KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and two opposition legislators have congratulated this country for a peaceful Carnival.
They have also praised the efforts of planners of the festival, especially the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC).
But West Kingstown representative Daniel Cummings and his Central Kingstown colleague St. Clair Leacock, both of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), said on the party’s radio programme Wednesday that Vincy Mas 2012 was characterised by little economic activity.
“I want to congratulate all those who have been involved, first of all, in the carnival activities,” Gonsalves said at a press briefing, also on Wednesday.
He said Commissioner of Police Keith Miller had reported that there were no serious incidents and the public “conducted themselves within the framework of the law and good sense; that they enjoyed themselves well, as we tend to do at Carnival”.
Gonsalves also thanked media personnel who exerted the public to be “very careful and moderate, respect other people, don’t drink too much, don’t get involved in criminal activates and all that must have had some effect.
“The long and short of it, we are very thankful that we have not had any serious incident,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security.
The three legislators praised the nation’s public health workers for cleaning up Kingstown in time for business Wednesday, after Vincy Mas climaxed around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
“… those of us who would have passed through the city this morning, you will be amazed at the transformation of the streets,” Cummings said but added that there was “unfortunately quite a bit of broken bottles and so on the pavement” in the capital Wednesday.
“By and large, the city has been fairly well cleaned. And that is a tremendous amount of work on behalf of those people. And it has been the case throughout the carnival season. So I really want to say a very special good morning and thank you to all the public health workers of this country including the CWSA (Central Water and Sewage Authority).
Cummings, a former CWSA manager, said that the state-owned company has continued to make more public standpipes and toilets available throughout Kingstown during Carnival.
“Because it is apparent that we are seeing less of the stench from urine especially in and around Kingstown during and after the Carnival season. It would seem that some of the public relations activities are paying off,” Cummings said.
Cummings also commended the police “highly”.
“… they were out in their droves all over the country and did a tremendous amount of work in trying to keep carnival what we know it ought to be: a festival where everybody can come together regardless of rank or stature and become a mass of one person without the fear of violence.”
Gonsalves said that cultural activities “generate revenue but it is also an activity which rests on a firm productive and material base and therefore we all have to work to finance the cultural activities, which cultural activities themselves generate some revenue.
“But in all the human activities, we have to be productive, we have to be creative in our work in order to advance,” he said.
But Cummings said that while the Carnival was peaceful, vendors did not have a successful festival, “especially in the lead-up to the carnival, many of whom complained that they could not even pay for ice because sale was slow.
“It is reflective of the economy of this country. Were it not for some of the visitors and returning nationals a lot of these people will lose money,” he said and added that three persons abandoned their sales effort because couldn’t buy ice.
“It is seriously reflective of the state of our economy.”
Leacock described some vendors’ business attempts as an operation in which the “the dance can’t pay for the light” – a colloquialism meaning that the earning from a fete is not enough to pay for the electricity used.
‘They just came to look at the spectacle, to participate, and if a good friend would buy them something they would partake of that and they would move on,” Leacock said, even as he commended carnival organisers.
“It’s a mammoth exercise. All the stakeholders did well. … the Police Force, the various tactical units, I think they did a wonderful job in keeping the peace. I think we should rejoice that we had no major casualty or fatality for the Carnival except one earlier on in the rural carnival and its an indication that people are tempering themselves and understanding there is a time and occasion for everything and are behaving themselves,” Leacock said.