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Independence 39 will be a virtual celebration, as health protocols prevent the public from attending events

Celebrations to mark Antigua and Barbuda’s 39th anniversary of Independence kicked off yesterday, October 25, with a National Service of Thanksgiving held at the St. John’s Pentecostal Church.

That event, due to the COVID-19 protocols now in effect, was attended only by the uniformed bodies and Members of Parliament; and none of the other Independence activities will be open to the public, either, for the same reason.

Petley O’Kieffe, a representative of the National Festivals Office, says a wreath-laying ceremony – forming part of the National Heroes Day Celebration – will take place today, October 26, at the Heroes Park on Sir Sydney Walling Highway. 

Wreaths will also be laid at two other locations – the Prince Klaas Monument on Independence Drive and the Public Cemetery – in memory of the heroes who have died.

O’Kieffe says the living heroes will be honoured through television programmes and in articles that will be published in local newspapers.

Also on the Independence line-up is a Virtual Calypso Competition that will be aired live on ABS Television and other social-media platforms.  

Ten calypsonians are set to compete on Saturday, October 31, with the finalists picking numbers for their order of appearance today on television.   

O’Kieffe notes that the Independence Ceremonial Parade and National Awards ceremony is set for Sunday, November 1, at 5:30 p.m., and this should culminate with fireworks displays at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and at the Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre at Perry Bay.

She says Barbuda will not be left out, as the Barbuda Day activities will be held on Monday November 2.

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