep spirit of togetherness.
Independence activities will kick off on September 25 with an official opening xeremony at the Old Mill Cultural Centre from 5 p.m.
This year, a National Coconut Art Exhibition which will feature eats, drinks and craft made from coconut, will take place on October 11, also at the Old Mill Cultural Center.
A Creole Food and Fashion show – another new edition to the celebrations – is carded for October 22 at the St Gerald’s Hall in Roseau.
Creole in the Park will run from October 25- 28, 2010 at the Botanic Gardens. Heritage Day will be held at Grand Bay on October 24 while the National Wob Dwiyet Pageant will fall on the night of October 28.
Flag Day, Creole Day and the National Youth Rally are scheduled for October 22, 2010.
The World Creole Music Festival will run from October 29-31 while National Day of Community Service will take place on November 4.