By anguillian August 21, 2017 12:16



(The following is an extract from PAINKILLER, by Colville Petty, first published in this paper on 18th August 2000 – exactly 17 years ago. Have things changed for the better since then?)

“ . . . Carnival has come and gone and it will come again. It is primarily a cultural extravaganza – a cultural showpiece. However, it is also economic activity with tremendous potential. It is a significant creator of employment during that time of the year when our tourism season has closed and many people are out of work until (November/December). It brings visitors to our shores and allows us to fill some of our unoccupied rooms. Because of the multiplier effect other types of businesses, especially restaurants, nightclubs and car rentals, are able to make some money. During Carnival one can hardly find a car to rent. This happens at no other time of year. Carnival is also an important foreign exchange earner.

“For the foregoing reasons, Government should give much consideration to treating Carnival as an important sector of the economy, and promote it the same way it promotes tourism. It needs to be properly structured and managed. Perhaps responsibility for its promotion and management should be placed in the hands of a statutory board or corporation, much like the Social Security Board, with a view to ensuring that the island reaps maximum benefits.

“To take the argument further, such a board or corporation could include, under its umbrella, the development, promotion and management of all cultural activities (like the annual Cultural Festival held in February). The board or corporation, therefore, would have the twin purpose of promoting and sustaining Carnival as a cultural institution and as a sector of the economy with potential for improving the wellbeing of Anguillian people.

“Since Carnival has such potential then serious thought must be given to improving Carnival Village better known as Landsome Bowl. Make no mistake about it, Landsome Bowl has a shantytown appearance. It is an eyesore in The Valley, our capital. And this is despite the fact that Carnival is our cultural showpiece and an occasion when many people visit the island to join in its festivities. Landsome Bowl is an embarrassment.

“A priority must be the substantial upgrading of the entire area and its facilities. The Bowl needs some sort of roofing to ensure that the shows are not disrupted by rain, as frequently happens. Further, whenever it rains the Bowl is a mess – is marshy – thus the case for paving both its inside and outside. The Bowl also needs standby power and better toilet facilities.
“In view of the economic potential of Carnival, I believe strongly that if Government comes up with a good plan for the development of Landsome Bowl, some donor agency would be willing to provide the funds for its implementation. If no donor is interested then consideration should be given to approaching the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for a loan. The fact that Carnival is a revenue earner, and would be self-financing within a few years or so, is likely to attract the CDB’s interest. Any money spent on developing its infrastructure is not wasted because Carnival is here to stay. It is a cultural institution which we cannot do without. It is an important sector of our economy that kicks in when the main tourism sector kicks out.

“It is also one of our society’s better painkillers. It does for our society what Aspirin, Advil and Tylenol do for our bodies. Carnival eases some of our pains, reduces tension and wipes away some of our tears. It is an escape valve for social discontent and pressure. It provides timeout to relax and recharge”.

By anguillian August 21, 2017 12:16


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