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Emancipation paved way for Crop-Over

Persons who believe that the Crop-Over festivities overshadow the annual Season of Emancipation, have been told to regard the carnival revelry within a wider historical perspective and context.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this assertion on Tuesday at the official launch of the 2013 Season of Emancipation, at his ministry’s headquarters at Sky Mall.

Noting that the Season of Emancipation ran from April 14 to August 23, Lashley told the Press that the island’s carnival was a subset of the season.

“Crop-Over is not bigger than the Season of Emancipation. …That is why we [at the ministry] focus the country’s attention on the fact that Crop-Over does occur within the season. We always put in place some very key events that are designed to mobilise the consciousness of Barbadians,” he stressed.

These events include: National Heroes Day, April 28; Afrika Day (formerly African Liberation Day), May 25; Day of National Significance, July 26; Emancipation Day, August 1; Marcus Garvey’s Birthday and the Oshe Emeka Awards on August 17, and the United Nations Day of the Abolition of the Slave Trade on August 23.

He continued: “We also have to reflect on the fact that Crop-Over is named Crop-Over not by coincidence. It is part and parcel of our sugar cane industry. It is part of tradition to celebrate the end of the crop; and it is in that context that emancipation must be subsumed. The celebration and the revelry must be seen within a wider context and cast within a historical perspective.”

The Culture Minister added that he believed that Barbadians did observe the emancipation period, but admitted there was also a need for wider community involvement on the importance of the season, even on Kadooment Day.

“I believe that our efforts have been successful, we obviously would welcome even more cooperation and enlightenment across the community. Barbadians do reflect on the Season of Emancipation, but of course we live in a democracy. Its [the ministry’s] role and the media’s role to put that information out there and hope that persons would come together to see this within a bigger context and within a bigger picture,” Lashley said.

Further stating he hoped that this year Barbadians would reflect on the meaning of Emancipation and see themselves as champions of development, he encouraged persons to focus their energies on productivity.

“As we are challenged by global economic events, we [must] recognise this is all part of a continuum. We cannot expect to improve ourselves unless we focus on how we are going to produce and to be a part of the thrust of the government to diversify our economy,” Lashley pointed out. (BGIS)

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