Delegations from this territory and the United States Virgin Islands met at the Ninth Annual Inter Virgin Islands Council last month at Government House in St. Thomas. They are expected to revisit some of their discussions on Saturday at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park during the 50th anniversary of BVI-USVI Friendship Day. (File photo: USVI GOVERNMENT)

A celebration marking the 50th anniversary of British Virgin Islands-United States VI Friendship Day will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park under the theme “Our Golden Jubilee: A Resilient Bond of Friendship.”

Governor John Rankin, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley and other government officials will welcome USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and his delegation for the first formal celebration of the day since 2019.

The previous Friendship Day celebration took place in 2019 on St. Thomas.

Council meeting

The celebration comes on the heels of the ninth meeting of the Inter-Virgin Islands Council, which last month marked the first formal summit between the territories’ governments since 2020.

During that session, Dr. Wheatley said afterwards, the delegations reached an agreement that “will result in greater cooperation between the BVI and USVI on marine and maritime issues that will support our tourism industry on this side.”

He also said to expect announcements about the agreement during this Saturday’s celebration.

Premier’s Office Permanent Secretary Carolyn Stoutt Igwe said the premier was particularly keen to hold the observance this year.

“Premier Wheatley wanted to ensure that this year’s celebration happened as 50 years is a significant milestone and cannot go unnoticed,” Ms. Stoutt Igwe said in an Oct. 11 press release. “This is an exciting time in the relationship of both territories. The day promises to be a memorable one. We want the people to come out in numbers as we celebrate our friendship with the government and people of the USVI.”

Poetry, drinks, music

The celebration is set to include food, drinks, music, poetry, demonstrations and displays of the territories’ culture.

The public is invited to attend in territorial wear.

The first Friendship Day celebration took place in Tortola in 1972 following a proclamation by this territory’s Acting Governor Norman Derek Matthews.