Asou Skwé an Vil Kastwi!
Kwèyol Youth Saturday “On the Square” in The City!
Following the hosting of the August 17, 2016 Colloquy on Slavery and Emancipation, Reparations, Marcus Garvey and the Decade for People of African Descent, the NRC immediately embarked in September on plans to host the 2016 Jounen Kwèyol CARICOM Reparations Baton Relay, Youth Rally and Youth Forum on October 29th and 31st.
The events will be in keeping with Saint Lucia”s membership of the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) and are being coordinated by the Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee (NRC), a member of the CRC, appointed by the Government of Saint Lucia.
The Saint Lucia events are in keeping with the CARICOM decision that each member-state hosts a Reparations Youth Rally, Relay and Forum, specifically targeted at Youth, to help anchor the Reparations cause in the minds of tomorrow”s people. (Similar rallies have already been held in Barbados, Guyana and Suriname. The next will be in Antigua on October 21 and then Saint Lucia on October 29.)
The Saint Lucia events are listed on the official schedule and calendar for the 2016 Kwèyol Heritage Month. The Relay and Rally will take place on Saturday 29th October 2016 and the Youth Forum is proposed for October 31st.
Ahead of the rally, the Saint Lucia Ministry of Education and Innovation approved a series of Secondary School Lectures to precede and follow the October events, in keeping with the Saint Lucia government”s continuing commitment to CARICOM”s quest for Reparations. The Government”s Department of Youth and Sports, Department of Culture, Department of Creative Industries, as well as the state-owned National Television Network (NTN), Government Information Service (GIS) and Radio Saint Lucia are also on board to provide live coverage of the proceedings.
The NRC and a National Preparatory Committee (NPC) comprising stakeholders are working with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Folk Research Centre (FRC) and the Castries City Council (CCC) to make the last Saturday before Jounen Kwèyol (the entire day before) a special Kwèyol Saturday in Castries for the youth to remember.
The CRC and the CARICOM Secretariat are providing institutional support for this regional activity being held in Saint Lucia. The Secretariat will also dispatch a two-man team to Saint Lucia to assist the NRC in planning and execution. It is planned that this will be the first in an annual series of similar activities, with the Relay, Rally and Forum to be held in different parts of the island each year and making use of the Saint Lucia Reparations Baton to keep it alive from year to year.
The Saturday events, to be held in the streets of Castries and at Derek Walcott Square on the busiest half-day in the capital city, will seek to integrate the elements of Kwèyol and Reparations and highlight different aspects of the historical links between the two.
The events will carefully balance education with entertainment, culture with innovation, history with vision, to take the Reparations message to man, woman and child, through a combination of events and activities aimed at ensuring a sustained and sustainable approach to preservation and utility of the link between Kwèyol and Reparations, to get the message better understood by all.
The emphasis in 2016 is on Youth and the theme for the event is: Pani Dèvloppment San Jistis – Wèpawasyon Sé Pou Nou Tout! (No Development Without Justice – Reparations Are For Us All!) Samedi Kwèyol Jennes an Vil Kastwi will divide the busy morning and the quiet afternoon to host appropriate events, which will also include the aspect of “Coudmain” as a related valuable form of volunteerism rooted in Kwèyol and African history, as well as use of creative/innovative fundraising elements to sustain the venture.
Stakeholders involved in all aspects of Kwèyol Heritage preservation – especially in the four chosen official venues — are invited to be part of the event by using the opportunity to promote their various activities in the capital on the eve of the last big day in Kwèyol Heritage Month. (Producers of Creative Industries have also been officially invited to display.)
The day”s program are tailored to attract more than the usual brisk and bustling Saturday morning crowd in Castries, through crowd-gathering activities ranging from entertainment to opportunities to win prizes and learn/see/hear things like never. The afternoon will cater for activities that will take the weather (especially the sun) into consideration.
The NRC has been contacting youth performers capable of attracting their peers as well as taking in the reparations message, while some groups have been offering to do related skits for performances. But there will also be cultural presentations, speeches/messages and the usual rally fare, with an emphasis more on the message than the music and related performing fare.
The Relay and the Rally will be so arranged at appropriate times to ensure that the end of the relay and its entry into the Square will mark the beginning of the Rally. As such, the rally”s program will include the presentations related to the relay — including passing of the CARICOM Reparations Baton and issuing Certificates of Participation to athletes.
The rally will take place inside the Square, but there will also be supportive simultaneous activities in the periphery around the Square, which would have started in the morning, highlighting the links between Kwèyol and Reparations, Coudmain and aspects of the island”s African cultural heritage.
The Saturday Plan
A. LA PLAS KWÈYOL ASSOU SKWÉ Activities will start early Saturday morning with “La Plas Kwèyol Assou Skwé” involving exhibits and sales of raw food, fruits and local products, arts and crafts, creative industries, etc. This will involve stakeholders already involved in the annual World Food Day activities, who are already knowledgeable about the requirements regarding sale of food and “no open fire” regulations that apply. It will also involve exhibits by junior chefs, as well as other related youth-oriented business activities.
Manufacturers of Creative Industries have also been approached to display and sell appropriate products and other entities are being approached to highlight related activities, including youth-related businesses, ICT outlets, young musicians, face-painting, exhibitions, etc.
The various broadcasting media houses involved in relaying the event and Kwèyol announcers will be available to provide ongoing coverage and interviews, which will also be broadcast live.
The official programs will take place inside the Derek Walcott Square while the heritage aspects will take place in booths in the periphery outside.
The official programs will be broadcast live by state and private local media to the rest of the region and the world. The Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Castries will head the official protocol list of invitees that will also include parliament, the diplomatic corps, stakeholders, schools and students, youth and sports bodies, community groups and other special invitees. The Haiti Factor: Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard during the planning and there are strong suggestions that the NRC and NPC find a way to include a cultural/political solidarity event for Haiti that will underline Haiti”s true historical role in Caribbean and world history, the Kwèyol connection and its own experiences regarding Slavery and Reparations (including the fate of President Aristide after he demanded a return of the compensatory reparations extracted from Haiti for French slave owners” “losses” following the Haitian Revolution in 1804).
Such an activity, it is proposed, can be held alongside a Telethon to raise funds for Haiti, with related cultural activities — poems, skits, music and songs – in Kwèyol and English — all dedicated to Haiti etc. (The Haiti Association in Saint Lucia and Haitians here can also be invited to participate.)
B. THE REPARATIONS BATON RELAY The Reparations Baton Relay – involving Olympians and Special Olympians and other local athletes of all ages and sports, with vehicles and bikes following — will be another opportunity to add some new elements to the activity. It will spark interest along the entire proposed route that will start at the Vigie Field and enter Castries after encircling the city and entering the Square.
The route for the Reparations Baton Relay is as follows –
Starts at the Vigie Field and continues up the John Compton highway to the airport roundabout, right in to La Clery, down Vide Bouteille Road, up and in to Calvary Road, down to and along Chaussee Road, right in to and down Riverside Road, left in to Brazil Street, then right in to Bridge Street, right in to William Peter Boulevard, right again in to Laborie Street to end on and in to the Square, to be welcomed officially after having blazed the city-circle trail.
C. THE REPARATIONS YOUTH RALLY The Youth Rally on the Square will involve invited registered and active national youth, sports and community organizations, clubs and groups will be invited. It will also feature elements aimed at introducing the concept and message of Reparations to the youth of Saint Lucia.
Identified organizations on the official list of active youth and community group will be invited, along with the constituent organizations associated with the national Youth Council (NYC), including the National Students Council (NSC). During the rally, all Relay participants will be welcomed, acknowledged and awarded Certificates of Participation and photographed with the Baton. In keeping with the CARICOM tradition, the Baton will be received by the Prime Minister from the lead athlete, who will symbolically pass it onto representative(s) of The Youth.
The lead athlete, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, Youth and Student representatives, will be invited to deliver Reparations-related pledges to the message and the cause. Other stakeholders will also be required to address the event.
D. THE REPARATIONS YOUTH FORUM The Forum will take place October 31 (closing of Kwèyol Heritage Month) and will involve the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, the CARICOM Youth Advocates and the Leaders of the youth organizations invited to the rally. The objective will be to lay the basis for continuity in the NRC”s work in pursuing the reparations cause among Saint Lucia”s youth throughout the year, every year and in between.