PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Friday said it was very happy that the judge dismissed the case brought against it by two booth holders who challenged the foundation’s procedure to allot booths in Carnival Village for the Carnival season. The foundation was represented by Emmely de Haan and Femke Jansen of Lexwell Attorneys at Law.
The booth holders claims have been dismissed due to the fact that there was no prerequisite for emergency proceedings since the two booth holders were apparently already resigned to the fact that they wouldn’t be having a booth for Carnival 2017 and was seeking damages. The judge didn’t see any grounds for damages and as such no damages were awarded. Instead, the two booth holders have to pay the costs of the trial of Naf 1,000.
The foundation has explained publicly numerous times that for the past few years it has sought ways to afford other people in the community, in particular young entrepreneurs, the opportunity to operate a booth in Carnival Village. Persons who operate a booth are evaluated during and after Carnival and decisions are made on whether or not to allot them a booth the following Carnival once they have registered.
“There are so many people who want the opportunity, so many people with fresh ideas on how to improve the overall product in the village and add variety. So if you are allotted a booth, make the best of it. Don’t be closed for nights on end, be creative with it. We look at all of these things but some people don’t understand the full concept of having a booth,” SCDF President Alston Lourens said.
Additionally, he explained, there is still the misconception that people own booths in Carnival Village. “Nobody owns a booth in Carnival Village. The booths at all times fall under the auspices of the SCDF. When you register, it doesn’t mean you get a booth, you register for the opportunity to be considered. These stipulations are all outlined in the booth holders contract which all booth holders sign the minute they are allotted a booth. So it’s simply not true if any booth holder tells you they didn’t know,” Lourens explained.
In the meantime, new booth holders are very happy to have been selected by the SCDF to operate a booth in Carnival Village this year. Young entrepreneur Danielle Rivers said: “This is something I wanted to do for a long time since moving back to St. Maarten. I registered and got through. I feel very grateful and appreciate this opportunity. Being a ‘bacchanalist’ for years this is definitely a game-changer for me and a different experience and perspective of Carnival.”
New booth holders Leroy and Nadia Liburd stated that they were very happy to be operating a booth for 2017 Carnival Season. The husband and wife said that “this is a great opportunity to showcase our culinary skills while providing the community with sweet local tasting dishes. SCDF has been great at keeping us informed about the possibility of operating a booth in the village. To work together with a vibrant group of volunteers who organizes our largest celebration is wonderful.”
Lourens said the work towards the opening of Carnival continues non-stop. “We will have an epic Carnival season where the center of everything will be Carnival Village with its 79 booths and ambiance unmatched anywhere in the Caribbean.”