Junior masqueraders continue to be true creative ambassadors of T&T, judging from the spirit they displayed during the national Carnival festival, with a standard of behaviour that is nothing short of commendable. That’s the view of Hermia Tyson-Cuffie, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. Speaking at the National Carnival Band’s Association (NCBA) distribution of prizes held at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, on April 12, she cited the energy the young revellers displayed during the 2010 Junior Parade of Bands.
In her view, the applause and positive reviews they received from both local and foreign onlookers was testimony of their quality pageantry. “Junior Carnival has the potential to become a major stimulus for engaging our youth in productive activities and to erode negative stereotypes in youth development,” said Tyson-Cuffie. She added: “But this can only become a reality if more of our youth appreciate the value of the Carnival arts to national development. Our Carnival emerged out of the skills, creativity and artistry of simple people in our communities. The pioneers of our Carnival have done an excellent job and it is now up to our youth to sustain our world-class status.”
Tyson-Cuffie said more and more young people should become involved in junior Carnival, which is now emerging as a reliable training ground for future adult mas producers and masquerders. She’s convinced that training programmes in the schools and the communities will nurture the new masquerader—one who can make his or her own mas. “In light of the global economic crisis and the increasing cost of production, the self-sufficient masquerader will be an asset. Further, a new wave of Carnival craft producers will emerge to take advantage of the opportunities in the emerging cultural industries. “Our junior masqueraders should not only play mas for enjoyment or to impress others. They must play mas with a purpose. Participating in junior Carnival must be seen as an opportunity for self-development and the development of our national culture.”