Giving back to carnival participants is key, says chairman of SKNNCC

(SKNIS): Noah Mills, Chairman of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival Committee (SKNNCC), said that it is important to give back to participants as it brings joy to the hearts and faces of many, especially members on the committee.

Mr. Mills was at the time speaking on “Working for You”, on Wednesday, January 18, where he gave an overview of his past two years as Chairman and the achievements thus far. The chairman said that Sugar Mas 44 saw eight ambassadors of the federation who travel throughout the region to participate in various competitions, namely, two calypso events and six pageants.

“And for the six regional pageants, we were able to secure four crowns,” he said, noting that for 2017, the number of ambassadors will increase as the junior calypso king has qualified for a competition in Barbados later this year. “So we are very proud of the fact that after they would have put in so much into making the carnival product a success, we are able to financially assist them in going overseas and showcasing not only their talent but also the federation’s.”

Further reflecting on Sugar Mass 44, the chairman noted that his committee with the assistance of other key persons was able to achieve quite a lot.

“We were able to present the Ministry of Culture with a profit and loss statement in April/May of 2016, which spoke to Sugar Mas 44 and that that again from their stand point was impressive,” said Mr. Mills. “Not only did they have a Budget prior, but they had financial statements. Now that is interesting because for Sugar Mas 44 we were able to give prizes in February of 2016. Another thing that we were able to introduce, and we hopefully dragged it into Sugar Mas 45, would have been starting events on time and we got praises for that. Sometimes we got playfully chastised because we would have started the parade on time and people in their traditional habits would have come down to Greenlands around 3 or 4 o’clock expecting that it would have started that time but they were surprised as it started earlier.”

Sugar Mas 44 also saw the introduction of two new shows, namely the National Swimsuit Pageant and the Mr. GQ Competition. He noted that these shows paved the way for contestants to showcase their talents as they were unable to do so in the regular events for various reasons.

“We have some males who are not into singing soca or calypso but if they are talented in terms of theatrics or dramatizing, what is the forum for them to compete? So we created the Mr. GQ competition,” he said. “We introduced a swimwear competition and that was very deliberate because for the National Queen you cannot be a mother. So using a term loosely, the question must be asked, are we discriminating against mothers who have talent?”

The chairman noted that upon assuming the chairmanship in 2015, his committee was met with a number of challenges. He said that they inherited a bill outstanding to service suppliers of over EC $70,000 but they were able to settle it in the first year. He added that praises were given, as well as negative responses, but they were able to persevere and they did what needed to be done to settle all outstanding bills in a timely manner.

He noted that despite the many challenges and the negativity towards him and his team, Sugar Mas 44 and 45 were successes. He publicly announced that the public’s opinions are welcomed but persons have to be patient and take into consideration that not all suggestions can be addressed all at once.

Mr. Mills used the occasion to thank his hard working team for a job well done, as well as the public and everyone else who contributed significantly to the past two carnivals, be it by participating or simply being a spectator.

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