Carnival 2024 – A message from Prime Minister Jacobs | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – “It is that time of year, when we celebrate one of the largest cultural festivals in our calendar of activities. Each year we look forward to this celebration which showcases our culture, our creativity, our diverse foods and drinks and is one of the economic drivers within our community - all this amidst the usual “bacchanal” one associates with Carnival. It is a shared culture within our region, however, St. Maarten Carnival is always special.

“As Prime Minister and elected member of Parliament of St. Maarten, it is an honor to address the people and visitors of Sweet St. Maarten.

“Carnival is a time to come together to enjoy music, eating, drinking, socializing, and mostly creating. It is a time for our orange economy to shine. A time when our bands, musicians, songwriters, singers, calypsonians and soca artists create new rhythms & catchy lyrics to make us jam, dance, chip and sway; while the double entendre and clever wit of the calypso, our traditional social commentary, makes us laugh or even gives us pause to ponder and reflect.

“A time for costume and float designers to ply their craft, combining fabrics, beads, wire, colors, textures, natural and recycled materials to create designs to depict what their imagination conjures and the revelers demand. Talent is displayed from young and old, whether in pageantry, calypso and soca competitions, road marches and band clash. Many look forward to the creativity of our cultural dishes and drinks, where the taste buds are tempted, and you can find whatever you desire during the weeks of fettin’.

“Today as this journey commences, let us pledge to be safe in the midst of the festivities. Let us look out for one another, and have good, clean fun. I implore parents to ensure the safety of your children throughout these proceedings, by ensuring proper child care when you venture out, and ensuring that your underage children are not unsupervised in public nor attending adult oriented shows. Our laws specifically mention 15 years and older, and as parents it’s your duty to ensure they don’t attend. Promoters and event hosts are also encouraged to do their due diligence to safeguard the innocence of our youth for as long as possible, (NO underaged drinking) while ensuring proper security and safety protocols aimed at the prevention of any situation that could endanger the lives of others.

“Let us ensure that our children looking on will want to emulate the behavior they see. Let us take responsibility for the types of shows we promote, and move away from the exploitation of especially women in the way we write, produce and create the music. Women are not sex objects, and several have complained about the types of artists/music that is being promoted. While many have been conditioned to think less is best, I hope creativity will be at its highest this year in ways that edify us as a community and ensure the longevity and sustainability of the development of our people. The key is the safeguarding of our culture and promoting and rewarding our creativity. The sneak peaks thus far scream culture, color and splendor.

“St. Maarten has a lot to offer, and it is only by working together as has been mentioned in various meetings that this can be achieved to ensure safety & security for all in a well-organized, well supported festivities where the spirit of Carnival as was envisioned by our forefathers will continue to thrive.

“All stakeholders must come together to ensure that our main cultural festival maintains its unique nature, while ensuring our cultural heritage is revered. This is not about any one person or entity, but about St. Maarten Carnival which belongs to the people of St. Maarten. Amidst all the complaints over the years, let us seriously come together to resolve the long standing challenges and work towards a more symbiotic relationship in the interest of all concerned.

“I wish all stakeholders, who have been working for months, weeks and especially the last few days to prepare for the start of our Carnival much success in the execution of their goals. To the booth holders, promoters, musicians, artists, dancers, singers, stilt walkers, bands, sound and light technicians, photographers, videographers, media specialists, poets, chefs, cooks, bartenders, grill men and all others working behind the scenes to create the magic that is carnival, I wish you much success.

“To the people of St. Maarten, go out and enjoy the festivities safely. Support the local entrepreneurs selling their specialty foods and drinks. Enjoy the many cultural and musical shows which have been planned to meet the needs of our very diverse community. Designate a driver, to avoid unnecessary accidents. I trust that our parades will continue to showcase our creative talents with class and style.

“Thanks in advance to Government employees, civil servants who toil yearly to ensure that the St. Maarten Carnival is a success - our police officers, fire fighters, inspectors in various departments, public works who work diligently before, during and after all events to ensure the proper procedures are followed and that all are compliant with the countries laws and regulations.

“A happy, safe and incident free carnival is wished to one and all!”

Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs