SCDF-President Stuart Johnson “Carnival was overwhelmingly successful”

POSTED: 05/7/12 1:16 PM

St. Maarten – Traditionally, Carnival begins with the Unity Jump Up from the French to the Dutch side and ends with the burning of King Momo. This year it was no different. Under the theme, “Let’s Delve into We Carnival 2012”, Carnival lovers had the opportunity to support their favorite shows, participate in or just view the parades. Wednesday night featured the Last Lap and burning of King Momo, a straw figure who is the manifested spirit of Carnival. It is said that by burning this symbolic figure, the villages’ sins and bad luck are burnt to ashes, leaving the land pure and filled with renewed hope of good things to come.

Now that the curtains have come down on what is seen as the biggest cultural event on the island, we spoke with the President of the St.Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), Stuart Johnson who called Carnival 2012 a success.

“It was one that was successful and was supported by the people of St.Maarten. This along with the support of the business community showed that it was overwhelmingly successful event for us. Much emphasis was placed on the promotion and marketing of our local shows.”

Johnson said that his organization will continue to ensure that local shows in particular are boosted through solid marketing strategies.  “The presence of Tempo on the island also helped boost our image. We appreciated the cooperative spirit from the promoters, booth holders, volunteers, emergency services, troupes, participants and the media.”

The SCDF also plans to hold a press conference in less than a week to give a more detailed review of Carnival 2012 and outline its plans for the 2013 Carnival season. Earlier preparation was the key to the smooth execution of many of the events, Johnson said. He was quick to point out, though, that the active participation of youths made the work lighter. “I started 14 year ago in the youth wing of the SCDF and it made me the person that I am today. I strongly believe in young people because they have to learn the ropes. We have to pass on the mantle to these young people and it starts from now.

Throughout the season, the presence of the young volunteers could not go un-noticed. They appeared energetic and focused. Johnson said that the interest of many young people on the island was peaked when the SCDF launched a recruitment drive.

“We launched a recruitment drive and within a matter of hours, we had numerous young people to work with. They are hard workers and we are very proud of them.”

One of the personal highlights for the SCDF president was this year’s jourvet morning jump up which attracted thousands.

“Jourvet morning jam with the water truck was a surprise for me but it was strongly supported. According to public review it was one of the best jourvets. Signing a joint letter with Public Works and the Police made this possible. I felt that Carnival has been revived again.”

The issue of awarding prizes has always been a sore point for previous SCDF administrations. However, Johnson assures that his committee strongly believes in giving persons what is due to them. This resulted in resuscitation of prize giving ceremonies, one of which will be announced in the media shortly for the 2012 winners.

“In 2011, this particular board that is functioning ensured that all prizes were awarded. For this season, we distributed most of the prizes but there are still a few outstanding financial and material prizes that need to be given out. ”

In the lead up to the 2013 Carnival season, the SCDF says that it welcomes volunteers who will have to go through a rigorous evaluation process which includes a one year trial period.

“There is work at the ticket booth, work behind the preparations of Carnival such as weekly meetings and you must bring something to the table. It is actually work and not just coming out to see a show,” Johnson noted.   Interested persons can contact the organization on 522-0509 or at sxmcarnival@hotmail

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