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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Costume contribution to Carriacou's 2011 carnival

(LEFT – RIGHT): MELONI ARCHBALD, BOBBY STEELE, SHANEL EDMUND, ALEXANDRA OTWAY-NOEL, SEN. ARLEY GILL, REISA FLETCHER AND COLIN DOWE. (PHOTO: NAZIM BENJAMIN)
St. George’s, February 11, 2011 – Cultural enthusiasts, including Senator Arley Gill, are encouraging greater collaborative efforts to help further develop the carnivals of Grenada and Carriacou.


They have hailed a donation of costumes from the Grenada-based Summercrew to a Carriacou mas’ band, “The Spirit of Carnival.’’
“I believe that this gesture would enhance the quality of the Carriacou carnival product,’’ Sen. Gill, the Junior Minister of Culture, said at the costume presentation at Club Bananas in St. George’s.

Shanel Edmund received the donation on behalf of “The Spirit of Carnival’’ at the presentation and news conference that were attended by Sen. Gill; Grenada Carnival Committee (GCC) chairman Colin Dowe; Summercrew president Bobby Steele; and two of his executive members, Meloni Archbald and Alexandra Otway-Noel. There was also the modeling of a costume by Reisa Fletcher.

Like Trinidad and Tobago, the Carriacou carnival is a pre-Lenten festival. This year, it's being held March 7 and 8.

Ms. Otway-Noel said Summercrew’s aim, since its formation in 1986, has been the growth and development of culture.
“In that vein, Summercrew has decided to extend a hand to Carriacou by way of donating costumes to help enhance the Carriacou carnival experience,’’ she said.

Mr. Steele said his organisation is not only helping to market Carriacou’s carnival, but also intends to send a delegation to play mas’ in the Sister Isle.

“This year, Alex, myself and other members of our executive sat down and decided that we needed to send a delegation across to Carriacou to partake in their carnival as well to show that our support is all-round,’’ he said.
“From today on,’’ Steele pledged, “we’re going to be marketing very heavily carnival in Carriacou for everybody to come up and enjoy. We will be there with you on the road, in the fetes; we’re coming.’’
Sen. Gill said government’s commitment to cultural development in Carriacou has included strong marketing of the island’s carnival celebrations.

“We believe that continued marketing in Grenada can result in more and more Grenadian masqueraders and carnival lovers going to the Sister Isle for carnival,’’ he said. “I want to use this opportunity, as well, to appeal to Grenadians to support Carriacou’s carnival and let us go to Carriacou for carnival.’’
Mr. Dowe, also appealing for Grenadian participation in Carriacou’s carnival, said it’s both a “wise’’ economic choice and an opportunity to enjoy a great cultural festival.

“When we speak of the economic crunch that we’re all experiencing,’’ Dowe said, “when we speak about being wise with our monies, it seems fitting for us to spend our monies in the State of Grenada but not miss out on carnival. And Carriacou provides that opportunity; Grenada, of course, being the only Caribbean island with two carnivals, which is something we boast about.’’



The GCC chairman commended Summercrew on making the EC$8,000 costume donation in support of the Digicel-sponsored Carriacou carnival. He wants to see similar exchanges between other mas’ bands
“While I congratulate Summercrew on spearheading this collaborative initiative, I would also like to issue a challenge to other major bands to have this type of partnership,’’ Mr. Dowe said.
“Because when we speak of product development, we certainly can’t think merely in terms of people doing it in isolation. There is need for us to lend a helping hand to those who might be a little bit behind us, not for lack of ideas, but quite often for the lack of resources.’’
Collaboration and assistance could lead to more people playing fancy mas’ and a better quality product on the street, Mr. Dowe added.
The promotion of Carriacou’s carnival continues with the playing of calypsoes on Grenadian radio stations, as well as through websites such as partygrenada.
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