I read the article headlined “Vincentians jump for education” by Nelson A. King in your newspaper and I chuckled a little bit. Why? Because I hear and and have heard for 46 years the same lofty wishing and hoping by Vincentians in USA about the presence of a Vincy band on the parkway. It’s all empty wishing and hoping.
We have nobody to blame but ourselves. The Vincentian community particularly in New York is not a culturally oriented group. I am not just talking about mas (carnival). I mean the wide plain of culture. Most Vincentian functions attract only that group of people who are directly connected to it (teachers to teachers, nurses to nurses, this school alumni to their group and ex-police to ex-police etc.).
No matter how much advertising is done, it falls on the deaf ears of the wider community. I am talking from first-hand experience. I am the god father of Vincy Mas in New York and the Vincy Expo, also, starting with the first Vincy band in 1972 at the behest of my friend Sam DeBique.
The general talk at the time was exactly the same as today. Then in 1973 with my second band only fractionally bigger than the first, it was the same talk again, and ‘74, ‘75 and ‘76 the same lament again and again.
They talk the talk but never walk the walk. The loudly begrudge the other islanders who come out in huge numbers and wave their flags. It’s not others, it’s not foreigners, it’s Vincentians themselves. they can’s blame anyone but themselves. When we restarted Vincy Mas on the parkway as Mas Productions in 1991 and I brought Puzzle Grant to New York, it was the same old song being sung, the wishing and the hoping.
Every year since then, Wesley Millington single handedly has kept a Vincentian presence on the parkway going out of pocket most times to make the band a reality and you would think by now the tune would have changed. No. Even with our competition successes including Queen of the Band in 1974 (Butterfly, designed by Skully Hunte) and Adell DeBique 20 years later, you would think that would be enough to coecere this lethargic community to come out and play. It has not happened. I doubt sincerely that it will ever happen. E.J. Paddy Corea