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Senator Arley Gill
It is that time of year again when we all get ready to play our part in ensuring that we make our country’s showcase national festival Carnival, the best ever.There are many areas of course we could improve, but we must build on the successes of last year, and the foundation we are beginning to lay to ensure that carnival is both rich in culture and sustainable as an economic activity.
We are determined to increase and improve the dialog with all the stakeholders, because for there to be a better product we must have all hands on deck.The Grenada Carnival Committee has begun its work in earnest and I have been told that we will see some new innovations to this year’s festival. While we are pushing for government to increase its funding for all aspect of the carnival, we have to begin to think about ways to make most of the events more self sustaining.
Every single one of us could play a part – from ordinary citizens refusing to purchase pirated copies of the calypsonian music but instead getting the official copies; by the calypso tents organizing earlier and more people going out to support them by attending the shows; by more people signing up to plan fancy mas – and we can go on.Some corporate sponsors have been good to the event through the years, but maybe more can come onboard, understanding that carnival is a genuine national festival through which every sector of the society is touched, and by which all can benefit if it is successfully executed.
But most crucially we have to pay attention – all of us – to the content of our masquerade and our calypsoes.
"For at its heart carnival is a cultural expression, and its output goes a long way in defining who we are as a people at this stage in our history."
Let me say a special word to the steelband players of our nation.Steelband is a unique cultural expression that is authentically Caribbean, and we must embrace it whole-heartedly.
The plight of the steelbands continues to be a concern to all of us, and our Ministry of Culture has begun to brainstorm ways on easing the burden and lessening the challenges.We are all coming from a particularly difficult year last year, where everything we had hoped for was not achieved – but this is in no way indicative of our solidarity and commitment.
We will invest more time, more manpower and more financial resources this year to make sure steelband remains an integral part of the festival.To all stakeholders, we look forward to an even more successful year.
Let’s all prepare to work hard to make the festival a success; let’s get ready to have a good time – doing so in a safe and responsible environment.It’s time for bacchanal – let’s start the carnival!