The Community Independence Celebrations for 2013 have been rebranded to encourage greater community participation amongst Barbadians.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this assertion last Saturday as he addressed scores of patrons at the official launch of the Goddard Enterprises Ltd. Community Independence Celebrations 2013 at the Glebe Playing Field in St. George.

Noting that this was the 18th year of the programme, Mr. Lashley said that his ministry had started the review and rebranding process by staging the launch of the Community Independence Celebrations for the first time in a community setting.

??????Traditionally, the launch had been held at the Jackie Opel Amphitheatre at the General Post Office in Bridgetown. We have made a decision to ensure that every year we move this around our communities??? The intension is to inspire and to rekindle more community involvement in our independence celebrations,??? he said.

He explained that the programme was designed to use the ???spirit of independence??? to enlighten Barbadians and to raise that consciousness in every community.

???These celebrations are important to us, not only because of the talent and the skill we are able to see displayed every year, but, they are important to us as we reflect on who we are as Barbadians,??? he reasoned, adding that the Community Independence Celebrations also ???instilled that sense of pride in ourselves and that sense of pride in our country???.

The Culture Minister also called for the revival and preservation of community groups and he encouraged the members of the Parish Committees to assist in the task.

Stating that there needed to be a ???national effort to resuscitate our community folk groups across Barbados???, the Minister praised the performance and work of the Wilson Hill Folk Group.

He told the audience: ???We need to find ways to preserve our community groups. ???I want to issue a special challenge to you??? be inspired by what you heard tonight by the Wilson Hill Folk Group, and rededicate yourselves to reigniting the development of community cultural groups in your community.???

Emphasising that the celebration of independence was critical to ???our own self-assessment???, Mr. Lashley maintained that community groups such as the Wilson Hill Folk Group and the St. John Dramatic and Folk Singing Group harness talent that reflected proudly on what independence means.

???[These celebrations] remind us that when our fore parents encountered difficulties, when they encountered challenges, they did not pause and engage in self-pity, they did not pause and engage in self-doubt, they believed in themselves and they held the baton of honour. They sacrificed so that we today can enjoy all of the privileges that we have,??? the Culture minister asserted.

The rebranded launch of the Community Independence Celebrations was an all-day event which featured a farmers??? market. There were performances by the Blu Tooth Breakers, Reuel Bourne, Wilson Hill, Folk Group, Allison Norville-Forde, SKF Eden Lodge Steel Pan Orchestra, Mike Grosvenor, Jimmy Dan, Porgie and Murda, and Lil Rick.

Those in attendance included the British High Commissioner to Barbados, Paul Brummell; Ambassador of the People???s Republic of China to Barbados, Xu Hong; Chief Financial Officer of sponsors Goddard???s Enterprises, Natasha Small; the 2013 Spouge Awardee, Malcolm Austin; chairpersons, members, incoming parish ambassadors and attendants of the eleven parish committees.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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