The island nation of Dominica mounted a parade, musical events and art exhibitions on Monday to celebrate the 36th anniversary of its independence from Britain.
The small Caribbean nation of just over 70,000 inhabitants will end its calendar of independence festivities on Tuesday with the observance of the National Day of Community Service.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the holiday was “an occasion to recapture and project our folklore, our song, dance, music, dress cuisine, and many of the other traditions that make us unique.”
He added, however, that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Our Nation, Our Responsibility,” and said the national day “calls us temporarily to draw away from the fun and merrymaking and to take account of whether we have been faithful in discharging our responsibilities to ourselves, our families, our communities and to our country.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement praising Dominica for being “the first country in the Americas to elect a female prime minister, you remain a symbol of gender equality for the region and the world.”
In 1980, Eugenia Charles became the first female prime minister of the recently independent nation.