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The feedback from foreign and local revellers as broadcast on the electronic media is that Carnival 2013 was extremely enjoyable with some masqueraders promising to return to our shores for all the Carnival celebrations in the future. It is always a beautiful sight to see thousands of people from all walks of life genuinely having a great time as they dance and prance to the infectious calypso and soca music.
For that limited time when the streets are filled with happy faces that appear not to have a care in the world, it is easy to believe that we live in a glorious land which is not plagued with any societal challenges. In my view, Carnival provides us with the opportunity to market ourselves internationally as an enterprising and innovative people who have something special to offer the world.
But do we really believe that we have created something unique with our Carnival that is worthy of international consumption? If we do believe in the value of our celebration, then a lot more has to be done to put our money where our mouth is. While our Carnival is perhaps not as extravagant as the festivities in Rio de Janeiro, the fact is that we can boast of home-bred talent that can make our celebration among the best in the world.
So what are the woes to which I refer? Well, every year, after the season is over, there are experts who make suggestions as to what can be done to improve the festivity and make Carnival more profitable and internationally recognised. The Carnival season does not creep upon us like a thief in the night so there is no excuse for poor planning or last-minute communication about important matters related to the various activities, including the competitive aspects of the celebration.
I did have reservations about the changes to the Dimanche Gras show which I eagerly watch every year as the masqueraders cross the stage hoping to cop the king and queen of the bands titles and the calypsonians vie for the coveted title of calypso monarch. The competitive aspect of the show in which all players pull out all the stops to win the top prizes contributes to the high levels of entertainment, excitement and anticipation.
But a very close friend, whose views on Carnival I respect, encouraged me to embrace the changes and, as he put it, “give the people in charge a chance to see if the thing works.”
Well, I not only gave the chief organisers and visionaries of change a chance, I gave them full support because I too have noticed that over the years the Dimanche Gras show has been at points just plain boring and drawn out.
But having seen what the world saw on Sunday night, which showcased an inability to properly manage and portray what could have been a spectacular event, I daresay that we need to go back to the drawing board and let the real master organisers of Carnival show us the way it should be done. It is a pity that those who boasted that the 2013 Dimanche Gras would be the best ever are not taking responsibility for the debacle that occurred.
My comments do not relate to those who assisted in making patrons feel comfortable at the various shows and events and I take this opportunity to thank them for their genuine commitment and hard work.
Know your rights
There were issues raised about copyright associated with costumes and artistic works and warnings issued that people violating the copyright laws would be dealt with appropriately.
With the advent of social media, people who profess to know the law about this specialised area called intellectual property must ensure that they are not misrepresenting the provisions in our Copyright Act.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which has done yeoman service in educating the population about these and other kinds of matters, must have been bombarded with calls from citizens expressing concern about the advice given by non-experts who obviously are not familiar or who do not understand the manner in which copyright operates in relation to Carnival.
At the time of writing, I have confirmed that a representative of the IPO will appear on my television programme Just Gill in order to discuss the matter so that citizens will have a better understanding of their rights and the rights of others when it comes to Carnival and copyright. Permit me, as I end, to heartily congratulate Calypso Monarch Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor for his wonderful and entertaining renditions, Kurt Allen for lifting the creativity of the art form, and my friend Heather MacIntosh who is definitely a monarch in waiting.
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