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Kunservative and Blackest: St. Croix’s Soca Royalty at the Christmas Festival

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St. Croix has crowned its Soca Monarchs for this year’s Christmas Festival, with Kunservative seizing the Groovy Soca Monarch title and Blackest clinching the Jumpy Soca Monarch crown. The prestigious competition was held on December 30th, marking a high point in the festival celebrations.

Kunservative, the stage name of Shamall Ferdinand, dazzled the audience and judges alike to emerge as the Groovy King with his performance of “Tie The Knot.” His act, complete with a full-scale wedding ceremony presentation, not only captivated the audience but also earned him top honors. In a gracious post-competition interview, Kunservative expressed his gratitude to the Division of Festivals for not only hosting the event but also for raising the prize to an impressive $10,000. He highlighted this increase as a motivational factor for artists to strive for excellence. Further, he lauded the Division for providing a platform for local talent to shine on a global stage.

The road to success, Kunservative reflected, is challenging. He shared wise advice with future contestants: “Prepare to win, and win to prepare.” His humility shone through in a heartfelt social media message where he praised his peers for their exceptional performances, contributing to an unforgettable evening.

Darnelle “Blackest” Phillip, meanwhile, added another feather to his cap by winning the Jumpy Soca Monarch title with his entry “J’Ouvert Behavior.” This victory marks his fourth Soca Monarch triumph, supplementing his already impressive record of ten road-march wins. Blackest’s victory was a close call, narrowly surpassing runner-up Jamal by a mere point. His success can be attributed to his skillful engagement of the audience, a key aspect of the judging criteria. Post-show, he urged fellow artists to familiarize themselves with these criteria, emphasizing the importance of audience participation in scoring. Additionally, he called upon the spectators to be more involved, underlining their role in enhancing the festival’s allure.

Also deserving recognition is Temisha, who delivered standout performances in both categories, securing third place in each. This year’s Soca Monarch Competition in St. Croix was not just a display of musical talent, but a testament to the vibrant spirit and cultural richness of the island.

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

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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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