Reader’s Letter: Ear plugs

POSTED: 03/2/11 1:53 PM

Dear sirs,

It is somewhat astonishing that the current board of the SCDF, despite consistent efforts to keep the lines of communication open with our media partners, cannot count on a simple phone call or email from you in your attempts to provide factual information to the public. Your Editorial of today, March 1, 2011 concerning ear plugs is factually
incorrect in all areas as it regards the SCDF. To wit:

You wrote: “One issue has never been addressed by the organizers during forty plus years of celebrations: the effect of the sound levels during the grand parade on the eardrums of small children”.

Fact: The SCDF, since the year 2000 under the Presidency of Erno Labega, has provided and/or distributed earplugs specifically to the troupe leaders of our Junior Carnival Parade as well as onlookers of said parade. The troupe leaders are also told, on an annual basis, to provide ear plugs for their young revelers. Additionally various wholesale
companies provide the SCDF on an annual basis with ear plugs to distribute. This year, the SCDF has already approached GEBE to provide some of its ear plugs (used at the power plant) to the foundation so we can distribute. How can you state “never” without asking a question?

You wrote: “It’s an excellent idea, something that St. Maarten ought to pay attention to” referring to Curacao students examining the use of ear plugs in the children’s parade”.

Fact: Curacao should be commended for following St. Maarten…11 years later. In 2000 it was a group of teachers and youth workers who took the initiative, along with the SCDF, to focus on the affects of sound levels. This resulted in stipulations regarding the amount of speakers on truck, the size of the truck, sound level, safety ect which is enforced by the police department on an annual basis.
You wrote: “The SCDF ought to expand of this initiative (of the HIV/AIDS management program distribution of condoms) by distributing free ear plugs and by encouraging parents to protect the hearing of their children.”

Fact: Former President of the SCDF Fabiana Arnell made it her mission to specifically target parents with the ear plug initiative during her presidency through numerous press releases which were written, coincidentally, by the current Secretary of the foundation.
Nothing has changed in this regard and the SCDF has continued to urge parents to be vigilant in our numerous radio and TV interviews so far for Carnival. On a similar note, the AIDS Committee, when the Junior AIDS Committee was active, started its initiative of condom distribution in collaboration with the SCDF. That initiative started with
condom distribution in Carnival Village.

You wrote: “The SCDF still has about 58 days to come up with a plan and to find those ear plugs for our kids.”

Fact: Our plan is 11 years old, in place and functioning.
In closing, we are “raining press releases” (your words) on the media for Carnival because this board believes information is key in our preparations for Carnival 2011. We have been open with our media partners since our term started in September 2010. Our media partners simply have to pick up a phone or direct an email to us if they require
clarification or information on any issue.
We are looking forward to you correcting your editorial forthwith and, in the future, contacting us about anything at anytime for Carnival so you can “rain” factual information down on our people.
Hoping to have informed you sufficiently, we remain sincerely in the spirit of Carnival,

Stuart Johnson, president, Michael Granger, secretary SCDF.

Editor’s note: We are happy to learn that the ear plug issue has the attention of the SCDF. Though we have no reason to doubt the statements made in this letter, we have been unable to unearth one single reference to the distribution or the use of ear plugs during past Carnival celebrations. As far as we are able to remember, the issue of earplugs has not come up during the last four years at least. For what it’s worth, if in spite of this we were really totally off the mark, we offer our apologies.

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