By: Kenny Bailey
The Soca Monarch competition, the heart, and soul of our beloved Vincy Mas, is currently teetering on a precipice of uncertainty and discontent. Esteemed artists like Da Pixel, Grabba Finesse, Charlie Rumist Johnson, and Derron Magikal Rouse have made a strong statement by boycotting the festival’s flagship event. Their stand has sent shockwaves across the nation and revealed a systemic malaise that threatens the very fabric of our cherished carnival culture.
While fans and fellow artists grapple with the news, the response from the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) has been disappointingly inadequate. CDC Chairman Ricardo Adams announced that the Soca Monarch and Ragga Soca Monarch competitions would proceed as planned, citing strong registration for both competitions. However, Adams failed to address the root cause of the issue – the reason why our prized artists have decided to step back.
Adams talks of a difficult financial year and the CDC’s inability to guarantee an increase in the prize money and appearance fees of $280,000 by last Friday. He promises ongoing discussions with sponsors and a quest for feasible solutions, but his words ring hollow in the face of the artists’ unwavering stance. Is the CDC so embroiled in the mechanics of running the show that they have lost sight of those who make the show possible?
This standoff reveals a deeper issue. It’s not just about the money; it’s about respect, recognition, and fair treatment. Our artists aren’t merely performers; they are the pulse of our culture, the drivers of our festivities, the ambassadors of our heritage. When they voice their dissatisfaction, it’s high time for the CDC to listen.
The CDC’s tone-deaf response, far from placating the artists or fans, only adds fuel to the burning discontent. The attitude seems to be one of forging ahead, of filling the stage with willing participants, regardless of the gaping void left by those who’ve chosen to step aside. It’s a short-sighted strategy that might deliver a festival, but at what cost?
The current crisis begs us to ask some hard questions: How much does the CDC value our artists? Are they considered vital stakeholders in our carnival or merely replaceable commodities? Is the spectacle of the event more important than those who bring it to life?
In conclusion, it’s high time the CDC woke up to the fact that a Soca Monarch competition without the respect and participation of its key artists is a hollow spectacle. This crisis is not just about appeasing a group of artists; it’s about safeguarding the integrity of our Vincy Mas. We owe it to ourselves and our culture to hold the CDC accountable and ensure they address this issue with the urgency and respect it deserves. After all, it’s the rhythms and beats of our artists that make Vincy Mas the unparalleled extravaganza that it is.