By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Sugar Mas 45 officially kicked off last weekend with an opening ceremony in the Circus Basseterre that also saw the launching of the slogan jingle and pageant contestants.
Hundreds flocked on Friday evening to the music filled ceremony included performances by KT and LAX and saw the launching of contestants in Swimsuit, Mr GQ, Talented Teen and National Queen pageants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Carnival Chairman Noah Mills described his involvement in carnival as a tremendous journey and hailed the sponsors and committee members.
“During Sugar Mas 44 we would have promised certain things and we delivered “All through this year we were going from village to village giving back to communities and I must thank all of my sponsors and team members.”
Also speaking at the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Shawn Richards who commended the winners from Sugar Mas 45 who have represented The Federation in regional competitions and were successful.
He also paid tribute to fallen carnival icons who were also honoured as Grand Marshalls who recently passed on and led a moment of silence in their memory
“On a sad note during 2015 we lost some persons in the cultural fraternity. For many decades these men would have entertained us and would have made significant contributions to the folklore and our music not just for the carnival period but throughout the entire year.
Those individuals who were remembered were Spencer Duggins who was the Grand Marshall for Sugar Mas 38. Grand Marshall for Sugar Mas 36 Theophilus Chumney. Cyril ‘Puntan’ Webster Grand Marshall for Sugar Mas 42 and steel pan player Stevenson Hewlett.
The slogan for the celebration was also launched as Feel the Rhythm, Feels the Positive Vibes for Sugar Mas 45 and Minister of Culture gave his interpretation of the slogan penned by Romaine Belgrove.
“The slogan encourages each and every one of us to get that feeling. The feeling to experience the rhythm of every type of music from the big drum, fife or steel pan. Feel the rhythm of the various type of songs that all artiste have been working hard to come up with for us. After feeling the rhythm we are been beckoned to operate in a positive manner be it our dancing, our jamming or our general participation.”
He stated that all should be encouraged to be a positive influence to all especially the retuning nationals and visitors.
The minister also spoke about the new events that are set to be introduced.
“This year we are introducing some new events namely the Caribbean Carnival Queen Pageant where we would see ladies from different islands, a body painting segment as part of the Swinsuit competition as well as a glow fete.”
Richards added that the programme for carnival is diverse and features something for all regardless of interest or age.
“I therefore implore all of us to go out and support the various activities for Sugar Mas 45.”
He also urged that all behaves in a responsible manner then declared the festivities officially open.
“Please do your best to ensure we have a good Carnival. Carnival is about all of us and is only as good as we make it.
The contestants for the National Carnival Queen Pageant that were unveiled are Nordia Demming, Hydeia Tyson, Shantara Hewlett, Jonieka Smithen and Katherina Davis.
Shakira Pitt, Zena Hyman, Julisa David, Raven Richards, Kachiana Robin, and Nakilah Watson were disclosed as the National Carnival Swimsuit Pageant contestants.
The National Carnival GQ contestants are: the five gentlemen who would compete in the National Carnival GQ are Carl Samuel, Kevin Adams, Earl Brotherson, Joseph Tudor and Denville Francis.
Eight schools from St. Kitts and Nevis will be represented in the Talented Teen Pageant the contestants are Anusuyah Bhoojraj (Basseterre High School), Sarai Hutchinson (Cayon High School), Zafi Alder (Charles E Mills Secondary), Terrencia Nisbett (Charlestown Secondary), Lucia Parris-Liburd (Gingerland Secondary), Tatyana Browne (Saddlers Secondary), Dolicia Barry (Verchilds High School) and Dahneira Hodge (Washington Archibald High School).
It was also announced that Khyla Brown will represent St. Kitts at the new Carnival Caribbean Pageant with Nevis being represented by Zaria Brown.