After Carnival musings
Dr. Fraser- Point of View
July 14, 2023
After Carnival musings

On the weekend, the news that the Vincy Jewels received a bronze medal in Netball at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) games by defeating the Barbadian Gems left me feeling veryuplifted. During my last years in primary school, I began to follow the fortunes of the St. Vincent Netball team and recall it being among the top teams in the Caribbean, following Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados always had difficulty beating them. Last year when the team visited Jamaica in a bid to qualify for the World  Cup to be held in South Africa, Lance Whittaker who is a host of the Sportsmax Sports programme was highly impressed with the Vincentian team. He recalled while he worked in Barbados as a CANA Sports broadcaster in the 1990s that Barbados was never able to take the Vincentian team for granted having been regularly beaten by them.

That was also what I remembered. I was therefore quite disheartened when in recent years Barbados had been regularly victorious over them. Their win in El Salvador even though by one goal really thrilled me. Coach Vasha Adams was elated since their goal of defeating Barbados had eluded them for some time. Having gotten rid of that fly in their ointment one hopes they can then move on to better things.

This has happened while our country was paying tribute to one of its top netballers who died on June 15. That person was Peggy (Ince) Hull who made the national netball team at the age of 13 and became captain of the first West Indian Netball team in 1963 at the age of 24. The fact that she was able to achieve that reflects the state of the Vincentian team in the late 1950s and ’60s and continuing for some time. Kenneth John in an article in the Vincentian newspaper on May 4, 2018, that was captioned The Magic of Netball 12/8/94, stated “And the simple fact is that our netball team is a world rater. For Trinidad and Tobago as well as Jamaica with whom we have held our own in the recent past earn their keep whenever they engage the top dogs in the business- Australia, New Zealand, and England. So, it stands to reason that in terms of ability we belong to the big League though we are as yet unable to finance our participation there.”

Quite a few players and administrators over the years after the end of the Second World War kept the St. Vincent netball flag flying high. I mention some here who made their mark over the years – Sylvia Wilson DaSilva, Joyce Maloney Frank, Marlene Arthur, Grace Daisley, Gloria Ballantyne, Urel Campbell, Sydney Morris, Aldith Waldron, Gailene Irish, Stella Boyea, Ishbel Horne King, Joanne Ballantyne, Dellarice Duncan and Michelle Guy. These are only a few that I recall.

Carnival 2023

Let me first again draw attention to the number of crimes during the holiday season. This includes three Cuban medical professionals doing service in this country.

Fortunately, they all survived. There were, I believe three other persons who were fatal victims of criminal attacks, one woman chopped in her own home. These crimes have gotten out of hand and would become worse if we don’t give this matter our number one priority.

I imagine that the talk around town for the next few days will be about carnival, persons giving their own personal reviews. This matter of CDC versus private Carnival shows needs to be addressed. Both are meeting needs at this time of year and must be able to live together. One cannot at this stage exist without the other. I suspect this will be widely discussed in the coming months. My big issue which should be easily addressed, has to do with the late start of CDC shows. I suspect that the threat of rain might have in some cases affected arrangements, but there must be more to it. It reflects badly on the organisers. Let me congratulate the winners of the different categories. Special thanks must go to Fireman Hooper who was once again Soca monarch and winner of the Road March competition.

I was happy with the calypsos this year although something seemed to have gone wrong on the night of the semi-finals with the first set of semi-finalists apparently experiencing some problems and were unable to qualify for selection to the finals. The finals went quite smoothly. I must congratulate Lornette ‘Fya Empress’ Nedd for once again capturing the crown. Glenroy ‘Sulle’ Caesar is a regular and once again among the top three. I must single out second placed Sheena Collis for her calypso and presentation. It was a brilliant piece of social commentary and was well delivered. Her composition “Beat Yo Bad” with calypso gets to the heart of what calypso is about. She made it clear what she was about. She was using calypso to critique what was going on around her. She decried those who were afraid to sing about what was affecting them.

She, on the other hand was shaking things up with calypso and prepared to hurt up dey head with calypso for “All ah we is one Vincentian” and the “country business is our business”. As Benjamin Ramon said in a piece on the BBC, the calypso’s “bouncy beats and tuneful melodies often serve up serious, even subversive messages.” Several of the calypsos this year were social commentaries. What Sheena did was to show how calypsos could be used “to hut up your head.” She enjoyed what she was doing to the fullest.

Will expect much more from her in the future. Carnival will continue to have its problems, but it will survive.

  • Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.