Saint Lucia
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Carnival Organisers Call On Saint Lucians To: DON’T MASH UP THE VAVAL!

Key stakeholders in Saint Lucian Carnival; (from left) CPMC chairperson Tamara Gibson, SLTA chairman Thaddeus Antoine, ECSL /CEO Lorraine Sidonie and ACP Mahandra Sealy
Key stakeholders in Saint Lucian Carnival; (from left) CPMC chairperson Tamara Gibson, SLTA chairman Thaddeus Antoine, ECSL /CEO Lorraine Sidonie and ACP Mahandra Sealy

ALL stakeholders of this year’s carnival have been asked to play an integral part in the festivities, promotion of which is now ongoing by enthusiastic organisers.

Representatives from key agencies met Wednesday, for a media launch to announce plans for the staging of this season’s 2K23 revellery.

Cognizant of the underlying anti-social disturbances that has befallen the country lately, the theme of the event is aptly entitled: “Vaval is ours …Don’t Mash it up!”

And organsisers are planning for a big celebration to include all major events, supplemented by the community carnivals and other side attractions to help make the festival a wonderful experience.

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“Our main goal is to ensure that all Saint Lucians play a part in Saint Lucia carnival,” said the Chairperson of the Carnival Planning Management Committee [CPMC] Tamara Gibson, at Wednesday’s media brief.

“Carnival is ours, it has to be inclusive. There is something for everyone, whether you are a reveller, party-goer, spectator, vendor, or service provider there is a part for you to play in Saint Lucia Carnival,” added Gibson. “We want to ensure that Saint Lucia Carnival belongs to you, and yes it does.”

The CPMC chairperson disclosed that a new feature of this year’s carnival will include a Youth Development Programme, entitled Youth through Arts and Culture.

Music tutor within the Ministry of Education, Jason “Bachelor” Joseph was instrumental with the implementation of the Schools Calypso programme, and he ensured that the students were prepared for the competition.

Gibson noted that the young competitors “gave a good account of themselves…and through this mentorship we are developing youth in culture to ensure that our culture can live on.”

She said the initiative will also be extended to include Junior Carnival, which will include implementation of a mentorship programme “to ensure the sustainability of our carnival.”

Gibson stated that Community Carnival will also be highlighted during the festivities. The northern community kicked off the activities last weekend, with a lively and energetic staging of Gros Islet Carnival.

With a full slate of events on schedule, the activities continue this weekend with the Ciceron Carnival. The action then moves to Babonneau, Soufriere and Dennery before the grand National Carnival Parade along the city streets, in Castries.

Another major component of the festivities is a Health and Safety Campaign that the CPMC will be promoting in collaboration with Heineken Saint Lucia.

The “Living Responsibly” campaign is intended to promote drinking responsibly and staying hydrated for 2K23. The CPMC will also partner with Rubis, with the focus on “Driving Safely and Being Responsible”.

Gibson announced that the organizers are also set to embark on an anti-crime campaign, which is dubbed: ‘Vaval is ours… Don’t Mash it Up!’

“This is a very special one to us, because we want to ensure that we own this carnival and we don’t destroy it,” she declared. “It is ours and we have to appreciate it.”

The CPMC chairperson noted that while several sports facilities will be utilised to stage events for the festivity, she stated “we want to ensure all that we will treat these venues with respect. And we will care for them and deliver them back to their respective agencies within reasonable time, so as not to disrupt the sports persons in their training and use of these facilities”.

Key partners involved in the staging of the festival includes, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority [SLTA], Events Company of Saint Lucia [ECSL], and the Royal St Lucia Police Force [RSLPF].

Speaking on the appeal of the Saint Lucian Carnival product to the international market, Chairman of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority [SLTA] Thaddeus Antoine says, carnival is a great festival to promote the destination.

“For us, at the SLTA …carnival is not (just) a festival, but a very important cultural heritage,” he noted. “In promoting Saint Lucia, we are about promoting diversity, promoting the island and its people, its heritage and culture.”

Antoine declared that the tagline is: ‘Come to Saint Lucia for an Experience!’

To highlight the significance of an energetic promotional campaign to woo visitors to the destination, the SLTA chairman added: “It is not about just saying come to Saint Lucia, but come to Saint Lucia for a reason. Come to Saint Lucia to experience Saint Lucians.

“It has immense impact for the country and particularly the economy, in that there’s lots of spin-offs…and if we attract them to the island by getting them to immerse themselves in the culture of Saint Lucia and our heritage, it has a more lasting effect.”