Maria re-iterates: It is the task of SCDF to organize Carnival

In response to several requests for comments from the media, Commissioner Maria Buncamper-Molanus re-iterated yesterday that the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has assured the Island Government that there will be a Carnival in 2009 for which preparations are well underway. She stressed that it would serve no purpose for government to comment every time an issue arises pertaining to Carnival.

The Commissioner added that it’s counter-productive for government to get mixed up in a back and forth "he said-she said" between some Carnival stakeholders and the SCDF. "This does not mean that concerns of all involved are not important, but the SCDF has not indicated that they can’t host a successful Carnival or that Carnival is in any danger of not happening in 2009. On the contrary, they’ve indicated to government that the people of St. Maarten can expect a terrific Carnival season. Our position thus has not changed, we will assist whenever requested to do so to ensure a successful Carnival which is the final task of the SCDF," Buncamper-Molanus said. 

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Additionally, the Commissioner has urged parties involved not to throw innuendo into an argument that is already contentious. She was referring to the stakeholders claim on Wednesday that the SCDF has allocated several nights to a promotional group and this same group is an extension of the promotional arm of the SCDF. Naturally, she said, this would be a concern for government in terms of fair and equal treatment of all involved in Carnival.

"We have to be professional and prudent with our statements. The article of incorporation of the SCDF does not indicate any promotional arm of the foundation and, as I was told, there is no such entity that operates for or on behalf of the SCDF. Furthermore, I was assured by the SCDF that the nights were not given out to a single group. In fact, according to the SCDF, they have not even received a request from the group in question for any night in the Festival Village. Unless the stakeholders can provide documentation of the contrary, they need to guard against unnecessarily implicating third parties into an issue that does not concern these parties," Buncamper-Molanus said.

The Commissioner said it would be more helpful if the stakeholders and SCDF discuss their grievances rather than issue statements to the media and thereby closing the door on any compromise. "We all love Carnival. I am sure SCDF’s door is still open to the stakeholders and all lovers of Carnival," the Commissioner said.

Lastly, for the sake of clarity, the Commissioner urged the stakeholders to always indicate who signatories to their letters are to avoid any confusion. "For example, my office has been flooded with calls from bands, booth holders and other Carnival participants wondering where they should register. Furthermore, I received a letter on Tuesday from calypsonians indicating that they will be participating in Carnival 2009 and does not support any boycott. That letter was signed simply "the calypsonians", similar to letters from the stakeholders which are signed "the stakeholders". I think to avoid anyone, and in particular the SCDF, from drawing conclusions, letters should indicate exactly who signatories are. I respect the fact that the stakeholders say they are a unified body, but I think we need to do our best to avoid anymore confusion. Lets get together and have a great Carnival," she concluded.