SCDF again request Govt. not to grant permits for events in Carnival period
SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday re-iterated the importance of its request made months ago to government to not grant any permit for events in the Carnival season that conflict with official Carnival events or those organized by recognized Carnival stakeholders.
President of the foundation Edwardo Radjouki explained that there is an apparent disregard for Carnival and its stakeholders from government who annually grants permits without considering what is already happening in the Carnival season. The SCDF considers parts of March and the month of April as the Carnival period.
He said in the past the Carnival foundation used to be able to count on the government to respect the Carnival season and not grant any permits for events. In addition to that, the government used to communicate with the SCDF to ask if a particular permit should or should not be granted.
Today, Radjouki continued, no such communication exists “while we have local stakeholders and local bands that have already begun organizing local pre-Carnival events and there is already talk of permits being granted or pending for events that will conflict with what local Carnival stakeholders are doing.” He said he hopes this is not the case and looks forward to some kind of communication.
Radjouki said the SCDF already has to contend with an undermanned and exhausted police force that work long hours during Carnival and who frequently advises the foundation not to stretch the police to thin. Adding outside events to that mix, Radjouki said, further exhausts the police and also jeopardizes the three-week long festival.
“We asked government last year not to issue any permits in the Carnival period, to protect what stakeholders and cultural practitioners will be doing in the season. They tend to need full support. They don’t deserve to be competing against God knows what in the Carnival season. Leave the Carnival season for Carnival,” Radjouki said.
He added that there have already been attempts to “water down” the Carnival product by granting of permits for events already held in Carnival. “All over the world everyone knows that Jouvert is associated with a country’s Carnival activities. But on St. Maarten we had a Summer Jouvert that was monetized and supported by government. Had the SCDF monetized Jouvert you would have never heard the end of it. Sorry, I speak plain and we all know that’s true.
“Then we have the Causeway Jump-Up, an event started by the SCDF. A permit was granted to another entity to do the same Causeway Jump-Up, again, for monetary gain. The traditions of Carnival, protected and executed by cultural volunteers for decades, are under threat. It seems like nothing is respected or sacred anymore. So we wanted to use this opportunity to remind the government of our request to not grant permits in the season,” Radjouki concluded.