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How I would fix Carnival

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Bit Depth
Leslie-Ann Boisselle parades as A Musical Ensemble—Pan and Brass in the 2009 Queen of Carnival Finals at Dimanche Gras in 2009. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY

I have a lot to say about the errors of Carnival’s leadership, but this week I wanted to hear from people whose work I enjoy and who also have both opinions on and skin in the festival.


Leslie-Ann Boisselle is a ten-time queen of Carnival contestant and suggested that calypso should be taken out of Dimanche Gras.


“Leave the kings and queens for Dimanche Gras, because tourists don’t understand the calypso but the visual medium of the mas resonates with them.”


She believes that both shows, a calypso final and a costume-based Dimanche Gras could be “tight, well co-ordinated productions, professionally produced.


“Make it something that could be filmed and marketed for sale, something that could be run on international TV as a two-hour special.”


BC Pires, Guardian columnist and noted J’Ouvert mudsquerader, wants to return Carnival to a level playing field.


“I’d axe out VIP sections of anything, including declaring all-inclusive mas bands illegal.


“On Carnival Tuesday, buy a firetrucking beer from a youth hustling cold ones from a bucket or drink hot rum from your own wineskin.


“If we keep turning what used to be something that brought us all together into the main device for separating us, it will end in bloodshed on the streets, and not the one or two choppings or stabbings we have now. There will be an eruption of violence that will make the steelband clashes of old look like primary-school recess lock neck. We will all be playing casualty.”



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