Castries South MP Ernest Hilaire says beyond heralding the successes of this year’s Carnival, organisers need to start focusing on Mas’ 2010 and what can be done to build on the Island’s achievements.
In this regard, he has offered several suggestions aimed at improving the event.
The MP offered the suggestions on the official Facebook page of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) in a July 17, 2019 post.
“If this is truly a national event which is important, then there must be greater visibility of Carnival as our biggest cultural festival at our ports of entry, along our streets, commercial houses and communities so that visitors and residents are more aware and involved,” he explained.
“It is ironic that we could have had banners for CARICOM Heads of Government Conference and the visit of the President of Taiwan but not for our biggest cultural event,” the Castries South MP observed.
He suggested that a full time Carnival organising Committee with full time staff and budget be set up.
“ A major role will be to undertake a national dialogue with all stakeholders to define the product that we want our carnival to be. We must not be afraid to discuss all issues including conduct in public by revellers and declaring Carnival Monday a public holiday,” Hilaire stated.
He said government must create greater administrative ease in sourcing materials needed for costuming, specifically, feathers.
Hilaire expressed the view that this will reduce the cost of costumes and make it more affordable for all.
Additionally, he stated that the government must provide incentives for an enterprise to be set up to make available for sale all requirements for carnival.
“Incentives must be provided fairly and transparently according to established criteria. It is wrong that some bands and events receive support whilst others don’t. Additionally, government should only provide subsidies to events organised by local promoters,” according to the opposition MP.
Among his other suggestions were that prize money for King and Queen of the Bands be increased; Panorama be revitalised by supporting the re-emergence of traditional steel bands and the re-introduction of Junior Panorama and the process and requirements for event approval be revised to make it sensible, safe and provide excellent spectator experience.
“Greater focus must be given to the spectator and reveller experience. There has to be more toilets on the route. Temporary seating should be set up, and the safety of spectators and revellers must be enhanced,” Hilaire explained.
“ Carnival must become more national in participation. Subsidies must be provided to bands from other districts to encourage participation in the national event,” he observed.