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Carnival and the World Cup

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Well another carnival has passed and the usual informal reflections and postmortems will no doubt be already in progress.
We have to stop this stupid bragging about having had the biggest and the best carnival over the past three years and do some serious reflection and restructuring. There are some causes for concern. One of these is the rather poor turnout this year to some of the shows and of course, I use poor in a relative sense. {{more}}
For instance, the Dimanche Gras show is normally one of the better patronized shows and so the turn out this year was quite disappointing. We need to find out why.
Is it a question of the economic state of the country or is it that we are having too many shows and need to package the festivity with a number of other things in mind? Is it that the shows themselves are boring patrons?
It is clear to me that we have to do some restructuring of the Miss Carival show and the Calypso Semi-finals. Really, it is extremely difficult to sit at the park and listen to 40 calypsoes until early in the morning.
We have to do what other countries have done, make the semi-finals more of a family affair. Let us select a different site, start the show early in the afternoon and encourage the family to come.
One of the problems will be to find a site that could be enclosed in order to attract gate fees. Perhaps we might have to depend on bars and food stalls, all of which should be under the control of the CDC or be part of a franchise arrangement. In that case, we can include some other entertainment, comedians for example and other forms of entertainment that will attract the young.
One thing that has become obvious is that apart from the Soca competition the young people are not being motivated to attend the shows. The young people are, at least, very much on the streets. So let us look seriously at the Calypso semi-finals and be prepared to take bold steps to bring people back to that show.
Miss Carival still has a lot of potential but we have to move fast with it before another country takes it over. One suspects that the countries that send contestants to this show have in recent years not been sending their best. We have to do something to stimulate their interest. Furthermore, we have to make better use of Miss ‘Carival’.
This has always been one of the complaints, that you get little for being crowned Miss Carival. Furthermore, some of the contestants have been disappointed that they are expected to leave the country shortly after the show, the next day, I believe. Keeping them in the country for the remainder of carnival is a costly affair but can it be seen as an investment in the future of the show and of carnival?
I have always been of the opinion that we can make better use of the Grenadines by hosting the preliminaries there and making television coverage available to each of the islands that sends participants. It becomes also another way of advertising the Grenadines and so the tourist promotion budget should cater for it. The preliminaries would also, hopefully, stimulate interest in the finals.
This is a new age. It is the age of globalisation and we cannot expect to continue with the same old ways. A lot is changing around us. We have to make renovations and be creative. We have to target the young people in much of what we do. So let us begin the restructuring process.
I am sure that there is no shortage of ideas. In fact, one of the things that have stood out about past carnivals is the number of postmortems, with numerous recommendations made about the way forward.
Let us pull them out and add to them, reject them if we care, but come up with ideas that will save Carnival. If we sit back and brag about having the biggest and best carnival ever, then we are unlikely to do anything about improving it. Why would you want to restructure the biggest and the best?
All of this is not to lay wild criticisms about the organizing of carnival. It is simply to say that there are areas of concern and we have to take these concerns seriously. There would obviously have been good things about this year’s carnival. The focus of this article is not to highlight these whatever they might be, but to make the point that we must not take things for granted but must examine the reasons behind some of the not so bright spots this year.
2007 Cricket
World Cup
I am somewhat ambivalent about our failure to be among the venues selected for the hosting of the World Cup games. Although it would have been good to be selected, one has to be realistic and take into account the tremendous cost involved. It is a costly affair for most countries but many of them have the tourism infrastructure that can ultimately benefit. The point was made that in speaking of venues they were looking beyond the actual site and taking into account the total in-country package.
We all knew that we were going to start at a disadvantage because of the shortage of hotel rooms and the lack of
an international airport. Our country, furthermore, was going to be taxed
to the fullest and would have demanded a lot from all of us.
Having said all of this, I have some concerns about the selection of St. Kitts ahead of us. It has never had a One-Day game played there and the only new thing appeared to have been the upgrading of Warner Park to accommodate 13,000 rather than its present capacity of 4,000. And moreover the 13,000 seats were going to be temporary ones.
It would be good to know what worked against us, that is, apart from the airport and hotel rooms. Were the inadequacies in these areas the critical ones? St.Vincent has hosted successfully a number of international one-day games, and the venue has been highly rated. Vincentians also turn out to watch their cricket.
We must under those circumstances have considered ourselves unfortunate to be left out, but as I suggested before, it was going to demand tremendous sacrifice from us, financially and organizationally. Arnos Vale, in any event, needs upgrading and one hopes that plans for its upgrading would go ahead although not necessarily at the pace that would have been expected if we had been one of the venues selected.
All is not lost, however, because we are told that there is the possibility of hosting some of the warm up games. But interestingly, Bermuda has been named as the first alternative venue and has already been awarded warm-up games.

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