HEAVY police presence will dominate the three days of Independence Day activities in the town of Vieux Fort, which will play host to most of the major events for the first time in its history.
“Security will be tight. Both police and private security will be present,” said Vernon Valmont, Chairperson of the Committee responsible for overseeing the activities.
Only two major events of Independence Day celebrations are scheduled for Castries. They are the Ecumenical Service, which was held yesterday at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the Military Parade slated for tomorrow at the Vigie Playing Field.
Valmont said Vieux Fort town is expecting large crowds of people to flock its streets and areas of entertainment for the three days beginning today with local and cultural groups entertaining them at the promenade.
“The pendulum swings toward Vieux Fort this weekend. Already the town is quite in a state of preparedness. Everything is moving along nicely. We expect large crowds from Saturday up to Monday,” Valmont said.
The Independence fever in the town is expected to rise several notches tomorrow with the National Celebratory Rally, the Independence Food Fair, an exhibition, a dance festival and a concert, all to be held at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds beginning from 10:00 a.m., and going into the evening.
“Everyone entering the Phillip Marcellin Grounds will be searched,” Valmont said.
Activities will move from the Phillip Marcellin Grounds to the nearby Sandy Beach on Monday where crowds of people are expected to witness the hilarious greasy pole and greasy pig events, along with a tug of war game, lime and spoon race and beach volley.
Organizers of the three day events say that they took into consideration the commercial benefits associated with the events and the opportunity they will present to vendors to earn some revenue, and decided to embrace as many vendors as possible, as long as they maintain a certain standard in their conduct and wares.
“The vendors’ booths are free. We also made allowances and provisions for even the roadside vendors. They could sell their stuff as well,” Valmont said.
With the crowds of people that are expected to descend on the town, the planning committee says that they’ve worked out a traffic management system to control vehicular traffic.
“Traffic management will be enforced. NEMO will be on board and medical teams as well,” Valmont said.
Independence Day activities will continue for the rest of the month and into next month in Castries with an Independence Lecture at the Gros Islet Secondary School on Thursday. The presenter will be Cecil St. Jules on the topic “Managing Entrepreneurial Risks: The Post-Independence Challenge.
The National Youth Council independence debate is also slated for Thursday in the House of Parliament. The National Chess Tournament is also down for Thursday at the Castries Town Hall. The month will end with a Hands Across Saint Lucia event and a celebration of Saint Lucian icons at the National Cultural Centre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
On March 1st the Investiture Ceremony will be held at Government House at 3:00 p.m., to be followed by the National Business Awards on March 14 at Sandals Grande.