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Preparation for Golden Jubilee

Dr. Wendy Crawford – appointed as head of the 50th anniversary Independence celebrations committee

As Grenada prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence, the members of the National Organising Committee (NOC) presented their plans for the upcoming celebration.

Chairperson Dr. Wendy Crawford expressed her gratitude for being appointed to chair the NOC for the event, which is expected to attract thousands of Grenadians living in the Diaspora.

“I was very happy and I did not spare a moment to agree when I was asked by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to serve as the chair of the 50th celebration. I think that 50 means a great deal for us and it is going to be a very big celebration. There is so much that we as Grenadians have to celebrate,” she told reporters at a press briefing.

Dr. Crawford said she believes that the term independence has been misinterpreted and that so much has been achieved by Grenada in the last 50 years.

“Independence meant that we have earned or gained or acquired the right to tell our stories, design and present our country in our own image and likeness,” she said.

According to the NOC Head it also means “at 50 years of independence, we have just come out of the womb, relative to the age of other countries.”

She suggested that there is no better opportunity “to embrace our heritage than at age 50 which is very young in the life of a country.”

“In the life of countries, Grenada is very, very, young so I think that we are at a point here now where we are ready to tell our stories, we are ready to rewrite and define our history, we are ready to embrace our heritage, our culture, our people and our lives,” she remarked.

Dr. Crawford believes “the work has started to tell our own story, to define ourselves as Grenadians and to develop our own national identity from external influence.”

She also sees the event as one that will bring together “all of Grenada irrespective of political affiliation, religious affiliation, race, gender, and all the differences that we may have.”

She disclosed that the Organising Committee comprises about 15 members from the sectorial areas of Grenada, including some of the ministries, as persons with important skills were needed for the planning phase of the celebration to be successful.

Dr. Crawford noted that the committee has representatives from each of the parishes including Carriacou and Petite Martinique with specific responsibility from every village, community, and parish to contribute by presenting proposals and ideas as to how they as Grenadians would like to see the island showcased as a country.

Crawford told reporters that the NOC has around 10 other sub-committees with each having specific roles to take care of the different aspects of the celebration like the history, heritage, and documentation of Grenada.

She mentioned the book “Junior History of Grenada” by local author Dr. Nicole Phillip-Dowe that was launched recently because “writing our narrative is crucial to regain our history and the History Book was a good start to the whole 50th anniversary.”

“I think it’s a book for all Grenadians. It’s not just for the junior students and that is in keeping with the whole thrust towards telling our story because this book is the first time in the history of Grenada that we are telling our stories ourselves,” she said.

Government advisor on the Creative Economy, Orlando Romain spoke specifically to the wide range of dates and events that will extend for the entire Jubilee year.

He explained that the official launch of the independence celebration is set for October 19, the day that Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed 40 years ago by colleagues following a bloody struggle for power within the then ruling New Jewel Movement (NJM).

He said the celebrations have been separated into two major phases, the first phase, which the pre-independence phase, which starts with the launch and ends February 2024 with 21 national events planned.

According to Romain, those events will be executed by the state but there are also several events organised by the private sector and government hopes to endorse them.

“There are a lot of persons who have reached out wanting to do events around independence and we are evaluating these events and we will then endorse some of these additional events for the public,” he said.

Romain alluded to a special list of events to run from January 28 to February 9, 2024 that will allow not just Grenadians but persons in the diaspora to participate in them.

“It is going to be about 10 days of intense events and activities and celebrations that the diaspora will be able to participate in and any foreign person who wants to come in to participate in our independence can do so,” he told reporters.

The top government advisor gave assurances that the full list of events will be made available soon so people can begin their preplanning and booking for the events.

“The events will span from sporting events to festive events to cultural events to academics/conference style type events. We have a plethora of different activities to ensure that we cover all aspects of our 50 years of independence, our history, our people, and our future,” he said.

Romain announced that the post-independence celebrations will start in March 2024 and end in January 2025.

The events planned for the months following February 7, he said are designed for parish celebrations in which every parish will have their independent celebration, with each following a specific theme and guideline.

In addition to the events, he disclosed that they plan to oversee the installation of several sites of memories across the island “to document and iconise our history and our people.”

“We will see the instillation of monuments and statues, the renaming of streets, and several other activities that will help define Grenada in this modern time,” he said.

Romain also said the committee is in the process of launching a website called Grenadaturns50.gd which will provide a lot of information about the celebrations.

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