Change is com­ing for Looshan Mas 2015

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

The Car­ni­val Plan­ning Man­age­ment Agency (CPMA) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of Tourism, Her­itage and the Cre­ative In­dus­tries, on the evening of Mon­day April 27th un­veiled plans for this year’s car­ni­val. All was re­vealed at a press con­fer­ence at­tended by the me­dia, var­i­ous car­ni­val stake­hold­ers and spon­sors. It was held at the Bay Gar­dens Beach Re­sort and Spa.

“I can’t re­mem­ber when last we’ve had this great level of ex­cite­ment prior to the Jazz fes­ti­val for car­ni­val… and this will hope­fully au­gur well for the car­ni­val 2015 sea­son,” stated Lyn­del Arnold, chair­man of the CPMA in his re­marks on Mon­day. He went on to speak of the num­ber of re­leases so far for the sea­son as well as the num­ber of car­ni­val bands that have al­ready launched.

“So th­ese are ex­cit­ing times for us. But we would not be here to­day with­out the sup­port of our spon­sors,” he in­di­cated as he high­lighted con­sis­tent play­ers like Pi­ton Beer and Dig­i­cel.

“We also have to ac­knowl­edge the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia for their con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in Car­ni­val. There is al­ways go­ing to be that de­bate as to how much will be enough and there is al­ways go­ing to be the crit­ics who ques­tion the value of the spon­sor­ship put in by gov­ern­ment given all of the other chal­lenges that the ad­min­is­tra­tion faces in terms of so­cial pro­gramme’s,” Arnold said. “So we do ap­pre­ci­ate Gov­ern­ments sup­port and that is why we must show slate to show what we can do with putting on a fes­ti­val that is of a high qual­ity,” he added.

In out­lin­ing the plans for Car­ni­val 2015, the CPMA re­vealed on Mon­day that the open­ing of car­ni­val will be on Sun­day May 24th, one day be­fore the Whit Mon­day line jam. The open­ing, dubbed “Odyssey” will be held at Sa­maans Park. Ju­nior car­ni­val will be launched separately as greater em­pha­sis is placed on the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of revellers. On that note the CPMA is work­ing with the CDF and the Car­ni­val Bands As­so­ci­a­tion to host ju­nior panorama this year as part of the na­tional car­ni­val cal­en­dar.

Given the dwin­dling in­ter­est in the King and Queen of the bands com­pe­ti­tion, the CPMA has pro­posed to the Car­ni­val Bands As­so­ci­a­tion open­ing up the event to non-af­fil­i­ated cos­tume builders to al­low for greater par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The car­ni­val route for 2015 re­mains the same. End time on car­ni­val Mon­day and Tues­day is 7pm.

Ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing on Mon­day, Min­is­ter of Tourism Lorne Theophilus greeted with the news that Cabi­net had agreed to a pro­vi­sional end time of ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing car­ni­val from 2 am to 3: 30 am. “Also this year when the bud­get for car­ni­val is an­nounced you will be very sat­is­fied. In ad­di­tion to that bud­get for car­ni­val, the gov­ern­ment has also made a sep­a­rate com­mit­ment to­wards the com­mu­nity car­ni­vals,” Theophilus stated. He went on to ad­vise that, as of 2016, a new en­tity - the Na­tional Fes­ti­vals Com­mis­sion - will be man­dated to over­see car­ni­val and all other na­tional fes­ti­vals.

Mon­day’s press launch also fea­tured a per­for­mance by the 2014 Groovy Soca Monarch, Arthur and pre­sen­ta­tions by some of the car­ni­val bands ac­com­pa­nied by the Pi­ton mod­els.

The much an­tic­i­pated launch of Car­ni­val on Sun­day May 24th will be fol­lowed by a se­ries of events both pri­vately run as well as events staged by the CPMA and START, the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­spon­si­ble for Ca­lypso events. The an­nual pa­rade of the bands, which brings the cur­tain down on car­ni­val, will be held on July 20 and 21, 2015.

Tourism Min­is­ter Lorne Theophilus and Chair­man of the CPMA Lyn­den Arnold with cos­tumed mod­els at car­ni­val press

launch Mon­day.

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