Our Readers' Opinions
August 10, 2007
Carnival… For too long Pt:2

By Ezzie Roberts 10.AUG.07

ROAD MARCH

For too long artistes and other persons in the entertainment circles here failed to examine competition criteria and seek to make early recommendation for changes. There was no rule, or Road march criterion for St.Vincent and The Grenadines which says anything about originality or against sampling. It is unfortunate that while Problem Child’s “Party Animal” was clearly heading for this year’s Road March title some persons who have their own agenda and goals to be fulfilled attempted to Mark an X against Problem Child’s song as a possible Road march contender.{{more}} How hypocritical it was to hear strong cries coming from persons who have also made their Mark producing songs with samples from others. The nasty emails sent everywhere, I consider to be an unwarranted attack on the Artiste and not on the judging criteria or the system. While I agree with some of the sentiments expressed on this matter, the timing for any adjustments to the Road march criteria was totally inappropriate and the sending of these emails did not help. If these sentiments were raised one year earlier, or six months earlier maybe they could have been considered. Clearly I didn’t expect the CDC to make changes to allow anyone to Mark a victory to one of their songs against the will of the people. This was definitely a clear Road march winner.

SOCA MONARCH

For too long some persons Mark their opinions on the Road March but stayed quiet on the Soca Monarch. A more careful examination of the circumstances will reveal why. While we hasten to ensure that appropriate rules are set for Road march we must also do likewise for Soca Monarch. The Coordinator of Shows and The Producer of shows must ensure that whatever rules they hand down to the Soca Monarch finalists in meetings are agreed to by the central CDC hierarchy. The judges must also be made aware of all such rules in writing along with the applicable penalties for each rule. Or what will become of Soca Monarch without rules and penalties?

I am still advocating that considering the sizeable gate receipts usually generated from this show, the prize monies for the top five positions should be increased considerably. Artistes should be allowed 10 free passes with an additional 5 at half price as this is not the case currently. This will allow artistes to be able to have persons in key areas to assist with effecting a proper coordination of all aspects of their presentations.

MAS

For too long mas have been arriving at Victoria Park too late. The CDC must insist that just as soca artistes pick a number which represents their position of appearance on Soca Monarch so too should the Mas bands be required to pick numbers for position of appearance on Mardi Gras. Each time a band is called and they are unable to appear points should be deducted. With each band vying to win the coveted Band of the Year title, I am confident that bands will appear as scheduled. This will allow CDC to attract more patrons to this show since the numbers have been decreasing as patrons simply sit and wait for the first band to cross the stage at approximately 1.00 pm.

The CDC should insist that “Mas on the Move” be held on the streets as was originally planned. Mas makers must not be afraid of changes and it will add variety to the carnival instead of having all shows at the Victoria Park.

T-SHIRT BAND

For too long we have been taking Monday evening T-Shirt band for granted. This is unique to St.Vincent & The Grenadines Carnival and I think a special effort should be made to market this aspect of Vincy Mas. Participation increased this year as evidenced by the number of bands on the road and the number of revelers wearing the various T-Shirts. I am however still disappointed with the number of persons who attempt to jump in these bands without purchasing the T-Shirts. More promotion and the use of radio jingles asking persons to desist from this practice are required. A number of Police Officers should be assigned to each band to assist with the control of the invasion of the band by non-players. It should be mandatory that J’ouvert be concluded by 9.00 am, this I am sure will result in even more participation in the evening T-Shirt bands.

It must also be noted that this is the only aspect of carnival that is not being judged. I definitely believe that T-Shirt bands should be judged on the streets and the competitive spirits in us will bring out even more creativity in these productions. We can start with one winner in the following categories; Most colourful band, Best T-Shirt design, best decorated truck etc.

CARNIVAL MAGAZINE

For too long the importance of the uniqueness of the Monday T-Shirt band has been sidelined. “The Vincentian” must be commended for their production this high quality carnival magazine annually. However it did not go unnoticed that while articles were written about various aspects of carnival this was not done for T-Shirt bands. Under the Monday Jams caption we saw just three photos of such crowds. It would have been nice to have a short story highlighting the increased participation in this year’s productions and the huge success the Monday jam turned out to be. Also there were photos of mas sections without any captions indicating the names of these sections or which band they came from. Overall the magazine is excellent and is an ideal collector’s item to be sent to Relatives and friends abroad.

CONCLUSION

For too long many persons have been exercising their democratic right to express themselves critically about various aspects of Carnival. Constructive criticisms and the sharing of new ideas for changes to be implemented should be welcomed by the CDC although not all the ideas can be applied. There are however those elements which are always calling for the head of the CDC or the entire body to go. Many of those persons were asked in the past to serve and many others if asked tomorrow will refuse. It is imperative that audited financial statements be forthcoming after carnivals so we can all ensure that accountability is ever present.

The government should give to the CDC a separate subvention exclusively for the payment of members of the various committees and the CDC hierarchy. We cannot have persons making sacrifices, to serve in planning and executing Carnival on a voluntary basis while Carnival generates millions of dollars in our economy.