…revellers delayed the start after late arrival
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER a two year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the National Carnival Committee (NCC) had returned a successful Parade Day that was supported by hundreds of revellers and thousands of onlookers.
It followed the song ‘We outside again’, where everyone let off their frustration of being pent up for the last two years and all of the lockdowns.
That was echoed by the Chairperson of the National Carnival Committee (NCC), Shannon Hawley, who told SKNvibes Entertainment that the return was a success.
“It has been amazing! As you can see, there have been thousands of participants on the road, revellers with over 10 troupes from 17 folklore troupes, eight Mas Bands, it has been spectacular,” Hawley told this media house while witnessing the Parade on Forth Street.
Prior to the start of the pandemic in 2020, the 2019 Carnival Parade was also deemed a success with a large turnout.
During the 2020 celebrations, activities were held virtually and there were no major in-person activities, and no J’Oouver as well as Parade Day activities, as the Task Force did not grant approval due to the strict COVID-19 regulations.
Despite not having any community outbreak of the virus at the time, the Federation stuck to its rigid measures. In 2021, the Government allowed limited in-person activities during the spread of the virus with there being a vaccinated Carnival.
With the return of the street parade, there was a high expectation among all involved, including tourists, citizens and residents.
“It has been a whirlwind,” Hawley said while describing the activities for Sugar Mas 2022/2023, adding: “We made a decision to go full force in September. And between September and December we had to put together a full force Carnival. So, as you can imagine, it has been a non-stop pace from preparations to execution. I am happy to see that we have successfully executed one of the largest Sugarmas in the history of Carnival.”
Despite the hype and expectation from revellers to hit the streets very early, that was not to be as the cultural norm of starting events late was evident on Parade Day.
The NCC had urged troupes to be in position to start at 11:00 a.m. sharp, and had promised to award points to those that had 80 percent of their bands in place.
However, that did not deter the revellers from forcing the event to start two hours later than expected. That resulted in only one lap being done on the course and disjointedness being witnessed in the Parade.
The final troupe and band was only able to make it up Fort Street for the first time, shortly before the 7:00 p.m. closure.
“I think the most important thing is that the revellers need to show up early!,” Hawley stressed. “The bands were there and no revellers were there at 11:00 a.m. So, I think we need to get accustomed to starting early. Nevertheless, we started, we executed, but we need to ensure that the revellers show up at 11 as scheduled.”
The NCC has already started taking notes as it begins working on plans for the 2023/2024 celebrations. And according to Hawley, that work would start in earnest after celebrations wrap with the prize giving ceremony and the paying of service providers.
The Chair disclosed that Sugars Mas would be officially launched later this month in order to attract regional and international visitors and ensure that it is slotted in on the calendar for visitors.
Officials from the NCC are expected to announce the winners of the various categories for street activities later today.