Letters & Opinion

Nothing Lucian left in Vaval!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Our Carnival is changing rapidly.

I do not expect things to remain the same, but when it comes to Carnival as an art form, apart from the big costumes the art seems to have disappeared.

The whole festival seems to me to be a sex ritual, with the women playing the givers of fertility and the men lining-up to see whose turn is next, while eating, drinking and being merry.

It is a concept borrowed from our neighbouring friends and Islanders,  mainly for the partying clients and keeping creativity low-keyed.

It is now all about the Tourist, pleasing the Visitors, ensuring that the commercial value is viable, while we stifle all creativity and go with the flow.

If this is what this generation considers carnival, look out for the next generation, because they take their cue from us.

Millions are spent in buying feathers, panties and bra, more DJs are now hired, ten-wheel trucks now line the streets to supply services, and there is nothing St. Lucian left in Vaval.

Ole Mas is a dying art form, live bands and local music are now compromised and the VIPs are now the ones we cater for, those who can afford to pay. Now it’s about the parties for those who can spend the bucks.  It is no longer a people’s festival. Pan is reduced to a competition for one day, the French Bands depict a bit of culture and we enjoy what’s on offer without complaint.

I think we need to assess where we are going Culture-wise, if not it will not be long before what we have is Pure Naked Mas and possibly even open sex on the streets.

I know it’s all about the money, the profits and pleasing our visitors, but this trend will keep us non-creative and mas will be more of a pappy show. We also need to consider an outlet for mass enjoyment, and stop destroying The Sab field yearly in the name of National Festivals and I think the route needs to be reviewed, as this one-way-in and one-way-out is causing mass confusion.

So, these are my views on our national carnival festival. And the planners must find out what the real needs of the revelers are and not assume that they have all the answers, because those who pay the piper decide what tune should be played.

The carnival should not be only about the youth and their choice way of life, there should be a balance. There is more to Carnival than meets the eye, because all I saw this year was sexy-looking ladies and buff-up men in muscles showing off their goodies and tattoos with no consideration for the children.

All you’re hearing on both days was “Bwere wom, faire bom!” as if that’s such a nice piece of advice for the society. In the name of culture, we had a grand sex party with all the trimmings. What a way to go!

And we will hear about all the success stories and the continual planning for the coming years, because some people just have to justify this madness. As usual, square pegs in round holes are put in charge of our cultural development, all wearing blinkers, like the blind leading the blind.

Like I said, I don’t expect things to remain the same, but I strongly think that change should not be allowed to rob carnival of the culture that goes with it in the designing of costumes. The steel bands must be encouraged to provide carnival musical back-up for bands and not only competing against each other. And people need to wear carnival costumes once again, and not jump mas with bathing suits like it’s all about competition in a bam-bam parade. We can do better than that!

1 Comment

  1. I agree in large part with this analysis, particularly the last paragraph. If we don’t plan for a cultural festival, what will we get? If we plan with tourism as our priority, then carnival will become a tourist event. There is a need to balance evwn with tourism in mind, because there must be some differentiation in the market. What do we have to offer, what sets Saint Lucia carnival apart except for a different date?

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