By: Lincoln Depradine
“Let the festival begin.’’ Those words, from acting Culture Minister Patrick Simmons signaled the official start of Spicemas, Grenada’s annual carnival celebrations.
Simmons, who was deputizing for recently appointed Tourism and Culture Minister, Dr. George Vincent, was the highest-ranking government official to attend the June 2 formal launch of Spicemas at the National Stadium in St. George’s.
Intermittent showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm and spirit of spectators and event participants, including pannists; soca and calypso artistes; costumed masqueraders; Carnival Queen contestants; May Pole Dancers; Jab Jabs; Wild Indians; Moko Jumbies; and Shortknees.
“Uniquely Rooted in Our Rich Ancestral Traditions. Shortknee: Legacy of the Chantuelle,’’ is the theme of Spicemas 2012.
Saturday’s launch began with groups of traditional masqueraders parading from the area around the Fish Market and Bus Terminal to the National Stadium.
“This year’s carnival will be a memorable one,’’ said Colin Dowe, chairman of the Spicemas Corporation (SMC).
It’s his fourth year in charge of the organizing committee for carnival, but his first as SMC chair.
The Corporation, which replaces the Grenada Carnival Committee, was formalized in July 2011 following the passage of a bill in parliament and subsequently given royal assent by Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean.
SMC is the sole body charged with the responsibility of operating, organizing, managing and promoting carnival, within and outside Grenada. The corporation’s board of directors has representation from each of carnival’s major stakeholders – mas, steelband and calypso.
Dowe, in his address on Saturday, reiterated that Spicemas belongs to all of Grenada.
In this light, he said the SMC will be holding activities in all parishes. This, Dowe explained, includes collaborating with carnival committees in the parishes to rotate the Carnival City event that was held for the first time last year at Fort Matthew in St. George’s.
Dowe, on behalf of the SMC, was presented with a piece of artwork by top local artist, Gilbert Nero.
Communications provider, LIME, is platinum sponsor of Spicemas for yet another year.
Country Manager Angus Steele promised LIME’s ongoing commitment to support carnival and culture throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
However, Steele warned that LIME would vigorously defend its brand from “ambush marketing’’ during the carnival season that ends on Tuesday, August 14.
More carnival news is available at http://www.spicemasgrenada.com