by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A grand affair was held on Friday evening, December 02 2022, to mark the opening of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Carnival “Sugar Mas 51”.
Minister of Culture, Hon. Samal Duggins declared the festival open, followed by the ribbon cutting. Joining him to do the honours were Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Ms Valencia Syder, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Chairperson of the National Carnival Committee, Ms Shannon Hawley.
The Wonderland concert featured vocal presentations by Joseph “Zamar” Tudor, Venelle Powell, Maurice “EK” Flanders, Nicha B, The Unexpected, Hon Konris Maynard, Tebulous, Shakki Starfire, Queen Independent, Contender and Ras Kelly. Also forming part of the event were steel pan and dance presentations, the sashing of the 2022 National Carnival Grand Marshall, Mr Elroy Browne and the introduction of the contestants for the 2022-2023 National Carnival Queen, Swimwear and Talented Teen Pageants.
The grand opening, dubbed Sugar Mas Wonderland, began with a parade through the streets of Basseterre towards the Carnival Village, where the opening concert was held. The event attracted scores of in-person and online viewers, and from WINN FM’s collection, patrons were pleased with the quality of the opening event.
Whilst parading through the streets, host Ms. Patrice Harris interviewed a few Ministers of Government who shared their anticipations for Sugar Mas 51.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Hanley anticipates a massive Carnival Season and great commentary from the Calypsonians.
“As we parade up the street of Fort Street, It reminded me of my days when I was fully involved in Carnival and with the crowd that I am seeing just on the streets, just for the Opening, we can anticipate a massive, massive Carnival Season, especially our Parade Day.”
Dr Hanley added, “I believe [people] would be looking for a time when they can really relax, enjoy and get in and out of themselves, having been restricted for two years. As you know, this is part of our Culture, and I believe [people] are looking forward to the Calypsos because, you know, our Calypsonians over the years have been producing some very good commentary, and this year would be no different. As you know, there has been a change in the Government. So, I am anticipating that there [will] be some juicy, juicy Calypsos this year.”
Hon. Konris Maynard, a successful competitor in the Carnival Calypso and Soca events in past years, is expecting an extraordinary season where revellers would let loose after being free from COVID-19 restrictions.
“Well, it’s been a long time, actually. It’s been ten years since I have actually competed. So, I need to figure out what I am doing; but it’s good to be part of Carnival now in this new capacity and giving support to my colleague, the Minister for Carnival this year, which is Hon Samal Duggins and the entire team. I think we’re going to have an extraordinary time. It is the first Carnival since COVID. So, I know people want to break loose. There’s a lot to let go. There’s a lot we have been through over the couple years, so this will be an excellent opportunity for everybody to let loose. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Samal Duggins has extended a Sugar Mas 51 invitation to all individuals, stating that it will be the best Carnival ever.
“Well, to all of our Nationals at home and abroad and anyone that’s interested in Carnival, this is the place to be from December 02 all the way to January 03 it is; and this is the place where you can have fun; you can fete, and you can be apart of a wonderful cultural experience because Sugar Mas 51 will be the best Carnival; not what St.Kitts and Nevis has ever had but the one in the region; something to model-Sugar Mas 51.”
The month-long festival, Sugar Mas 51, will come to an end on January 3, 2023, with the hosting of the Carnival Street Parade and Last Lap.