The St. Kitts-Nevis National Carnival Committee (SKNNCC) has given some updates on this year’s edition of Sugar Mas, which is a month away from its official launch.
Patrons are being enticed to attend Calypso Monarch, both junior and senior; Soca Monarch; Pageants; and other family activities.
During a Wednesday (October 15th) Media Update, Hon. Samal Duggins, Minister of the Creative Economy said that the country’s Carnival product boosts the economy with direct and indirect investments.
“For every person that comes in, they have to stay somewhere. If they don’t have a family member, it’s a hotel or a guest house. Then they have to eat. Some of them choose to rent a car or take a taxi. But they have to move around. And then, as we’ve seen, most of our troupes were sold out. It means then, those costumes had to be bought.
“And if that wasn’t enough, you can’t put on a fancy costume without the fancy makeup. And so, again, our local artisans had quite a task in preparing our beautiful women for those beautiful costumes. And we could go on and on and look at the multiplier effect that events like Carnival have.”
Across the board, winnings for most of the competitions have increased.
Soca and Senior Calypso Monarch competitions are now XCD $20,000 each; Junior Calypso Monarch with 19 participants is now in two segments, with a XCD $3500 prize for the Secondary School level; and a XCD $2500 prize for the Primary School level of the competition.
A few tweaks have also been made to Midnight Escape, which will run from 3 pm to 12 midnight; and Folklore Avenue is now “Festive Friday”, which includes a Masquerade competition; a Bull competition; and a competition that includes a mixture of other folkloric elements.
Another element to see changes is Road March. With 43 Road March submissions from 15 entities and a simplified criteria according to the Committee, this year’s Road March Competition is shaping up to be one for the books.
The new criteria propose two judging points, both along Fort Street, as it is the area that all bands and DJ Hi-Fi systems frequent. The committee has also taken into account the slow movement of bands and troupes last year.
Chairperson Shannon Hawley addressed some questions surrounding the criteria’s implementation, during the Media Update.
“We feel that with this very simple, modified version of the judging for Road March, there will be a nonstop movement, and the committee responsible for streets has taken that into consideration – the backlog last year – when planning the route for Road March. We also have to understand we have Road March being judged on that day, as well as the J’Ouvert troupes.
“We’re working very closely with our security forces to make sure that the route is as seamless and easy as possible so that we would not experience the backlog. But what we found was that the backlog specifically was because of that performance stage down on the Bay Road. Everybody wanted to hit the performance and perform on the Bay Road.”
Contenders are also concerned about the possibility of persons employing disreputable means to secure the Road March Title. The committee is being guided by a policy which Chair Hawley said will remain. The policy was also signed by the contenders themselves.
Sugar Mas 52 runs from December 15 to January 2nd 2024.