Categorized | Editorial, News

Who is going to foot the bill for a brand new festival venue?

Editorial – Oct 17 2014

For some time and numerous times this question has been asked quietly and even officially. Why and for whom or what are these series of events held at Christmas time called ‘festival’ each year? In 2012 the celebration was supposed to be the biggest yet, as it was the 50th year or festival since festival began some time back in the early 60s.

It is safe to say that when the volcanic crisis began in 1995 there was no festival for one or two years.

Since then of course the population was drastically reduced and now stands at close to 5,000 but made up of almost 50-50 non Montserratians even though many of the non-Montserratians can now call themselves Overseas Territories citizens, welcome from this end to at the very least help to make Montserrat viable as far as a population is concerned, never mind not enough many would argue for a viable economy. That raises no doubt some arguments and issues which will not be discussed here.

The question that has been asked has gone unanswered but each year with the economy being the state it is at, government is called upon to sponsor the staging of the festival. That has raised many questions and more so since the African Music Fest at St. Patrick’s week of celebration, has been said to receive more patronage from GoM than the two-week more popular festival at Christmas.

The festival is not promoted to bring people to Montserrat during the celebrations and shows and the nights-out, like any of the other islands, like Trinidad, St. Lucia, nearby Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis. It would appear that while the economies in these islands who have festivals, carnivals and different named ones, expect and do flourish, the same is not true for Montserrat that did the same pre-volcanic crisis.

After some of the festivals and particularly the 50th, businesses and vendors complained nothing was different as far as their revenue is concerned. The GoM at that time did say that it was meaningful, since they collected at least 3,000 plus times $35.00 in departure tax from the mostly Montserrat returning visitors many of whom had not done so since they left from 1997 forward. One would recognize that these folks do not compare to those Montserrat visitors pre-volcano who mostly came from North America and Europe and even neighbouring countries. That is hardly the case these days.

Now for reasons somewhat unclear to us the GoM has seemingly mandated Parliamentary Secretary Willock to find a new venue for this year. Several meetings have been held and Salem Park which has been used successfully for two years for the African Music fest poses too many problems as a viable venue against other locations where everything from site preparation, lighting, toilets to fencing must be put in place. The reasons supposedly among others are parking, ash seated under the grass on the grounds and noise pollution for the environs.

While we believe part of the problem with festival in the current times and circumstances are too long, a discussion that has been tabled many times before, it is our humble view that other than the inescapable noise pollutions, the solutions are relatively simple in every other respect while the costs of staging the two week event at other suggested venues are prohibitive. It is our further view that the suggestions seem to be beneficial to special interests rather that the cost which is the main item of course. More monies. Recently we heard of another consideration, the distance would make it too pricy for some people to attend in Salem.

Maybe in the end the Ebola scare will settle the issue and there will be no festival. Check and see if the vendors will mind, and whether the visitors will not bother to ‘jus’ come’.

Comments are closed.

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

CARICOM – Staff Vacancy

CXC HEADQUARTERS - Executive Search

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – Oct 17 2014

For some time and numerous times this question has been asked quietly and even officially. Why and for whom or what are these series of events held at Christmas time called ‘festival’ each year? In 2012 the celebration was supposed to be the biggest yet, as it was the 50th year or festival since festival began some time back in the early 60s.

It is safe to say that when the volcanic crisis began in 1995 there was no festival for one or two years.

Insert Ads Here

Since then of course the population was drastically reduced and now stands at close to 5,000 but made up of almost 50-50 non Montserratians even though many of the non-Montserratians can now call themselves Overseas Territories citizens, welcome from this end to at the very least help to make Montserrat viable as far as a population is concerned, never mind not enough many would argue for a viable economy. That raises no doubt some arguments and issues which will not be discussed here.

The question that has been asked has gone unanswered but each year with the economy being the state it is at, government is called upon to sponsor the staging of the festival. That has raised many questions and more so since the African Music Fest at St. Patrick’s week of celebration, has been said to receive more patronage from GoM than the two-week more popular festival at Christmas.

The festival is not promoted to bring people to Montserrat during the celebrations and shows and the nights-out, like any of the other islands, like Trinidad, St. Lucia, nearby Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis. It would appear that while the economies in these islands who have festivals, carnivals and different named ones, expect and do flourish, the same is not true for Montserrat that did the same pre-volcanic crisis.

After some of the festivals and particularly the 50th, businesses and vendors complained nothing was different as far as their revenue is concerned. The GoM at that time did say that it was meaningful, since they collected at least 3,000 plus times $35.00 in departure tax from the mostly Montserrat returning visitors many of whom had not done so since they left from 1997 forward. One would recognize that these folks do not compare to those Montserrat visitors pre-volcano who mostly came from North America and Europe and even neighbouring countries. That is hardly the case these days.

Now for reasons somewhat unclear to us the GoM has seemingly mandated Parliamentary Secretary Willock to find a new venue for this year. Several meetings have been held and Salem Park which has been used successfully for two years for the African Music fest poses too many problems as a viable venue against other locations where everything from site preparation, lighting, toilets to fencing must be put in place. The reasons supposedly among others are parking, ash seated under the grass on the grounds and noise pollution for the environs.

While we believe part of the problem with festival in the current times and circumstances are too long, a discussion that has been tabled many times before, it is our humble view that other than the inescapable noise pollutions, the solutions are relatively simple in every other respect while the costs of staging the two week event at other suggested venues are prohibitive. It is our further view that the suggestions seem to be beneficial to special interests rather that the cost which is the main item of course. More monies. Recently we heard of another consideration, the distance would make it too pricy for some people to attend in Salem.

Maybe in the end the Ebola scare will settle the issue and there will be no festival. Check and see if the vendors will mind, and whether the visitors will not bother to ‘jus’ come’.