Round Table with Oscar
April 5, 2016

Carnival Inc: a regional industrial complex

The present status:

We have perhaps 15 annual Carnival type festivals in the CARICOM region each year. Together with other similar culture/entertainment activities, like our Gospel Fest, we host a good 100 major festival events in the region annually, added to a periodic region-wide ‘CARIFESTA’.{{more}}

Unlike the situation with cricket, however, where the regional team is the apex and climax of the different national and sub-regional cricket formations, CARIFESTA is not organically connected with the national creative industries. We isolate our Caribbean genius in nation compartments and so insulate the natural complementarity, yearning synergies and expanded reproduction from coming to fruition/harvest. We are competing against, even diminishing our real potential, our incipient future. Is it that we are waiting for some corporate agency from outside the region, like Mr Alan Sanford, to invest our creativity in his or her industrial empire, or should we get up and get?

I turn to Vincymas Inc. Can we look ahead to the major shareholders and the management of the Vincymas Inc economic enterprise, with its share capital of EC $100 million. Give some thought to the various shareholder groups who could each own a 10 per cent share certificate in the company.

Meanwhile, in his 2007 article on “Creative Industries as Growth Engines”, Keith Nurse wrote in part:

‘Often, the cultural industries are not seriously regarded as an economic sector, the key stakeholders are poorly organized and the economic value remains largely undocumented. In this context, policy measures have been largely absent’.

Mr Nurse went on to propose 10 critical areas for policy makers’ attention. Any move towards incorporating Vincymas as a shareholding company must have the culture workers organized as business groups, not only with constantly upgraded skills, but also with management expertise at their disposal.

Get up and get thoughts

When the Calypso Association of SVG becomes a cultural enterprise, with each tent being also well organized, and future member tents subject to criteria and regulation, we will be moving in the appropriate direction. The Association will be eligible to own 10 per cent of Vincymas Inc. The same for the Mas Bands Association, the Youlou Pan Movement, the Culture-Carnival Queen franchise, the Futuremas Association, Soca Inc, Culture and Art foundation, the Hotel and Tourism Assn, or the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Some shares will also be available for public purchase.

The technological and the cultural development of Vincymas will also move forward with its corporate advance. What we will have will become not just a commercial entertainment product for Vincentians and visitors to buy/pay for, Vincymas will retain and even enhance its identity value, combining the Vincentian experience in creative mask, all over the nation! Digital and other ITC media will archive the experience, and firm policy measures will protect copyright and all intellectual property domains for the benefit of Carnival culture workers. The Carnival industrial complex will become exactly that, rather than a frenetic volunteer-informal sector outpouring of talent. It will generate economic as well as spiritual value, employment, and all year round contribution to national innovation and imagination.

Imagine with me

I imagine having ‘Vincymas’ in on our calendar in SVG once every three years. The other two years it will take place either in Grenada or in St Lucia. Think of our three countries sharing an integrated Carnival experience. Spicemas-Vincymas-St Lucia mas all-in-one each year in a different country, sold to the region and the world. The challenges of regional integration in lodging 18,000 visitors, travelling by sea and air, mobilizing our hospitality, security efforts, enhancing our sense of and contact with the world of visitors, and generating value that lasts and endures. Imagine with me the advanced regional industrial complex, based on what we do well –

rising to a cause, capturing a vision and building a house to hold it in.