The 39th annual Saba Day celebration, themed “One island, one vision,” was held Friday. This writes The Daily Herald. The day started out with the ringing of church bells at 6:00am, after which an ecumenical service was conducted at Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom. This was followed by a procession to the Government Building, accompanied by Saba Drum Band. On arrival, the Saba Song and Flag Song were sung before the Saba flag was hoisted by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. It was then time to head for Governor Johnson’s mansion, also located in The Bottom, for the official Saba Day ceremony.
Several representatives from St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Bonaire, as well as the Royal Dutch Marines attended the ceremony Speeches were given by Governor Johnson, Commissioner Bruce Zagers and Chris Johnson, as well as Dutch Government representative Gilbert Isabella. Commissioner Zagers opened his speech by thanking the Saba Day Committee for making Saba Day possible on a short notice. He commented on Saba being a safe and unique five-square-mile island and commended the local communities for their involvement. He also gave his hopes for the Evaluation Committee to give a positive change to the island. Governor Johnson emphasised that Sabans need to continue to build and develop their island. He expressed his worries on the upbringing of children and emphasised the importance of giving children love and attention. Parental responsibilities are a central concern in Saba and the Netherlands, he said. Isabella addressed the many changes that have taken place in the past four years. According to the Government Representative, an important stage is reached with the establishment of the Evaluation Committee and he encouraged everyone to participate in the evaluation process.
The final speaker of the day was Commissioner Johnson, who expressed his thoughts on the question of what Saba Day really means. The day is about being proud of your island and to respect its history, but “pride without purpose is failure,” stated Johnson. He said there had to be a clear direction on the further development of Saba, so the younger generations can receive the same benefits that previous generations gave to today’s adults.
When enough words had been spoken, it was time for a toast led by Governor Johnson, after which it was time for two performances by Djembe Drums Group and a Dancing of the Maypole performance by Sacred Heart schoolchildren led by teacher Miranda Simmons. The weather gods were kind enough to wait with a big rain shower until all performances were finished, and everybody took shelter, which only enhanced the level of intimacy.
The guests were well taken care of with plenty of food and drinks and music by The Occasionals band. A Culture Fair was held at Carmen Simmons Cultural Complex in The Bottom later on and a softball tournament was held at Johan Cruijff Court after a small rain delay. The Saba Soldiers are playing a total of three exhibition games against the St. Maarten Controllers, two of which will be played over the weekend. Controllers’ manager Ashton Lake stated that losing was not an option, as their last home game already had been lost against the Soldiers.
The celebrations changed location later in the afternoon to the harbour where the party continued. Some of Saba’s local deejays along with DJ Suppa Kid from St. Maarten and the Entyce Band performed at Fort Bay, starting at 8:00pm. Although Friday was the official start of Saba Day, several events were held on Thursday as well. There was a Dominoes Knockout Competition at Princess Juliana Sports Field.
Saba Fit and Centre for Youth and Family organised a walkathon from Windwardside to The Bottom, which started at 6:00pm. Several more events are being held today, Saturday, such as the Wahoo Fishing Tournament and an Island Cross Run organised by Saba Triathlon Foundation. The night’s entertainment is represented by Nuff Sayd Crew, Daddy Slim and Crew, and Onyan band. The day’s entertainment on Sunday will be centred at Fort Bay, where a paintball and a kite competition will be held, amongst other things.
Saba Day will come to a close on Sunday evening, after which Sabans can relax and celebrate “National Hangover Day” on Monday.