In a well executed and colourful display of mas and revelry, hundreds of carnival participants, supporting organizations, sponsors, and officials of the carnival committee, joined in a 2 hour street parade, starting at the grounds of the Basseterre High School and culminating in the centre of the city, on Bank Street, Basseterre.
The parade, which got started around 4:00pm, featured musicians, carnival bands and representatives of folklore groups, such as the Masquerades, Bull, Clowns and Mummies. Also involved in the festivities were the reigning Road March Champions-Grand Masters, DJs and Hi-Fi systems, as well as a collection of civic and government bodies promoting messages about the importance of tourism, healthy eating and lifestyles, the elderly and the desire to end the abuse of men and women.
The splendour of the occasion was further enhanced with the delightful appearances of the various queens and winners from last year’s carnival. Among the line-up was the National Carnival Queen, Sudeakka Francis, Miss Caribbean Talented Teen – Beriscia Byron from St. Kitts, King of the Best of the Rest – Hot Rod, Calypso Queen-Singing Jackie, the Junior Calypso Monarch-Miss Independent, (Kerisie Willett), and the Miss Talented Teen- Zinga Imo.
A special appearance was equally made by the reigning Miss Culture-Verna Grante of Nevis and Miss Culture Swimsuit-Alsanarda Hanley, of St. Kitts.
The veteran string band player, Mr. Spencer Duggins of Bourryeau Village, was given the signal honour to lead the parade, as this year’s Carnival Grand Marshall.
As the parade made its way through Basseterre, thousands of spectators lined the streets, stretching from Victoria Road, Cayon Street, Church Street, Bay Road, Fort Street and then into Bank Street, where the ceremonial speeches were delivered by carnival officials and lead players in the Ministry of Culture.
By the time the parade hit the Circus and Bank Street areas of the capital, over 3,000 spectators had already gathered, ahead of the 6:00pm start of the keynote addresses from Minister of Culture and Carnival, Ms. Marcella Liburd and the new Chairman of the National Carnival Committee, calypsonian, Mr. Clement “Monarch” O’Garro.
The packed programme incorporated sneak previews of various carnival bands for j’ouvert and Carnival Day, such as Inferno, Phun Makers, Mudsunami, Red Devils, Extreme and the entertaining Men without Shirts, from St. Pauls. Promoters of carnival fetes, including Inception, also took the opportunity to highlight their activities for December.
The crowning moment for the launch event was the presentation of the contestants for the 2010/11 National Carnival Queen Pageant and the Miss Talented Teen Pageant.
The six talented and intelligent ladies who have been given the nod to compete as delegates in the prestigious Carnival Queen Pageant are Iantavian Queeley, Rolhensha Henry, Judy “Purple” DuPont, Abigail Liburd, Kimanai Phillip and Michelenia Mills.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the history of National Carnival, all high schools in both St. Kitts and Nevis have entered contestants for the Miss Talented teen Competition. The roll will now include representatives from the Charlestown Secondary School and the Gingerland Secondary School, located in Nevis.
The full list of delegates are Vernicia Wyatt-Charles Mills Secondary School; Dominique Pemberton-Saddlers High School; Zaiesha Joseph-Verchilds High School; Siobhan Phipps-Immaculate Conception Catholic School; Nekira Nicholls-Washington Archibald High School; Hydeia Tyson-Gingerland Secondary School; Chadene Connor—Cayon High School; Rae Dawn Thomas-Basseterre High School; Shakoya Flanders-Charlestown Secondary School.
Premier sponsor of carnival, local telecommunications giant, Cable & Wireless, (LIME), used the occasion of the ceremony to present their cheque of EC$135,000 to the committee.
There was also a strong and positive crowd reaction to the decision of the new committee and Ministry of Culture, to honour, the outgoing Executive Director of Carnival, Mr. Allister Williams, who was presented with a trophy, as a token of appreciation for his sterling and long service to carnival.
The only slight disappointment expressed by some spectators about the launch, related to the constant stream of “foreign” soca music, played by the DJ.
Many felt that given that it was the launch of St. Kitts & Nevis carnival, the menu of music should have been restricted to local bands and artistes, especially since the event was being broadcast to a live local television and an international internet audience.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of the acting Governor General, Sir Edmund Lawrence and Lady Lawrence. Also present were former Carnival Chairpersons, Stanley Franks and Gus Williams.
Carnival this year is being celebrated under the theme: “Fun, Fete, Bacchanal, Sugar Mas 2K10-2K11 and will run from 17th December-3rd January, 2011.