CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Saint Lucia’s premiere cultural showpiece, Carnival, is receiving additional overseas exposure thanks to a French-based media outlet. Last week, the island played host to a three-member broadcast crew from Martinique’s national radio and television station, RFO (Radio-Télévision Française d’ Outre-Mer).
Facilitated by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, the RFO team started documenting the 2010 carnival season which officially got underway on Sunday, June 6 at Samaans Park.
The team was led by RFO’s Director of Caribbean Affairs Max Maurice-Madelon who, over the past 10 years, has played a pivotal role in getting French media authorities to pay greater attention to Saint Lucia’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Maurice-Madelon says although RFO has covered Saint Lucia Jazz and Carnival celebrations for close to a decade, this year marks the first time that coverage is being provided from the start of the festival.
The RFO team will return to Saint Lucia during the peak of carnival celebrations from July 16 to 21 to document the Carnival Queen show and the two-day Parade of the Bands. The team will produce an hour-long documentary on the street parade together with two half-hour shows. The first will showcase events staged at various venues like Samaans Park, while the other will highlight the participation of a Martiniquan band in local carnival. It will trace their departure in Fort-de-France on board L’Express des Iles to their arrival at Port Castries, their interaction with Cultural Development Foundation officials and their actual participation in the carnival jump up on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Saint Lucia’s Director of Tourism Louis Lewis says, “The French market of Martinique and Guadeloupe has always been a priority for Saint Lucia and continues to hold tremendous potential for further boosting tourist arrivals and increasing revenues.” According to Lewis, “all is being done to further expose Saint Lucia and its many offerings to as wide a cross section of that market as possible, and the Saint Lucia Carnival serves as the perfect vehicle for doing that.”
Last year, a record number of carnival bands from Martinique and Guadeloupe participated in Saint Lucia Carnival.