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A happy and safe Carnival to all

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This weekend marks the beginning of our biggest cultural festival Vincy Mas. We are now approaching the end of the fourth decade since the changeover of the carnival season from the pre-Lenten timetable to the current June/July period.

This has brought about many changes in the nature of the carnival festivities, including presenting new possibilities for tourism in our country, luring visitors who for one reason or another may have found the previous February/ March period inconvenient.{{more}}

Ironically, while it was originally thought that moving our festival to mid-year would avoid competition with the Caribbean’s biggest Carnival, that in Trinidad and Tobago, that change over has been replicated in several other Caribbean destinations to the extent that June to August has become the Caribbean’s Carnival season. The festivities move from SVG to St Lucia, then Antigua and Barbados, then on to Grenada in mid-August. This provides competition in attracting visitors to our shores, a matter that we must increasingly take seriously.

Amidst all the changes, one trend that has remained has been the continuing influx both of nationals living abroad as well as visitors from other Caribbean countries. That tells us something about the attractiveness of our festival though we must constantly re-examine its content and how we package it.

SEARCHLIGHT would like to take this opportunity to say a big WELCOME to our visitors, nationals and non nationals alike. For the returning nationals and their offspring, the Carnival visit is much more than participating in the festivities, it is also a time of reconnection with relatives, communities, former schoolmates and reintegration into Vincentian society and opens possibilities for taking part in other non-Carnival activities.

One such opportunity presents itself this year, as the official start of Vincy Mas coincides with the publication of a list by the Supervisor of Elections with the names of persons earmarked for removal from the Voter’s List. Those returning nationals who are eligible should use the opportunity to update their registration within the 30-day period allowed.

The festivities begin tonight with what is dubbed ‘Fantastic Friday’, featuring the calypso semi-finals. Much has been said about the perceived threat to this vital aspect of our cultural being and we can only appeal for greater public support for the exponents of this art form.

We urge too, increased public support and respect for two activities featuring the younger ones this weekend – Junior Carnival on Saturday and Junior Pan on Sunday. If our festival is to endure and develop, then the impetus will have to come from these juniors. We must demonstrate an appreciation of their efforts and give all the support we can.

Finally, even though Vincy Mas is a time when many tend to ‘let down their hair’, it is still important that we avoid excessives of all types, pay attention to the safety and security of our person and property, exhibit zero tolerance for violence, practise self respect and respect others around us, so that we can all enjoy a safe, clean and happy Vincy Mas 2015.

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