The Carenage came alive on the evening of Tuesday 31 October, marking the beginning of the island nation’s celebration of 50 years of Independence.
Acknowledging the ancestors who paved the way on the beautiful sometimes painful 50-year journey, Prime Minister, Honourable Dickon Mitchell made a clarion call to Grenadians far and wide to seize the occasion of the anniversary to embrace and live the words of the national anthem “aspire, build, advance as one people”. He urged the impressive gathering to learn from the tragic lessons of October 19 and charged young people to step up to be a part of shaping the next 50 years. Prime Minister Mitchell reminded the crowd that size does not determine destiny, but if “United we stand and united we will go up”.
The theme – “One People, One Journey, One Future” and logo of the celebrations were revealed by the Chair of the National Organising Committee, Dr. Wendy Crawford. In a stunning artistic representation created by Ordell DeRiggs, the logo captures both the nation’s journey and future fundamentals. The logo features a traditional Belair Dancer, an embodiment of our rich heritage and a tribute to the trailblazers who paved our path. Beside her, a young boy stands as a symbol of the promising future and the continuity of our legacy. Their hands, outstretched towards each other, symbolizing unity, emphasizing the strength in collaboration and shared responsibility. Above them, a the grenada dove soars, not only signifying a hopeful future but also indicating progress and upward movement. At the base of these are outlines of our mountainous terrain and iconic lakes which symbolizes our cherished island and the collective journey of its inhabitants.
A celebration theme song called “Grenada 50 – Up From Here”, was also presented for the occasion. The song is written by Akino Romain, Ryan DeRiggs and Akim Baptiste and produced by John James of Expert Productions and Afibah McQueen.
Dr. Crawford also provided details of the celebration activities. These include a parish beautification drive, a commemorative $50 note, calypso competition, the Governor General’s Gala, an evening of reminiscence with Folk in the City and a Grenada Expo.
Her Excellency, Dame Cecile La Grenade, Governor General, announced the launch of the celebrations supported by Prime Minister, Honourable Dickon Mitchell, Lorin Peters-Alexander – Carriacou representative, Ethan Belmar-Roberts – Petite Martinique representative, to a spectacular light and fireworks display.
The already picturesque location, often referred to as the prettiest harbour in the Caribbean was reimagined for the evening’s activities as a Grenadian village showcasing history, heritage and industry. The celebration began with pocket street performances of drumming, steel pan, dance and a parade of traditional cultural characters culminating in an after concert with some of Grenada’s top talents. Newly erected plaques offering facts about key players and elements in Grenada’s independence story now line the pedestrian walk which is also illuminated by a tunnel of light symbolic of the journey to this point and the continued collective evolution of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
If the success of the evening foretells Grenada’s trajectory for the next 50 years, it will be 50 glorious years given the energy and momentum of this first event of the celebrations planned. The National Organising Committee is pleased to have received the support of Grenadians at home and in the diaspora for the occasion and looks forward to continued engagement over the period and beyond.