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May 30, 2011

September Carnival in jeopardy

Carnival has always been a traditional and integral part of the September celebrations. It is perhaps the most anticipated event in the calendar of activities for the mas camps as well as spectators who line the streets to take in the color of the flamboyant costumes as well as the energy of the revelers.  But there is trouble threatening this year’s bacchanal from ever reaching city streets. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

There is trouble brewing for the carnival bands, principal among them is the lack of start up funds and low sponsorship. But there is also a problem with the date set for this year’s Carnival which has pushed several bands to say that they will sit out this year’s September Celebrations. Gilbert Davis, one of the Chairmen of the Belize Carnival Association says that this year’s event is still up in the air:

Gilbert Davis: 2nd Chairman, Belize Carnival Association

Gilbert Davis

“We come to an agreement that okay we cannot change the date and due to finance is something really slow from different sponsors, go back to NICH and ask them for start up funds which will be around fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars. Since the date cannot really move we went back to NICH with that scenario and they say that will be a no-no for one date cannot change because that is based on the tenth day of September. The start up funds was a no-no at this point of time. So we actually went back and meet with the bands once more and umm we had a talk with them and they decide hey eleven bands, eight voted not to come out, three voted yes. That was the last meeting held with them and they decide that but after that we began to get mix feelings that umm the same ones we actually spoke to in that particular meeting decide that hey I’m not sure so I might join the next three. So at this point we’re in what we call like a standing position then to find out who want to come out and who all not want to take part in this year’s event.”

Andrea Polanco

“So that start up capital that the bands need was this something  that you all have been getting over the past few years or?”

Gilbert Davis

“About three years back we tell the bands listen, you want the prize to raise we gonna cut the start up funds, unfortunately another two years went by they agree okay no start up funds, let the prize rise. Two years went by and there was no start up funds but no prizes raise. So again they get quite annoyed.”

For Marina Welcome the start up fund is critical for Jump Street to get on the road this year:

Marina Welcome

Marina Welcome: Jump Street Posse

“It’s very hard and I like NICH to understand carnival is not an overnight thing. Normally I start from December to make that money for carnival. I used to sell food on the street side. If you notice I don’t have on any jewelry—all is gone in the pawn shop. Sponsorship is down. I don’t thing it is because the people don’t want to sponsor us, but time is hard. So all we are asking NICH for is to give us a start up fund because you know it’s late. King and Queen will be like the twenty-seventh, Carnival should be on the third of September. All we want is a little start up fund to help us go along with.”

Dorla Vaughn of Black Pearl, one of the oldest Carnival Bands, says that the date set, September third, is too early and the lack of start up funds only compounds the problems:

Andrea Polanco

“So if Black Pearl doesn’t get this start up capital, will we see Black Pearl in this year’s Carnival?”

Dorla Vaughn

Dorla Vaughn, Black Pearl

“We give them wah option: you give us the two thousand dollars if you want carnival the third of September. And my thing is now because they make we have to deh pan media and thing, dah both—they need fi change the date plus di start up fund. That dah my thing and I di speak pan my behalf.”

Andrea Polanco

“This date only gives you guys three months and that’s certainly not enough.”

Dorla Vaughn

“That noh enough. We’ve been having meeting from April but when we went to the meeting, they had everything set out. They don’t sit with us and let us agree with nothing—they just want di shub thing down our throat and me dah one person weh can’t take nobody di shub anything down my throat.”

So what will Carnival be like if eight bands don’t take to the streets come September? It’s certainly not a good look for Belize says Davis:

Andrea Polanco

“So from your perspective with, if eight bands should decide not to partake in Carnival. What will this mean for the September Celebrations in terms of Carnival in Belize?”

Gilbert Davis

“I will say if the eight bands stick to what they’re actually saying it will be a black eye on Carnival, on the tenth of September on a whole for this year. Actually people come from abroad mainly for the Carnival not really for the tenth nor twenty first.”

Andrea Polanco

“So if you don’t get this start up capital Miss Marina, will we be seeing Jump Street come carnival day?”

Marina Welcome

“Well it depends upon who wants to sponsor me. If I get a sponsor, of course I will come. But without the start up funds and without a sponsor, come on.”

Patrick Thompson

The Carnival Association says that they are calling on NICH for the much needed assistance:

Patrick Thompson, Chairman, Belize Carnival Association

“As the president or chairman of the association, I am representing the band and I am pleading to the people at NICH to try and find a way how we can help these bands if it is just for this year so we can move carnival forward.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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13 Responses for “September Carnival in jeopardy”

  1. OW BYM says:

    let’s keep tradition alive…We’re calling on the Government of Belize (especially on the Minister of culture,) to take a stand and back up these carnival groups…as a community we shall do our part in assisting where we can, G.O.B. gotta step up and do the rest. It shouldn’t even have to come to this, people fly in form all over the Caribbean and even all parts of the world to get a taste of our Carnival and culture. Instead of spending on unnecessary vehicles and other things, G.O.B. should have a fund in place to assist these individuals who if even once a year bring joy and entertainment to our country and our streets…shame on you Minister of Culture, shame on you Dean Barrow…shame on you UDP

  2. outsider says:

    do away with this worthless event once and for all, it only degrades our women and children and promotes a culture of lawlessness and immorality.
    do you see the indian community, the chinese or the mennonites having such a bachannal. NO, they are working on that they selling you the fry chicken and the clothes to wear on that day and the beer to drink, so while it comes as a tremendous financial cost to the creole community it is a boost in sales for others. then at the end we will have our children go around with papers to ask donations for school books after carnival. WAKE UP Belizean Creole no carnival will raise you out of poverty only hard work and education!!!tink bout it!!

  3. Sasha says:

    Outsider, you don’t even have common sense much less intelligence or wisdom. This a cultural and annual event that at least for the moment gives smiles, laughter and entertainment to most BELIZEANS.

  4. Earl Grey says:

    FOR THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR INDEPENDENCE……
    WE SHOULD BE HAVING A BIG CELEBRATION!!!!!!

  5. Heny says:

    I bet u some body is gonna blame Barrow for this as well because some people think Barrow is to blame for each and everyhing. lol

  6. CURT SANCHEZ says:

    Carnival in jeopardy ? is this a joke or something ? unno di jinx right ?…where is the country pride ? how can anyone be talking about carnival in jeopardy and not gearing up ready to have a big bash like other Caribbean nations do ?…plus its the 30th anniversary at that ! where are di business’s that make money off the people all year round Brodies, Dave furniture world, Crystal, BTL for sponsorship? Where are the Asian & Indian’s business’s…can someone please EDUCATE these people on social responsibility ! LET’S HAVE SOME PRIDE BELIZE PEOPLE..PLEASE !!!!!!

  7. Baymen says:

    this is what my people have come to. beg, beg, beg, outsider right. every year its begging season before september.

  8. 2 cents says:

    i agree with outsider 150% ……..

  9. bzmar says:

    Well said outsider.

  10. agreewithoutsider says:

    I totally agree with outsider…. that thing looks nasty now instead of culture oriented!

  11. Johnny says:

    Oh yeah I agree with outsider 200 percent!!! As soon as a group starts to publicize themself and get half naked and dance, thats DEGRADATION OF HUMANITY!!! Tell me, what worth does this carnival thing have? Does this pay? Will there ever be a dollar that will come back from all this useless expense? Lets use money in wiser areas!! Come on!

  12. Drama says:

    Barrow gat d fault fi di pickney dem di dance up pan di street half naked d give the child molesters eye candy. And unu weh dah ma unu think dat look cute fi gat unu batty weh look like raisin di show outta door like dat. Carnival no bring income mek we think bout something weh bring money fi di country mein……nuff said

  13. sonny says:

    @ drama ur such a drama queen d parents needs to take control and manage d children behavior

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