Minister of Education, Curtis King is calling for more “uplifting” activities at Heritage Square in Kingstown.
South River Road was rebranded Heritage Square in 2013 and has become a hangout spot for hundreds of people, especially on Friday evening.
The area is also used to stage national events, including Nine Mornings, as well as various types of rallies.
Speaking at the launch of Emancipation Month activities at Heritage Square, King, a historian and retired educator, said he and the National Youth Council had campaigned for a heritage square in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,“where we can hold activities of an uplifting nature, similar to the one that we are holding here…”
He said that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration – which came to office in March 2001, answered that call.
“… but for a long time, and I would say too long a time, we have not seen that vision that we had as young persons being manifest at this square, and the sorts of activities that we had [envisioned] back then, on a regular basis,” said King, who was elected to Parliament on a ULP ticket in November 2020.
“So the first thing I want to do in my brief remarks, is to challenge the Minister of Culture and the minister to ensure that we have on a regular basis activities of an uplifting nature, here at Heritage Square, an activity similar to this one,” he said at the July 29 event.
King said he was happy with the theme that the Ministry of Culture had identified for the month of activities: “Embracing Our Past, Forging Ahead With Our Future”.
“But I want to warn, it’s not just about embracing our past, because our past is a wide gamut of things. So I want to advise, when we talk about embracing our past here this afternoon, we are talking about embracing the positive things about our past so that we can use them to inspire us on our way forward,” King said.
Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said, “… the celebration of emancipation is for every single one of us.
“It is for the descendants of Africans. It is for the Calinago and the Garifuna. For those of Madeiran and Indian descent, and also for the offspring of the former planters, who have to live with us all together in this society of 150 square miles.
“So, together, we do not desecrate our future. But we must not fight among ourselves over little trifling things and leave these big things and let former enslavers get away without paying reparations for native genocide, and the enslavement of Africans.”
He noted that the venue was renamed Heritage Square in 2003 by then minister of culture, Rene Baptiste.
“You remember when we named it Heritage Square the criticisms which Rene get? ‘How you could call the place Heritage Square? People peeing all over the place? Well, we ain’t sort out much of that? What that had to do with naming the place Heritage Square? Because we have to have something symbolic,” the prime minister said.