By Latoya Giles
“Tomorrow (today) is a national holiday…its Republic Day” said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony emphasised at a press briefing yesterday afternoon, while confirming that the customary float parade is on.
In explaining the reason for sticking to the holiday despite inclement weather, the minister would only say that it was not easy arriving at the decision.
He explained that the official observance will commence this morning (07:00hrs) at Parliament Buildings, with the annual flag raising ceremony.
Thereafter the annual float parade and revellers will assemble at Camp Street and Church Road today at 10:00hrs.
The minister pointed out that a total of 38 organizations from both public and private sector companies will be participating in this year’s parade.
Anthony said that all the companies have been notified about the ministry’s decisions.
He further explained that because of the persistent rains there were suggestions that the ministry should have postponed the parade. According to Anthony, a meeting held earlier yesterday with key stakeholders, played a part in the decision of continuing with today’s celebrations.
The minister further stated that when they were contacted, a majority of the companies said that they had already prepared for today.
He said the companies explained that if the holiday is pushed back it meant that they would have to expend additional monies.
“They have already made substantial preparations for these things, they have contracted trucks, decorated the trucks, and orders for meals have already gone out, so a lot of preparations have been made for tomorrow (today) so we have to strike a balance between these investments that have already been made and getting on the road,” the minister explained.
Government was seriously contemplating postponing the parade to Sunday, but the religious community was not too happy with that suggestion.
Anthony said that Christians and Hindus were “persuasive” in telling authorities that holding the event on Sunday would disrupt their day of worship.
“While that thought was circulating, a number of the churches called us and indicated to us that it might not be the most appropriate day,” the minister pointed
out. Further, Anthony told reporters that a number of systems have been put in place to facilitate the smooth running of the festivities.
He explained that persons from his ministry along with the police have been checking the parade route to ensure this.
The judge’s booths have all been set up along Church Street, the minister added.
Meanwhile concerns were raised about the fact that parapets on Church Street, Vlissengen Road and the Merriman’s Mall were all sodden or having puddles of water. The minister expressed hope that the drainage works properly in those locations. Moreso, the minister said that persons need not be discouraged by the rains, he explained that meteorological centres have shown that although a shower is expected for today, it would not be too heavy.
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