I bring you warm greetings today, March 17, 2022 as we reflect on a significant time in our history as Montserratians.
Fellow Montserratians, residents and visitors, today we observe not only St. Patrick’s day on Montserrat but also the March 17 rebellion which occurred 254 years ago. On this day in 1768, our brave African ancestors decided to take a stand against oppression and slavery in the hopes of being able to experience a better life on Montserrat.
Although they were not successful, there are lessons for all of us.
Individually and as a people we must position ourselves to take bold and decisive steps for ourselves and this island.
Another lesson learnt in the failed uprising is that if we do not all stand and work together, we cannot achieve success nor can we inspire positive change for Montserrat.
We must therefore always seek to work collectively; with our leaders and our communities to bring about positive change.
If this chain of togetherness is broken by even one individual, we will not experience success in moving Montserrat forward on our development path. The failed uprising in 1768 has taught us this lesson. Importantly, we must support and empower each other to make meaningful contributions to this land.
Indeed, Government has taken bold steps to recognize deserving Montserratians who have made sacrifices and provided dedicated services for the betterment of our island.
Over a seven year period, we have honoured worthy Montserratians in various professions who have given back and contributed tremendously to the development of Montserrat and its people.
On March 12, this year, six individuals received the islands National Honours Award and as a Government we will continue to recognize outstanding Montserratians at home on abroad who continue to be trail blazers in their chosen professions and who have provided unwavering service to Montserrat.
This year’s St. Patrick’s celebration is a significant one for us as we observe 40 years of the St. Patrick’s Festival. We are cognizant that the scale of the festival is not as grand as we would have liked, given our COVID-19 realities, however I know you understand why the festival this year had to be of a hybrid nature with both virtual and limited physical events.
Today, many of us will also consume traditional foods which have been passed on from our ancestors, serving as a reminder of our African and Irish connection.
Some of you may decide to prepare traditional dishes at home for your families and others may wish to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Heritage Feast which has been organized this year as a round the island affair where you can purchase foods from your chosen vendors at different locations from Salem to the North.
The St. Patrick’s Festival officially ends on March 19 and there are some activities which you can certainly attend, however I hasten to remind all of you to remain vigilant and practice the health and safety measures such as the wearing of face-coverings and washing and sanitizing your hands.
Let me take this opportunity to also extend warm greetings to Montserratians and friends of Montserrat who have chosen to visit us at
this time of year, It is wonderful to see the new faces here as we gradually adjust to living with COVID-19.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!