Letters & Opinion

Constructive criticism not always palatable, but always needed!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

When certain functions or festivals are featured, committee members and planners don’t often welcome any type of criticism, especially if they figure they had it right.

I am in this case referring to the recent carnival celebrations that I gave my opinion on and it seems my scoop from my scope on the festival did not go down well with some organization personnel.

I was reminded that I should not include the eggs with the chicken, even though they may be related. I was also reminded that certain segments of the festival were worth applauding and I should have kept my opinion strictly on the street parade, because most other aspects such as the calypso, queen show, king and queen of the bands and Panorama lived up to expectation and were deemed a great success.

No doubt, there could be some truth to all that, but not all of us view things in the same way. Take, for instance, the Queen Show: although it was well attended due to location and cost, this would still have been seen by some people to be above their reach. In reference to the Queen and King of the bands show, was the show full on the merit of the costume display or did audiences flock to the park because there was no cost, and the following showpiece was definitely a crowd catcher.

Panorama no doubt was exciting but got lost in the rest of the carnival. So, in a sense, certain segments of the festival on a whole did live up to expectations. But the organizers must never assume that all that they did will please all people. In festivals such as Carnival there will always be comparisons of what took place then and what takes place now.

Frankly, from an economic and tourism perspective, there would have been major success stories, but on the ground the Mas Camps were empty, almost all costumes were imported, and most providers were high-end suppliers.

Granted, this may be the signs of the times, or a preview of what is to be expected. Change is inevitable, but not because it’s new or different it must be accepted by all observers.

For me in the Ole Mas section of the parade, it has almost reached its end because the few participants were struggling to keep that art-form alive, granted it may be time to consider Ole Mas as powder and paint and leave the humor out because it has lost its relevance.

As for Pan, we praise the youth for participation but is it worth playing pan to shine only for one day in the year. As for the music, you can consider that music is music despite its origin or who presents it…

All these are acceptable changes, but if I choose not to appreciate all these changes because I am supposedly ‘Old School’, then I will say that this is my prerogative.

Who is involved do not and will not see their efforts as being appreciated, but remember that there are several ways to skin a cat and we must always leave room for contrary opinions.

For instance, I did not think it was possible to enjoy a street jam without alcohol, but the Emancipation Day early-morning J’Ouvert Street display, that went on for hours, was booze-free. Not even water was available, and no venders lined the street.

So, like it or not, believe it or not, there are times when new trends do take root.

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