Was Labour Day trip a failure?

The US$30,000 Labour Day Carnival truck funded by Saint Lucian taxpayers.

The US$30,000 Labour Day Carnival truck funded by Saint Lucian taxpayers.

It seems like a recurring decimal, the carnival woes this country faces each year. Then there were those who thought that the setting up of a Ministry of Creative industries would be the perfect panacea. Well that was like thinking that with the election of a black president all the race issues in America would end. Yeah right! To put it bluntly, rather than become the legacy of this administration, the creative industries ministry has been thus far a miserable failure, doomed from the beginning first by the misnomer and second by those engaged to manage and run it. And so carnival and all other components of the creative sector continue to suffer from hemorrhagic shock secondary to the infliction of political wounds.

In the latest hush-hush affair, the Star understands that local artistes and carnival bands have been given the runaround when it comes to the prize-giving ceremony for this year’s carnival. To date there is no word yet as to when prizes will be paid out and several artistes are hopping mad, particularly in light of the fact that the creative industries ministry just spent more than EC$200,000 of tax- payers money on a Labour Day trip to New York.

The Saint Lucian entourage arrived in New York on Thursday 29th August 2013 and departed on Tuesday 3rd September. It included Minister of Tourism Lorne Theophilus, his PS, the Minister’s assistant and consultant Christopher Hunte.  The artistes on the trip included Invader, Minell, Marieanne, Ricky T, Superman HD, Teddyson John and Arthur as well as members of the band DYP.  The entourage was supposed to participate in two events at Saint Lucia House: both events, we have been reliably informed, were flops.

Then there was the question of more than US$30,000 being spent on a carnival band truck and sound system which had a trickle of people following it on the Eastern parkway in New York. By all accounts the trip was an all-out failure and waste of money. There was no special media following the entourage, the artistes got no extra gigs and certainly no record labels came banging on their doors. In fact few of the artistes had any musical products to market.

“The Lucian carnival band in New York was pitiful,” one NY reveler wrote to the Star. “This is the first time we had so many artistes on a Labour day truck but there were no revellers for artistes to sing to. Less then 60 revellers were wearing T-shirts,” we were further informed. Is this why a press release has not been issued since Labour Day almost two weeks ago?

Clearly there was no involvement of the stakeholders of Saint Lucia Carnival in this waste of Saint Lucian taxpayers money. If this is an indication of the Ministry of Creative Industries’ ability put on a show overseas, then it has to be a wake up call. It was an abysmal failure.

The issue has to be underscored. The idea of marketing St. Lucia Carnival at Labour Day was a good initiative, but maybe a little too late. The major issue was paying for artistes to fly to New York and not having them secure any major bookings for any shows or events. Then there’s the question of the expenditure on the carnival band truck: what did it cost to put this truck on the Eastern Parkway with a sound system that sounded like a transistor radio coming down de road. And what about the supposed exposure of the artistes boasted by “the consultant” before departing for New York? There was absolutely NO EXPOSURE given to our artistes.

Now after all this wastage the winners of carnival are being given a shoddy treatment by the heads at the creative ministry and the carnival stakeholders committee. Once again threats of a boycott of next year can be heard. Will they materialize? Only time will tell.

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