ANGUILLA—The 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution attracted hundreds to the Webster Park for the parade and celebrations on Anguilla Day, Tuesday, May 30. “Celebrating Fifty Years Since the Revolution: Transforming, Empowering and Building our Nation” was the theme for the year. The grounds and many of the people portrayed the island’s colours of orange, turquoise and white.
On the parade grounds were hundreds of young people representing the various organisations on the island. They were led by the Police Community Band and included the police, prison officers, cadets, security officers, pathfinders, scouts, guides, boys brigade, and representatives from the schools. Chief Minister Victor Banks escorted by Acting Police Commissioner Elliot Forbes inspected the parade.
The audience included visitors from St Maarten/St Martin led by the Prime Minister of St Maarten William Marlin and the Vice President of the Collectivité Valerie Damaseau. Also in attendance from overseas was the Director of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Didacus Jules and former Chief Minister of Anguilla Osborne Fleming. The Governor Christina Scott, Government Ministers, the Attorney General John McKendrick, Permanent Secretaries and senior Government officials as well as many other dignitaries and citizens made up the audience.
Members of the Royal Anguilla Police Force and the cadets performed a drill display and this was followed by a march in quick time of the entire parade while the Governor and Chief Minister took the salute.
The Governor read a message from Her Majesty the Queen congratulating Anguilla on its 50th anniversary that she described as a special day in history. The Queen also recalled her visit to Anguilla and how much she had enjoyed it and sent best wishes for the future of the island. The Governor said it was a good opportunity to remember those who contributed to the Revolution and to reflect on progress over the past fifty years. She thanked all who had organised the event and congratulated the parade members on their impressive display.
Leader of the Opposition Palmavon Webster paid tribute to the late James Ronald Webster, Father of the Nation, and quoted his last remarks. She said it is a time to rejoice and count our blessings that we had the courage to stand up for our rights. She said it is her earnest prayer that the same will work for the nation today and that people will work together for the island.
The Chief Minister said there must be gratitude to God in all the celebrations as it is through his help that the island is where it is today. He congratulated all those who had decorated the island that brought everyone together in a spirit of celebration. He said the spirit was captured in all the roundabouts and villages, through the Festival of Choirs, the play “Pepper in dey Soup,” the legends cricket match and the inspiring Ecumenical Service. He said that Anguilla Day is not about division but unity, not to celebrate arrogance but to reflect humility, not a day to accentuate shortcomings with despair but rather successes with hope.
Banks paid homage to past leaders especially former Chief Ministers Ronald Webster, Sir Emile Gumbs, Hubert Hughes and Osbourne Fleming. He recalled the heroes of the Revolution but also the teachers, doctors, fishermen, farmers and other ordinary workers who
gave service to the cause of a stable community. He said he feels blessed and honoured to be Chief Minister on the Fiftieth Anniversary noting that of those fifty years he has spent 37 years in active politics. He commended all the honorees past and present.
The Chief Minister and Miss Anguilla 2016-17 Carencia Rouse presented the awards to this year’s honorees. These were Romania Hodge, Lemuel Phillips, Hugh Lake, William MacArthur Hodge, for service in the Revolution; and for Social Development the awards went to Agnes Maynard, Eudene Romney, Blondell Rodgiers, Lana Connor Hoyoung, Joseph Hodge, Harris Richardson, Felix Fleming, Everet Romney and Evan McArthur Owen.
During the ceremony that was chaired by Permanent Secretary Chanelle Petty-Barrett the Golden Jubilee choir under the direction of Lois Hazell sang the Golden Jubilee song written by Marvin Gumbs. Rhonica Connor recited her winning poem “One Day I Wish Upon a Game.” There was a final salute before the parade exited the grounds.