Saint Lucia Carnival 2012 will end in two weeks. Despite the looming date – Carnival stakeholders including the Associations that ensure there is a Carnival product have not received their annual subvention from government.
Associations like the CBA led by Rituals Band Leader Adrian Augier have bemoaned for weeks the need for that financial injection from government.
Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus says while government has funded the Stakeholder Committee charged with managing Carnival – the money was not for the individual Associations.
The Minister could not say how much money would be allocated for Carnival. He also explained that while the budget made allowances for the festival – these funds were not for subventions – that is a separate allocation.
The former government under Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet was the first to invest one million dollars into Carnival – last year that government invested that and more.
Minister Theophilus concedes the government is overdue in issuing the allocations. After all – the tent season is over, several community Carnival events are expected to culminate in days and bands who needed the subvention to open mas camps are days away from their portrayal.
There is also talk as many as three bands may pull out of Carnival in part due to funding issues.
Saint Lucia Carnival 2012 will climax on July 17th with the second day of the Parade of the Bands.
Stakeholder committee on subventions Story bySarah Peter
The Chairman of the Select Committee for Carnival says the body is trying its best to obtain the annual Carnival subvention from government.
That subvention funds the Committee overseeing Carnival as well as associations affiliated with the festival such as the Carnival Bands Association and Calypso Association.
John Joseph has expressed optimism the money will soon be paid.
Joseph is unaware of the dollar amount of the subvention. The former UWP government gave over a million dollars to last year’s Saint Lucia Carnival.
Joseph further added while the carnival product has improved – more funding needs to go into marketing the event.
The recently formed Carnival Stakeholders Committee consists of representatives from the Cultural Development Foundation, the St. Lucia Carnival Bands Association, the St. Lucia Calypso Association, The St. Lucia Steel Bands Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance and Tourism as well as the St. Lucia Tourist Board. The body was constituted in May.
Alcohol consumption Story bySarah Peter
Patrons attending and participating in Carnival events more often than not engage in excessive drinking.
The Disaster Coordinator of the St. Lucia Red Cross says in some cases alcoholic consumption leads to hospitalization for binge drinking.
Pierre says emergency personnel have taken a record number of people from events to the hospital due to alcohol abuse.
Pierre admits alcohol is readily available during Carnival. However – he warns patrons should not engage in binge drinking which can have a negative impact on their health.
Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois is quite aware of the problem and has asked his officers to exercise restraint when dealing with intoxicated patrons who may engage in violent behavior.
Despite the caution – he is also warning there will be a heavy police presence during this year’s carnival events.
Saint Lucia Carnival 2012 will end with the traditional Parade of the Bands on July 16th and 17th.
De-silting appeal Story byWinston Springer
The Chairman of the Castries South East Disaster Committee Terry Valcin has expressed consternation over what he views as a lack of action on a broad flood mitigation program in the vast constituency.
Valcin worries the low lying community which is prone to flooding is ill-prepared for the impact of severe weather conditions two months into the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season.
He is urging the Ministry of Infrastructure to commence the annual river dredging exercises at the Bexon and Marc rivers.
Valcin says given the terrain of the expansive valley minimal rain can overtop the banks of the main tributaries and inundate households with flood waters.
He says under the previous UWP administration the community’s infrastructure was made more resistant to adverse weather conditions.
Equipment was also placed near the rivers to clear the water ways in the aftermath of heavy rainfall.
Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Albert Jn Baptiste says the concerns of the Castries South East residents are valid given the historical record of devastating floods associated with tropical systems like Hurricane Tomas.
However he assures the public the infrastructure ministry has a comprehensive program to dredge the Bexon and Marc Rivers.
He explains the bidding process for the contractors responsible for clearing the watercourses is almost complete and government will soon begin the implementation phase of the “de-silting” exercises.
Jn Baptiste sought to allay fears of a late start to the program stating it is not unusual for the de-silting program to begin during the rainy season, although this scenario is not ideal.
The Ministry for Infrastructure stresses however, it is important the exercises are done before the peak of the wet season.
But Jn Baptiste explains there are also fiscal considerations with the approval of funding from the Ministry of Finance in June following the start of the annual budgetary cycle in April-May.
Vessel handover Story byWinston Springer
The two vessels Christened PV10-Veronica Adley and PV11_Eusebe Lawrence were donated by the US Government under the secure seas program of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
They will be used primarily for drug interdiction and surveillance operations in maritime security
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says the island although small and limited in resources because of its economic interests has a great responsibility as a trusted regional partner in maritime security.
He hopes co-operation with the US transcends beyond drug interdiction and security and calls on the lone superpower which is pivoting towards emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific to reengage the Caribbean.
Prime Minister Dr Anthony and National Security Minister Victor La Cobiniere spoke of the importance of strengthening the island’s security capacity.
The recently appointed US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean says the 33 ft defender class interceptor vessels cost 1 and quarter million dollars.
The vessels are equipped with the latest communications equipment and a support package for training and maintenance purposes.
Authorities concede Saint Lucia’s geographic location as a narcotics transshipment point, a laid back and open society makes the island a soft target for existential security threats.
The incursion at the Bordelais Correctional Facility a few years ago by armed gunman who freed two inmates was highlighted as a prime example.
Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says the two new vessels will bring tremendous value in securing the island’s porous maritime borders.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and the US Ambassador also signed an agreement during the official handing over ceremony at the Police Marine Unit Headquarters on Tuesday.
All is set for Caricom meeting Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Cabinet Secretary Darrel Montrope says the hosting of any high level meeting can be tasking.
Saint Lucia’s hosting of the 33rd regular meeting of CARICOM Heads will begin on Wednesday.
Already two CARICOM Heads of Government have arrived in Saint Lucia, with more set to arrive this evening and the final two coming in on Wednesday morning.
Montrope says every precaution will be taken in terms of maintaining the safety and security of participants of the CARICOM summit.
He says the fact that Siant Lucia is by and large a peaceful country is no reason to be complacent.
The cost of hosting the event has become a key issue in recent weeks. Montrope says the government continues to exercise fiscal restraint.
Nonetheless Saint Lucia will not subject itself to the embarrassment of hosting an event which does not fit the stature of its participants.
According to the CARICOM Secretariat, Foreign Policy Co-ordination in the Caribbean Community will be high on the agenda of the 33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.
The Leaders will be examining the thrust of the Community’s Foreign Policy approach given the on-going changes in global political and economic circumstances.
Wednesday’s meeting will be preceded by meetings of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committees on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and on External Negotiations on Tuesday.
Recommendations from these sessions will also be placed before the Heads of Government on Wednesday.
Montrope on monuments Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The Cabinet of Ministers has appointed a three member committee to deliberate on proposals for the location of two national monuments – the freedom monument and the sir John Compton Monument.
Last month Cabinet Secretary Darrel Montrope lamented the disregard shown to the freedom monument which had been lying on the grounds of the Castries Comprehensive Secondary school for years.
HTS cameras broke the story after getting a glimpse of what looked like a life-size bronze monument on the school grounds. Montrope later confirmed it was the million dollar monument commissioned by Dr Kenny Anthony in 1998.
As for the Sir John monument – it was commissioned by the former Stephenson King administration in 2007.
Montrope says Cabinet hopes a suitable home will now be identified for both monuments.
The committee is chaired by renowned poet Robert Lee, Montrope and Sculptor Ricky George who crafted both pieces.
They will review submissions for the location of the National Monuments and report back to Cabinet no later than July 30, 2012.
The Committee has been directed to consult the public before it submits its report.
Sashing ceremony Story bySarah Peter
The seven contestants for this year’s National Carnival Queen pageant were officially sashed and matched with their respective corporate sponsors on Monday evening.
The new feature was added ten years ago as a way to formally recognize the sponsors of the Carnival event.
Pageant Chairperson, Michelle Monrose has promised a pageant with a difference; one that will include several new aspects.
Former Miss Universe, Wendy Fitz Williams along side radio Personality Pringles are expected to host the show.
Three former Carnival Queens namely Sariah John, Shania Steven and Candy Nicholas Bowen have also signed on as chaperons.
Organizers have also expressed gratitude to their sponsors they say are aiding in the development of young women on the island.
The annual National Queen Show will be held this coming Saturday July 7th at the National Cultural Center.
Sponsors for this Years National Carnival Queen show include Piton, Super J IGA, 1st National Bank, Castries and Gros Islet Business Communities, Colombian Emeralds International and the Cultural Community.
Courts carnival Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The Courts Carnival Campaign 2012 is designed to bring more of the carnival spirit to Courts customers ensuring they partake in the cultural event.
Courts OECS Marketing Director Lorraine Sidonie says the company is proud to play an integral role in Saint Lucia’s premiere cultural activity.
The Courts Carnival deals promotion features personality Superman HD who is also sponsored by Courts in the upcoming Power Soca Competition.
Courts also welcomed newcomer Dorcia Fenelon to the Courts sponsored Carnival acts. Dorcia known by the stage name Dee will represent Courts at the Inter- commercial Calypso Competition this year.
Reigning Panorama Champions, Courts Babonneau Superstars will defend their title this year with continued sponsorship from Courts.
Courts very own Davis Felix, former courts inter commercial house winner, will be sponsored by the company in her bid to win this year’s Calypso Monarch title.
Courts wished all its partners success in their various competitions and encouraged customers to get in on the carnival action.
Dennery credit co-operative Story byDesmond Collymore
No word yet on subventions
Stakeholder committee on subventions
All is set for Caricom meeting
Montrope on monuments
Dennery credit co-operative
Carnival for whatever reason is synonymous with alcohol and loose behaviour as much as costumes and pageantry.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages has grown in tandem with events like Cooler Lime –where patrons bring their alcohol to the party and Wet Fete where alcohol use is as much a part of the event as the slide and water soaked Samaans Park. While adults are allowed to legally consume as much alcohol as they can stand – the same does not pertain to underage children.
Along with alcohol consumption – these events also attract fights and scuffles with security and Police which are more than likely linked to alcohol use.
But while promoters may be catering these events for adults – are they doing what they need to ensure underage children do not partake such as asking for ID before selling tickets and letting patrons into the event.
Is it time for promoters to start enforcing an 18 and over rule for events where alcohol is sold?