Wednesday 18 March 2020
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture is the States Committee responsible for organising celebrations to commemorate the liberation of the islands from Nazi occupation on May 9th 1945.
Of course this year is the special 75th anniversary of the liberation and as such we have been planning celebrations bigger and better than ever, funded by increased States investment and generous private and community sponsorship.
Sadly today I must advise that the plans for liberation will be radically reshaped and reduced with most of the public events cancelled, as a result of the Island's efforts to combat coronavirus.
Following consultation with the organisers of a number of events and in conjunction with the Bailiff, the Committee has decided to provide the community with certainty now about the need to reshape how the day will be marked this year.
The visit to the Channel Islands of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will also no longer take place.
We are sure that the Islands will still wish to commemorate the 75th anniversary of their liberation to the greatest extent possible, while respecting the advice of Public Health Services to avoid inessential gatherings of groups of people.
In the days and weeks ahead the Committee will work with officials and other organisers to develop different ways in which our community can mark Liberation Day. For example, more use will need to be made of technology to broadcast commemorations, which allow people to mark the anniversary from their own home. The details of the reshaping of the day will be announced in due course, not least because the Island's efforts to combat coronavirus are evolving and we cannot yet know the circumstance which will be prevailing by the 9th May.
We appreciate that this news, while perhaps inevitable, will come as a great disappointment to many. They can be assured that with the community's unstinting enthusiasm and support for Liberation Day, we will make every effort to continue to mark the anniversary appropriately while respecting the advice of Public Health. In doing so we will continue to emphasise the need to acknowledge in particular those who lived through the occupation.