MARIGOT—The 2016 French-side carnival was officially launched on the waterfront last night with Territorial Councillor in charge of culture affairs Rollande Questel handing over the symbolic key to carnival committee President Jean-Philippe Richardson.
Richardson, who has said this is his last year at the helm of carnival, told the crowd there’s still time to join a troupe.
“Don’t wait until the parade is already on the road. It’s a great opportunity to have fun and no one is going to tell you to get off the street,” said Richardson. “Each year our goal has been to take carnival to the next level. This is our fifth year. In the past we have been criticised for lacking promotion but this year I don’t think anyone can say we didn’t promote carnival. We are on Facebook and everyone knows what we are doing.
“I’m asking the general public to get involved. Let’s make it great together. Businesses put your hand in your pockets and contribute. Any way you want to do it we will work with you. We are open to anyone wanting to help.”
Rollande Questel who was representing President Aline Hanson in her remarks thanked all those who energy and hard work goes into enhancing each edition.
“Carnival is part of our culture, our tradition. Beyond investment of the organisers carnival concerns us all,” she said. “It significantly contributes to the reputation of the territory. I encourage all inhabitants to take part in carnival. It is essential for the population to support it and attend the parades. Because it’s a means to showcase our local talent and craftsmanship.
“I encourage all the socio-professionals to embrace the event and support it financially. The Collectivité believes in its potential and gives the organising committee a subvention every year. We are all very eager to see the beautiful costumes in the parades and St. Martin can be proud of the talent that is showcased on the streets.”
Territorial Councillor Antero de Jesus Santos Paulino also spoke on behalf of absent President of the St. Martin Tourism Office, Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool.
The first event is the Miss Pitchounette and Junior Carnival pageants taking place this Sunday from 4:00pm in Carnival Village, Galis Bay. The Children’s Parade is on Sunday, January 31.
The contestants of both pageants were present last night where they were introduced by the carnival committee. Members of the carnival committee were also presented to the public.