Carnival planners promise that Vincy Mas 2010 will be the hottest in the Caribbean. (File photo)

ST. VINCENT: – Vincy Mas 2010 was officially launched on Saturday with festival organizers promising to once again deliver “the hottest carnival in the Caribbean”.

The festival got underway in Kingstown with the launching ceremony at the end of a day of hype activities, including whistle stops to both sides of St. Vincent.

Minister of Culture, Rene Baptiste declared the festival officially launched during a ceremony that heard addresses from carnival organizers and sponsors and saw the first official public appearance of the ten contestants for Miss SVG 2010.

There were also dance performances by La Gracia Dancers, sneak peeks of some of this year’s carnival costume and J’ouvert presentations.

It also featured the Best New Song competition, appearances by Sion Hill Euphonium and Rhythmix steel orchestras, an extempore showdown, and a surprise appearance by “the barefoot calypsonian” Gao, compliments telecommunications company, LIME.

“It is a wonderful thing to see you here tonight as you turn out to witness the launch of this, Vincy Mas 2010, the hottest carnival in the Caribbean,” Minister Baptiste said at the launching.

She said the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) must be complemented for the work that it has put into the festivals over the past nine years. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

She noted that Vincy Mas, along with Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands, was among three carnivals to be invited to President Barack Obama’s inauguration parade.

“We must be really proud of our Vincy Mas. We have a brand that is superior in the whole region.”

She said that with the recent opening of a Brazilian embassy in Kingstown, the South American nation, home to one of the best carnival in the world, would be given “a spectacular display of Vincy Mas”.

Gao was the surprise performer at Saturday's launch. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

CDC Dennis Ambrose was liberal is praising the festival, saying it was second, in the Caribbean, only to Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are not just the hottest carnival in the Caribbean,” he said in an interview with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

“This may sound boastful, but we have placed ourselves there because of the energy that comes out of Vincy Mas. Trinidad, yes, has the biggest carnival in the region; but, outside of Trinidad, Vincy Mas is it,” he told NBC.

“This year will be a good year,” Ambrose said, his optimism based on what he has seen so far of the components of carnival: mas, pan, and calypso, adding that rural carnivals were “growing in leaps and bounds”.

However, notwithstanding Ambrose’s optimism, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Angus Steele said some businesses were “a little bit selfish and they need to come out of that space and be truly good corporate citizens and help”.

“This is not about politics, this is not about who you like or dislike, this is about your own nation, our nation, St, Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Steele, who Country Manager of LIME (SVG), a major sponsor of Vincy Mas.

“…[A]ll of you who are listening and love to criticize, get yourself out the criticism corner, get yourself assisting the CDC, because you will be assisting St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the Grenadian national said.