Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley in conversation with Chief Information Officer Jacqui Wiltshire

Events to commemorate Barbados’ 40th anniversary of Independence were formally announced today when Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley outlined government’s plans to mark the momentous occasion, during a press conference at Manor Lodge, Green Hill.

He said the month of November will be a festive one as Barbados focuses on the theme “a proud past, a world-class future”.

“The calendar of events is wide ranging and will commence next Wednesday, November 1 with the lighting ceremony in Heroes Square. The programme this year will also include a ‘bajan’ folk brew as part of that evening’s activities,” he said.

A 40th anniversary Independence Jingle, produced by the Barbados Government Information Service will also be officially launched the same evening.

The Minister of State said he expected there would be “extended opening hours in commercial Bridgetown to ensure those in the city at the time, would be a part of the evening’s programme.”

Other key events during the month-long celebrations include: a Grand Service of Song on the 24; a National Consultation on the 27; the reopening of the West Wing of Parliament on the 22; a Multi-National fair in Queens Park on the 25; the Spirit of the Nation Show on the 18; a 40th Anniversary Independence Gala at the National Stadium on the 29; the Independence Parade at the Garrison Savannah; and a presentation of Insignia of the National Honours and Awards 2006 on November 30.

Government, in conjunction with a committee comprising religious communities across the island has proposed that this year, there should be a weekend dedicated to reflection.

“The weekend of the November 24, 25 and 26 will be designated a weekend for national reflection, celebration and thanksgiving. We must continue the business of taking a national pause from time to time to do some introspection and see who we are, reflect on where we have come from, resolve together to strive to become what we know we can become,” he said.

The Minister noted that the premier event of the celebrations is expected to be the 40th Anniversary Independence Gala.

“It will commence at 8:00 p.m. and end at midnight at the national Stadium and I believe it will be a massive cultural evening of celebration of all that is Barbados past, present and future. In essence, I believe it is going to be an evening to remember,” he said.

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