AT least for now, the final days of the carnival season appeared to have been incident-free as far as violent crimes are concerned. Over the years, the events have been plagued by the wrong elements infiltrating what are supposed to be fun events to wreak havoc.
This time around, the police seemed determined to get their message across in a firm and direct manner: that they truly mean business despite criminals thinking they have the upper hand. It appears that that message finally got through.
Generally, the events of the last few days have been upbeat with many people trying to squeeze in some days of enjoyment. Many either had some involvement – directly or indirectly – in the many events that unfolded during the season. Judging by public sentiments – especially via Facebook – this year’s Carnival season seems to have scored major points.
However, some teething problems still remain.
For starters, there should have been more promotion of the festival so as to attract a more diverse audience, particularly regional and international visitors. At a glance, it seemed that while the French neighbours would have subscribed heavily into the festival, attracting those further afield continues to be a major challenge.
One might argue that if Trinidad and Tobago can boost its tourism arrivals during the carnival season, then so, too, should Saint Lucia. However, the other side of that argument might be that Trinidad and Tobago places a stronger emphasis on its carnival product, so much so that its subsequent season is immediately launched at the close of the present.
Advertising and marketing play a crucial role in getting a message across. While it has been reported that such means had taken place overseas, what possible damage can possibly result if the festival is marketed heavily at home via billboards and other strategic means to engage both locals and foreigners? Have billboards become obsolete already?
With the carnival season over, the excitement is already building up for the few CPL matches Saint Lucia will be hosting. Compare the level of advertising that would be pumped into getting people into the island for those matches with the level of advertising a national event such as Carnival gets. The disparity is not only lamentable, but laughable.
This year, the music proved to be of high quality, especially the calypsos, which overshadowed soca music. The many Carnival-related shows received great support from Saint Lucians because the music sold the shows for the most part. However, complacency must never set in as any good thing that does not continue to be nurtured cannot get better on its own.
The debate on the costumes in this year’s festival continues to create a firestorm, with many people lambasting the skimpiness. However, one can safely argue that in an evolving culture where everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and rights, who’s to say (or demand) what costumes revellers wear in a band? At the end of the day, whenever revellers’ right to choose what they wear within legal means would always trump the views of any of us who bash them, anyway.
With the season now over and the excitement abated, it is now time to get back to the serious business of focusing on the other things that help develop our nation, namely creating a safe environment for citizens, finding jobs for the jobless, championing better healthcare, justice reforms, and ridding our country of illicit drug and crime that continue to stare us in the face.
The bacchanal has ended. The serious journey continues…