Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
Department of Culture
Release Date:
Friday, 22 July 2022 - 4:12pm

Statement By Honourable Sharie B. De Castro

Minister For Education, Culture, Youth Affairs & Sports

Sixth Sitting Of The Fourth Session Of The Fourth
House Of Assembly Of The Virgin Islands

Thursday, 21st July, 2022

Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival 2022


Madam Speaker, emancipation is important to our heritage and identity. 

It is important for us to celebrate our emancipation, especially now, considering all that is happening in our socio-political climate. 

Madam Speaker, emancipation is a reminder that we were given a chance to change and shape our future to what we want it to be.  

Emancipation is also a reminder of the extraordinary strength and courage of our fore parents and the legacy of charting our cultural, social, economic and political identity and advancement.

Madam Speaker, this is the first time since 2019, due to COVID-19, that we will physically come together to celebrate this historical milestone as we reflect on the goals, aspirations, and vision of our fore-parents to be a free people. 

This understanding is the catalyst that framed our imagination and created a festival that highlights the history of our people and showcases our rich culture.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Freedom for me and you, BVI Festival 2022.”

The Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee led by Chairman Mr. Dirk Walters and the rest of the team, are doing their part to ensure the success of the festivities.  

I encourage the entire community to join in the celebration, and support all the events planned, in line with the theme of celebrating our freedom as a people.  

Madam Speaker, let me reiterate something here about emancipation, to our fore-parents, emancipation meant that they were free to make their own decisions regarding their destiny and that of their children. 

Despite being free, they understood the value of working hard to ensure and secure their livelihood and future. This was not without hindrance and grave challenges, but they persevered.

This is our legacy. We are descendants of a people who overcame all odds. Resilience is in our DNA. 

Therefore, Madam Speaker let us never forget the sacrifices and the efforts of those who have gone before us.

As we celebrate our Emancipation, let us recommit ourselves to the vision of our fore-parents.

As we pursue this mission, l wish you all a happy and safe Emancipation Celebration. 

May God continue to bless you all and these beautiful Virgin Islands.

Thank you Madam Speaker.