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Enhanced Security Measures: VIPD Bans Ski Masks at St. Thomas Carnival 2024

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Festive masks light up the Crucian Christmas Festival in 2019, captured by REEMY-REEMZ PHOTOGRAPHY/VICONSORTIUM.

The St. Thomas Carnival 2024, with its promising theme “A Cultural Tour Like Never Before,” is fast approaching, bringing with it an air of excitement and celebration. Amidst the fervor, the V.I. Police Department (VIPD) has introduced a critical guideline aimed at reinforcing security throughout the event, particularly during the vibrant J’ouvert festivities.

The VIPD has clearly stated that ski masks, or any kind of full-face coverings, are strictly prohibited during the carnival’s numerous events. This measure is instituted as a pivotal security step to maintain a safe and secure environment for all attendees. Anyone found donning full-face masks or ski masks will be immediately asked to remove them, with the VIPD emphasizing that failure to comply will result in being escorted from the celebration. The primary goal of this directive is to guarantee the well-being and safety of every participant during the festive period.

Nevertheless, in consideration of ongoing health concerns, the VIPD has made provisions for masks that serve as Covid-19 prevention measures. Attendees are encouraged to wear health-related masks, adhering to the guidelines provided by Governor Albert Bryan and the V.I. Department of Health. This accommodation ensures that individuals can still prioritize their health while engaging in the carnival’s activities.

The VIPD is dedicated to ensuring that the St. Thomas Carnival remains a memorable and safe experience for both residents and visitors. The department seeks the community’s support in complying with these new mask regulations, underlining their commitment to the collective safety and enjoyment of all involved in this year’s carnival.

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Schneider Hospital Unveils Plans for Community Carnival Event

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Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is joining forces with the Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals to bring a unique carnival experience to its campus. Titled “Carnival at the Hospital,” this event is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 22, at 6:00 p.m. and promises to be a seasonal highlight, eagerly awaited by patients, their families, seniors, and community members of all ages.

Designed to provide a carnival experience to those who may not be able to attend the island-wide celebrations, the event aims to offer a joyful and lively atmosphere at the SRMC. “At SRMC, we are dedicated to enhancing the hospital experience for our patients by providing top-tier care and engaging community activities. This event is a reflection of our commitment to enrich the lives of our community members through ongoing cultural engagement,” stated Tina Comissiong, CEO of SRMC.

The celebration will feature a sneak peek of carnival troupes, an array of games, live music performances, and an assortment of local culinary delights. The hospital is extending an invitation to local vendors to participate in the event, offering them an opportunity to display their products, services, and culinary skills to a diverse audience. Vendor spots are available for $150 each.

Those interested in participating as vendors or seeking more information can contact Camellia Williams at 340-776-8311 extensions 2367 or 2264, or via email at [email protected].

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St. Thomas Gears Up for an Unforgettable Carnival Experience

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As the St. Thomas Carnival approaches, a collective of key stakeholders recently convened with the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Justice, and Public Safety to share their meticulous preparations. The gathering included voices from the Division of Festivals, the Police Department, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, and the Department of Public Works—each playing a crucial role in the festival’s success.

Ian Turnbull, the Division of Festivals Director, emphasized the commitment to delivering a top-tier Carnival celebration that promises fun, safety, and impeccable organization. Following the conclusion of the Crucian Christmas Festival in February, his team has been laser-focused on fine-tuning the event’s elaborate arrangements.

In parallel, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA) is set to intensify its oversight of commercial activities. Assistant Commissioner Horace Graham highlighted the department’s mission to thwart illicit sales, including underage and unauthorized alcohol transactions. By leveraging social media monitoring, the DLCA aims to intercept illegal alcohol production targeting the carnival-goers. Graham stressed the importance of adhering to strict licensing and labeling standards to mitigate health risks and legal infractions.

The Department of Health is not lagging behind, ensuring all food vendors meet health permit requirements and demonstrate food safety through negative tests for parasites. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion detailed plans for rigorous inspections of food stalls to enforce standards for safe food handling and compliance with health regulations.

Efficient waste management and recycling are also on the agenda, with the Waste Management Authority planning to set up facilities for the disposal of used cooking oil and other waste, ensuring the carnival’s environmental footprint is minimized.

The Department of Public Works is tackling logistics, from managing parking solutions to constructing viewing stands and announcing road closures. With parking arrangements detailed by Assistant Commissioner Reuben Jennings, safety and accessibility remain paramount, receiving reassurance from Assistant Commissioner of Police Mario Brooks on vehicle security within designated parking zones.

Senate President Novelle Francis expressed confidence in the robust planning, underscoring the importance of backup strategies. Concerns over pricing and crowd management were also addressed, with DLCA’s Graham advising attendees to compare prices due to the absence of fixed pricing regulations, and VIPD’s Brooks outlining comprehensive crowd control measures to prevent incidents.

The Carnival will launch with the Prince and Princess Show on April 13 and wrap up on May 5 with the debut Utopia Unity Concert featuring international music sensation Burna Boy, marking a festive period filled with culture, music, and unity.

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Black Empire’s “End of the Road” Secures Road March Title, Guava Tart Wins People’s Choice Award

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The vibrant and culturally rich Crucian Christmas Festival Parade of 2023-2024 has officially declared its winners, showcasing the immense talent and competitive spirit of the participants.

In the Children’s Parade Troupe (under 50 members), TSK Children Troupe emerged as the champions, with CMC Arts and Lights on Connecting taking the first and second runner-up spots, respectively. For larger troupes with over 50 members, Juanita Gardine School triumphed, and Pearl B. Larsen School followed as the first runner-up.

Individual performances in the Children’s Parade didn’t go unnoticed. “An Ode to My Ancestors” bagged the win in the individual category. The St. Croix Majorettes scooped the first place in both the Children’s Parade Majorette and Moko Jumbies segments, while 175 Emancipation secured the Moko Jumbies title. The Rising Stars Steel Orchestra was lauded as the Children’s Parade Steel Pan winner.

The Adult Parade featured a diverse range of winners across different categories. Gentleman of Jones clinched the Floupe title for groups under 100, followed by Reveling Masqueraders. In the Adult Troupe (under 100 members) category, TSK took the top spot, ahead of Gallows Barians and Caribbean Revelers. The St. Croix Majorettes and Guardians of Culture claimed victories in the Adult Majorette and Adult Moko Jumbies categories, respectively.

In the Adult Parade Steel Pan competition, the Rising Stars Steel Orchestra repeated their winning streak. The coveted Road March title was awarded to Black Empire for their electrifying performance of “End of the Road.”

Adding to the list of accolades, Guava Tart received the USVI Festivals & Viya’s People’s Choice Award for their remarkable contribution to the festival’s success.

This announcement wraps up the competitive aspect of the festival, highlighting the diverse and imaginative talents of the participants. Their contributions have significantly enriched the cultural landscape of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department of Tourism and the Division of Festivals extend heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and participants for making this parade season a resounding success.

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