Saba Day kicked off Friday with the ringing of all church bells at 6:00am, followed by an ecumenical church service at Mount Scenery Seventh Day Adventist Church in The Bottom.
After a minor rain delay, a procession with Island Governor Jonathan Johnson as well as local and visiting dignitaries was escorted to the Government Administration Building by the Saba Drum Band of Saba Girls and Boys Sports Society.
The Saba flag was raised and the anthem sung, followed by the Flag Song and children performing and dancing around the maypole.
Saba Day was officially opened at the Governor’s House. Commissioner of Culture Bruce Zagers, Governor Johnson and Commis sioner of General Affairs Christopher Johnson spoke, with entertaining performances between speakers by Sacred Heart Primary school singing Calypso and Saba’s Mankind Drum Band.
All three speeches were well received, touching on Saba’s history, culture and heritage and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Saba Day. Commissioner Zagers added a motivational poem called “Saba Day” by Cecile Peterson- Holm and Commissioner Johnson spoke of progress and positive change.
Governor Johnson was “proud, humbled and honoured to be part of a tradition that started in 1975, and has continued to be celebrated on the first Friday of December ever since. As the theme this year states: “Our past is the foundation for our future.” We must forever be grateful for those who made an idea the reality we live in today. It has never been an easy road, both literally and figuratively, but our people are a resilient lot. Sabans have made contributions both home and abroad and we must remember to contribute and cooperate for the betterment of all.”
He spoke fondly of the growth and progress he has witnessed on Saba, but he also spoke with sadness of the challenges faced by the international community. “Because we know the challenges faced daily, living on a small five-square mile island in the Caribbean Sea, it is imperative that we never become complacent. We should never take the natural beauty and serenity for granted when we see what is going on in the greater world beyond our shores. Hatred, misunderstanding, and misconceptions are resulting in violent acts of evil such as in Paris, the United States, Syria, and Lebanon.”
Governor Johnson, however, closed his speech with optimism. “Looking towards 2016 we do not know what the future holds, but we must continue to work and develop our island. Each and every one of us has thoughts and ideas. Government alone should not and cannot make all ideas a reality, but government does have a responsibility to promote and allow positive private initiatives.”
Governor Johnson thanked everyone for making Saba Day possible and toasted the opening of Saba Day to begin the festivities.
Despite more rain, there was a large enthusiastic crowd, who were entertained by the music of The Occasionals and Saba Spice Steel Band. Matthew Levenstone Street in The Bottom was filled with people for visiting the street fair highlighting merchants and local cuisine. The street was closed to traffic from 10:00am to 8:00pm for the duration of the fair.
Friday was capped off by a meeting of the captains for the Annual Saba Day Wahoo Tournament and the presentation of Little Miss Saba 2015 at Princess Juliana Sports Field.
The Saba Day weekend will be highlighted by a number of fun and exciting events at Fort Bay and Johan Cruijff Sports Field with activities and music for the whole family on Saturday and Sunday.
The Daily Herald.