THE CULTURAL ASSOCIATION of Vincentians in the USA (CAVUSA), the cultural arm of the SVG Diaspora Committee of NY Inc, will host a simultaneous launch of Vincy Mas in New York tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center on 671 Prospect Place, Brooklyn NY 11216.
The launch coincides with the official launch of carnival in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) sponsored by the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC). Vincy Mas, the premier cultural festival in SVG, which is dubbed the “Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean”, runs from June 29 to July 10, 2018.
The New York launch will take the form of a day-long festival that is being dubbed “A Taste of Vincy Mas”, with live performances by a pan side and individual pannists, calypsonians, soca artistes, and costume displays by masqueraders. There will be tabling by promoters of activities for this year’s Vincy Mas. Patrons will also have an opportunity to view the various mas band offerings for the carnival. Local Vincentian foods and drinks will be available, along with displays from the SVG Tourism Office and Caribbean Airlines, the official carrier of Vincy Mas 2018. There will also be activities for children, including costume mask making.
Chair of the planning committee, Atiba Williams, claims that “anyone attending the launch in NY can expect a great event that will encourage them to book their flights to SVG immediately for Vincy Mas”. The event is free, with food and drinks on sale.
The NY Launch of Vincy Mas is endorsed by the Carnival Development Corporation and the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture of SVG. Patrons at the event will have the opportunity to win carnival show packages and other prizes. The event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m., with various performances taking place throughout the day. Portions of the event will be broadcast live via Facebook.
This new partnership with CDC came about when Ainsley Primus, who had previously spare-headed the launch, gave up the project due to personal reasons. CAVUSA stepped in and committed to building on Primus’ efforts. CAVUSA secured the endorsement of the Ministry of Tourism and CDC, and has worked in close collaboration with the chair of the CDC Ricky Adams and other members of the committee, to ensure the success of the event. Williams also noted that “the goal of the partnership is to strengthen the diaspora’s contribution to Vincy Mas. This is the beginning of a process to attract more visitors to SVG and for carnival and in general.”
The support for Vincy Mas is a strategic developmental focus of the Diaspora Committee and CAVUSA, who have proposed the hosting of a “Carnival as Economic Development” Forum for key stakeholders in the aftermath of the carnival. One of the early benefits identified by Williams has been “the coming together of promoters to work in unison to support Vincy Mas.” The ultimate goal is to increase the promotion and packaging of Vincy Mas to Vincentians and non-Vincentians alike, and to increase the visitors to the shores of SVG.