"We are accustomed to putting on a display of our culture and talents and enjoying ourselves at different festive settings, as we reflect in music, speeches, poems, historical readings and other forms of reflections, on the trials and victories of our ancestors during the period of slavery," Premier Fahie said noting those events have all gone virtual.
Hie said, however, "while we celebrate and reflect, let us not forget. Our celebration is in remembrance of a legacy of Virgin Islanders who fought – some laying down their lives – so that today we could have freedom."
He reminded that emancipation was not voluntarily given to the people, rather, it was something that had to be fought for, with lives lost.
The Premier said that while old slavery remains topic through modern exploitation and oppression of people, he said another form of slavery still exists.
"Mental slavery has to do with being unaware or unconcerned about the way mainstream channels are used to distort our perceptions of the world around us. It is like living in the Matrix; an artificial reality designed to exploit us."
The Premier said that the 2020 celebrations will be without colourful banners waving in the streets, having the Festival Village in Road Town; Rise and Shine, local bands and artists; international guest artists, Queen Show, Parade, Prince and Princess and other events, however, the territory is still free.
"This does not erase the fact that we are a free people whose ancestors fought and died to give us the life we have today. It does not change the fact that the culture of our ancestors is alive in our hearts"
He urged the people to fight harder and make sure the heritage of the territory stays alive so that future generations know who they are and where they came from.