KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace on Monday joined in defending Carnival and described it as an important cultural and economic activity.
“… it is a very important festival and let no one believe that it is something that should be condemned,” he said during his weekly radio programme.
“I am not big on Carnival,” he said adding that the only attends the Demarche Gras show regularly but added that recently there have been several Christian leaders condemning Carnival, including one in a sermon on radio Sunday.
“… the behaviour of our young people was condemned strongly by one preacher. … He was in fact making the point that we shouldn’t have any carnival and you know there are some other preachers who have made comments in that regard,” Eustace said.
“But I don’t support that. I think we should try and reduce the level of vulgarity that may occur from time to time but this is our major cultural festival and it should be done with taste but it should always be done.
“It is very important. And it is something from which people can earn. It is something from which people can make an important economic contribution if it is well run and people are attracted to it by the relevant promotion and so on that one may do locally and overseas. It can bring benefits to our economy.
“So, I want to wish those who are responsible — bandleaders, calypsonians, members of the organisation, the CDC [Carnival Development Corporation] who have the responsibility to take those responsibilities seriously and continue to give their support to Carnival in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
Forebears fought for Carnival: Ragguette
Last week, President of the Carnival Bands Association Hugh Ragguette also defended Carnival against religious and other elements.
“Whenever it comes to Carnival, you are always forced to justify what you do. And this is a problem in this country at all levels. At the level of the bureaucracy, it is rampant; you are always forced to justify your existence in terms of the so-called premier national festival,” he said at a CDC press briefing.
“And those who are ignorant and know not of what they speak find themselves seeking the limelight and they getting to hog the front page of newspaper and they address national days of prayer and they use these occasions to launch unjustified attacks on Carnival,” Ragguette further said.
“I am here this morning to defend our national festival…. Let me remind them, those who attack carnival, let me remind them that their fore parents and our fore parents fought the colonial authorities in order to celebrate their carnival.
“And we have been doing so uninterrupted for the last 135 years and more, expect for the war years 1915 to 1918 and 1940 to 1945,” he said, adding that while there was no official programme of activities in 1979, when La Soufriere erupted, Vincentians still celebrated Carnival.