THE COVID-19 pandemic may have pulled the plug on this year’s national lighting ceremony, but some roundabouts and buildings will be lit as Barbados celebrates its 54th year of Independence.
For many Barbadians, the ceremony usually held in National Heroes Square at the start of November, signals the start of the month-long Independence celebrations, but this year, said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Yolande Howard, it was decided to scrap the event and take a different approach.
“We decided to take note of the COVID-19 protocols and not to host the lighting ceremony this year. The ceremony, as you can appreciate, requires the assembling of a large group of persons and the protocols take away from the community feel, so we decided not to.
“One of the challenges that we would have had was the ability to secure sponsorship from our usual private sector partners. Again, because of COVID-19 some companies would have indicated publicly that they had some challenges, a number of them would have had to lay off persons and terminate persons, so as a result of that some roundabouts will not be lit,” she told the MIDWEEK NATION in a telephone interview yesterday.
She said the Ministry had identified some structures, mainly churches, in each of the 11 parishes for lights. Howard said some roundabouts would also be lit as some private sector companies have the “flexibility to do their own lighting and banners to highlight independence celebration”.
“I’m hoping that even though we can’t have all the bells and whistles that we’re accustomed to having and all the pageantry, that we would still be able to have at least some thing to highlight the importance of November and the importance of our Independence anniversary.”
While the parish independence committees have scaled back on their activities, the permanent secretary said that some of them were still hosting events and would continue to do so throughout the month. (GBM)