Here to stay

Here to stay

It was good to read that the Around Town Jump Up proceeded without major incident, except for the detention and fining of two women involved in an altercation. Authorities had changed the route away from Frontstreet after the Simpson Bay Causeway Jump Up on March 16, which saw multiple fights, two persons stabbed and another shot, although none fatally.

They also announced heightened safety measures, particularly against wearing ski masks and similar face coverings, with a US $150 fine. Vendors along the way were urged not to sell beverages in bottles.

The issue was even addressed during last week’s 2024 budget debate in the Central Committee of Parliament, where caretaker Justice Minister Anna Richardson promised a clear zero-tolerance message would be conveyed for the Around Town Jump Up with a significant police presence. This was indeed the case and appears to have helped.

The latter is important for the future of carnival as the country’s biggest annual celebration and a tourism vehicle. If persons, locals and visitors alike, become afraid of attending related public events, including street parades, the entire festival will lose its value in both cultural and economic terms.

The minister said they would use external partners such as the Voluntary Corps St. Maarten VKS and “overtime will be made be made by everyone entrusted with police tasks to ensure the safety and security.” That obviously costs extra money and the more problems troublemakers cause, the higher the required price-tag at the expense of society.

People ought to understand that carnival belongs to all of us. That also regards organising and issuing permits for different, comparable musical events in Philipsburg during the climax of the season.

Promoters since cancelled two shows in Festival Village, supposedly for that reason. However, St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) and booth holders, among others, depend on big nightly crowds to make ends meet.

Caretaker Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in a brief earlier comment on the matter said the schedules had been perused before granting permission for the outside concert and related advice by law enforcement authorities was considered too.

Be that as it may, great care must be taken going forward not to undermine what took more than half a century to build up. Everyone should keep in mind the need to ensure “our Carnival” is here to stay.

The Daily Herald

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