Tuesday 26 May, 2020

St Lucia Carnival 2019 expected to be bigger and better

With $3 million set aside for the event, preparations for Carnival 2019 are already in full swing as the government eyes another national event just two weeks after Saint Lucia Jazz 2019 ended.

The latter event generated a controversial maelstrom that has yet to ebb despite government’s attempts at claiming the event was a success.

With smaller venues, smaller attendance counts and an absolute dearth of the atmosphere of year's past, including the lack of commercial activities that benefit low-income entrepreneurs like roadside vendors, Jazz 2019 was not as popular as government and its supporters want to let on.

Carnival is different in that a much larger cross-section of the population is engaged in its structure, hype and realization. Launched last Saturday at the Sabs Playing Field in Vigie, Castries, carnival this year is expected to be bigger and better.

Well, that is the view of Culture Minister Fortuna Belrose two days ago. Admitting there are still “nuts and bolts needed to fine tune and get right for carnival” the minister went on to say that this year’s carnival will be phenomenal.

“Last year we had a great time with our carnival. This year we expect better with our delivery. We expect many more participants,” Belrose said.

What about this year’s carnival that will make it something of a phenomenon was not detailed by Minister Belrose, however, she noted that with 18 bands registered to participate this year, the event is growing.

Just as with last year, the $3 million set aside by government for this year’s carnival, will all be spent locally, according to Belrose. “The three million dollars we pumped in last year we continuing to give that this year for the carnival and we are also looking forward to our Jounen Kweyol where we have pumped in $600,000,” Belrose said.

“We have a full schedule of events until mid-July and we are hoping the public could participate and patronise, we are seeing quite a number of persons showing interest globally in the events and we are hoping to have bumper crowds in here to witness the various events for carnival,” Minister Belrose said.

Meanwhile, the sweet strains of calypso music will hit the country as early as tomorrow and Friday when Events Saint Lucia, organizers of Carnival 2019, stages the National Schools Calypso Competition. Tomorrow will be primary schools, while the following day will see secondary schools in action.

Primary schools participating are the R. C. Boys Infant School, Ave Maria Girls Primary School, Anse La Raye Primary, Ti Rocher R. C. Primary, Les Etagns Combined, Lady K- Richfond Primary, Monchy Primary, Dugard Combined, Grande Riviere Primary, Castries Anglican Infant and Morne Du Don Primary.

The Secondary Schools taking part in the competition are the reigning champions, Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, Soufriere Secondary School, Babonneau Secondary, Sir Ira Simmons, Corinth Secondary, Entrepot Secondary, Grand Riviere Secondary School, Clendon Mason Secondary, Vide Boutielle Secondary School and the Bocage Secondary School.

The schools’ shows are always keenly contested, producing some fine calypsos that resonate with calypso lovers both young and old.

The southern town of Vieux Fort launched its carnival last Saturday. The western town of Soufriere will hold its Carnival Queen Pageant next Saturday to be followed on the 23rd and 24th of this month with its Parade of the Bands events, which will climax its carnival celebrations.

The preliminaries for the National Groovy and Power Soca Monarch will be held on the 21st of this month followed the next day by the Roseau Valley Carnival Queen Pageant.

Vieux Fort will hold its Carnival Queen Pageant on the 28th of this month, however, its kiddies’ carnival takes place five days prior. The 30th of this month has been earmarked for the staging of the National Calypso Monarch Semi-Finals, the same day set aside for Dennery Junior Carnival.

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