The Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat in conjunction with Sagicor Life Inc held the highly anticipated Sagicor Life Lighting Ceremony under the theme Building Community Spirit, Embracing Our Culture.
Barbadians, dressed in their national colours, ventured to Heroes Square to celebrate the start of Independence with the Governor General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason, members of Parliament, members of Cabinet and dignitaries.
The lights, which were flicked on by the members of the Merry Men- Emile Straker, Willie Kerr, Chris Gibbs, and Peter Roett at 6:11 p.m., signified the start of the celebrations which will end on Independence Day on November 30.
Attendees were treated to a performance of Let The Nation Praise You Oh God by Kristojay Paul and a solo saxophone rendition by Shakhouri Thompson who gave a passionate rendition of When We Fall Down.
In his debut lighting ceremony address, Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King spoke of the important role of culture in the nation’s development.
“The Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports is tasked with the cultural transformation of Barbados by reinforcing Barbadian values and strengthening national identity, while at the same time building our human and social capital. Therefore, culture must be placed at the forefront of national development,” King said, adding that people must know their cultural identity.
“I also encourage all Barbadians to be cognizant of their cultural identity not only at independence time but throughout the entire year as we celebrate Barbados,” he said.
Executive Vice President Human Resources Sagicor Financial Corporation Ltd Marguerite Estwick said the company was proud to be a sponsor of the Lighting Ceremony from its inception.
There was no lack of talent at the event as the members of the Haynesville Youth Club gave a thrilling performance of traditional tuk music backed by dancers who wore white adorned with pink, green and red cloth. They showcased traditional Afrocentric moves to the beat of the penny whistle and drum.
The students of The Lodge School also presented a fitting poem for the occasion titled The Light Within The Nation’s Heart.
There was also a performance by Akea Barton from The Lodge School who gave a creative rendition of Shirley Stewart’s hit Walk Away From Love and an entertaining folk performance by the Lester Vaughn Secondary School.
Hashim Durant also gave an entertaining performance of Antidote and Good Morning by Peter Ram. Kishelle Rawlins, Zukeli Inniss and Shakhouri Thompson proved that the future of music in Barbados is in good hands as they each gave beautiful solo instrumentals.
The part of the night that everyone was waiting for was the final closing acts which started with Joaquin who thrilled the audience with his song This Place and The Baddest before singing his hit song Tiny Winey acapella. The audience enjoyed the performance as they sang along.
Next was the man that brought the audience to the dance floor. It was none other than Edwin The General Yearwood. He went back in time performing some of his hits such as Home Sweet Home and Sak Passe. (LG)