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Saint Lucian Carnival Product Growing Bigger And Better

“More and more people are depending on carnival,” says Hilaire

Performers in the ‘Winners Circle’ (from left) Ti Blacks, Carnival Queen Shanice Butcher, Arthur Allain, Imran Nerdy with moderator Noesha Gentle
Performers in the ‘Winners Circle’ (from left) Ti Blacks, Carnival Queen Shanice Butcher, Arthur Allain, Imran Nerdy with moderator Noesha Gentle

WITH hectic preparations ongoing in anticipation for another bumper carnival season, organisers have declared that there have been favourable responses from local and global patrons eager to participate in the festivity.

Working diligently behind the scenes, the carnival-event planners are busily putting things in place for the upcoming festival slated to run from July 1 to 17.

Speaking at the media launch, on Thursday, Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Dr Ernest Hilaire described the mid- summer cultural extravaganza as the “biggest festival” in the country.

“Carnival in Saint Lucia is more than just Mas, more than just what happens on the road for a couple of days,” he declared.

“It is part of our culture, it helps define who we are as a people,” the minister added. “And therefore it plays a very important part in unlocking and unleashing the creativity of our people, the musicians, the artists, the costume makers and persons taking part in the various pageants.”

Dr Hilaire stressed, “all of that is a reflection of the creativity of our people.” He noted that carnival is “a powerful economic agent in Saint Lucia.”

Underlying this factor, the minister recalled that more than 18,000 visitors came to the island for last year’s carnival festivity, in July. He noted that July recorded the most stayover visitors for the year.

“It tells you about the importance that carnival has for our economic growth and our economic development. It brings in substantial income into this country,” said Hilaire.


He cited the many persons and entities that benefit from the festivities, including cosmetologists, stylists, fashion designers, small hoteliers, restaurants, car rental companies and others that feed off the “economic impact” derived from these carnival activities.

Dr Hilaire added, “And therefore, it is something that we need to protect it is about creativity and the expression of our people. Secondly, it is about the economics of it all.”

He said it is necessary to ensure “that this festival grows and grows, because more and more people are creating livelihoods depending on carnival.”

Chairperson of the Carnival Planning and Management Committee [CPMC] Tamara Gibson stated that the Saint Lucian carnival product “continues to grow every year in every way …(and) we’re arguably one of the best summer festivals in the region offering events catering to every age group, every preference and every budget.”
Gibson continued, “Our culture comes alive through our music, our costumes during our events and in our communities, and on the road, on Monday and Tuesday.”

She noted that more events have been added to the carnival calendar, with more participation and “larger volumes of people attending our national competitions and greater quality of experiences all around, including at the community level.”

Taking a peek into the latest developments in the junior carnival activity, Gibson indicated that a ‘Schools Panorama’ event will be introduced to complement the Junior Calypso competition.

Amid calls for more public participation in the festivity, she said the community carnival is expanding across the country.

In keeping with an initiative introduced last year, Gibson disclosed the ten Brand Ambassadors for this year, namely;
Arthur Allain, Chaz, Cooyah, Ezra, Hollywood HP, Ricky T, Sedale, Shemmy J, Ti Blacks and Umpa.

During an interactive discourse, carnival band representatives spoke favourably about the feedback they have been receiving from revellers.

Gibson asserted, “At the CPMC, we are heavily focused on the development of our carnival and harnessing the power of those things that makes us unique. We are building a sustainable carnival that defines us as Saint Lucian people and one that will last for generations to come.”

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