Minister says no holiday for Emancipation Day

Greene addressing community carnival in Piggots

The calls for Emancipation Day to made a public holiday has gotten the red light from Festivals and Culture Minister E. P. Chet Greene.

Ministers told state media that the day should not be used for any other activity but sober reflection.

“Everything can’t be a holiday, emancipation is so significant a day that we need not put it in the frame of what public holidays are in Antigua.”

Greene said public holiday in Antigua and Barbuda are traditionally used for ‘jump up’ and ‘fetes.’

“What do we have as public holidays in Antigua is jam and wine, Emancipation Day is not that, it is a day for reflection. It is a day when we think about our fore bearers, our ancestors, the struggles that lead to emancipation; it’s a day when we introspectively reflect on where the country is and where we are going. We don’t need to put that in the frame of a jump up,” he said.

The significance of having Carnival and emancipation around the same time is significant, and Greene explains why,

“The concept of having emancipation in the park within the carnival is a deliberate and strategic intervention to have more culture exhibits in the national festivities. Carnival, for the most part, is a song and dance, a lot of our other cultural exhibits are left out of Carnival celebration, and we are saying no bring that into the Mele’ as well.”

So instead of a public holiday, Greene wants to make the day a super productive day.

“We should be glad to work on Emancipation Day. It is about our freedom and our taking the rights and responsibilities for our own destiny. That’s the day when productivity should be at peak and so rather than taking a holiday to go to the beach and to go to jump up somewhere in a J’ouvert, we’re suggesting that we buckle down as a country and give value to the work of our fore bearers, by having that being a super productive day,” he said.

Emancipation celebrations were held in the botanical gardens during a week-long observance.

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