We have arrived at a critical stage with the Dominica Cultural industries.
The Showdown Mascamp was kicked off their contractual arrangements with the National Cultural Council (NCC) for the staging of the 2019 Calypso Tent just two weeks into their seven-week season.
The reason for this abrupt termination was listed as the seeming urgent construction of a new stage at the Old Mill Cultural Centre. This was the message from Mr. Lawrence who informed Mas Camp’s management that he had been instructed to inform them of the new developments.
Organizers of the official carnival event had already hosted two consecutive Friday night shows at the Old Mill Cultural Centre in Canefield, before being informed of the instruction which had been handed down through Raymond Lawrence, to discontinue the contractual arrangements with them.
What this means is that, Calypso, which is the crown jewel of Dominica’s carnival festivities, was unceremoniously removed from its home – the Dominica Cultural Center. The situation further raises the concern that there appears to be a major disconnect between the management of the Cultural Division and the authorities especially as relates to planning.
How could the Dominica Cultural Division, through the NCC, schedule a cultural event at the Old Mill and not know that there was an approved and scheduled construction project, carded to begin during the second week of a seven-week contractual term? This situation is careless at the least and it is highly suspect.
I am not one to speculate, but things just do not align. Those who believe that the circumstances surrounding this showdown are merely coincidental are free to be so disposed, but my spirit is a bit troubled about how this episode went down. When this case is examined alongside the many other similar instances where the ‘authorities’ have gotten involved, one cannot help but to be concerned.
It would appear that the authorities do not plan well and that is terrible. The authorities and those who represent them, have displayed a propensity for intolerance and/or lack of appreciation for certain established conventions, and one hopes that this is not the case here. Let me document my dissatisfaction with and strong protest against that recent episode which may very well be part of a continuing trend. Then again it might not be, but all the same, this treatment to Kaiso was unwarranted.
However, because, I am not in a position to conclude that there may be some form of partisan political agenda behind the booting of Kaiso [Mas Camp] from its home, I will say that the timing could not be worse. What a way to kick-off [pun intended] Black History Month, February 2019! May the good spirits of our ancestors strengthen those who dare to object the seeming strangulation of this most precious, rebellious performing art – kaiso. The Carnival City has been declared as Mas Camp’s home for the rest of the Carnival season.
The Showdown Mas Camp is well-known for its anti-system/government songs, and this is what kaiso is supposed to be. Kaiso needs us to be united in her defense and by so doing protecting ourselves from being muzzled into submission. I wait on the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) for further guidance.
In the meantime, let Lady Calypso plague the very conscience of those, who in the past, present and future seek to silence her.