$7.5m for diamond Independence Day celebrations

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Housing and Urban Development Camille Robinson-Regis speaks on Thursday about Government’s plans for the 60th anniversary of TT’s independence. – Angelo Marcelle

Although Independence Day celebrations will be “muted” somewhat because of the pandemic, Minister of Housing Camille Robinson-Regis on Thursday said the 60th anniversary of TT’s independence is still a time for celebration.

Robinson-Regis, at a media conference at the Ministry of Housing’s Port of Spain office, highlighted the events planned to commemorate the milestone. She said the celebrations, under the theme #together60, will take place over a one-month period, starting on Independence Day – August 31, and government allotted $7.5 million.

“Any country achieving 60 years of independence is something to be celebrated. We feel that even though the pandemic is still with us we have to have a celebration, even if it is muted. It is clearly a muted celebration, but it is a celebration nonetheless.”

She told reporters that the traditional Independence Day military parade and the annual fireworks display will be on, but she noted that the committe organising the events will be considering different places to display the fireworks, thereby causing minimal disturbance for people and animals.

The celebrations will start on Independence night with one of three Together concerts which, Robinson-Regis said, will start with a smoke ceremony and include premium local artistes from multiple genres including spoken word, calypso, soca, chutney, tamboo bamboo, parang, parang soca, steelpan and rhythm sections.

The other two concerts will be held on September 23 in Tobago, and September 24 – Republic Day in Trinidad.

She added there will be an Independence to Republic road show, which will be an Independence-themed cross-country concert tour leading up to the Independence Day concert. Robinson-Regis said the concerts will travel to multiple municipalities and will involve artistes who achieved international recognition as well as artistes from each municipality.

“We have been trying to make sure that the artistes that we do book focus on patriotism because that is what it is all about – national pride, patriotism and love of country.”

Whitehall will also be used as a backdrop 3D renderings of iconic patriotic images for an easy listening concert with music from saxophonists, solo singers and choirs, as well as steelpan soloists and trumpet renditions of Oh My Papa by Errol Ince.

Along with these events there will be several competitions such as the patriotic song competition which will involve youths selecting from 20 different songs and doing videos for posting online; as well as multimedia art galleries at multiple locations hosted by the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Port of Spain and the unveiling of a Carlyle Chang art piece at the Piarco airport.

Robinson-Regis said government anticipated that people will take part in the events in a responsible manner, making use of face masks and social distancing where necessary.

She added it was expected that during the events vendors would come out to conduct business.