Fate of St Lucia Carnival to be decided in 48 hours after meeting
Minister for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries, Dominic Fedee
As St Lucia is in the throes of combating the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) alongside the rest of the world, stakeholders for St Lucia Carnival met earlier today, March 17, 2020, to discuss what to do about the event.
Adrian Augier, Vice President of the Carnival Bands Association told reporters after the meeting: “We have been asked to allow the government 48 hours to consider the multiple proposals that they have received.”
He noted that there was a diversity of views offered but that it was not contentious.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee spoke with reporters post-meeting saying: “This rather uncertain time is making people very nervous about their investments, whether its Carnival, whether its tourism, there is an economic fallout out as well as a health fallout and so what we’re trying to do, while we are prioritizing the health situation in the country making sure St Lucians are safe first and foremost, we’re also trying to see how we can cushion the blow as much as we can."
He continued: "So the meeting was called to see the future of Carnival to determine whether we have it or not and I think the consensus is to push the event back. There are a few dates that have been suggested by the Carnival Bands Association and all the stakeholders that were there and the government will take some time, consider those dates and get back to the Carnival Bands Association.”
Fedee said that October was suggested as a new date and that government will make a determination on whether it can afford to move forward with Carnival in the aftermath of what is likely be an economic crisis. St Lucia Carnival was originally scheduled for June through July, culminating July 20 and 21 on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Coordinator for community carnivals, Buffalo Odlum, told reporters that the main consideration is that, “we have to shift our focus and be more people-centric and be guided by what the general public thoughts are.”
He said: “There are people at this point who would not think that Carnival is even a consideration now. On the other hand there are Carnival lovers who have prepared for the whole year and there are scheduled activities so we have to take that into consideration. We have 48 hours to come up with a plan…”
TC Brown, Floor Rep for Balance Inc which promotes artiste welfare, said that the sentiment of members varied: “There are lots of our members who think that Carnival shouldn’t be postponed, in other words calypso shouldn’t be postponed, there are those that think it should be, that the health of the nation comes first.”
He concluded, "It’s not going to be business as usual, for sure… the same things we used to seeing around Carnival, that’s not going to be for sure. So it has to be a change of thinking, a change of ideas."