April 14, the day observed as the Anniversary of the Bussa Rebellion, will signal the start of the Season of Emancipation.
The events will kick off tomorrow the Season of Emancipation Pop-Up Series across the island. There will be live painting, dancing, spoken word and musical performances from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at five locations. Holetown at 11 a.m., Oistins at midday, Six Roads at 1:30 p.m., Speightstown at 2 p.m. and Bridgetown at 4 p.m.
The first event will start in Holetown. This is symbolic given that Holetown was the site of the first British landing in Barbados in 1625 and the first settlement by the British two years later. The cultural activity starts at 11 a.m. by Trents Playing Field with entertainment by the Haynesville Youth Group. Visual artists Von Hall and Shanika Grimes will also be on site creating works.
The Emancipation celebrations then move to Oistins Bay Garden at midday. Oistins played a significant role as a trans-shipment point for sugar and other crops grown at nearby plantations.
In 1652 at The Mermaid Tavern in Oistins, the Charter of Barbados was signed between Oliver Cromwell’s representative and the Governor of Barbados who remained loyal to the King.
The Charter guaranteed Barbados colonists rights and privileges unheard of in any other colony, including rights to their land and local control of taxation.
The cultural pop up at Oistins features Christ Church Foundation School Steel Orchestra and Dancin’ Africa.
At 1:30 p.m., the activities head to the East at Six Roads, St Philip where Pinelands Creative Workshop and dramatist Wayne ‘Skillett’ Harewood will perform in Emerald City Carpark.
At 2 p.m. in the northern part of the country comes alive with Darryl Jordan Secondary School Steel Orchestra and spoken-word artist Luci Hammans in Speightstown Esplanade.
In the 17th century Speightstown was a major port with ships arriving from England. Schooners ran between Speightstown and Bridgetown. Speightstown has been twinned with the British town of Reading and with the City of Charleston, South Carolina in the United States.
The day’s activities fittingly culminate at Golden Square Freedom Park in Bridgetown at 4 p.m.
Bridgetown was the first port of call for ships making the trans-Atlantic crossing from Africa. In the 17th century, it was regarded as the centre of the British Atlantic trade, as a port for the trade of goods including sugar and slaves. This historic city and its nearby Garrison was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
On stage at Golden Square Freedom Park, Barbados Community College Folk Chorale and St Leonard’s Boys’ School Steel Orchestra.
The next major date on the Season of Emancipation calendar is National Heroes Day, April 28. There will be activities starting from Thursday, April 17 through to Sunday, April 30. That weekend, the 11 parishes will host events in honour of our 11 national heroes. St Lucy: The Right Excellent Charles Duncan O’Neal; St Peter: The Right Excellent Frank Walcott; St James: The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers; St Andrew: The Right Excellent Hugh Springer; St Joseph: The Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams; St John: The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow; St Philip: The Right Excellent Bussa; St George: The Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod; St Thomas: The Right Excellent Clement Osbourne Payne and St Michael: The Right Excellent: Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
Other key dates during the Season are Labour Day, May 1; Africa Day, May 25; The Day of National Significance, July 26; Emancipation Day, August 1; Marcus Garvey Day, August 17 and Jackie Opel Day, August 27.