Barbados will join other Commonwealth countries to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next month, by staging a Beacon Lighting Ceremony at the Garrison Savannah, on Monday, June 4.

This was announced by Cabinet Secretary, Keith Franklin, at a press briefing today at the Warrens Office Complex.

He said the ceremony would be the premier event to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and that Barbados would be one of 3,300 sites in the 54-member nations of the Commonwealth in which the beacon would be lit simultaneously on June 4. He added that some $42,000 had been earmarked for the event.

"We have planned a total programme …around this event. We will begin at 5:30 in the evening with a parade by the Barbados Defence Force. This parade will take the form of a Trooping of the Colour and it will be the third time that an event of the Trooping of the Colour would be done in Barbados. The first [time] would have been in 1975, when Sir Garfield Sobers was conferred the knighthood at the same Garrison Savannah and the second time [was when] we celebrated our 21st anniversary of Independence," he explained.

Mr. Franklin pointed out that the one-hour parade would be spectacular and an event for the entire family. On its conclusion, he indicated, the seven-foot-tall beacon would be lit by 16-year-old Jamar Miller of St. Leonard’s Cub Scouts, and 15-year-old Johnovan King, of St. Stephen’s Cub Scouts, as a fitting tribute to Barbados Boys’ Scouts Association’s centenary, which is also being commemorated this year.

Following the lighting of the beacon, the Cabinet Secretary said that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force would be staging a Tattoo.

Mr. Franklin further stated that schools and government offices would be closed on that day at 2:30 p.m., so as to allow as many persons as possible to attend the event. He expressed the hope that the private sector would follow suit and urged "as many Barbadians as possible to come out to witness this national event".?? He also encouraged schools in the vicinity to take the opportunity to see another aspect of history unfolding.

He added that preparations were "in full swing" and that members of the Barbados Defence Force were continuing their rehearsals. Nevertheless, he assured the public that a plan was in place in the event of inclement weather.

Mr. Franklin also announced that tickets for the Beacon Lighting Ceremony would be available next week from the Cabinet Office on Bay Street, for persons who wished to be seated at the event.

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, has been designated as the coordinating Minister for the celebrations.

Barbados commenced celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in February, with the visit by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.


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