July 12, 2013

Aspects of Vincy Mas which merit discussion

Fri Jul 12, 2013

From all accounts, most of the persons who participated in Vincy Mas 2013 had a good time.

The reports from visitors and locals are that they enjoyed the shows, the music, the street parties and the private events around the country.{{more}}

Congratulations are therefore in order for all those who made it happen. The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), led by Dennis Ambrose, is usually not given the credit it deserves for the role it plays in coordinating the festival. On the other hand, whenever something goes wrong, the CDC is at the front line of attack. The components, artistes, sponsors, media, patrons, hospitality personnel, tour guides, taxi and minibus operators, police, private promoters, public health workers, nurses and doctors all played their roles and should be thanked.

There are some things however, which we observed, which we think merit further discussion.

One of the talking points this year is the unexpected results of some shows, especially the calypso and soca competitions. We are not here casting aspersions on the judges or their integrity. We think what needs to be looked at, is the system with which the judges have to work.

For all the competitions, performers are judged in categories such as lyrics, rendition, melody, crowd response etc., and the person with the highest total wins. Several systems have been tried over the years, but we still do not think that we have arrived at the one that works best for us.

We know that to make the judging process as objective as possible, discussion among judges and revision of scores is not permitted / encouraged. The problem is however, that sometimes, the overall performance of an individual is more than the sum of the scores allotted to each category. Let us take another look at these systems, with a view to improving them.

Why is it that some of our womenfolk let themselves down so terribly during carnival? They do so, not only in their manner of dress, but by their lewd and disgusting behavior, especially when a camera is focused on them. We ask why is it that the men’s and children’s costumes usually cover most of the wearers’ bodies, but for our women, bikinis and feathers are the order of the day. The bandleaders say the female masqueraders request skimpy costumes, so it is just a matter of meeting the demands of the market. Come on women, this behavior is in no way attractive; the opposite, we think.

The culture among our sanitation workers and those of the Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) who do residential collections, is that come rain or shine, public holiday or not, they turn up for work to take away our garbage and clean the streets we messed up. No appreciation is enough for these very valuable members of our society. What is it in the psyche of these workers that make them so dedicated to duty? It would be interesting to do a study of this category of worker to see what motivates them and whether some of this is transferable to other departments of the public service where performance is less than satisfactory.

Why are artistes in the soca monarch competition given as much time as they are, for their performances? Some of the performances at last Saturday’s show were drawn out and boring, with too little emphasis placed on singing. More singing, less talking and theatrics, we say.

Finally, we end on a sad note by expressing sincere condolences to the relatives of Camilla Trimmingham who died on J’Ouvert morning under such tragic circumstances. The CDC has said it intends to work with the police to see what measures can be put in place to prevent anything like this from happening again. We support the efforts of the CDC and urge the promoters of the street bands to give the CDC their full support in this endeavor.