More nays than yays to shifting St. Maarten Carnival

POSTED: 08/17/11 11:29 AM

St. Maarten / By Milton Pieters – A random sample of people involved in the arts, marketing and communications have mostly rejected an idea floated by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication, Franklin Meyers to shift Carnival to June. The minister put forward the idea during last Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. There has not yet been a stakeholder consultation and the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, which organizes the annual festivity, has said that it’s already set and marketed dates between April and May 2012.
Body artist Lucinda Audain believes the plan is unwise because it would create distractions in June, when students are, in some instances, still busy with examinations. She’d prefer that the event is held jointly with the French Side in February.
“It’s about time we unite and make it one grand Carnival for both sides,” Audain said.
Emmalexis Velasquez, who works in marketing, and is an ardent reveler, called the idea stupid.
“It won’t be Carnival anymore, it would be summer fest instead and it would end up being shorter. That would be total disregard for local culture and the historic efforts that have been placed to be able to produce what we know today. There are some things that are already in place and it should be left that way. If they want something in the summer then they should bring back Summer Fest,” Velasquez said.
“And what are we going to do between January and June? Nothing? People just don’t come to St Maarten like that. You think they going to come here for summer? Instead people will leave St Maarten for summer and travel to places like the USA, Canada and Barbados.” Velasquez added.
Darrin “Versatwizy” Hodge, a popular radio and television personality, who participated in this year’s Road March competition, is among those who believe that the dates for Carnival should not be shifted.
“I think they should keep it where it is. It’s been that way for years. If they want to attract people here during the summer they should come up with another major event, for example like how they do it in St Kitts and Curacao with the jazz fest and the music festivals etc. Let’s stay original,” Hodge said.
Radio Host Lloyd Richardson said shifting the dates would be a nice move.
“My birthday is in June so I can never be against that month. It would free us up to go to St Thomas Carnival and those who choose to go there would be able to come to St. Maarten too. Summer vacationers would love it. Also it would prevent us running into conflicts with Easter and Labor Day. I don’t have a fundamental problem with moving our Carnival to June,” the radio host said.

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