HILIPSBURG--The board of St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has taken a decision to implement age restrictions for Carnival Village. As of Carnival 2016, no one fourteen years old or younger will be allowed entrance to adult-oriented shows in Carnival Village without adult supervision.
The decision was made as part of new operational changes the foundation has been rolling out over the past few weeks.
The only exception to this new regulation will be for the Youth Extravaganza and other youth-oriented shows that are held in Carnival Village.
In other words, if someone 14 or younger approaches the Village ticket booths to purchase an entrance ticket for a specific show, he or she will not be allowed to purchase that ticket unless entering with an adult. If the ticket was purchased in advance, he/she will not gain entrance without adult supervision.
SCDF said concert promoters would be apprised of these new regulations on age restrictions.
“It is a move we felt that we simply had to make considering the growing trend over the past few years. Ultimately, parents are responsible for their children’s wellbeing, but as the foundation responsible for Carnival, we could not sit back and do nothing,” SCDF said.
“When you see 12- and 13-year-olds trying to get a ride home after 2:00am or taking a bus after 3:00am you not only question parental responsibility, but you start to look at what you can do to address that.”
The foundation said it was happy to read Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard’s comments calling for the issue to be addressed, but stressed that Carnival itself should not suffer.
“There are too many Carnival stakeholders that depend on the events that we currently have. Limiting them or eliminating them is not the way to go and entirely unfair to them. So while we support efforts to curb youth presence at adult Carnival events, we will not support efforts if they hurt our traditional events,” SCDF said.
The foundation said it had a great relationship with the Police Force and would look forward to having the discussion with the Minister of Justice and the Police Force before any regulations were imposed so that all parties would be on the same page.