Following the Easter weekend, we will go directly into the celebrations of the 50th year of Carnival. As these festivities generate much economic activity and tourism, most of its governmental oversight comes from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication. However, Carnival is established as an aspect of our Sint Maarten culture, and for that reason, as Minister with responsibility for culture, I have worked with the Department of Culture to expand the cultural content of these celebrations.
On Sunday April 28, 2019, the Sint Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will present the Children’s Parade, combined with a Cultural Parade supported by efforts of the Department of Culture. In past exploratory conversations with SCDF on ways in which there can be more collaborations between SCDF and the Department of Culture, it was decided that the department would expand the cultural presence in Carnival.
Last year, it was established that the Department of Culture would assist with building a cultural showcase in collaboration with the SCDF. This year the collaboration has been broadened to include both a Cultural Parade and Cultural Night showcase. The Children’s Parade has been augmented to include a cultural presentation. Several associations have registered to participate in the cultural parade. These include Indian Merchant Association, The Guyanese Association, Fundación Semana Dominicana, Guadeloupe Jeff Locomotive, and Funtopia.
It is important for us to showcase our heritage during these weeks of festivities and I look forward to the displays from all the participants in this Cultural Parade. To ensure that we all can enjoy the different events and activities planned, I encourage everyone to practice safety first. Wear seat belts while driving. Do not drive if you are under alcoholic influence. Be mindful of the age limit for events, and do not have minors exposed to adult activities. Parents, safeguard your children. Ensure that proper supervision is in place for all children, whether at home, at the beach or at a parade.
When the parties are over, and King Momo is burnt, may we all be able to speak of this year’s celebration with gladness, filled with pleasant memories and ready to plan for making the next 50 years of Carnival that much better than before.
I look forward to continuing to expand the celebrations of our culture and the quality of the Sint Maarten product that more of our local artists can start headlining the shows both at home and abroad. Remember, when we UNITE and FOCUS, together we will reset, rebuild and restore our Friendly Island home.
Honourable Wycliffe Smith, MA, M.Ed.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport