Douglas calls for the preservation of traditional carnival

A sensay costume

Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas, is calling for the preservation and marketing of Dominica’s traditional carnival.

Speaking at the media launch of Carnival 2013 on Monday Douglas said it appears that Dominica is losing much of its traditional carnival. “I think we are losing that touch of our traditional Mas because I do not see as many Sensay costumes out there,” Douglas observed.

He called for the aggressive marketing of traditional carnival. “I continue this evening to make a passionate plea for the strengthening and marketing of our traditional Mas by building, displaying and incorporating more of our Sensay,” he said.

He said greater effort should be made towards the preservation of the various forms of traditional costumes throughout the year and suggested a special activity be held later down in the year to showcase the costumes to visitors.

“My vision is that these traditional costumes are preserved. We can find a way to preserve those costumes so that they can be displayed and marketed throughout the year. It’s like on Ash Wednesday carnival is shut down till the next year and I believe we should find a way to have carnival as a tourism product throughout the year so that persons visiting Dominica can get to experience carnival out of the carnival season,” Douglas remarked. “Where in Dominican can a visitor easily view a Sensay, Bwa Bwa costume out of the Carnival season?  I would like to see these costumes displayed at various points of interest at our Ministries, at our point of entry, and other interesting places such as the Botanical gardens.”

The Minister is especially interested in preserving and showcasing the carnival queen costumes.

“We need to find a way to preserve those carnival queen costumes, because so much money is spent on them and so much time effort energy and creativity. We need to find a place where we can preserve the costumes and we can recreate the carnival experience as a tourism product,” he stated.

The Minister has called for the productive use of the carnival queen costumes throughout the year.

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  1. Jeffrey Alexander
    February 17, 2016

    All of us have ideas and are always quick to say what we need to have before things can happen. I agree we need an international airport, more hotels and so on. But we don’t and at present, this what we have. We have bands and artist who travel. Bring them into the discussion and allow them to promote in their tours. Give a stipend or something incentive and let them promote during and after their shows. We have consulate generals and investment officers, permit them to follow the same or similar program of promotion. Also we have promoters, associations, and other groups in the diaspora that can be tapped on a serious level. Also we should always have a band on parade in all diaspora carnivals. We should work on sponsors early to make this venture come to fruition because it is expensive to have a band on parade. My point is we can use what we have for now until we get the airport, hotels and so on.

  2. January 11, 2013


  3. T mama
    January 10, 2013

    It is going to be 50yrs since the terrible fire at carnival, I hope something is done in remembrance…the culprits were never arrested or found….

  4. Nurse Chrissy
    January 10, 2013

    I second the notion Minister…
    Carnival time is the time to display the tradition of our culture….

    We are losing that touch way to quickly

  5. Jackie Brown
    January 10, 2013

    Good thing minister. It was Sensay and black devils outfit which were the main thing during carnival now what I am seein is a lot of rubbish.

  6. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013

    It is rather interesting to hear the minister of tourism asking for the preservation of the original sen say. It is the same way that our national wear has disappeared. Thanks to the Ministry of culture for hosting a workshop many years ago at a hotel on island to modify our traditional wear. Today our children do not know what outfits their ancestors wore.

  7. T mama
    January 9, 2013


  8. true word
    January 9, 2013

    we need for pray than much demons lose in the mass

  9. January 9, 2013

    Maybe for once I will agree with the man who in my opinion is less than a good messenger who could not deliver a message to Skerrit from me regarding a Hollywood movie producer and director who wanted to make Dominica a venue for an annual film festival.

    I suppose since he can only read from right to left, and since I only know how to write from left to right it made it impossible to understand what I conveyed in my E-mail to him when he was Dominica’s AG!


    In spite of that I agree with him that we should by all means preserve our traditional Carnival; however, we have to be careful with the ” Sensay costumes ” and the ropes soaked in Gasoline: we must not forget the fires of the late 1950’s when revelers dressed in such were set on fire.

    His comments on Marketing of our carnival to me is another form of idle talk similar to what the lady minister of culture conveyed on DNO.

    While it is cheap to talk about marketing and promotion of our festivities, neither of the two so called ministers seem to have any actual vision or ambition to tackle the problem of the lack of an International Airport on the island.

    The way it stands right now, promoting, and advising anything in Dominica intend to attract visitors to our country is a waste of time!

    Carnival, Cricket, anything that involve music, and partying will attract crowds of people, hence we have to be prepared!

    So, I ask where are the hotel rooms? By the time Fort Young, and Garraway Hotels are filled where shall the rest of the visitors sleep!

    Talk is cheap; however, commonsense dictates that we will talk forever, but without an International Airport, hotel accommodation Gulf facilities and attractive resorts on the island we can only dream.

    Be reminded that a dream is something that cannot be held-unto!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  10. Concern citizen
    January 9, 2013

    What that i hear, its a good thing but as one said its very costly to come to Dominica. We need to improve on that.

  11. For love of country
    January 9, 2013

    funny how they keep talking about visitors to Dominica. It is so costly and a hassle to travel to Dominica. I love my country and will be there for carnival but i always say if i was not from Dominica i would not go there. Something needs to be done with air access before we can promote and attract visitors to carnival. who want to sit in an airport for 8 to 10 hours after paying an arm and a leg for a tickets to Dominica when they could fly to others caribbean island for less the price and time.. As i said if i was not from Dominica i would go to trinidad or Brazil instead for carival.. Go ahead do all the promotting but unless we have better air acces to Dominica themn its a waste of time.

    • Better Government
      January 11, 2013

      Nail head , See hammer.. You hit it hard!!

  12. Pedro
    January 9, 2013

    Fabulous Idea, but would sound more substantive if you said you were going to increase the tourism budget substantially to allow for your ideas to be effected.

    • Better Government
      January 11, 2013

      LOL.. He talking like he is not the minister. Like he have to wait for someone else to do it for him.. Mister funny!!

  13. Citizen Kane
    January 9, 2013

    Mr. Minister, Let me remind you that you have been the Minister of Tourism now for at least 10 years.

    You have been in if not “the” most critical, one of the most critical positions from which one could have a direct impact on the preservation of our cultural heritage and indeed carnival.

    To come now and give lip service to the people of Dominica just illustrates the level of incompetence which you have brought to a ministerial post.

    Can you please enlighten us on what is being done about restoring and preserving the rich carnival traditions which even through the 70’s – 80’s when the sensay was under threat flourished and served as a bastion for the tradition ?

    What happens with the carnival queen and calypso competitions in Portsmouth Mr. Douglas?

    Magway Sa Ian !

  14. Faceup
    January 9, 2013

    Bring back the steel band too !!

    • sphinx
      January 10, 2013

      steel band music is the grassroots of carnival with the voice for the lavway,long before them blig bling blangblang stupid rockus on the streets,lots of noise for nothing!bring back the tradition!

    • lang mama nou
      January 10, 2013

      lapo kawit and creole songs too….half of this generation do not know creole…lang mama nou

    January 9, 2013

    Although I agree with Mr. Douglas on this issue it his his governments responsibilty to faciliatat such things. Put programs and policies in place. Talk is good but what is it going to do for the cause. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILTY AND YOUR GOVERNMENT’s.

  16. Pundit
    January 9, 2013

    It would be wise for the govt to build a multiplex complex where all the shows and a carnival museum could be housed. I suggest the canefield industrial site where the first stadium was once built. There is no permient venue for hosting the carnival events etc. the first place to start is getting a permient venue which would have multiple features, like a multi stage and museum.

  17. concerned
    January 9, 2013

    I agree with Ian. But these costumes have to be a little modernised and creative keeping the traditionnal base.

  18. January 9, 2013

    Don’t let the heritage / traditions of Dominica go to waste and get lost in politics. Dominicans need to preserve their history so others can see and learn from it.

    People from all over the world visit countries for their carnivals, and history ie: Italy, brazil etc…. so don’t give tourists one more reason why not to visit such a beautiful country. I recently read that Dominica was also thinking of renaming their mountains! Becareful about removing the old landmarks or nothing will be left.

  19. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013

    I agree. My vision is the same. I say let’s get rid of those sleezy skimpy Trinidadian style costumes that have come to spoil our carnival and go back to our traditional covering up costumes that have so much more meaning. And then i don’t have to be grossed out by celulite and hanging br***ts of oversized women.

    • Anonymous
      January 9, 2013

      To be quite honest I thought that was rather endearing to Dominica that people where not judged by there physical appearance -seems I was wrong

  20. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013

    Poor Dominica and the type and calibre of people who run it. Imagine “that” coming from a Minister of Government. But then again, that should not surprise anyone. After all, look who is “Prime Minister”

  21. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013

    Display the costumes in the state palace. At least that would be one rason for visitors to pay money to go in there.

  22. OH MY
    January 9, 2013

    that is true sir , i agree with that, i have not seen a dominica carnival in 20 or so yrs and this yr if al is well i want to come home, i am especially coming to see the sensay and also to hear the goat skin drums , calipso show and also the queen show, i hope it will be a great experience for mr, thank you sir for that statement

  23. Anonymous
    January 9, 2013

    also we have less violence in dominica compared to the rest of the carribbean yet still our carnival going to be shot down at can tourist come here to see they have to go home 8pm

  24. what??????
    January 9, 2013

    Wow Ian sound lik ea broken record, he keep saying the same thing over and over.

    • wtf??
      January 10, 2013

      he will keep saying it over if nothing is being done about it…..BECAUSE he and most of us would like to have it done like back in the days…thank u!!!!

      • Better Government
        January 11, 2013

        So who should get it done.. Why are we paying him? Not for him to find waysto get it done? Mr Minister is a joke..

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