Granger elected President SCDF~ Looks to spread Carnival’s wings ~

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) reshuffled its board on Thursday, September 13 and elected Carnival veteran Mike Granger to serve the next two Carnival terms as President. Each board of the SCDF sits a two year term.


Granger served as Secretary of the foundation the past two years and together with Treasurer and past-President Erno Labega, now past-President Stuart Johnson and the rest of the SCDF board pulled Carnival out of precarious financial situations and public discontent following the 2008 to 2010 period. Many have credited Labega, Granger and Johnson for saving St. Maarten’s Carnival.

He is only the second person to be elected to the presidency of St. Maarten’s largest festival for two different terms, having served in 2004 and 2005. The other person was past-President Fabiana Arnell. According to a release from the SCDF, Granger brings 15 years of experience in organizing Carnival and "relentless passion" to elevate St. Maarten’s Carnival.

Erno Labega will return as Treasurer while Franciane Peterson, a new comer to the board, has been appointed Secretary. Granger, Labega and Peterson will form the Executive Board of the SCDF. Other board members are Edwardo Radjouki, Vice President, Hazel Kishna, Assistant Treasurer, Vida Boyrard, Assistant Secretary, Roland Rommy, Martin Wilson and Malcolm Cooper, also a new-comer, as board members.

The foundation’s board is supported by about 30 work group volunteers. "This group of dedicated, hard working volunteers has given so much to St. Maarten and our Carnival. We can be proud of the accomplishments over the past two years and the vision we’ve established for St. Maarten’s premier calendar event. It has truly been a spectacular team effort," Granger said.

"We love Carnival, we respect our revelers and stakeholders who continue to stand by this foundation through thick and thin. With continued cooperation we can do great things together. President is just a title. If Carnival does well, St. Maarten does well and that is the big picture the SCDF continues to focus on. The new board will have plenty of ideas in terms of spreading Carnival’s wings. We can organize Carnival with our eyes closed, now it is time to build on this experience and get St. Maarten’s Carnival out there and strengthen our festival to be the economic generator that it has the potential to be for this country," Granger added.

He said the slide of traditions and culture out of Carnival must be blunted and the new board will be looking to re-introduce Carnival customs of past to enhance Carnival revelry of the present. "We also need new thinkers and innovators so we’ll be putting out a call soon for new volunteers and working with some of the leading players in major festivals in the Caribbean," he said.

He said the SCDF is looking forward to continuing its close working relationship with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau and establish new, modern marketing initiatives for Carnival. Granger said a detailed plan of how the new board will move forward will also be outlinds to the public, Parliament, the private sector and corporate sponsors and Carnival stakeholders. "We will be going to everyone, engaging everyone to re-enforce that Carnival is a ‘community of interest’ – people linked together by a shared vision," he said.

The SCDF also established its advisory council, a possibility that is outlined in the foundation’s articles of incorporation. The foundation appointed Stuart Johnson as the first honorary member of the council, Hubert Pantophlet a former board member and Chamber of Commerce executive has also been added to the council. The SCDF will add additional persons from various sectors to this advisory council.

Outgoing President Johnson thanked the members of the SCDF and public for its support over the past two years and expressed his pleasure of having given the opportunity to serve as President after being associated with the SCDF for so many years. Johnson started his association with the SCDF as a Youth wing member. He explained that his new responsibilities as Principal of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Elementary School, does not afford him the time required to serve on the board of the SCDF, but welcomed the opportunity to function in an advisory capacity whenever called upon.

"Stuart will always have Carnival in his heart. I’ve worked with him for what seems like forever and his dedication has never waned. During his tenure he accomplished a great deal, especially establishing relationships with Carnival committees on other islands. This is surely something we will build on. Stuart did a lot of good and will do even more in his new position in education. We congratulate him," Granger said.

Granger added that "as of now" it’s full steam ahead to Carnival 2013, schedule to run from April 19 to May 3, 2013. The SCDF will be launching a number of competitions for the public soon for new initiatives it will be undertaking. "This is the people’s festival, and we aim to get the people totally involved from now," Granger said.

The public is also reminded that registration for all Carnival events, booth holders, troupe leaders, is open until December 1. Registration forms can be picked up at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg or can be emailed upon request. Persons can also email sx*********@ho*****.com, mi*********@gm***.com or call 5225133 or 5204788.