A long-standing local tradition, the Emancipation Day celebration took place on August 1st, 2018 under the theme, “Honouring the Ancestors: Celebrating the unbreakable spirit and tenacity of the People of the Turks & Caicos Islands.”
The local commemoration of what is known throughout the Caribbean as “August Monday” was observed through authentic African Drumming, cultural dance, poetry, spoken words, and local music.
Cheshire Hall Plantation on Providenciales, provided the perfect venue for the event – a 200-year old historical site which was both home and the place of work for thousands of plantation slaves back in the 18th century. Dr. Dellareese Higgs, Education Manager at TCNT told guests, “This plantation should remind us of our ancestors who toiled on this soil, and created a history filled with pride and ingenuity in their quest for survival. We are the roots, the lineage of these great people.”
The observance celebrated freedom and achievements, and encouraged participants as well as spectators from all over the island about continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.
Coordinated by cultural enthusiast and artist Mr. David Bowen, and executed through the collaboration between the Turks & Caicos National Trust, Turks & Caicos Museum and the Department of Culture, activities were centred upon the theme – with the spiritual walk and prayers at the ‘Great House’ as one of the highlights.
Among the performers were: Sea Breeze Rip Saw Band, TUCA Cultural Group & Drummers, Sara Goldsmith & Negro Spiritual Choir; Spoken Word Artists: Cora Malcolm, Derek Rolle, Beth Atkins, Levinia Bishop & Steven Wilson.
The event, a celebration of 180 years of freedom, was attended by the Premier, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Hon. Karen Malcolm, Minister responsible for Education, Youth, Culture and Library Services, and Hon. Ralph Higgs Minister responsible for Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime and Gaming.
Pastor Goldston Williams ended the event with a prayer uplifting the people of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and paying homage to the ancestors who paved the way and left behind a legacy to be proud of.