It is unfortunate for our predominantly Christian community to give in to a pagan tradition that has been incorporated into the local culture, I am referring to the carnival celebrations. What makes this whole scheme so ridiculous is the fact that in spite of our financial crises they are those who do not want to acknowledge the need to do business differently, are still demanding and expecting the V.I. government to underwrite the carnival with cash, not counting the other costs incurred by the government. Cost such as public safety measures, public works services and overtime for inspection services, among other incidental expenses.
We are a USA territory, our system of government mirrors the continental system of government, a democratic capitalist system. As true Americans we should then participate in the system, by practising free enterprises, capitalistic enterprises. If the carnival is as profitable as the promoters claim it is then they should organize a public corporation to run the carnival celebrations. This corporation would be fully owned by the shareholders and be entitled to all the benefits the other corporations in this jurisdiction enjoy, such as tax breaks.
An idea submitted by someone when this discussion came up in the past has a lot of merit. I am referring to the proposed establishment of a permanent festival commission under the tourism department to oversee all public festivals in the territory. It would be a liaison between the government and the private companies organizing the festivity, be it the Cruzan Christmas Festival, the St. Thomas Carnival or the St. John Festival. This proposed alternative would relieve the V.I. government from any cash investment, but will provide logistical support and advertisement through the tourism department. I truly belief this is the appropriate route to take, it is long overdue. We need to stop the "gimme gimme" mentality and adopt an entrepeneurship mentality.
Remember: "Ask not what my community can do for me, but rather what can I do for my community." We can observe all the foreigners who come to our shores and do well as entrepreneurs, are we any less capable? We contribute to the enrichment of most, if not all merchants who come to our shores. Does that not tell us something? Do we need to be feeling jealous and/or envious of those who prosper amongst us, with our support? We cannot deny that Afrowestindian as Afroamerican are the greatest consumers, we consume anything and everything produces or sold by others. That leaves us at the mercy of all those merchants. That can change if we discriminate where we spend our hard earned monies, and produce and/sell merchandise in the open market like all other ethnic groups. I believe the religious leaders have the responsibility to teach their followers how to become more industrious and independent. By teaching people hove to let their monies circulate longer among themselves.
Why I say there is a "christianization"of carnival? Haven't you noticed in recent times that the Christian churches have been participating in the carnival program, not to save souls but to entertain and lend some credibility or respectability to the celebrations. I haven't heard any criticism of the lewd behavior exhibited by adults and minors in the parade from the church leaders.
Are they enjoying the view? Some of them may even participate in such parades. The Christian doctrines as I was taught and have come to understand, opposes the excesses practiced by the carnival revellers. Christians are supposed to be different, they are supposed to be the salt of the earth. Christians are supposed to lead not follow pagans and pagan practices. Where are the Christians prophets, who will dare to stand up for righteousness, for decency, for lawfulness? Who can God count on to proclaim His Truth? Can God, Allah count on you, and me? Do we have the faith, the courage, the hope to be used of God? Let us examine ourselves to see if we truly measure up. May God, Allah have mercy on us all.
J.J. Estemac


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