‘Liberation Day should be celebrated in Town’

MORE than half of parishes want Liberation Day celebrations to return to the centre of St Peter Port.

Flashback to Liberation Day 2017 and a packed seafront. (31534408)
Flashback to Liberation Day 2017 and a packed seafront. (31534408)

Next year is expected to be the third year that the parishes stage their own celebrations, rather than having a centralised event in Town.

While the decentralisation was initially introduced due to Covid, it has shifted to a policy of only holding big Town Liberation events on quinquennial years.

Six of the 10 parishes told the Guernsey Press they were in favour of a return to one large event.

Two said they were happy to put on local events and one said their douzaine was split. St Peter Port is planning an event.

St Sampson’s did not put on a Liberation Day event last year.

Douzenier Rob Gill said that it was his douzaine’s view that Education, Sport & Culture should fulfil its mandate and put on an event in Town.

‘We are trying to put it back on their plate,’ he said.

‘At this point we are not committing to anything, but if ESC lets the island down, we won’t be letting down our parishioners down. And what about the Coronation – are they going to abdicate that to parishes as well?’

Castel douzenier Richard Graham said the matter had been discussed at a meeting last week, and that there was a strong consensus from his parish that Liberation Day should be celebrated in St Peter Port.

‘Our national day should be celebrated with an invitation for the whole island to gather together,’ he said.

The two parishes already preparing their own events are St Martin’s and St Peter’s.

St Martin’s constable Dave Beausire said they were hoping to hold a similar event to last year’s in a community field near the parish hall.

‘It was a fantastic day and we must have had 1,500 people there,’ he said.

‘We funded it partly from the proceeds of other events we held over the years and the 75th anniversary that had to be cancelled. Moving the event back to Town would put a bigger burden on the States, with things such as regular toilet cleaning and litter bin emptying in light of Covid, which would not have gone away by next May.'

ESC said it was keen to keep speaking to the parishes over Liberation Day, but would not be making any change to its favoured parish-based events until 2024 at the earliest.

'We understand that there are varying views within individual douzaines and are keen to engage with them.'

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