The week that was
July 14, 2015

Where do we begin? With Queen De Yonte Mayers? With King Man Zangie? With Skinny Fabulous’ double-barrelled Soca triumph? With Starlift’s melodious pan? With Nelson Bloc, Blondie Bird and Ahdrenalin, which all copped various mas band titles? With Hypa 4000, whose “Dutty” dancing was the inescapable and overwhelming Road March choice? With the massive crowds on the road? With the tongue in cheek humour of our Ole Mas J’ouvert players? With the private promoters who upped their game in hosting high quality concerts and fetes?{{more}} With the police officers who stepped up to the round-the-clock challenge of managing tens of thousands of intoxicated revellers?

Singling out an individual is impossible. Vincy Carnival was the star. With all the usual sniping about what can be done better, let’s take a minute to appreciate what was done well. It was an excellent festival. Kudos to all involved.


Linda McDowall (left) and Pamenos Ballantyne (right)
Lost in the Carnival hype were the scintillating performances of Vincentian athletes in individual and team sports. In the annual CARICOM 10-K road race, held this year in Barbados, Linda McDowall was runner-up in the women’s event, while the ageless Pamenos Ballentyne, the six-time winner of the event, managed to place third, a full 16 years after he recorded his best time in a 10-K. At 41 years old, Ballentyne may have lost a step, and focuses more on coaching these days, but he is still one of the region’s elite distance runners.

Also deserving accolades were the players and coaches on the SVG Under-19 cricket team, which rode a penetrating bowling attack to claim the Windward Islands title for the first time since 2008. The Vincy Under-19s also sent four young cricketers forward to the Windward Islands Under-19 squad.

In recent weeks we’ve had regional triumphs in football, cricket, swimming and track and field. Let’s recognize and support our talented athletes!


Vincy Carnival happens once a year. The dates and locations of each event are known in advance. You are virtually guaranteed to have a week’s worth of “rhythm, colour and fun galore” on display. Why, then, did our local TV stations seem so unprepared to provide decent coverage of the festival? FLOW had pay-per-view issues. VC3 was inconsistent and haphazard. SVG TV was abysmal, with its low point being a simply unwatchable day of street-level coverage of Mardi Gras. Horrible sound, washed out colours, bad camera angles, unprepared hosts and interviewers, and a general amateurish feel was the depressing norm. The TV coverage did nothing to entertain, or to enhance the Carnival experience.


A pyrotechnics technician in operation at Carnival City

Safe to say that anyone attending Soca Monarch expects pyrotechnics – both in terms of brilliant, high-energy performances and actual fireworks displays. What no one expects, though, is to go home with burns and scars from those pyrotechnics. Stageside media workers and behind-the-barricade audience members were struck and burned by flying shrapnel from frequent and excessive fireworks throughout the show. They have no doubt contacted their lawyers. It could have been much worse. Just a week earlier, 500 Taiwanese concert-goers were severely burned when a flammable powder ignited. The history of fireworks at concerts and nightclubs includes many sad tales of stampedes, infernos, and multiple deaths.

Do we have the expertise to launch thousands of fireworks over the heads of a densely packed crowd standing a few feet away? More to the point: do we need all those fireworks? Now that every artiste is using them, the gimmick has lost its impact.