Culture for Sale? Department of Tourism vs. Carnival Committee

Home Forum Article Conversation Arts & Culture Culture for Sale? Department of Tourism vs. Carnival Committee

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #1663
    Graciela Samuel

    Senator Janelle Sarauw has called out the Virgin Islands’ Carnival Committee for their mismanagement of funds. She recently proposed that the Department of Tourism and the Carnival Committee be merged together. Although this proposal seems sensible, would the Department of TOurism be able to preserve the culture embedded within carnival? There are many aspects to consider if this merger were to occur. First, we would have to analyze the target audience of both departments. Although the Carnival Committee has been controversial when it comes to their selection of events during carnival and the preferences of the locals, it seems as though the locals of the VI are their main target audience. As for the Department of Tourism, obviously, their target audience will be tourists. The problem lies in how the change of target audiences will influence the decisions of the Carnival Committee/Department of tourism. What if certain traditions and events are modified to accommodate the tourism industry (like making Jouvert in the middle of the day to allow cruise ship passengers to partake or even changing Carnival dates to coincide with the peak of tourism season)? Would a merger with the Department of Tourism begin a commercialization of VI Culture?


    Not sure we need more government involvement in what goes on here in the Virgin Islands. Personally, I think we depend too much on the government. Non-profits or private companies can do a whole lot better. However, if the government is committing funds it should have oversight of the funds committed.

    I think the problem is that the organizers don’t really change that much. Those individuals have gotten accustomed to doing things their way for years and are not about to change. It’s difficult to expect change when there aren’t folk involved who bring new ideas and approaches and are not vested in doing things the way they have always been done.

    I have seen some old pictures about carnival groups. The costumes were creative and there were themes the groups subscribed to. Now, it seems that every costume is similar…lots of feathers, and folk wearing the minimal that allows you to appear in public. I’m told this is more a Trinidad than a Virgin Islands tradition.

    The best part of the carnival is the food fair. Everything possible should be done to promote the display and offering of local foods, traditions, arts & crafts. This then becomes something that preserves and showcases local culture and is appealing to locals as well as tourists.


    While Carnival can encompass tourism, tourism cannot encompass Carnival, and that is simply because not all tourist are into Carnival. They two are distinct entities and putting them under the control of a single body runs the risk of having one of them sacrificed, if not treated like an outside child.

    That is not to say that Carnival could not be tailored to suit the transient audience, but there ought to be a body set up for the tourism issues solely, which in turn seeks to offer enticements to the tourists based on Carnival events.

    Putting Carnival and tourism under one umbrella will cause am overlap that will ill-affect the full potential of both entities.

    Graciela Samuel

    Based on the events of this past carnival, it is obvious that the Virgin Islands may have to depend on the private sector to move activities forward. Many of the events that stirred public (local) interest were pushed forward by private entities. It seems that it is a good compromise between the locals of the VI and the Carnival Committee, but should we depend on the private sector to preserve the traditions and culture that is deeply embedded within Carnival?

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
2107 Crystal Gade #7A
St. Thomas, VI 00802
We are a 501 (c) 3 Private Foundation
© 2021 Under The Markets. A project of Virgin Islands Capital Resources. Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions