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Easterval on the decline – residents

Easterval on the decline – residents

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A number of residents of the Grenadine island of Union are upset about what they consider the downhill course that the annual Easterval festival is taking.

Shurma Alexander expressed her disgust to SEARCHLIGHT over what she described as one of the poorest Easterval festivals she has ever seen.

She said, in her opinion, the current Union Island Easterval Committee lacks the proper skills to move the festival forward and if something is not done soon, the festival will die.

“I’m not pleased with what is going on with the committee; they not pushing enough to impress people,” Alexander said on Monday.

She, however, stressed that she is not pulling down persons, but speaking out about what is going wrong.

“I am outspoken and I like to speak plain when I see things going wrong….

“We need a body to make Easter run smooth; this is not the Easter I know through the years,” Alexander said.

She said that from her observation and from complaints she has heard, many things went wrong this year during the island’s biggest festival. Noticeably, a number of the planned events were not well attended, while others never came off.

The annual J’Ouvert and Monday night mas events were, however, well patronized.

She said many persons on the island will not want to speak out, because they are afraid they will lose a friend.

Alexander revealed that she was once an avid participant in the festival and would usually dance the Big Drum Dance with a group, but stopped as the group was not being paid what they were promised.

“People need to also come out and support the shows,” said Alexander, adding, “I’m upset, annoyed and frustrated about the way the festival is going because children who coming up now, babies who born now, would never know anything about Easterval, because it is dying.”

Alexander also called for more transparency in the make up of the Easterval committee. “…People not supposed to ask who on the committee,” opined Alexander, who said that the festival is over 50 years old, but was last year celebrated as being just 50 years old by the committee.

“Easterval is more than 50 years old; when they celebrated 50 years, people laugh,” said Alexander.

“Please try to save Easterval; it is the only thing we have. People look forward to it to come to our island.”

Easterval committee, president Abdon Whyte, however, said that it is one thing to run a festival and another thing to talk from a spectator standpoint.

He said that many of the complaints are not justified and are unsubstantiated and while people sit on the fence watching, they have no idea what the committee goes through to put on the festival.

Whyte said that on more than one occasion he has had to use his own personal funds to make the festival possible and on a number of occasions, the festival operated at a loss for the committee. He said when the festival loses money and people are owed, it is up to him to make the payments; but if the festival makes money, the money does not belong to him.

Whyte is considering passing the leadership mantle onto someone else in 2018.(LC)

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