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St. Patrick’s Day-Week of Festivities 2016 on the way

As St. Patrick’s week of Festivities officially opened last night, it is midst much confusion (mostly on Facebook, some of it very much uninformed) over whether Montserrat should be celebrating the ‘Irish connection/Irish heritage) instead of?? The African/slave heritage and the March 17, 1768 slave uprising.

Much is said of the beginnings of the Festival and the holiday; how it evolved and grew to what it has become today; how perhaps it is misused and marketed for economic benefit to the island. Some of the arguments deserve discussion, but some attempt should also be made to get the facts first into perspective.

Have they even got close as to how the day got noticed, as it began out of the Roman Catholic annual celebration of the church on Montserrat’s patron saint St. Patrick? Even when they quote Sir Howard’s historical account, there is little mention of that important fact.

PremierRomeo speaks at opening (photo discovermni.com)

PremierRomeo speaks at opening (photo discovermni.com)

Indeed, Salem Heritage Village was all lit up and green on Thursday night as the annual as the festival opened, with the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo focusing his remarks on the ongoing discussion of whether the festival should go back to more of a nationalistic focus on the St. Patrick’s Day Slave Uprising of 1768 or a more modern push for connections with Ireland. He said everyone had the choice to make the day meaningful to them.

“…Ultimately contribute to our development process socially, culturally and of course economically… highlight that St. Patrick’s represents freedom and democracy and that this enables us to accept each other’s choices of celebrating in whatever form of our ancestry that this describes who we are, I am certain that culturally it will all fall into place why, because as I look around and I anticipate that this evening our young people will all be playing an integral role in this event and in the coming days and this symbolizes acceptance and continuity,” the Premier said in his address.

Hosted by Calypsonian Keithroy “De Bear” Morson, the short ceremony was interspersed with speeches and entertainment.

TMR file photo (2014)

TMR file photo (2014)

Director of the Montserrat Arts Council Chadd Cumberbatch congratulated the organisers and pledged their support to the development of the festival. He also welcomed home the many Montserratians and visitors who have been arriving on island for the celebrations.

The evening’s entertainment included performances by Junior Calypso Monarch Keon “Dragon K” Christopher, the Lady Masqueraders, the junior section of the Emerald Shamiole Masqueraders, and the Volpanics. There was also a fashion featuring modern outfits using the national madras designed by Sheryl Cassell.

The ceremony was followed by Rhythm Night which kept a variety of music going all along the Salem strip into Friday morning.

The St. Patrick’s Festival is fast becoming a popular attraction for nationals and visitors. Upcoming events include, Market Day on today at Little Bay, the St. Patrick’s Festival Dinner on Saturday, the Junior Calypso Competition on Sunday evening and the inaugural ball on Monday night.

In this issue we feature an article by son of the soil, Javon Tuitt on the St. Patrick’s day and Liberation Day on the Island as he puts it. He has also been instrumental in putting on a group and influencing Jet Blue accommodating special prices for flights into Antigua this year.

It was unfortunate, but real that the seas once again showed Montserrat that the total reliance of ferry travel to Montserrat is more than shortsighted, instead of tackling the major issue of a ‘proper’ airport in tandem with a ‘properly function’ port.

The ferry since Monday had not been able to operate, stranding hundreds of passengers in Antigua, till Friday. At least three hundred and fifty people were in Antigua waiting to travel to Montserrat for the St. Patrick’s Week of activities, this number includes other travelers who were stuck in Antigua.

1st batch of passengers reach Montserrat on Friday

1st batch of passengers reach Montserrat on Friday

Thousands of dollars bound for Montserrat had to be left in Antigua. The question of the understanding of economy looms all the time! Some passengers over 100 did make it via charter flights arranged by Fly Montserrat and SVG, but fares of course might have been prohibitive for some, others deciding it was cheaper to spend the night in the Antigua for the 12 hours.

This could have been avoided as information from the authorities over the ferry operation, say they were unable to hire, rent a ferry from neighbouring islands to accommodate and ease the difficulties, born because the present ferry operation refuse to land passengers at the well-functioning jetty in Plymouth.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

As St. Patrick’s week of Festivities officially opened last night, it is midst much confusion (mostly on Facebook, some of it very much uninformed) over whether Montserrat should be celebrating the ‘Irish connection/Irish heritage) instead of?? The African/slave heritage and the March 17, 1768 slave uprising.

Much is said of the beginnings of the Festival and the holiday; how it evolved and grew to what it has become today; how perhaps it is misused and marketed for economic benefit to the island. Some of the arguments deserve discussion, but some attempt should also be made to get the facts first into perspective.

Have they even got close as to how the day got noticed, as it began out of the Roman Catholic annual celebration of the church on Montserrat’s patron saint St. Patrick? Even when they quote Sir Howard’s historical account, there is little mention of that important fact.

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PremierRomeo speaks at opening (photo discovermni.com)

PremierRomeo speaks at opening (photo discovermni.com)

Indeed, Salem Heritage Village was all lit up and green on Thursday night as the annual as the festival opened, with the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo focusing his remarks on the ongoing discussion of whether the festival should go back to more of a nationalistic focus on the St. Patrick’s Day Slave Uprising of 1768 or a more modern push for connections with Ireland. He said everyone had the choice to make the day meaningful to them.

“…Ultimately contribute to our development process socially, culturally and of course economically… highlight that St. Patrick’s represents freedom and democracy and that this enables us to accept each other’s choices of celebrating in whatever form of our ancestry that this describes who we are, I am certain that culturally it will all fall into place why, because as I look around and I anticipate that this evening our young people will all be playing an integral role in this event and in the coming days and this symbolizes acceptance and continuity,” the Premier said in his address.

Hosted by Calypsonian Keithroy “De Bear” Morson, the short ceremony was interspersed with speeches and entertainment.

TMR file photo (2014)

TMR file photo (2014)

Director of the Montserrat Arts Council Chadd Cumberbatch congratulated the organisers and pledged their support to the development of the festival. He also welcomed home the many Montserratians and visitors who have been arriving on island for the celebrations.

The evening’s entertainment included performances by Junior Calypso Monarch Keon “Dragon K” Christopher, the Lady Masqueraders, the junior section of the Emerald Shamiole Masqueraders, and the Volpanics. There was also a fashion featuring modern outfits using the national madras designed by Sheryl Cassell.

The ceremony was followed by Rhythm Night which kept a variety of music going all along the Salem strip into Friday morning.

The St. Patrick’s Festival is fast becoming a popular attraction for nationals and visitors. Upcoming events include, Market Day on today at Little Bay, the St. Patrick’s Festival Dinner on Saturday, the Junior Calypso Competition on Sunday evening and the inaugural ball on Monday night.

In this issue we feature an article by son of the soil, Javon Tuitt on the St. Patrick’s day and Liberation Day on the Island as he puts it. He has also been instrumental in putting on a group and influencing Jet Blue accommodating special prices for flights into Antigua this year.

It was unfortunate, but real that the seas once again showed Montserrat that the total reliance of ferry travel to Montserrat is more than shortsighted, instead of tackling the major issue of a ‘proper’ airport in tandem with a ‘properly function’ port.

The ferry since Monday had not been able to operate, stranding hundreds of passengers in Antigua, till Friday. At least three hundred and fifty people were in Antigua waiting to travel to Montserrat for the St. Patrick’s Week of activities, this number includes other travelers who were stuck in Antigua.

1st batch of passengers reach Montserrat on Friday

1st batch of passengers reach Montserrat on Friday

Thousands of dollars bound for Montserrat had to be left in Antigua. The question of the understanding of economy looms all the time! Some passengers over 100 did make it via charter flights arranged by Fly Montserrat and SVG, but fares of course might have been prohibitive for some, others deciding it was cheaper to spend the night in the Antigua for the 12 hours.

This could have been avoided as information from the authorities over the ferry operation, say they were unable to hire, rent a ferry from neighbouring islands to accommodate and ease the difficulties, born because the present ferry operation refuse to land passengers at the well-functioning jetty in Plymouth.