Outside the airport, the royals were greeted by the primary school choir, led by Camille Blackman. The children wore specially designed T-shirts marking the occasion. They sang the Saba Anthem. The King and Queen went over to the kids and expressed their appreciation to the performers.
Kiana Hassell gave a short presentation on the history of the airport. One cute boy played the role of Freddy Johnson, a central character in the drive to create the airport and establish air service. The celebration marked the airport’s 50th anniversary, a special symbol in the island’s connectivity with its motherland and the world.
The official procession first went to the Spring Bay Heritage Trail observation deck where the royal couple could see with binoculars some of the archaeological highlights unearthed recently and integrated into the island’s protected heritage. Jay Haviser, founder and promoter of archaeological research on the Windward Islands, presented the work of Saba Archaeological Centre Sabarc and the Youth and Science Stimulation Programme, which started fieldwork in 2011.
The next stop was at The Organoponics Farm on the Level. Project director La-Toya Charles and foreman Otto Manuel Anderez provided the explanations. The royals had a chance to talk with one of the young garden workers who is being retrained.
Next we all rushed to the Juliana Sports Field where a large, orange-clad crowd awaited their beloved King and Queen. The youths presented an impressive cultural manifestation there, with various performances about the resilience of Saba inhabitants, their creativity, determination and pride in their achievements. Talented young Sabans depicted the lives and challenges of their most renowned ancestors, while speaking in the colourful dialect of past generations. There were performances on Saba lace, the simple signalling tools used to communicate the estimated arrival schedules of approaching ships, a skit about making Saba Spice and one about the making of “the road that could not have been built.” Saba Danza group put together a dance performance and the young children danced around the maypole.
After lunch The King and Queen moved to the Government Building in The Bottom. They greeted the community from the balcony.
Then the royal couple were greeted by the Parade of the Nations involving 45 people of the sixty-six nationalities residing on Saba. Each person was dressed in national costumes of their country, proudly displaying their native flags. They greeted the majesties in their own language and stating where they hail from. The celebration of cultural diversity was in acknowledgement of the Caribbean Netherlands’ as the Netherlands’ transatlantic foothold and natural connection with Central, North and South America. Saba Danza Group also performed during this event.
The final event in the Bottom was the handing over of the keys to the first renters in the Social Housing Project.
Back at the airport the Occasionals sang the royals good bye.
Nice, only one addendum of import.
The T-shirt mentioned was a combination of ideas created by the students of Saba and design for print by a local graphic artist.