MARIGOT–The Festivités Carnavalesque de St. Martin (FCDSM) Carnival Committee officially launched the 2018 French-side Carnival programme at a press conference in Fort Louis Marina last night, admitting the programme was “short and sweet,” but importantly contained the “most important components of Carnival.”
The programme launched under the slogan “We Culture, We Fête” kicks off on Saturday, February 10, with the opening festivities on the Marigot waterfront, followed the next day with the Children’s Parade in Marigot starting at 3:00pm.
Monday, February 12, is Jouvert Morning starting at 5:00am. The evening sees a “We Showdown” at 8:00pm on the waterfront. The Mardi Gras Parade is on Tuesday, February 13, in Marigot, followed by the closing Ash Wednesday parade at 8:00pm Wednesday, February 14.
There is no Carnival Village this year as the site in Galisbay was used to store hurricane debris. Although the site has now been cleared of debris, time constraints meant it was not possible to erect Carnival booths and organise everything needed for a village. Therefore, Carnival events have been kept on the Marigot waterfront.
“Yes, it is a shorter programme compared to previous editions, but we are convinced that the programme containing parades, music and costumes and Jouvert morning will still delight locals and visitors,” said FCDSM President Luciana Raspail. “It will represent our joy for life and our culture.
“I want to thank the FCDSM members for quickly mobilising to get a schedule out, and the Collectivité and St. Martin Tourism Office for their support, and our loyal private partners for their commitment to stay at our side despite the circumstances; they are Sound Masters, Mad Design, Kalaboom Team, Carnival troupes, the schools, Periscolaire, and Caisse Territorial des Oeuvres Scolaires (CTOS).
“I invite everyone to come out and enjoy carnival 2018 under the theme We Culture, We Fete.”
Raspail invited former FCDSM president Jean-Philippe Richardson up to the podium and announced the board had made him an Honorary President. “I know we can count on him for support,” she said. “The entire island, mainly the French side, is grateful for your tremendous work. Without your presence and drive there would not have been Carnival on the French side.”
Richardson responded by saying he had stepped down only when he felt he felt the team behind him was ready to take over the reins.
“I’ve always had a good team behind me,” he said. “When I resigned I knew that I would not be letting the island down where culture is concerned. I can assure you Carnival is in good hands. Many of the members have been with me for years. They want to see culture live on. If we don’t preserve it nobody else will. They are a strong team and I have a lot of confidence in them. Irma came, but Irma can’t stop us. Life goes on. St. Martin will smile again.”
Elected officials present for the press conference included Third Vice-President of the Collectivité Annick Petrus, Culture Commission President Yolande Sylvestre, St. Martin Tourism Office Vice-President Alex Pierre and Human Development Department Director Thierry Gombs.
Petrus also spoke briefly, congratulating the Carnival Committee for its effort in organising Carnival in very difficult circumstances following the hurricanes. She encouraged the population to come out and enjoy Carnival as it always has done.
Newly-crowned Haynes Smith Caribbean Talented Teen Queen winner Tasyanna Clifton was also present and took the opportunity to thank various sponsors, family and supporters for contributing to her success at the pageant in St. Kitts on December 30.
Joining Clifton were French-side Senior Carnival Queen Shaina Galvani and Junior Carnival Queen Doryanna Pascale.
The evening concluded with a presentation of all the FCDSM board members.