No more Mas for boots!

Will CDF director Kennedy Samuel no longer be directly handling carnival?

After promising a sweet carnival to Saint Lucians via a press conference two weeks ago, it seems like a sour taste is now in the mouth of the director of the Cultural Development Foundation Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuels.
The CDF boss was ousted this week from his position of having to manage carnival after a new entity; the Saint Lucia Carnival Commission was institutionalized this week by the Government of Saint Lucia. That committee will be headed by John Joseph, veteran mas player and comprises representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Saint Lucia Carnival Bands Association, The Calypso Association and The Steel-pan Association.
Earlier this week the STAR learnt of moves by the Carnival Bands Association not to go along with the CDF’s plans to host the opening of Carnival next Sunday at the CDF grounds a venue many felt was unsuitable. We were also reliably informed that the Minister of Education and Culture was also not in compliance with the
CDF’s move to host the opening of carnival an event which lost more that EC$95,000 when it was held last year. There has also been some grumblings about some of the changes this year including the National Soca Monarch which has been moved to Carnival Sunday, away from its traditional Saturday two weeks before Carnival and to do away with the Caribbean Soca Monarch.

The head of the new Carnival Commission, John Joseph.

On Friday media confirmation of the new entity came from the Government’s press secretary Darnley LeBourne. The Carnival Commission we have learnt held a meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday and a formal announcement as to the way forward for this year’s event will be announced next week.
According to the director of the CDF earlier this month this year’s carnival would keep the same tagline as last year which was, “Nothing sweeter dan dat.” But with major changes afoot even this is in doubt and controversy is already brewing albeit the move to an entity to manage carnival full time is finding favour among mas lovers here.
Among the activities still on the table for Carnival include Mas Action’s Lucian Line Jam Whit Monday June 13, Groovy Soca Monarch which will be divorced from Power Soca this year on Friday July 8, Calypso semi-finals on Saturday July 2, Party Monarch preliminaries on Sunday July 3, national carnival queen show Saturday July 9, Junior Carnival Sunday July 10, Inter-commercial house July 14, Panorama Friday July 15 Beausejour and Calypso Finals Saturday July 16. Carnival will climax July 18, 19.
A number of the mas bands have already been launched including the two major popular party bands Just 4 Fun and Red International, as well as Toxik, Royalites and
Mas Action. The calypso tents opened here last week, with Soca Village making a comeback and being the first on show, followed by Spectrum, South and Ambassadors tonight.

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