There will be Vincy Mas in 2022 in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
Speaking on the Issues at Hand programme on WEFM 99.9, Gonsalves said following a lengthy Cabinet meeting last Wednesday it was decided clearly there will be Carnival this year.
Vincy Mas was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prime minister stated what Vincy Mas entails: It is a mass cultural event where people showcase their talent, it is an occasion for economic activity and it’s a relief for persons.
Every society needs occasions where you have releases, it’s a catharsis. You doing work all the time and you have to have something where you let off your energy,” said the prime minister.
Gonsalves reminded St Vincent and the Grenadines had two difficult years with the pandemic, the volcanic eruption and Hurricane Elsa.
“There is need for some kind of collective relief, at least so we think in Cabinet,” said the prime minister.
He said the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) came with a proposal for Carnival taking into account the existing protocols and levels of vaccination.
“Naturally I raised the question what kind of Carnival will we have if we go for 70 per cent vaccination by the end of March. We will try to do that in February and March and go on an all-out bigger campaign than ever.
This is not just a question of getting the vaccine rate up but we need something bigger than the slim down version of Carnival.
The idea is for us to go on a mass campaign to up the vaccination rate and to link it also with the kind of Carnival we will have.”
The prime minister also stated: “It is not something that is opportunistic but is something that is strategic both in terms of health and for people to have this release after this tremendous strain and pressure and part of our quest to respair… a fresh hope in life and living and for us to feel better.”
Dr Gonsalves added: “Healthy Carnival activity is perfectly normal and if the priest could play mas who is we?”
The prime minister said he is mindful they will not know yet until the end of March or into April whether SVG will have a Carnival that is big or scaled-down.
Because some people might start planning from before such as mas makers, the Cabinet has asked the CDC for data to know what the sums involved are if the government has to provide reimbursement in whole or a substantial part, for work which people do in the artistic field in the months of February and March which they may not be able to use if the format is more constrained.
The prime minister noted the Health Services Sub-Committee of NEMO will have to be greatly involved in this and the mobilisation for this big push with everybody in February and March.
St Vincent and the Grenadines will need to get its vaccination rate up by doubling its current percentage which is in the mid-30s.
Dr Gonsalves pointed out that SVG has 80,000 people who may be available from the age of 12 and above for the vaccine, and if 30,000 people have already had two doses, this number needs to double by the end of March.
He believes they can do it and said the Chief Medical Officer and her team will help the country reach 70 per cent.
“We have to have mass activities man, and we could if we have more people vaccinated. We not going to get the mass release, the catharsis… that lifting of the existential spirit, in a sense the cleansing away of many of the pressures, at least a different mood. Of course, strength is always critical, but a good mood can metamorphose and change into strength.”
The prime minister also had a message for the Christian community.
“For the Christian people, I say I am not looking for anything hedonistic I am looking for something… clean Carnival fun. But that’s the nature of life and living. You even have hedonism in church so that’s not the point as we have seen in Jamaica with what they had the other day.”
Gonsalves added: “But we do things in a sensible way, and get to enjoy ourselves and have this release.”