SCDF announces 2017 honourees

~ Jasmine Philips, Alberto Brooks, NAGICO are SCDF honourees ~

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has chosen troupe leader Jasmine Philips, costume builder Alberto Brooks and long-time sponsor NAGICO Insurances as its Carnival 2017 Honourees.

SCDF selects three individuals/companies on an annual basis to honour for their overall and sustained contributions to Carnival. With Carnival stakeholders spread far and wide, SCDF is never short on possible persons to honour. The three honourees chosen this year are mainstays in Carnival and, according to SCDF, are firmly entrenched as part of the overall Carnival brand.

In troupe leader Jasmine Philips, the Foundation is honouring not just a troupe leader, but someone whose passion is Carnival and who sacrifices personally to ensure that, come what may, she is part of the festivities. Her “Survivors” troupes, both children and adults, participate in the parades every year without missing a step.

She has won several troupe and costumed individual awards over the years and, according to SCDF, seems to be getting better and more creative with her troupes every year. Besides Survivors, Philips has also made her name as a queen pageant chaperone, taking responsibility for at least two contestants annually, sometimes more.

“Jasmine and Survivors are such a big part of Carnival, we can’t imagine the Festival without them. Her contributions and participation go back decades and, most importantly, it’s consistent which shows a true love for Carnival.

“She is always there. She has a big heart, always willing to help the Foundation when we ask and assist pageant contestants out-of-pocket. She sacrifices to put her troupes on the road and is a Carnival-lover through and through. There are not many people more deserving to be honoured for their contribution to Carnival than Jasmine Philips,” SCDF said.

Costume builder Alberto Brooks’ costumes have won countless awards and are featured in everything from queen pageants to individual road pieces. Brooks, himself a parade reveller once, is also the architect behind the King Momo effigy that is burnt at the end of Carnival festivities. He also makes all of the crowns worn by Junior and Senior Calypso and Road March winners.

He too, said the SCDF, personally gives back to Carnival by helping others when sponsorship is scarce and takes great pride in seeing his costumes on display.

“When Alberto stopped revelling in the parades he devoted all of his time to assisting participants of the Dutch and French Carnival festivities. His artwork goes a lot deeper than just the large costumes. He makes all sorts of festive hats and outfits for the regular onlooker and constructs floats when asked. He has placed his stamp on Carnival for years and we think it is beyond time he is recognised for it,” SCDF said.

It is a public secret that SCDF depends heavily on corporate sponsorship. With Government subsidising the Foundation for 25 per cent of its overall budget, the remaining 75 per cent must be funded entirely by contributions from the private sector. Enter NAGICO Insurances, a company that has literally kept calypso alive in St. Maarten.

SCDF explained that NAGICO had been chosen for its commitment to the art form of calypso as well as contributions “we typically do not see. Meaning, while the company sustains calypso, it also gives to other parts of Carnival as a good and responsible corporate citizen,” SCDF said. “Amjad McSood and his team have been dependable partners for Carnival and for a part of our culture, calypso, that is vital to our festival and to the development of young singers with great potential.

“Though some may say NAGICO is primarily a sports-centred company, we can attest that the company touches more than just sports and does so in a significant way. It just so happens that this year is also NAGICO’s 35th anniversary, something we didn’t even know back in November when we made our honourees selections. We are grateful for what the company continues to do for Carnival.”

The selected honourees are always a close-kept secret and are never informed prior to the official media announcement. A special honouree ceremony will be held in April before the official opening of Carnival.

Source: The Daily Herald