Liberation celebration likely to look different this year

Celebrations related to Liberation Day have been cut back due to COVID-19. (PNC file photo)

No decision has been made yet but the annual liberation festivities will probably be different this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Certainly there is that possibility,” said Mayor’s Council of Guam Executive Director Angel Sablan. “I already know that we will not have the festivities as we have in the past”

“At this point we do not believe that there will be a carnival” and “as far as memorials we feel that we still want to make that happen, but there will be some protocols put in place to make it happen,” he said.

A majority of the funding to pay for the festivities comes from the games of chance and carnival concessions which last year brought in about half a million dollars.

Sablan said it may be difficult to stage the Liberation Day parade which draws thousands of island residents every year. Village mayors he said are now faced with trying to get back to normal operations, rather than planning a float design. He adds that there have been talks of a virtual parade because the current social distancing requirements won’t allow large congregations of people along the parade route.

“There has really been no planning for liberation,” said Sablan. “We really don’t know when … the social distancing is going to be lifted.”

In February the Mayors Council of Guam met with Governor Lou Leon Guerrero to talk about the 76th Liberation Parade and festivities.

At that meeting the Governor took on the responsibility of planning and putting together the parade and carnival, leaving the Liberation Queen festivities and memorials to the Mayor’s Council.  But all of that has been put on the back burner now because of the coronavirus and it hasn’t been discussed since.

“So we have not come together yet,” said Sablan “to decide what we are going to do about liberation or the festivities that come along with it like the queens, the raffle, the carnival the parade and things like that.”

A decision on what to do about the Liberation festivities said Sabalan will probably have to be made in the next few weeks.

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Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.