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SCDF mandates that a cultural section must lead every troupe

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has mandated that all troupes taking part in the Grand Carnival Parades must have a section of 15 persons or more, depicting St. Maarten’s culture, at the front of their troupes. Alternatively, should troupes not be able to field a section of persons, they can also present one large road piece or float.  Troupes were informed in December.
President of the SCDF Edwardo Radjouki said that following costume trends from other nations is one thing, but completely ignoring local culture in designs and revelry is not something the SCDF can let happen to Carnival parades on St. Maarten.
“I say completely because currently we are not witnessing any form or depiction of our culture in the parades. We are not saying that you can’t have a combination, this is preferred. But to have none at all is not desirable for us and for the development of our largest cultural festival,” he said.
He added that the Children Parade does not fall under this mandate since this is the only parade where culture can be seen almost an annual basis. “The children troupes do a nice job of depicting our flora, our Caribbean sea, our cultural heroes and other aspects. We hope these troupe leaders continue this trend,” Radjouki said.
“The adult troupes have moved more and more towards the Trinidad/Brazilian style of costumes which are spectacular and provocative, but do not always cater to all body types. Also, we are missing local creativity in our parades. You do not have to look to Trinidad or Brazil. Look to closer neighbors such as Martinique. So we challenged our troupe leaders to embrace our culture and put a section of revelers up front showcasing an aspect of culture,” he said.
Radjouki explained that the foundation realized that for Carnival 2023, getting a section of people together could be a challenge so it offered a road piece (a large piece someone pulls on wheels) or a float as alternatives. “If they do manage to put a section on the road, they can be as culturally creative as they need to be, the same goes for the road piece and/or the float. We have the utmost confidence that the troupes will be able to pull it off and the parades will be better for it,” he concluded.

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