November 15, 2013
CDC holds symposium to enhance Vincy Mas

The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), last Saturday, engaged a wide cross section of stakeholders to canvas their views on how Vincy Mas could be enhanced.{{more}}

The symposium, which was hosted by the CDC took place at the National Insurance Services conference room, and was held under the theme “Vincy Mas: Enhancing the competitiveness of its creative goods and services”.

Participants included well-known promoters and artistes, including Luke Boyea, Heric Horne, Alex “Kubiyashi” Barnwell, Lester Iroha, Kevin Robinson, Orlando “Syxx” Foster and Sharnelle “Skarpyan” Williams, who were all given the opportunity to air their views on the current status of Vincy Mas, discuss problematic issues and suggest solutions to these problems.

The promoters present expressed their dissatisfaction with the differential treatment given to rural Carnivals as opposed to private promoters. They opined that the rural carnivals are run by a few people who are basically private promoters, under the umbrella of the CDC, and suggested that CDC level the playing field by opening up carnival so that both the private promoters and the rural carnival committees have equal opportunity to host events.

The artistes and producers complained that though the rural carnival committees make money from their events, the artists who perform at these events are never paid. They further outlined the domino effect that this causes in the industry where, when the artistes cannot make money from the rural carnival events, they cannot pay their producers, who in turn cannot pay the musicians and vocalists used in producing the tracks and strongly suggested that they be remunerated. It was also the general consensus that the rural carnival events were too numerous and should be merged or reduced.

It was suggested that the carnival website be revamped, making it more informative and an access point to the carnival events, music and artistes. A suggestion was also made that the carnival view cards be revamped to include more information and events hosted by private promoters.

The tagline of Vincy Mas also came under scrutiny – and it was unanimously agreed that it be changed to one that is less confrontational and more of a call to action. Participants claimed inviting people from the region to “the hottest carnival in the Caribbean” invites debate and arguments.

The revival of street bars was a focal point in the heated debate, with participants exclaiming that this was one of the “unique” selling points of Vincymas – and we have destroyed it.

According to a participant, this integral part of the carnival culture became unattractive and poorly attended, as “police systematically began enforcing established restrictions.”

It was suggested that CDC step in and provide structured entertainment for the street bars which would renew interest and lessen the violence.

Anthony Dennie, coordinator of Shows for CDC and moderator of the Symposium, expressed his gratitude for the attendance and contribution of all the participants, commended them for their interest and promised to take all their opinions and suggestions back to the CDC for consideration. He also claimed that another such event would be hosted soon, before Vincy Mas 2014.

The symposium also examined specific governance and compliance issues in presentations given by ASP James of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Bernard Joseph of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for music rights and Hugh Raguette who presented a glimpse of the CDC Act of 2002. Shanna Browne of Invest SVG, Nerissa Gittens of the Regional Integration Diaspora Unit and Anthony Theobalds of the Economic Partnership Agreement spoke on export strategy options for Vincy Mas and Dr Jo-Anne Tull of U.W.I. St. Augustine, gave the keynote address based on the theme of the symposium. Remarks were also made by CEO of CDC Ashford Wood, chair of CDC Dennis Ambrose and parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Culture Luke Browne.