The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is not enthused about the Saint Lucia Summer Festival which will replace the Island’s Jazz and Arts Festival.
Asked whether the SLP was interested in the new event or excited about it, SLP leader Philip J. Pierre told reporters: “No, we are not.”
In response to a reporter’s question about giving the event a chance, the former Tourism Minister said policies are a little more than giving things a chance.
“When you are going into any policy you have to analyse it – you have to look at the pros and the cons, it is not about a chance. You give chances in the lottery and bingo parties, not government policies,” Pierre said, adding that costs and benefits had to be considered.
He asserted that the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival was the means by which people got to know about Saint Lucia.
“It’s not about people coming to the festival in its own right, it’s the amount of people getting to know about this country,” Pierre stated.
Just last month Minister for Local Government and Culture, Fortuna Belrose, told reporters that she sees ‘tremendous’ financial gains from the Summer Festival which will begin in May.
She explained that the organizers are looking to work within the same budget yet offer patrons a lot more.
Recalling that the that the authorities have said in the past that the Jazz festival has outgrown its usefulness and purpose, Belrose stated that as a result, the event was expanded into a Summer Festival that includes jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel over a three to four month period.
Last year, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced that there would be no Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival 2017.
In making the announcement, the former Tourism Minister said to spend $14 million over two weeks on one event made no sense.
He also said since BET dropped out, there has been no replacement to televise the event.
During its 25-year existence, the Jazz Festival has brought together international as well as local musicians, and has featured some of the biggest names in music.