Has the horse race overshadowed festival of lights?
Senator Fortuna Belrose
Speaking to reporters ahead of Thursday’s sitting of the Senate, Senator Fortuna Belrose said she is looking forward to tomorrow’s CECF horseracing event “with great anticipation.”
Loop News asked Belrose whether the Pitons Cup had taken priority over the celebration of Festival of Lights, which takes place tonight.
"Well I don't know, I think in St Lucian's mind, they made up their minds where they going. Festival of Lights is something that we have done for umpteen years and St Lucians know. So they will be coming... there's no doubt about it. The horseracing is a novelty, it's new for St Lucians and so we expect that of course to loom high on the agenda.”
Belrose continued, “Based on what we have heard of the ticket sales, yeah, St Lucians are heading down south. The northerners are heading down south, the southerners will continue to go south, they've always done that in terms of supporting the local events, but for the northern part of the island this evening, St Lucians will come out, that is tradition for us and we don't need anybody to remind us.”
Belrose spoke to the issue of “freebies” being given out for the horserace saying, “When we do big events in St Lucia, particularly novel events, there is always the opportunity for goodwill where free events are given… I mean our jazz events over the years have been patronized mainly by persons who are coming there with free tickets, thousands of them and we’ve been trying to change that culture around.”
"The organizers of the DSH event have felt it necessary to extend some tickets out of goodwill to the community, and I think rightfully so because you are looking to build and create a new industry… so obviously there would be some freebies but I’m not sure there will be 14 and 12,000 like we used to give in our jazz festival.”
On the Festival of Lights Belrose stated, “It's going to be a great event this evening, I think it's the time when we really are showing the Christmas season and I know children are looking forward to it and we have a very good programme organized for them this evening.”