The two designers, Ms. Kristin Frazer (left) and Mrs. Florence Christian-Phillips collaborated and submitted the two new designs pictured.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
Members of the House of Assembly will debate and decide at the next convenient sitting, which song and design the Territory will adopt as its national song and dress.
Three songs have already been chosen by the Territorial Song and Dress Ad-hoc Committee for consideration by Legislators, while two new designs for the Territorial Dress were released during a press conference today, July 11.
The two new designs were arrived at following numerous suggestions from the public after the two finalists in the dress competition showcased their original pieces on June 10 at a programme hosted by the Government titled, 'Defining Ourselves: The Virgin Islands Story In Song And Dress.'
The two designers, Ms. Kristin Frazer and Mrs. Florence Christian-Phillips collaborated and submitted the two new designs.
Acting Director of Culture, Brenda Lettsome-Tye revealed that both designs incorporate a unique Virgin Islands print which was designed by Kieron Harry. According to Lettsome-Tye, the print comprises the Virgin Islands sloop, soursop, sugarapple, hibiscus, oleander, turtle dove, the islands of the Virgin Islands and the name Virgin Islands printed.
"What I love about it is that I always admired Dominica's print because they use it for everything. They use it for curtains, for tablecloths...they use it when there is Creole Fest. That is how we had envisioned that at a glance; you know that's the Virgin Islands," Lettsome-Tye stated.
She explained that the two designs will be posted on billboards and featured prominently in public places, including the Admin Complex, U.P's Cineplex and the outer islands of Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
According to Lettsome-Tye, once the House of Assembly approves the design, then the idea is to have Government make the print available for purchase in local stores. The cost has not been decided on as yet.
Chairperson of the Ad-hoc Committee, Eileene Parsons explained that it is the hope that while the public will no longer have input in the selection of the dress, they would be pleased with what has been produced and all of the BVI from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke, male and female, will be willing to use the final piece as their national dress, especially when they are travelling.
"Thirty-four and a half thousand of us here and if we put that back out it will take us as sparrow say, the whole of the year next summer to get a decision from them. While we don't want to be autocratic, we have to really have a cut off point that this will be it. So many of the blogs including Platinum said why don't they copy something; do something like the Heritage Dancers...This is as close and I made all the Heritage Dancers costume and this is as close without actually being a Heritage Dancers' costume; this is as close as we can come and still maintain the originality," Parsons responded when asked about the possibility of having the two new designs presented to the public for another time.
Parsons also said that she plans to utilize the print and the designs for her Heritage Dancers group.
Lettsome-Tye stated that the designers took note of the public's comments and worked together in coming up with the designs.
"What you see in front of you was actually based on the suggestions; criticisms given by the public literally. We were very much aware of what they did not like about the previous designs and the committee sat with the designers, we discussed it and went through the options. This is the final produce...there were more workings in between to get to this so I think honestly at this point we are very much on the right track more towards what was being expressed to us by the public," Lettsome-Tye stated.
The finalists for the songs have already been decided upon. They are 'Wonder of Creation: The Beautiful Virgin Islands' written by Dr. Quincy Lettsome and put to music by Kamau Georges; 'Virgin Islands: Land I Love' written by Dylan Penn and put to music by Kamau Georges; and 'Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands' written by Ayana Hull Braithwaite and Kareem Nelson Hull.
"The Minister has said to us that it wouldn't be our choice or his choice. He will take it to Cabinet and the Cabinet will take it to the House of Assembly. Everybody will turn on their TVs and radios and they will hear the pros and cons from the 11 men and two women and that afternoon, we will have a final decision and it will be on them to say what they want," Parsons explained about the selection process.