Director promises ‘sweet’ Carnival 2011

CDF Executive Director Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel announces Carnival Calendar.

Keeping the same tagline as last year, “Nothing sweeter dan dat” Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel, the Executive Director of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) said Tuesday, “We plan to produce a sweet carnival for the world and again we hope we can bring a lot more people from the region and from the international community down to Saint Lucia to appreciate us.”
Samuel was speaking Tuesday at the CDF’s conference room where he hosted the press briefing ahead of the launch of Carnival 2011. The event will be officially launched with a grand event aimed at the entire family on Sunday June 5 at a venue to be announced shortly.
Venues, the CDF executive director continued to lament, remained a perennial problem, and unlike last year where the use of Mindoo Phillip grounds as a venue was a source of controversy, this year the venue is off limits completely to Carnival. However, according to the CDF, the Beausejour sporting compound will serve as a venue to at least three events, namely panorama finals which return this year after an absence of two years, Calypso finals and Soca Monarch finals.
Before announcing the dates of the various events, Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel told the media that plans for this year started with a major consultation early in the year where the island’s Prime Minister gave his support to undertaking a review to increasing the allocation to carnival. Following this year’s budget, Samuel says the CDF has been in dialogue with the Ministry of Education and Culture in whose portfolio the CDF falls. The good news; EC$1.1 million dollars has been offered by the government to the CDF to produce carnival.                      Discussions however are still ongoing as to the subventions for the other entities, namely Calypso association, pan association and the carnival band’s association.
“We are here to really bring you up to date on our preparations of what we hope will be a wonderful carnival in Saint Lucia for 2011,” Samuel stated Tuesday. “The whole nation gets excited around this time. It is carnival, it is one of the major activities on the cultural calendar of our nation and of our region and of us as a people, Caribbean people, West Indian people scattered all over the world. It is one of the really authentic displays of ourselves as a people, as a unique cultural community in the world and it is a time when it is supposed to be one of our proudest and most confident moments,” Samuels put forward.  “But ironically it is a time when we have some of the most quarreling, when we have some of the most mistrust of each other, when we have some accusations, things of sabotage controversies etcetera,” he countered. “Our task is to minimize some of these and focus on the realities of this proud moment in our history that we relive every year and it has been done for generations,” Samuel said.
Before going into the 2011 Calendar the CDF director recognized the passing last year of a number of individuals connected to Saint Lucia’s carnival in one way or another, which added to the strains of the difficult year the island’s carnival had last year. The names called were master drummer and cultural activist Athanasius Laborde, media manager Pet Gibson who also served on the National Carnival Queen Show Committee,  Pan Andrew pan man and arranger, Morgan George a well known sporting figure and ole mas participant, photographer Francis Tobias and Calypsonian  Ratchie and more recently Chippy.
Though the timeline between the consultation and this year’s carnival did not allow for major change, Samuels said Tuesday that some small changes were looked at for this year’s product where possible.
Following the launch of Carnival on Sunday June 5, Mas Action’s Lucian Line Jam will follow on Whit Monday June 13. Groovy Soca Monarch will be separate from Power Soca this year, with a preliminary round on Wednesday June 29 at the Cultural Centre and the finals on Friday July 8 at a venue to be announced.
Vieux Fort will host two events on the national calendar, namely the Calypso semi-finals on Saturday July 2 and the Party Monarch preliminaries on Sunday July 3, both at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds.
The national carnival queen show will be on Saturday July 9 at the Cultural Centre, Junior Carnival Sunday July 10, Inter-commercial house July 14 at the NCC,  Panorama Friday July 15 Beausejour, Calypso Finals Saturday July 16 also at Beausejour.
One major change this year is that of a shift of the Soca Monarch to carnival Sunday July 17 along with the King and Queen of the bands. The Caribbean Soca Monarch previously held on that date will be held outside of carnival possibly in August the CDF announced.
Carnival will culminate with J’Ouvert Monday July 18 and the parade of the bands July 18 and 19.
The CDF Calendar is also promoting a number of major private events including Piton Party In De Yard which kicks off on Friday June 10 at the RCI car park, Piton Soca Starz with their semi-finals June 3 and 10 and Finals on June 28th in Gros Islet, RC Jam Friday June 30th, Kaiso Headquarters July 8, Colour Me Red July 13, Outrageous Sexy in Black July 15, as well as Cooler Fete and Wet Fete on dates to be announced.

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