The VI’s 66th Emancipation Festival commenced on July 31, 2020, and most of the activities are being done virtually due to COVID-19 control and suppression measures.
“There are some persons out there, Mr Speaker, who are saying if we not going to have the jump up let’s cancel. If we not going to have the whine up let’s forget the whole thing. I am actually offended by those views,” Dr Wheatley said during the 13th Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on July 28, 2020.
The festival celebrations over the years have been slammed for losing the significance of the celebrations and becoming too unrefined.
“I am offended on behalf of my ancestors, because our festival celebrations have been reduced to just a jump up, a prance up, a have a good time, a make some money.”
According to Dr Wheatley, he does mind persons making money or having a good time for festival, “but if anything we going to do while I am Minister, and I have one (festival) under my belt where I was able to see what went wrong and what went right, and I can tell you I am not going to leave it to chance.
“As long as I sit in the seat as Minister you could bet your bottom dollar we are going to acknowledge the struggles of our ancestors. You can count on that,” Dr Wheatley said.
The celebrations continue today, August 2, 2020, with a virtual gospel explosion commencing at 7:00pm.
This year’s festivities will be held under the theme: 'Be fully free- Emancipate yourself from mental slavery as we celebrate our Virgin Islands history'.